DIY Shiplap - Keeping It Natural

Sep 26, 2016 + , ,

And all of a sudden, it feels like fall. Time to update you on our DIY shiplap project which we finished a few weeks ago. Installing the wall of shiplap went fairly quickly and by dinnertime, it was up. With the new furniture and a few accessories in place, the cottage living room finally looked like this:

DIY shiplap maple plywood plank natural |

And surprisingly, we loved the look of the natural maple plywood planks! We had always intended to paint the shiplap white, but seeing it in the room, we liked the warmth it added to the space. In our open concept cottage, it brings definition to the living room without being overpowering.

DIY shiplap maple plywood plank natural |

I've long loved the look of all-white rooms... but in reality, I find them hard to live in. I find myself thinking the white walls feel too blank and empty and want to fill them with a little bit of colour. The natural shiplap is an easy way to do that. The maple brings out the other warm tones in the room - the wicker baskets, the ottomans, the brass lamp.

DIY shiplap maple plywood plank natural |

You can still see the seams and the nail heads in the planks but I kind of like it. The rest of the cottage feels very new so the roughness and imperfection of the planks adds character. I'm not sure if we'll keep the natural wood in the long run - painting is always an option - but at least for this year, this project is done. And just in time. The cottage closes at the end of October and we still have a few more To Do's we hope to finish up!

It's been a quick transformation to take this builder basic cottage...

DIY shiplap maple plywood plank natural |

and give it some personality.


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by The Home Depot Canada. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words.

The Love List - BlogPodium Edition

Sep 23, 2016 +

Sorry for the blogging absence lately. This past weekend was BlogPodium and I've been consumed with organizing it.  I've run this conference since 2011 and I have to say I think this was the best conference yet. No one was more surprised than me. Blogging has changed so much since I started almost a decade ago. Old blogging friends have slowed down or stopped blogging all together; newer bloggers seem motivated by different things; and the pace of change in social media is relentless. There have been ebbs and flows and at times I struggle with finding my place in this crazy blogging world. But this weekend reminded me that change is good and that this space still brings me so much joy.

For this week's Love List, I wanted to share my takeaways from the conference. It was great to have that time to reflect and be encouraged and inspired to keep on blogging.

1. Find Your Own Secret Sauce

Keynote speaker Tiffany Pratt is the queen of doing her own thing. There is no one quite like her - whatever she puts into the world - designs, art, products, words - it has that Tiffany Pratt signature. We all have that in us. We all emit our own frequency, our own energy, that can draw others to us. The key to this is being in tune with yourself. Know what drives you and listen to your gut. Drown out the noise and focus on your own thing. Find your own secret sauce.

2. Connection, Conversation, Collaboration

Those three words are the tag line of BlogPodium and on the weekend, I saw them put into action. Whether it was a group getting giddy over the pretty accessories in Alyssa's Instagram course or overheard conversations at the speed networking tables, I saw connections happening all around me. I saw women who'd only just met in person give each other the warmest of hugs, and in the BlogPodium aftermath, I've seen coffee dates being made, more chances to connect and further the conversation being planned.

In this online world, it is so important to get offline. It's easy to get caught up in the one-dimensional blogging world and believe what you see is really how things are. It's an environment that can breed negativity and feelings of inadequacy - there's no one to tell you otherwise! But what happens when you go to a conference or blogger event? You realize that others share the same fears and hopes that you do. You find community and are energized by it. I love the buzz that comes from sharing ideas with other creative people. Nothing can replace human connection.

3. Perfection in Imperfection

Tiffany talked about the concept of wabi sabi, or finding perfection in imperfection. As a design blogger, I'm pretty obsessed with the perfect and beautiful: a well-designed room, an expertly executed DIY, a stunning instagram. But there's something to be said for being comfortable with the less than perfect, especially if it's more real. Let the realness seep into what you put out on your blog and social media. Embrace your quirks and unique point of view. There were 150 women in the room, all with interesting stories. Strive to be a perfectly imperfect individual.

4. Surround Yourself With Those Who Inspire You

Every year, I'm amazed by my team. Brittany, Julie, Lesley, and Britt along with Lindsey, DanicaThalita, Shannon and Robin helped me put together an incredible day. Each of these women are talented and so good at what they do. They bring creative ideas to the table and with them, I feel like anything is possible. We set the bar high and always strive to do better.

Of course, BlogPodium wouldn't have happened without the love and support of this guy right here. The conference basically takes over my life for a good six months, and in September, my house becomes a swag bag warehouse, I neglect house chores, laundry, and cooking meals. So thank you to my husband Sean. You'll always top my Love List.

Did you attend BlogPodium? I'd love to hear what you took away from the day.

All photos courtesy of LLB Creative

What You Need To Know Before You DIY Shiplap

Sep 12, 2016 +

We've finally done it. We've jumped on the shiplap bandwagon that has overtaken the design world. If you've been reading here a while, you'll know that we are big fans of any type of trim, moulding, or millwork. But shiplap just never felt right for our house in an urban city. Our cottage in the country though... it just begs to be covered in the stuff.

what you need to know before you diy shiplap |

I was excited to partner once again with The Home Depot Canada on this project and more over the coming months. As a member of the #HDBlogSquad, I'll be providing you DIY inspiration for interior and exterior projects.

As with many of our projects, we like to DIY it but don't want it to look DIY. There are lots of shiplap tutorials out there (this video one is great) but I thought I'd share our approach and things we considered from an architectural and structural perspective. Thinking about these small details really can take your project from "looks ok" to "I can't believe you did that yourself!"

What You Need To Know Before You DIY Shiplap

1. Different Materials, Different Looks

Thanks to shows like Fixer Upper, most people think of "shiplap" as planks of wood installed horizontally with a gap or space in between. There are many different ways you can achieve this kind of look.
  • Real shiplap boards. Shiplap has a rabbet or notch on the edges of the board. When the boards are stacked horizontally, the edges overlap and self-space and create a strong, unified surface
  • Tongue and groove boards. Unlike shiplap, tongue and groove boards interlock with one edge slipping into the groove of another. The slight bevel on the edges of a board create the illusion of the gap.
  • Plywood cut into planks. This is a plywood sheet cut into strips of wood. The planks are manually installed with a space in between.
We decided to go with Option C and used 1/4" Maple Purebond Plywood. It's important to keep the scale of the room in mind - you don't want your planks to be too narrow if you have a very large wall to fill. Our shiplap was going in two spaces: on a single wall in our living room, and in our main bathroom. Both spaces are of a medium size so we had the plywood cut into 6" strips at The Home Depot.

diy shiplap plywood |

We chose plywood for a few reasons:
- it was the most cost effective option
- plywood is available in 1/4" depth. I'll get into why that is important in my next point.

2. How To Work Around Existing Baseboards

If you have existing baseboards or trimwork, you have three choices:
1. Remove the baseboards, install your shiplap, reinstall your baseboards, or
2. Keep your baseboards, and install shiplap boards that are equal to or have a shallower depth. This way, your shiplap can rest atop your baseboards and won't stick out.
3. Use whatever shiplap you want and ignore differences in depth where the planks meet the baseboard.

Now I might have gone with option 3 (Don't worry about it! Nobody looks down there anyway!) but Sean, architect that he is, was having none of that. I knew he was right. Our cottage is a new build and the baseboards are perfect and dent-free so we didn't want to remove them. Using a narrow 1/4" plywood was our best option.

3. Where To Start

Many people will jump right into installation, starting at the bottom, levelling the board, and working their way up from there. If you do this, you might be left with a sliver of a board at the top of the wall, or your boards might fall strangely around doors, windows or outlets.

what you need to know before you diy shiplap |

We always consider if there is a logical place to have a full board and start from there. As we did with the tile in our laundry room, we determined the critical board. In this situation, it made sense to have a full board running corner-to-corner along the top of the windows.

what you need to know before you diy shiplap, plywood shiplap installation |

Sean held the critical board in place and marked where the boards would land down the wall. To space between our boards, we just used the thickness of one of the boards, 1/4". It's not necessary to do this measurement but it will give you an indication of where your boards will fall. In our classic bathroom, this measurement exercise proved important as we found our wall tile was short a 1/4" from the floor. By knowing this before installation, we were able to rejig the tile pattern and add in a pencil tile to eliminate the gap.

what you need to know before you diy shiplap, plywood shiplap installation |

Here's another example of the critical board: in the cottage bathroom, we started with a full board flush with the countertop.

4. Preparation

Before you install the planks, you'll want to sand down all of the cut edges. One thing you also want to consider is the use of glue or adhesive. With most tutorials I've seen, bloggers will just mark the stud line and nail the boards directly into the studs. I would think this would be strong enough to hold the planks against the wall.

what you need to know before you diy shiplap, plywood shiplap installation |

In our particular situation though, or cottage is three-season, meaning that it is closed up over the wintertime with no heat. As a result, the structure of our cottage is subject to significant temperature extremes (welcome to Canadian winters!) and natural woods can expand and shrink and warp as the seasons change. It's part of the reason why the builders chose to use a wood-lookalike vinyl flooring instead of natural wood floors in the cottages. That said, to ensure a stronger hold, we applied Lepage Pro Carpenter's Glue to the backs of the planks before nailing them on. Glue can ruin your drywall so be aware it might be a challenge if you ever want to remove the planks.

5. Installation

what you need to know before you diy shiplap, plywood shiplap installation |
what you need to know before you diy shiplap, plywood shiplap installation |

Installation is pretty straight forward. Start with your critical board and nail it into the studs. We love love loved using our RYOBI One+ 18 Gauge 2" Brad Nailer on this job. The nailer is lightweight and easy to use. Even Chloe got to nail a few boards. You can see here how Sean used a scrap piece of the plywood as a spacer. You can also use pennies or a tile spacer but this method is much easier. Just slide the plywood along horizontally, push the board beneath up tight to the spacer, and nail in.

what you need to know before you diy shiplap, plywood shiplap installation |

To cut around outlets, use a jigsaw. For more intricate cuts like around the cornice above, trace the pattern onto paper and then use that as a template to cut your wood.

what you need to know before you diy shiplap, plywood shiplap installation |

Before we put the last board up, we let Chloe right a little message on the wall. A fun little touch we do with all our projects. I'm pretty thrilled with the shiplap - it's a classic look that never goes out of style. I can't wait to show you what the rooms look like now! 

Have you installed shiplap? Any tips or tricks that you want to share?

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by The Home Depot Canada. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words.

The Love List

Sep 9, 2016 +

Molly's housewarming party has me totally inspired. How amazing would this be as a harvest party... serve foods of the season, little bowls of soup... have a firepit somewhere, blankets to throw on and keep warm. Hmmm...

They have the prettiest open shelving

Chris makes full use of her backyard. So many creative outdoor living ideas!

Cedar shingles on an accent wall? Why not!

A home for the blue-lovers

Great tips on having a beautiful home with kids

Melaine's fall kitchen is so pretty

I just bought this jacket. Loving this colour for fall!

A whole portfolio of amazing Before & Afters

What's New With Dyson

Sep 2, 2016

When it comes to home gadgets, I'm the nerd in the house. I'm the one who researches smart TVs, adjusts all the clocks twice a year, and programs the thermostat. Sean doesn't have a clue how to optimize our in-floor heating usage, nor use our automatic espresso machine. So when I hear of a new home product, I'm intrigued.

Dyson reached out to tell me about the launch of two new products today. I'm already a big Dyson fan (I have an upright vacuum and my Cool fan has been keeping me from melting all summer) so I was curious as to what those clever engineers had dreamt up next.

That's the prettiest Humidifier I've ever seen. Do you have a humidifier? In our Canadian home, it's pretty much a necessity during the winter months. The air gets dryer which causes us to cough (and snore!) more at night, my skin gets dehydrated and we become more susceptible to colds and flus with all this time spent indoors.

I didn't realize this but existing humidifiers can be unhygienic. Since they don’t treat the water, bacteria in the tank can be transmitted directly into the room. Uhm, I don't remember the last time we cleaned the humidifier so, yes, I'm probably guilty of spreading bacteria-laden water around our house. Ew.

In contrast, Dyson's Humidifier uses ultraviolet light to kill 99.9% of bacteria in the water. Air Multiplier™ technology (just like in the Cool fans) is used to project the clean and hydrated air around the room evenly and quietly. You can even use the Humidifier as a fan in the warmer months - which is a bonus as our house has no central air conditioning!

This new contraption is Dyson's Pure Hot+Cool™ Link purifier heater. If ever there was an all-in-one air treatment product, this would be it. It's engineered to remove allergens and pollutants, provide fast even room heating in the winter, and powerful cooling in the summer. And, with the Dyson Link App, it can monitor your air quality and automatically adjust airflow to maintain targets, even when you're not home.

I work from home and Sean suffers from allergies and asthma so I'm very curious to see if a product like this would make a noticeable difference to us. Dyson will be providing me one of these to try out so I'll let you know what I think. But for now, I'm going to enjoy the few summer days left that I can throw the windows open and enjoy the fresh air!

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