mini board and batten "mudroom" wall

With Olivia potty training last week, I knew I would need/want a little project to do in the evenings to keep my sanity (what's left of it). Some people like adult coloring books, some people read, me? Gimme a drill or some paint and lemme take it out on my house! ;-)

I looove the functionality of a mudroom space, it's on the "must have" list for our next house, but with our town house, there just isn't anywhere to put one. But we did have a small useless wall in between the half bath and back door that I knew would be perfect for board and batten, that we could also add hooks to for more functionality and some added interior appeal. In total this took 3 hours total and cost less than $20. BOOM. Wish I would have done it months ago. 

I used two different blogs as guides (here and here). It really is a super simple idea- measure your space, decide how far apart you want the vertical boards to be, measure and cut the horizontal boards, fix to the wall, paint, add hooks. Done. 

Deciding where and how high you want the boards to be really is a preference thing. Using masking or painters tape to get something up on the wall so you can easily play around with the layout and spacing is genius. A good rule of thumb is either halfway up the wall or two-thirds.


1/2" x 3" pine boards, cut to length
1/2" x 1.5" pine boards, cut to length
Wall screws
Stud finder
Drill (with 1/8" drill bit and countersink drill bit)
Gorilla glue
White paint (I used Benjamin Moore White Dove)
Painter's Tape
Wall spackle or nail filler 
White paintable caulk
These wall hooks (by far cheaper than what you will pick up at Home Depot)

Couple of things to note- if you don't own a saw of any kind, no worries. Just pre-measure the sizes you need, take your list to Lowe's or Home Depot and they will make the cuts for you there. 
Also, you can secure the boards faster with a brad nailer and air compressor, I just don't own one and didn't want to borrow or rent one. If this project was larger though, I would go that route to save a considerable amount of time.  
And lastly, the complete list above will cost you more than $20 if you have to buy everything on it. I had everything already except the pine board and hooks. If you do have to invest in it all, really nothing is lost because those are materials and supplies you will use time and time again!

Once I knew where I wanted everything to go, I used the stud find to mark where the studs are in the wall. You want your horizontal boards to go into those as much as possible, especially if you plan to add hooks to hang weight from. The vertical boards it doesn't matter- their purpose is purely decorative. 

Everywhere I was going to drill in a screw, I first used my 1/8" drill bit to drill a pilot hole to make it easier for the screws to go through the pine boards. After drilling the pilot holes, I used the countersink bit to widen the top of the hole. This allows the screw to sit below the surface so you can fill it with spackle and paint over it, and no one will ever know a screw sits there.

I screwed my horizontal boards into the wall first- don't use your baseboards as a guide as those aren't always level. Check EVERY board with a level before attaching it to the wall, or you may be sad. For the vertical boards that aren't secured into studs, I applied a thin line of gorilla glue down the middle, and attached them to the wall with one or two screws.

Once the Gorilla Glue was dry (didn't take long at all!), I caulked around every board to fill in the slight gap between the wall and board. Caulk is magical stuff that makes all of your imperfections just disappear. I also filled in all of the screw holes with spackle. This whole process from a clean wall to the boards attached with caulk took roughly an hour and a half. 

Once the caulk dries, you're ready for paint! I painted mine the following night and used 3 coats of Benjamin Moore White Dove, which took about an hour. By the time I finished one coat, I was ready to start at the bottom for the next coat, so that worked out well. 

Lastly, hang the hooks! I also drilled quick pilot holes into the pine boards before screwing these in. I didn't use to do this much- okay- never, but it makes it a million times easier to get the screw where you want it to go without sliding all over the place, so I think I'm converted! I didn't measure my hook placement- just eyeballed it. Seemed to work out.

And wah-lah! It is a very non-intimidating, cheap, and quick DIY project, making it worth every second of your time.

 And this friends, is officially my last real project in this house! It's bittersweet. Now it's time for lame stuff, like fixing some outlets, patching up random scuffs and paint, etc. to get her all ready to show!


2016 recap

Alas! The highlights from 2016 (in no particular order):

  1. James graduated from GW with his MBA! He finished in January and we flew out to DC for commencement in May. We are glad that chapter of our lives is over. :-D Every time I contemplate getting a Masters, I remember how much homework he had alll thheee tiiimmeee and how much Netflix I watched while he did it...and then I think about how okay I am with not having a Masters. ;-) But I'm so proud of how hard he worked to get it and in hindsight it was all worth it! 

2. My family reunion trip to Florida in July! Any trip back home is a good one, but this one was especially great because all of my cousins that I grew up with were there at the same time. The memories I have with them were the best parts of my childhood. The girls and I stayed out an extra week, which made it even more perfect because I was able to catch up with so many old friends! 

3. James landed a new job. This was probably one of those most stressful parts of the year...was that it took 9 months of hardcore looking and to find it and plenty of disappointment along the way, but what matters is he DID! We were so happy to be done with his previous job, and so far he's really enjoying what he's doing now! Which means he's happier, I'm happier, we're all much happier. :-D 

4. We went to Portland for our 8th anniversary! This one actually brings up mixed feelings for me, because I was super excited to go to a place I hadn't been before, but I also was only 7-8 weeks pregnant at the time and so beyond, incredibly sick. Most nights I crashed on the hotel bed by 7:30pm and tried to move as little as possible. But overall it was still a fun weekend away! 

5. Which leads right into the next thing- baby girl #3! Jillian is so beyond excited to be adding another baby to the family- she asks about her and talks about her all of the time. I think she's going to be a great help to me when she's born as well, so that's exciting!

6. Getting certified as a PiYo instructor! And really taking charge of my health overall, losing 30 lbs. I'd been going to PiYo classes for almost 2 years and completely fell in love with the format, so when an instructor training came to Utah (which doesn't happen often), I jumped at the chance! Little did I know I was actually a few weeks pregnant at the time and just didn't know it yet! I'm still going to classes regularly and teaching it at our church weekly, but won't look to work at any gyms regularly until after I bounce back from this baby! I'm currently 18 weeks and some moves are already getting tricky! But I am so, so, so excited about this new chapter to pursue in my life- never in a million and twelve years did I ever think I would be a fitness instructor. I think my 30s may just be the best decade yet!

7.  Jillian starting kindergarten! Knowing her, I knew the transition would be a little rough, but I'm so proud of how far she has come and how much she has been able to accomplish in the last few months. She's just in half-day kindergarten (3 hours), and I'm actually really glad about that! I think that's all both of us could have handled this year. When I think about how quickly time is going by sometimes, I want to turn into a big, blubbery mess. But each time she learns a new skill, finds a new hobby or gains a little more independence- it makes my Mama heart sore with pride. Raising kids certainly is bitter sweet. 

8. Olivia is just about potty trained! (anyone who has ever potty trained a toddler knows how big of an accomplishment this is). I think we can count this one still since we started a few days ago when it was still 2016! She caught on super fast (thank GOODNESS). I haven't been confident enough to go anywhere with her yet though (James and I have just been tag teaming being home..), but we'll be forced to in the next couple of days now that Christmas break is over... so that could be interesting, but I'm hoping it sticks! You never really knew just how excited you could be about poop in the potty until you've potty trained a little person (and realize just how many other places except the toilet it could end up!).

Looking back, 2016 was a really good one for our family and I'm so grateful! We are thrilled for 2017 as well- with baby sister arriving in May, as well as upgrading houses and moving a little closer to James' job in the next few months! I already spend way too much time dreaming about counter tops and paint colors (I have a problem you guys...). :-D