Board & Batten DIY

It’s crazy to think we have been in our house for 6 years and it’s only now feeling like it is the home I have always dreamed of having. Finally, all these little projects here and there have added up to make a big impact in our home.

This basement stairwell board and batten wall was one of the Illustrious Interiors Covid-19 Quarantine projects. As much as it was hard to shut down business for a few months, it was so nice to work on those big-impact DIY designs.

Now full disclosure, neither my husband or I are carpenters. We have tools and we figure it out as we go. I think that’s what makes these projects so rewarding at the end.

I tried desperately to find an actual “before” photo of this space. When we moved in, this stairwell wall was a horrid blue and for whatever reason we had some awkward cat pictures hanging up. I wish I was making this up, and as hard as I searched, I couldn’t for the life of me find a photo of what it used to be. Maybe because I despised the space so much and never wanted it as a memory.

We keep the door open to our basement stairwell, so this is a space you can see from the kitchen, or walking past into the living room. Even though we painted it and added some family photos, I still felt like it was missing something and after some days of brainstorming, I decided to go with a board and batten herringbone pattern.

First, we started with the trim. I measured out an approximate amount and was only had one strip of trim leftover (always better to have more than not enough). The trim we used was 1-1/4” width for the entire project. 

The first step is to measure out the width of your wall. I measured the top and bottom and turned there was nearly an entire inch difference between the two!! That being said, I took the longest measurement and divided it by how many vertical sections I would have (in this case 4.

We added trim to the edges, and again made my pencil marks on the longest section to add the vertical trim pieces. I glued the trim with quick-drying wall adhesive, placed them on the markings, and used a level to make sure they were straight up and down. After that we used a nail gun to nail them to the wall.

The next part was trial and error. We first thought that the angles of our trim would be 45 degrees, but they were slightly off and didn’t quite line up flush. We stuck to our measurements (again take how many angled pieces you want and divide it into the amount of sections you will have). It ended up working out to be about 16-1/2” between each herringbone line. We found that by lining up the trim piece to the marked sections and using a level to draw a line where to cut made the trim fit nice and snug.

After the trim was on, we used caulking trim to fill in the lines, gaps, and holes. This really makes the project go from looking alright to professional in a hurry. I always end up using baby wipes or a damp cloth to clean up the trip for a nice smooth finish!

Once the trim was all done, I brought in a slab of wood (about 8”) in depth to add to the top of the nook. This kind of acted as a mantle that added a gorgeous element to compliment the herringbone.

I stained and painted this piece using a mixture of my favorite stain- Varathane Sun-Bleached, dark grey watered-down paint, and some creamy white paint. All stuff I had sitting around in the house.

While that was drying it was time to paint the trim and wall! I decided to paint this feature wall “Misty Moss” by Behr. I’m not sure if I would love this color in natural light, but because our basement lights have a lot of yellow, it made this color have the perfect sage-green I was hoping for!

Once it was all painted the solid color, I decided to dry-brush the trim pieces to give it more of a 3D, rustic effect. It also made it easier to see all that beautiful trim from the kitchen! This was done again by going back and forth with some darker green, white, and dark grey. Once the trim was all done, I cleaned up the wall with the green paint wherever the dry-brush may have hit.

At last, the mantle piece was installed using the same adhesive and using some long screws to put it in place. To decorate the mantle, I used the exact same décor I had previously (layered Ikea frames) and some plants. It is amazing how much bigger that little area feels now! With no windows, it always felt uninviting to the basement, which is the complete opposite now.

This basement stairwell design was simple enough for us to accomplish and I am so glad we decided to take the effort to do it! It truly completes the space now!

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