Posts Tagged ‘crown molding’

Ah, before and after’s.  My favorite posts to write.  Without further ado:


Taking photobombing lessons from Bo Obama

I’m really pleased with the finished product.  I think it looks more polished, will be more practical to take care of, and like I mentioned in a previous post, I think it helps our very own green monster staircase stand out a little less.

So there you have it!

Eventually we’ll paint the door frame trim white, along with the baseboards and the sides of the stairs, but probably not until we’re ready to replace the flooring.  I’m not holding my breath for that one, though, so we’re calling the project done for now.  This is one I’m very glad we did.


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Almost done!

The only thing left to finish is the last few coats of spray paint on the banister brackets, and then putting the banister back up.

I’m really pleased with how well the Stone Lion paint below the chair rail coordinates with the carpet, curtains, and couch slipcover in the living room, when you look into the foyer from the living room.

Once I get the banister back up, I’ll post a photo of the finished stair case.  I think the chair rail and the darker paint help de-emphasize the green carpet a little, which is great.  The green is no longer far and away the darkest, most obvious thing in the space.  I’m still looking forward to replacing it, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a little less aggressive now.  I’ll take it.

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Painting continues here at Guin’s Yard:  the molding is finished, with three coats of semi-gloss paint.  We’ve finished edging the ceiling white, cream, and brown along the trim, and rolled the brown.  It essentially looks finished, but there are a few spots on the walls where a 2nd coat would be a good idea.  Hopefully tomorrow it’ll be done!

This is a good look at the color, from a little earlier in the week:

The thin little strip of Sandbar shows how much lighter it is than the Stone Lion.  Now that it’s (almost) done I think we made the right choice.

One little part of the project that’s still ongoing is that I’m spray painting the brackets for the banister.

From the looks of them, the banister was stained in place, and stain drips are still all over the brass brackets (which I’d probably spray paint anyway, since the brass doesn’t match anything in the house).  I cleaned them up with hot water and a pot scrubber to get little bits of latex paint and dust off, and primed them with spray primer.

Tomorrow I’ll do a first coat of oil rubbed bronze spray paint.

I still haven’t decided if we should leave the banister itself stained or paint it.  I’m not sure what color to paint it if we were going to, so I think it’ll stay as-is for a while.  White seems like it’d get dirty fast, with hands on it all the time.  Plus, there’s still a lot of unpainted molding, so it won’t look out of place right away.  We will get to painting the baseboards when we replace the green carpet, and painting the door frame trim when we replace the interior doors with nicer 6-panel doors in the future.

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This weekend we had a visit from mom & dad, and tackled the chair rail and crown molding in the foyer, up the staircase, and around the upstairs landing.  It was a tremendous amount of precise cutting and detail work to get all the corners right.  Well done dad on that.  As of Sunday night we’ve got everything installed and caulked, and have just started the painting.

The starting point was about as blank a slate as possible:

With the exception of the light, which we updated a couple years ago, it’s been pretty much untouched.  It has sort of a “plain vanilla landlord vibe.”  And even though we walk through it many times a day, it still had the feeling of being accidental square footage, just sort of a continuation of the kitchen and stairway wall color, and the kitchen floor.  It certainly didn’t offer a gracious welcome at the front door.  So we decided to give it some polish and make it feel more like a “room” unto itself.





First came the crown molding, starting by the kitchen.

and as Saturday progressed, we wrapped around the foyer

The wall that the front door and the garage door are on turned out to be bears, particularly the garage door wall.  They weren’t even close to being true.

Once the crown molding was up, it was caulked to fill any gaps between the wall/molding and ceiling/molding, especially where the walls have some of the more glaring imperfections.

The caulk always makes it look so nice!  Even without paint.

Then it was onward to the chair rail installation, which we started on Saturday and spanned into Sunday.  The angles and joints between the first story level and the stairs, and the second story level and the stairs were the most time consuming.

We did all the installation work with the banister in place, so we could make sure they would be perfectly parallel.  We took the banister down later to caulk the underside of the chair rail and start painting.  Before it goes back up, I plan to spray paint the brass brackets with the same oil rubbed bronze spray paint that I’ve used on a few light fixtures so far.

Eventually, we got the molding wrapped all the way around the landing upstairs, and around the foyer downstairs.





Shortly before we finished, we put the piece of chair rail up on the wall that I’d painted earlier in the week, testing out a possible paint color.  It would’ve been so nice if Sandbar worked out, because we have the better part of a gallon leftover from our bedroom.

But as I’d been concerned might be the case, with a white chair rail separating the two wall colors, they didn’t look clearly different enough.  We settled on Stone Lion (SW 7507) instead (the middle chip in the picture), and off I went to Sherwin Williams before they closed.

Once all the chair rail was up, we took a break for some late lunch, picked up, and said goodbye to mom & dad as they headed home.  We closed the day out by doing the caulking on the chair rail, and starting some of the Stone Lion paint below the chair rail.  (We couldn’t paint any of the molding itself yet, because it all had some wet caulk still.)

I will need to take some pictures in better light once it’s all finished, but I was surprised by how dark the Stone Lion turned out.  The chip didn’t look so very different from the rest.

These pictures make the Sandbar strip just under the chair rail look a lot darker than it seemed in real life.  The Stone Lion also seems a little more gray in person than it looks here. I’ve learned my lesson in the past though about not judging a paint color until it’s completely finished, there are no edges visible of other colors, and it’s dry.  So judgment is reserved.

Still ahead of us:  3 coats of Alabaster paint on all the trim, then re-edging the cream, the ceiling white, and the Stone Lion around the molding to cover the caulk, and rolling the Stone Lion below the chair rail.  We are hoping to have finished pictures next weekend.

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For some time we’ve been contemplating where and how to place a chair rail in our foyer to make an otherwise extremely vanilla space a little less so.  We also wanted to run the chair rail up the staircase, so that the most abused part of the wall (the bottom 2-3 feet and around the banister) could be painted a darker, more scuff-resistant color, and could be repainted periodically in the future without going all the way up to the 2nd story ceiling.  The difficulty was how to deal with the banister itself.  Most staircases with chair rail don’t have an interloping banister.

This project will go along with installing crown molding around the foyer.  The molding has been sitting in a spare bedroom for about a year and a half now, since we did the crown molding in the living & dining rooms.  Time to get cracking.

Rather than keep imagining and guessing, this weekend we put up a blue painter’s tape “chair rail” just to see how it would look.

The chair rail around the foyer and on the upstairs landing are the same height as in the dining room, centered at about 29.5″ above the top of the baseboard molding.  On the stairs themselves, we took it out an inch or so further from the molding just to clear the banister by a little more.  The painter’s tape is only 1″ thick, so the molding will be wider.

We were pretty pleased with how the molding would fall relative to the baseboard angles and the light switch, which we don’t really want to move.  No need to make the project bigger than it has to be.

As evinced by the paint chips, one of the next questions, since placement of the chair rail was so easy, is what color to paint below the chair rail.  We plan to leave the cream color (SW Creamy) as-is above the chair rail.  The paint is only a couple years old, in good shape, and frankly, we don’t want to get on a paint board again to do the staircase.  So it’s staying!

Below the chair rail we’re looking for something just a little darker, but still neutral.  Since we still have 2/3 of a gallon leftover from doing the master bedroom, I painted a small section of wall in SW Sandbar just to see how it looks.

A second coat is in order, which I think might darken it up a little more.  It’s certainly a possibility, and definitely not far off at worst.  At best we might go with it.  It’s hard to tell if it will be dark enough to be clearly different from the Creamy when there’s a white chair rail in between.  If not, another strong contender is SW Portico, which is just a little darker.  All of the new chair and crown molding will be SW Alabaster, to match the living and dining room trim.

The other major question will be where to end the chair rail on the 2nd story.  Initially I’d planned to end it at the top of the stairs:

but we could also run it around past the bathroom door, under the map, and end it under the light switch, where the wall turns a corner to go down the hall.  That wouldn’t be much extra work, and would mean that from the bottom of the stairs you’d see continuous chair rail looking up.  That might be a better move.

Decisions, decisions!

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One of the projects on my eventual to-do list is to install a chair rail in the foyer and running up the stairs, and crown molding in the foyer.

Our foyer has a serious case of the blah’s.  The flooring is blah, the walls are blah, and the carpet on the stairs (and the flimsy newel posts and banister) aspire to blah, but fall short.  We’ve already upgraded the light fixture, but the space still needs a little more attention.

So, I’d like to install crown molding in the foyer to match the adjacent living room, and a chair rail in the foyer space and running up the stairs.

A lot of people have told me that, since the (necessary to keep) banister runs up the wall, that a chair rail alongside it is a bad idea.  And I get it, really I do.  It may not visually add much up the stairs, and runs the risk of looking a little odd.  But I think I want to do it anyway for a couple of reasons.

1.  It’s really difficult to paint the staircase wall, floor to 2nd story ceiling.  Adding a chair rail will give us an artificial line on the wall that will allow us to put a new coat of paint on the most abused portion of the wall (by the dog, by luggage, by kids’ hands) as needed without having to break out the ladders and paint boards.

2.  I think the foyer would look much better with a chair rail… and if you don’t go up the stairs, where/how do you stop the chair rail on the wall that you see through the living room without it looking choppy and unfinished?  I don’t have a good answer.

So I think we’re going to go ahead with it.

We’ve already bought and cut the crown molding pieces (which were less controversial), and I’m pretty sure I want to do the chair rail too.  I think a little white paint on the molding, and a little contrasting color below the chair rail will give that space a little help.

Plus, I hunted out a few inspiration photos on the web, and really don’t think it’ll be bad to have both a banister and a chair rail on the wall.  We are, at a minimum, not the first to have done it:


Examples by Treehouse Woodworking

Initially I was thinking of using the leftover paint from our bedroom for below the chair rail, because we have half a gallon or so, and I really like the color:

But I think I might like something just a little more gray, and with just a little more contrast:

The banister itself might find itself painted… black?  I’m afraid a white banister would be a handprint disaster.

In any event, it may be a while until we get around to the project, so I have time to decide.

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The crown molding project is finished!  It’s painted, the rooms are back together, and it came out great:

It’s very exciting.

Also exciting:

Daffodils.  Happy first day of spring!  I can’t wait til we see these outside, and not just ACS’ Daffodil Days!

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