Updated: Jun 24
These last two weeks have been weeks of progress. We have been working tirelessly on the Master Suite, the deadline weighing on us, wondering if we bit off more than we can chew. Everyday we remind ourselves - it will all be worth it in the end. Truth is, we have the One Room Challenge to thank for pushing us to get through this. The Master Suite is starting to feel REAL.
Hello! If you’ve stumbled across our page from the ORC Site, Welcome! We’re Stephen & David, a Husband-and-Husband DIY team based in Boston, MA. Over that past three years we have been renovating our (previously abandoned) Victorian home and sharing the process along the way! You can check out a little tour of our home here and we hope you join us as we tackle this Master Suite project!
When we purchased our home three years ago it was 100% gutted (sparing the entry). This meant no walls, no plumbing, no electric, and NO TRIM. Our journey in this house has been one of a rough edge.
When we started renovating the house we picked up a catalog and a few sample profiles from Anderson & McQuade. We won't lie - considering the amount of trim in our future (and lack of experience) we were quite overwhelmed. We would sit at the edge of a room with our pile of blocks and talk endlessly about how they might go together.
In the end, we chose our favorite profiles and learned to allow for some variance. Each room presents its own set of challenges and allowing for flexibility is key.
The progress we have seen over the last two weeks has primarily been in the form of trim. There is A LOT OF IT. As of this post (mostly) all of the trim will be installed, filled, and sanded... just in time for paint.
We decided to carry the baseboard and basecap combination that we have used in the rest of the house into the Master Bedroom and Bathroom. At 8 & 3/4" tall (7 " + 1 & 3/4") the baseboard is huge and a staple throughout our home. In the closets we stepped these down to 5 & 7/8" (5" + 7/8") to accommodate smaller scale of the space.
We changed up the size of the baseboard depending on the space to better fit the scale.
The most controversial piece in the mix - shoe molding. Construction of old homes was done differently and baseboard was installed FIRST. The floors were then cut to perfect lengths and installed within the baseboard. There was no need for a shoe mold. Today it is the opposite and the baseboard is installed second - covering up the uneven or imperfect cuts below. That means when the original baseboards were removed we were left with a gap (over 1" in some places). Gaps paired with an uneven floor makes for some pretty fun problem solving.
Option 1: Build it out
We have discussed this extensively in the past because we are not huge fans of shoe molding. In order to overcome the size of the gap we have padded our baseboard and basecap off the wall. This makes the baseboard thicker to cover the gap. We also have to scribe it to match the slope in the floor. We did this throughout the first floor and in the Princess Room.
The first floor without a shoe mold.
Option 2: Use a Shoe
In the Master Bedroom the slope of the floor is quite steep and we are significantly limited on time. We decided to use a shoe - thankfully for us not all shoe molds are created equal. This allowed us to cover the gap without building the trim out and accommodate variance in the floor without scribing. We opt for a tall and narrow shoe or decorative shoe over a quarter round. For the love of god never a quarter round.
Here is our Cowboy Guest Room were we used a shoe molding to help with gaps and a sloping floor.
Like many homes, the door casings in our home featured a plinth block. These are the little blocks you see at the bottom of door trim that help the trim terminate cleanly. They also accept baseboard on their left or right. The plinth blocks in our entryway have been thoughtfully integrated into the panelling and we continue to use them when the room requires.
Throughout the first floor, and in the Master, we decided to do away with the plinth and run the trim straight into the ground. This elongates the trim and we think it looks fantastic. Also, lucky for us, we own the place (and can do what we want.) We applied the same logic to rosettes.
For the Master Suite we are using the same casings on the doors and windows that we have used thus far throughout the home. They have a modern profile that we just love.
As if casing a window in an old home was not difficult enough we were inspired several years ago by a blog post by Daniel Kanter. Daniel beautifully pieced together window panels and we have been obsessed ever since.
We really wanted to take a swing at it ourselves and that is just what we did. This type of project is not for the faint of heart and can become quite the jigsaw. We ended up removing the plaster and pre-assembling a panel to put in its place. From there we layered trim and capped with casing.
In the end we encased the entire window in a bullnose profile. We have never done this before and we are in love.
We needed to balance the weight of the windows in our bedroom and did so by installing a panel wall behind the bed. While we have pre-assembled panels in the past we built these right on the wall. When you are going great distances in an old home its often go with the flow.
The layering of panels can be confusing. Hopefully this gif helps...
We worked hard to ensure all of the front faces of the panels were flat which is not an easy feat. In the past we would use a Kreg Jig to assemble our frames ahead of time. This works well but keeping the wood in the same plane can be challenging as the screws can pull the wood from its clamped position. For this project we purchased a plate joiner (aka biscuit joiner) and we are SO HAPPY we did. Keeping everything in plane was so so much easier.
Crown is decidedly the hardest thing you can do. Coping, if you know how, helps the process (apparently) but it turns out that this is something you just need to do a lot of to be good at. Our ceiling and walls are not perfect and crown is so unforgiving. Lucky for us we bought some caulk (in bulk).
BACK TO WORK!
Now, in order to make all those pretty things come to life we need to get back to work! Did we mention we are doing the ENTIRE thing ourselves? If you’re not already following along on Instagram - come check it out! We post stories everyday with what we are working on and we love your feedback! See you there!