It was months in the planning stages. Not so much because it requires an exorbitant amount of preparation, but because I tend to procrastinate on intimidating projects, especially when it's something I haven't done before. I posted about the idea to add character by adding trim to my builder's basic condo in this early November post where I put together all of my favourite inspiration photos and came up with the preliminary sketches.
Last week I completed the dining room wall, and I couldn't be happier with the end result. The trim adds so much character, and the dramatic navy blue paint really sets it all off. Small details like the gold foil highlight along the ridges of the ornamental trim make it extra special.
I've put together a guide for anyone who wants to try this kind of trim project, and believe me, if I can do it, you can do it too! There were multiple steps and I tried not to do too much at any one stretch, which I think really contributed to the overall success.
The first step is to plan!! I can't emphasize this enough. I knew exactly which trims I wanted to use, but all of my measurements were sketched out before I purchased any materials. I decided to mix it up a bit and went with two different styles of mouldings - one half moon and the other ornamental. You need to know the dimensions of the trim before you can calculate the exact layout and lengths to be cut.
I purchased the trim in 8 foot strips from Home Depot, and took them home to get started by sanding and smoothing any rough edges and applying primer to each piece. You can purchase moulding that has already been primed, but I decided to use raw pine which meant that a primer coat was required. After that, it was time to start the cuts. I didn't want to invest in an expensive mitre saw, but I found this Empire Level precision mitre box for $55 which did the trick:
I did all of the cuts one Sunday afternoon, carefully measuring (measure twice, cut once!) all of the pieces required to form the inner and outer frames. When it came time to attach pieces to the wall, I started with the outside frame, referring to my original plan for the starting point. I decided to leave the bottom right corner for last, since it would be the least visible and any mistakes would end up relatively hidden. The cordless Ryobi brad nailer worked perfectly for this project and did most of the hard work. I can't imagine trying to hold trim, nail and hammer with only two hands.
Believe it or not, the trim went up in about 45 minutes - it was incredibly smooth. I attribute the lack of difficulty to the fact that a lot of time went into the planning and measuring stages. Using a 24" level, I marked points every few feet to keep each piece straight and aligned. Most of the nails went in perfectly, and any that weren't sunk far enough I tapped in a little bit further with a hammer and awl.
Once the trim was up, it was time to finesse the look of the finished product. I filled all of the tiny nail holes and small corner gaps with DAP Drydex spackling. Once dry (this product goes on pink and dries white) I sanded off any excess and "Voila!", the holes and gaps disappeared.
To ensure a smooth finish before painting, I needed to caulk along all of the inside and outside edges between trim and wall. You can see the difference in the Before (small gap) and After (no gap) photos below. I tackled this one night after work, but not before watching enough You Tube videos to give myself the confidence to give it a go. As it turns out, I'm not bad at caulking, but I am a bit messy. Because I knew I wanted to paint out the trim, I made sure to use a tube of paintable white DAP Alex Plus caulk.
With the trimwork done it was time to start painting. I was a bit relieved when I opened the can of paint and saw that Para's Marine Bay was the dark and dramatic navy that I remembered (I chose this colour last September), and once I got started there was no turning back. The rich, dark ultra paint in an eggshell finish covered perfectly in just 2 coats.
The final step was to add a gold leaf detail along the ornamental trim with a Krylon 18kt gold leafing pen. This small detail took just a few minutes, but it makes a huge difference to the overall look. I love this final flourish!!
Thank you to The Home Depot for supplying the Ryobi brad nailer for this project. This tool really helped make the trim application super easy!!
Thank you also to Para Paints for supplying the paint for this project. I was honestly so happy that their Ultra paint covered beautifully in just 2 coats - often a colour this dark requires a third coat.
I also want to thank everyone who "liked" my Twitter & Instagram posts along the way, especially Chris who offered encouragement and advice.
Next... Part II: Adding Character in the Living Room...