Were You Raised in a Barn?

I don’t even really remember how this story starts.  I think maybe it starts with this blog post about a faux barn board wall that was created in a nursery.  I love the look of barn board, especially in contrast to clean, white elements in room and since I already had the clean white elements going on in my sun room, I started to think that barn board might be the perfect accent wall/back splash for the bar area.  That was last summer.  Seriously.

I ran the idea past Mark and he loved it.  Rustic things like barn board are his love language.  He began to search around on the Internet to see if there was any available near us.  There wasn’t much, and what was available was overpriced.  Our recent sticker shock over quotes for soffit and HVAC work has led to the coining of the term the “beltway double.”  Basically everything seems to cost about double what we expect it to, and apparently people in this area can afford to pay it as everyone we talk to seems to have no shortage of work.  So I guess we weren’t that surprised that the “beltway double” also occurs in the case of barn board.

We mentioned this to Mark’s dad when he was visiting over Labor Day and he was even more shocked at the price tag for the wood than we were.  Where he lives in Southern Indiana, barn board is almost always available somewhere for free if you’re willing to haul it away.  So my father-in-law went home, asked around, and got us some barn board for free.  Not only that, but he, his brother, and his sister-in-law drove it up here to us over Thanksgiving.  We are very grateful for this and really enjoyed having them come to visit as well.  My uncle-in-law is a retired electrician so he looked over our electrical work out there to make sure we had done everything properly and helped prep the rest of it for the HVAC unit.

Mark was out of town the first two weeks of December so we didn’t start installing the barn board until the middle of the month.  Here’s what the bar area wall looked like before we started.


Remember, this was the wall with the old outdoor kitchen.

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The first thing Mark did was screw 2×4’s into the wall to act as nailers or studs for the barn board.  He installed them 2 ft. apart.


Then he covered the whole thing in black construction felt paper.  This is the same stuff that is under our hardwood floors.  The reason for using it here is to visually diminish the appearance of seams between the boards and to make sure you can’t see any of the wall through the barn board.  Originally our plan was to paint the wall black.  Then Mark had this idea to use the leftover black paper from the kitchen floor installation.  So much easier and faster!  We just stapled the paper to the nailers.


Installing the barn board was relatively easy.  Mark’s dad and uncle had cut the boards before they brought them up here so that they would fit in the back of their pickup.  They marked each board as they cut them so Mark would know which two boards go together.  We thought that a brick pattern would be best since the other wall is actual brick and has that pattern as well.  Another key detail Mark though of was to special order some old-fashioned nails.  You probably would never noticed them, but they blend alot nicer against the rustic barn board than new, shiny, round nail heads would.  The installation took Mark about 8 hours start to finish.


Do you like it?  We do.  The bright, white electrical boxes are a bit of an eyesore, but we are looking for some solutions to make them less obviously/out of place.  Here’s a wider view that shows how the rustic wood contrasts with the white walls and light blue ceiling.


Did you notice the new chandelier?  It’s from the Young House Love collection at Shades of Light as was only $89 bucks.  I think it’s perfect with the new wall and also compliments this guy.


This is a Hunter Caicos ceiling fan from Home Depot.  The price on the link says $129, but I think we paid $119 when we bought ours back in early December.  The information on the box said that the fan could be installed on a sloped ceiling but we couldn’t tell whether or not we would need to add a down rod in order for the fan blades to clear the beams.  We figured we would just take the fan home and see how it went.  Luckily the blades cleared the beams by just enough that we didn’t need a down rod.  I couldn’t get a good picture of the clearance depth, but it’s only an inch or two.  We thanked the reno gods and moved on!

The AC unit arrived this past Monday and Mark is fixin to start the installation tomorrow.  He’s done a ton of research, purchased the necessary parts, and discussed the process at length with anyone he thinks might have good insight, so I guess we are as prepared as we can be.  You know I will let you guys know next week how it goes.

As a side note, we had a lovely Christmas with Mark’s brother and sister-in-law.  While I would have preferred to have celebrated with my family in the 80 degree California weather, we loved enjoying our home.  I hope you all had a nice holiday week and are looking forward to ringing in the new year!

It’s Beginning to Look Alot Like Christmas

Happy Holidays everyone.  My house is finally fully decorated and I am ready to share it with y’all.  I am really happy with how everything came out this year and I didn’t buy that much new stuff so I am giving myself snaps for (mostly) working with what I had.  Here we go…3905 all dressed up for the holidays.

Light Post

This porch light and house number sign is original to our house.  Many of the other houses in the neighborhood no longer have theirs, I am so glad that we do.  It’s one of my favorite things about the house.  The first time I saw it, I immediately pictured it decorated like this at Christmas.

Front Yard

We got snow two weeks ago so after the storm rolled through, I rushed outside to take some pictures.  See Bruddah in the bottom left corner?  I didn’t even notice him bound into the shot when I took it, he’s so fast!

Front Porch

Here is the porch.  I really struggle with decorating the porch because the door is not centered so you can’t put something on either side to create balance.  I have started using this teak bench as a way to get some height.  This fall I had pumpkins on it.  I found the presents at Home Depot this year.  They are Martha Stewart brand and were about $20.

Front Porch Presents

I purchased the wreath on the front door two years ago from Kmart.  This year I wanted to make it feel a bit more “holiday” so I added some red Christmas tree ornaments and I really love the monochromatic look.

Front Door Wreath

Come in won’t you?  And please excuse my dirty floors, they are clean now.


The door mat is from Costco five years ago.

Main Room Large View

The “ALOHA” letters have been replaced by my Dicken’s Village, which is actually my late grandmother’s collection.  I have always loved putting up a Department 56 “village.”  The one my mom and I have (that is still at her house) is epic and I can’t wait to have both sets one day.  Here is a panorama shot of the village, you can click the image to enlarge it.

Christmas Village

The bookshelves got a little Christmas face lift.  I got this amazing reindeer at Target last year.  To his left is a vintage biscuit jar that was also my late grandmother’s.  I filled it with  ornaments and thought the two things together really looked cute.

Bookshelf Reindeer

I always wish I had a mantle that didn’t have a massive flat screen TV on top of it, but that’s really the best place for it and we do watch alot of TV, so I just have to work with it.

Fireplace Mantel

The only new thing up here is the “Be Merry” sign, which I purchased from the Etsy shop Whatevers Handmades for $25.00

Be Merry Sign

For my seasonal metal vases that I got last spring at Target, I added I sprig of red berry that I had from my very first Christmas out of college and some dried Rose of Sharon branches. Our yard has alot of Rose of Sharon and as much as I love it when it flowers, I also love the way the branches look in the winter.  Also? Free decor.  The pine cone thingys are also from my first Christmas out of college, I think they were from Michaels and for years they smelled like cinnamon, but sadly the smell is now gone.  The snowman to the right is Target from last year.

Mantel Close Up

Just before the holidays, I moved this bench, that was a gift from Home Goods three years ago, from upstairs in our bedroom to this corner of the living room.  I have been trying to decide what to do in this space forever and the bench is working nicely for now.


The Santa is actually one of those door draft things, but I bought it when I lived in Southern California and had no idea that that is what it was for.  I just liked that you could cross his legs.  The red blanket is from IKEA last year and the coffee bean sack is from our local coffee house.  I use a king size pillow inside to make it stand upright.

Snowman Figurines

Can you tell that snowmen are my “thing?”  This is this year’s addition to the collection.  I found them at Costco early in November and knew they had to be mine.  I think they were about $20.00.  These are sitting on the side table next to the couch.

Main Room Large View

As you can see in this photo, we decided to put the tree in the sun room this year.  This meant that we didn’t have to move any furniture around or clean up pine needles off the new floors.  I also like that you can see it from the living/dining room, but also through the front window of the house as well as the back yard via the new sun room windows.  Pretty much every neighbor gets a view!

Christmas Tree

I went with a sliver/white theme on the tree this year.  I had a really hard time finding silver balls in decent quantity.  Maybe it was just my late start, but Home Depot, Kmart, and Target let me down.  I finally found a good deal on some semi-large packages (24 ornaments) at JoAnn Fabric.  The packages were on clearance last week for $7.00 each plus I had 25% off coupon.  My favorite detail though is the twinkle star ornaments.  These are from the Jaclyn Smith line at Kmart and I love them.  I think they were $2.00 each.  The Jaclyn Smith holiday line always surprises me every year with great stuff. If you aren’t making a trip through Kmart in December, you are missing out.


My mom and I both LOVE to wrap presents so they are always little works of art.  This year, my mom bought a bunch of baker’s twine and used that while I went the traditional bow route.  I am trying use up all the ribbon and paper that I already have and am proud to say that with the exception if one roll of ribbon for the tree bow, which I got at Michaels for $3.00, I didn’t buy any wrapping supplies this year.

So there you have it.  Our cozy little house has been a real treat for me this holiday season.  I can feel things start to come together as a result of all our projects over the last year.  Although we aren’t as far along with the sun room as we had hoped to be by now, we are making progress and I am really loving what we have done out there so far.  The yard looks a million times better than it did this time last year, and our re-finished floors make the whole house feel more warm and inviting.

Merry Christmas everyone.  I hope y’all have a great holiday full of laughter and good cheer.

Sun Room, Where You At?


Welcome to threenineohfive.  If you followed my last blog, you know that we are about 75% of the way through the renovation of our sun room.  If you’re new, you can check out where we started here.

When last we posted about our progress, we were essentially here.


And now we are essentially here.


Basically we are talking about alot of painting.  Usually painting isn’t a long process, but when you have a 40 linear feet of window trim and 30 linear feet of brick plus some other random surfaces, it slows you up a bit.  Oh and painting overhead is never fun.  Here’s how we did it.

First we primed all the unpainted brick, wooden beams, and other surfaces that didn’t already have a coat of paint on them.  Then we applied two coats of Benjamin Moore’s Simply White in semi-gloss to all the trim, the beams, and the walls.  This is the same color and gloss type as the trim in all the rest of the house, so everything in the sun room matches the two doors that lead out to it from the house.  We chose white for two reasons.  One, we wanted the “interior features” i.e. the walls and the window trim to fade away as much as possible and we thought white would be the best way to achieve that.  And two, there are so many different surfaces on the wall that connects the room to the house, we wanted something that would blend them all together as best as possible.

It took at least 8 hours and over 3 gallons of paint to complete this process.  The brick really soaks up the paint, and painting all that trim three times is a real time suck.  The good news is, we’re done!

The other thing we did a bit earlier this fall when the weather outside wasn’t as frightful, was finish up the exterior components by installing aluminum soffit and trim.  Here’s what the eave looked like awhile back after we had drilled holes in the ceiling before installing insulation so that the could escape.  More about that here.


And here is what it looks like now that the soffit has been installed.


Here’s what the outside of the windows looked like before the aluminum trim.


And here is what they look like now.


Originally we planned to hire these two jobs out. Since Mark didn’t have any experience bending aluminum like this and we didn’t have the large piece of equipment needed to do so, hiring a pro seemed like the right way to go.  We thought it might cost around $1,500 for the job, but every quote we got was for alot more.  (One guy wanted almost $4,000!)  So after watching some videos on YouTube and finding a place that would rent the machine for about $200/week, Mark decided he could DIY.  He actually rented the machine and did the work the same week our floors were being re-done.  This actually worked out well for a number of reasons.  We were blessed with great fall weather that week and he could work outside every day.  And since we were living in ta hotel,  it gave the dogs a chance to run around each evening for a couple of hours while Mark worked on the siding.  It turns out to be a pretty simple and straightforward process and the results look professional.  We are so glad we didn’t spend the money hiring someone else to do it!

The next step out here is to get some temperature control going on.  As nice as the room looks in the photo above, it’s been too cold to use it since we finished painting.  We had a cold November and with winter upon us, all our hard work will be for not if we don’t get some heat up in this room A-SAP!  We’re going with a Mitsubishi duct-less heating and air combo.  Mark had experience with these overseas when he was in the military and the AC only ones are popular in Hawaiian homes where central air is not common, so we’re pretty sure we’re going to like what we’re going to get.

Although the price on the link above is more, our unit ended up costing just about $1,350.  What has held us up is installation.  Apparently, in our area, according to the contractor that was referred to us by Home Depot, the cost of installation STARTS at $4,800.  STARTS, people.  My head is still spinning.  Based on the fact that it took this contractor almost a month to call after we requested that someone contact us, I can only assume that they aren’t hurting for work.  Aye, NoVA!

So once again, we’re going the DIY route.  That means we’ll have to spend some extra money on tools and some time on YouTube learning how to install the thing properly, but I am sure Mark will do a bang up job as always.

Given the trouble we’ve had with getting the HVAC installed, it’s unlikely that we’ll reach our informal goal of having the room ready for Christmas dinner.  We never planned on being 100% done by Christmas, but we did  hope that the room would be usable and without heat, it’s probably not going to be.  Wah, wah.

So that’s the current state of the sun room.  Next week I will share with your our holiday decorations this year and I have lots of other posts in the hopper about other things we have been up to, stay tuned!