Nursery News – Accent Wall
Last time we talked about the nursery, you were left with this:
and a promise that the accent wall for our baby boy’s room would be (and I quote) “rockin” and “boyish” and “hug-worthy”. Let me just give myself a huge pat on the back…because it is. It really is. The accent wall is everything I hoped for and more.
I know…you are just wishing you could reach through your computer monitor and slap me right now…kinda like when that girl crawled outta the television in the movie The Ring…but a lot less creepy and more out of anticipation than the desire to take my soul into Hades. But just be warned, I am an avid movie watcher and I know how to defeat evil spirits. Plus, I got Jesus on my side…and well, frankly, he would totally backhand any evil-spirited chick if they came close. We are tight like that.
Back to the point. We created a very masculine accent wall for our nursery & can’t wait to share it. But first, let’s introduce you to our inspiration:
That’s right. They are shipping pallets. And there is such a thing in the world as Pallet-Craft. I know. I googled it. Pallet-craft is reusing the wood that makes up shipping crates or pallets to make something else….like a chair or a deck or in our case, an accent wall. And since we wanted a very cabin-inspired-look-meets-contemporary-aesthetic in our nursery, we thought there was no better (or cheaper) way to get the great woods indoors…than to put wood indoors.
After a WHOLE lotta googling about the safety of using the Grade III wood that makes up pallets, we learned that some pallets are treated with pesticides & fungicides (NOT GOOD) but that you can find vendors that use untreated lumber (GOOD). If you or your vendor doesn’t know if the pallets are treated, there are certain precautions to follow when using the treated lumber. In our nursery, we followed those precautions even though we knew the lumber was not treated. Afterall, you can’t be too safe with a baby.
First, (after researching & calling local home improvement store managers to find a place that would give us free pallets of untreated wood), Jeremy picked up about two dozen pallets. Then he took his sawsall to them, cutting through the nails and giving us disassembled wood planks.
Then, he used an electric sander to remove any splinters and also to loosen any dirt or debris.
After sanding, he thoroughly cleaned each plank & removed any loose nail heads before taking them into the nursery. This is when we made our first mistake: we sorted the wood by color. It’s much faster to sort the wood by width…if you are planning on doing this at home.
After you sort it by width, then sort it by condition…like put all the wood of the same width with large cracks together. It helps. Believe me.
Ok. So now that the wood is prepped for installation (and you didn’t inhale any pesticides because you sanded & cleaned everything in a well ventilated area while wearing a mask! Good for you…you will not die. Not right now. Not from pesticides anyway.), now is the time to come up with your plan of attack. We didn’t. Mistake #2.
We knew that we would attach the planks with an air compressor and a brad nail gun…
(here’s our setting for you pallet-crafters),
but we didn’t know much else.
In fact, we started with these nails (3/4″)…
And ended up using these (1″):
Afterall, nobody wants a plank to come down on Baby Will.
So we just started in one corner and nailed in a plank along the bottom of the plywood. When we got to the corner, we just measured and cut an ugly plank to fill in the gap. Rows 1 & 2 were pretty fast. But then we got to the outlet. At first, we thought we would just cut a piece to fit around it. Then my boyfriend suggested a door.
I know. It sounded crazy to me too.
But then he explained. He could cut out a piece of wood & attach it with a mini piano hinge to the nearby planks so that the outlet would be out of sight…and out of the reach of mini baby Bower fingers. Plus, it could blend into the wall instead of having a bright white outlet plate showing.
It’s not done yet, but that is what the plan is. So for now, we cut the pieces to go right to the edge of the outlet plate sides.
Then we did the same thing with the next row.
That’s when mistake #4 occured. When we installed the row #3, we didn’t make sure that the tops of the planks lined up evenly. So row #4 didn’t line up. We had to figure out a way to put a solid piece across the top without having huge gaps.
Again…boyfriend to the rescue. He just took his circular saw and cut the top of the higher plank so that it would line up with the one on the other side of the outlet.
Setting the saw to the depth of the wood plank ensured that he wouldn’t cut through the plywood underneath…just the taller plank.
Can I just say that boyfriends with accent wall solutions are hot?
Because they totally are.
In the end, it lined up perfectly and we forged ahead.
When it came to the window sill, we just cut the end of the plank to fit perfect around it.
We did avoid mistake #5 by remembering to vary the widths of the planks. Since we wanted this wall to look random (but not too random), we knew that it would be important to use the wider planks in a row every once in a while. You can see we put about seven thinner rows between our thicker rows. I think it helps create a very random (but not too random) look.
Oh – and if you are doing pallet-craft, it is important to take breaks. We took the mandatory Smoothie-King break half-way through.
After said break was over, we got back to work.
Or Jeremy got back to work and I got back to sitting down with my camera…
That’s when mistake #6 hit. This time it had to do with levelness again. When we built up either side of the window, the sides were slightly off. The left side was slightly lower than the right side.
So we decided that the best fix would be to notch out the plank directly above the window so that it could fill in the cracks. You can see here how the right hand arrow is showing you were we ‘notched’ the wood out. The left arrow shows how we had to improvise with the wood planks (using various widths) to make it even.
We did this once before on a lower piece but that time it was because we ran outta the same width planks. I don’t think it looks bad…in fact I love the imperfections of a wood wall.
My favorite imperfections are the cracks and the knots and the nail holes. They seem so manly to me. Which is good…because this is gonna be a little man’s room.
So ready for the finished wall?
Are you really really ready?
Ok…stop trying to strangle me through your computer screen…
here it is:
Pretty hot huh?
And because I am a dork, I mocked up some curtains on there so see if I liked it.
Ok. Now for all you folks out there who aren’t completely satisfied with our pallet-wood safety precautions, it doesn’t stop there.
Now comes the nitty-gritty.
After we finished installing the wood, Jeremy whipped out the vacuum.
He made sure each little dust particle was off this bad boy.
And then we applied satin polyurethane. We decided to go with the spray type in a satin finish. This way if the plank-people-lied and we had treated wood, it would literally have to rain outside, seep through our exterior, our drywall, our plywood and our pallet wood, and then Will would have to pick away the polyurethane and suck on the seepage to be affected by the pesticides.
We felt pretty solid about the chances of that not happening. And if it does…well, Will can have a kick-diaper story about the way he avoided death when he goes to pre-K.
So that’s it folks. One very accented wall…for the grand total cost of $15. Since the pallet wood was free and we had a giftcard for the polyurethane, the 2.3 pieces of plywood & a half a pack of nails was our only cost. Not too bad, huh? I think it looks a heck of a lot costlier than that…plus we figure since it isn’t a baby-style wall, it can grow with Will as he develops into a young man.
What do you think? Does it look like a textural masterpiece to anyone else? Because it totally tells me to hug it with it’s boyish good looks. And does anyone else out there have a penchant for pallet-crafting? Or maybe you had a cheap alternative to an accent wall yourself? Was it painted on or was it a wall decal or what? C’mon. Tell me about it…nothing is hotter than an accent….wall