Oh, right, we never unveiled Lily’s new room!

This is going to probably turn into several posts for a few reasons: because we’re not getting any new projects done these days, we’re going to seriously stretch out all the stories we’ve got as far as possible. And also because Rachel wants to make sure that it’s not just construction details, but also about all the great decorations that she found (and made!) for the room. So expect a few more posts about the nursery after this one.

When things started back in November — did I really start this thing all the way back before Christmas of 2011? Geez! — the room was essentially unchanged from when we bought the house in 2010. Hardly a decent place for a new baby to call home. After wrapping up the second bedroom before my family came for the Marine Corps Marathon in October, I started on this one shortly after Rachel’s family left after Thanksgiving a few weeks later.

Things were rough.


We had our work cut out for us. All the walls had been wallpapered and painted over many times, terribly at that. It all had to be scraped down to plaster and skimmed smooth or replaced with new drywall. As with every other project in this house, it started with tons of scraping. And scraping. And more scraping. And then lots of joint compound to skim the walls smooth before priming and painting.

The plaster was letting go in lots of places on the north wall, but it didn’t really matter since I was planning to tear down all the plaster and lathe there so we could replace it with soundproofing batts and soundproofing drywall — it’s the shared wall between the two other bedrooms.

Roxul soundproofing batts

The plaster ceiling had been seriously damaged by roof leaks over the years and needed to be either torn down or covered over. I opted to tear down all of the plaster rather than cover it over, mostly because it was in such terrible shape and had been patched numerous times where the water leaks were the worst. (Were the roof leaks ever truly fixed before? Nope, just fix the ceiling. D’oh.)

The electrical wires from the switch on the wall to the ceiling were removed and moved into the attic — which we couldn’t access, so I made a new attic access with stairs. (And there was the momentary pause while we contemplated punching out the ceiling and bringing the attic dormer window into this room.)

The ceiling wiring conduit beforeDSC_0001DSC_0031

DSC_0003Nursery west

The door jamb was a mess and the door needed to be rehung — I always suspected that the door got kicked in at some point and demolished the jamb. The door also didn’t have the hole for an old lockset, it had the hole for a normal door knob, indicating that the door may not be original, though it does match the others. I replaced the door jamb; stripped, repainted and rehung the door. (I’m going to do a post explaining that in greater detail later.) I shaved off the bottom of the door so it doesn’t rub the floor anymore, but adding material to the top of the door to make it fit the settled opening will have to wait for some day to come.


Also, we stripped the transom down and scraped the glass free of paint before repainting the entire thing. The glass should really be reset and reglazed, but that will have to wait….uh, until I know how to glaze windows.

Nursery transom stripped

All the trim around the two doors and window had been painted so many times that hard edges and beautiful millwork had transformed into lazy, soft curves. All of it needed to be stripped, sanded and repainted. (Also because we wanted this room to be 100% lead paint-free. That is, if there’s lead paint in our house. Legal disclosure in case we’re ever selling. We have no idea.)

This was a bear and one of the most time-consuming parts of the project. But it turned out well and the difference between this room and the previous bedroom where this wasn’t done is noticeable.

Nursery window trim - before
nursery window bottom casing

In the closet, I ripped out the old shelf and rod, stripped down all the walls and repainted, and rebuilt all new shelves from scratch to maximize the storage space.

Nursery closet scraped 50%DSC_0012DSC_0030

I built a box to cover the radiator and provide a new crib-side place to put books, things, etc. The only thing that it’s missing is the decorative metal screening for the openings in the box, which I’ve actually had a pretty hard time finding for some reason. Anyone know where I can pick up some of that stuff? Big box stores don’t seem to carry it and I haven’t managed to find it online from ready-to-ship places — only expensive wire mesh manufacturers with terrible websites that mostly fulfill orders for large industrial shipments and make you pick up the phone and talk to CJ or Frank or Jim Bob to get your order done.


I put in all new baseboards and trim on top, and then reused the toe moulding from when we had the floors refinished. After that, we just had to choose a paint color and get the room painted.

Nursery color testing
Nursery progress east

After painting the whole room, all that was left was to move in the furniture, make the curtains — which Rachel did a fantastic job imagining and creating, all while 7-8-9 months pregnant — and pick out decorations and frames and such. We’ll go through all of those in the second post unveiling the nursery.

Which, as you can see, is not to be unveiled here. Full fancy photos of the finished product coming in the next post!

Note from Rachel: I hope I can some day impress upon Lily how hard her Daddy worked on this room. Hours and hours of grunt-work, with very little fun stuff (maybe the radiator box and the closet were fun; the rest was pretty horrid and boring). Many gold stars to Steve for making this the most beautiful bedroom in our house!

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