The Mysterious Lumber Revealed

A couple weeks ago, we showed you this picture:

Then we showed you this:

Are you ready to see exactly what we were doing with all that wood?

(By the way, be sure to weigh in on what we should do with the finished project at the end of the post!)

It’s a little embarassing to admit, but the day we closed on our house, we took out a wall that was separating the kitchen from the dining room.  Nearly two years later, we were still looking at this.

The area where we took out the wall was clean and neat, but definitely, absolutely NOT finished by any stretch of the imagination.  I don’t know what took us so long to address the situation… maybe it was the $400 quote from a drywall guy to patch the walls, maybe it was us dragging our feet until we redid the floors.  Regardless, the urge to see something finished hit and we finally tackled the eyesore a few weekends ago.

All along, we thought a beam of sorts would look nice in the space and add a little definition without closing off the kitchen from the dining room.  Not to mention we have two different paint colors in the two rooms, and it would be nice to have a dividing line where one color could stop and the other start.

We started by measuring our ceiling and walls.  We decided we could build 3-sided boxes (like troughs) that would slide over the existing 2×4 in the ceiling and the 2x4s we would add in the walls.  First step: Add the 2x4s to the walls.

Those super scary spiky nails sticking down from the ceiling were just hammered and bent as close to the ceiling as possible so they wouldn’t interfere with the faux beam.  (Why didn’t we do THAT earlier??)

Next, we set about building our boxes.  We decided to do the ceiling box first so that it would be partially supported on the ends by the boxes we attached to the walls later.  The ceiling box was tricky because we couldn’t have bought boards long enough to make one solid box (no 16′ boards in the Subaru, no sir!), so we had to build 2 boxes out of our 8′ long 1x4s that would fit together like puzzle pieces.  Here’s a snapshot of our (very technical) sketch of how the puzzle peices would fit together.

First step, measure and cut.

Second step, line up the 3 sides of the first box with the boards of the second box, add a bead of glue to each side piece, and clamp.  We added the glue for extra security, but later on you’ll see the majority of this project relied on a handy dandy nail gun.

Thank goodness we are storing some tools for our friend J Rod in our garage.  We couldn’t have done this project without this guy:

Or this one, for that matter:

Third step, use nail gun pictured above to nail together the box.  Don’t forget your ear plugs and safety glasses!

Lather, rinse, and repeat for ceiling box #2.

After both boxes were constructed, we glued, clamped, and nailed the 2 together to make one long box.

Next, we sanded down all three sides of the faux beam, filled all the gaps with wood putty, and sanded again.

Here’s where it got tricky.

The plan was to lift the ceiling beam into place and for Stephen to prop up one end while I held up the other.  Then he would use the nail gun to attach the edges of the beam into the 2×4 in the ceiling.

In a perfect world, that would have worked.  Sadly, we didn’t even get past step one before we realized we’d need a third person to help.  The issue was that the center of the trough of the beam wasn’t quite wide enough to fit over the center of the 2×4.

Enter our friend Michael!

The whole process went much easier once we had Michael’s help!  While Stephen wiggled the center of the beam into place, Michael and I held up each end of the beam.

Once the beam finally slipped over the 2×4 in the ceiling, the boys went to work with the nail gun.

Thanks so much for your help Michael!

Here’s a look at the fit.  Not bad, huh?

I think he approves 😉

The last steps of the process were to build the two beams for the walls and install them.

And now, here’s a look at the improvements to date!

Whew!  A lot of work, but totally worth it!

All that’s left to do is decide on a finish for the beams.  We’re thinking of either painting it white to match our kitchen cabinetry (and trim, eventually) or dark to match the dining table (and floors, eventually).  The only thing we know we can’t do is stain the wood or leave it natural since we used so much wood filler that we definitely need to use paint to cover it. :o)

What do you think?  We’d love to get your opinions.  Should we go white or dark?  Thanks!

I’m linking up to the DIY Showoff Project Parade.  Go check out all the other great DIY projects!

The DIY Show Off

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