Follow my journey as I transform a bland, boring window into a French Country/Farmhouse feature wall with ship-lap and a custom window box
Get behind-the-scenes look at creating a custom window box with scrap wood and a trick for faking ship-lap on a dime.
Acting On a Desire for Change
When my boys and husband left on a cross-country trip I resolved to conquer a project that had been ruminating in my brain for awhile: a feature wall with a window box and shiplap. After building our beautiful built-in library the adjacent wall and window looked so forlorn and positively boring. The wall definitely detracted from the beauty of the rest of the room. I had to fix it! haha!
The Window Box Takes Shape
Before my son left I had him help me install the actual box onto the wall. That kind of heavy lifting would have been impossible as a solo job. Everything else I did by myself; though I wish I had help with installing the trim work—that was a total bugger!
The window box was made from scrap wood in the garage. I routered some simple trim from some plain 1x2s and 1x4s. The corbels were purchased from Home Depot for $50/each.
Installing the Curtain Rod
To create all of the joints I use my Kreg Jig tool which creates pockets to connect pieces together. Before entirely closing in the box I installed the curtain rod. This would have been very difficult to do once the box was in place.
Shiplapping the Walls
Once the box was installed I decided to get the wall planked before going any further. Planking (or shiplapping) is super popular and I’ve found a very cheap way of accomplishing the farmhouse look. I’ve planked many walls in both of our houses and it’s not hard. I purchase 1/4″ underlayment from Home Depot and have them ripped into 6″ planks. Butt the planks end to end along the wall and nail with a nail gun. (I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my Ryobi nail gun. Battery operated and easy to use.) Between the rows of planks you’ll want to leave a small gap. I use nickels to ensure my gaps are even.
Finishing Touches on Ship-lap
Once the planking is complete I caulk all of the joints at the end of walls, at windows, at the ceiling, etc., to create a smooth, undisrupted finish. This entire wall was planked for under $30. That’s pretty cool.
Trimming the Window Box
The box was now ready for trimming, which took me ALL DAY. (Note to self: don’t trim solo) After I finished the trim I encountered some frustration with installing the corbels. I’ll spare you the details but luckily a friend stopped by that evening and suggested using a construction grade glue. What a life-saver – it totally worked. After applying a liberal amount of Gorilla Construction Glue I installed the corbels without further problem. The window box was beginning to look super cool.
Paint Treatment for the Window Box
The window box was stained with Minwax Jacobean, then painted with a coat of Rust-oleum Aged Gray chalk paint, then a diluted coat of Rust-oleum Linen White chalk paint, both sold by the quart at Home Depot. After the paint dried I sanded and sanded until it had a desired antique look. Then I added my wooly sheep transfer. I finished off the box with a coat of antiquing wax. Wax on, wax off!
Paint Treatment for the Shiplap Walls
The paint on the walls has no name. Really. I’ve used gallons of the stuff on my prior home and I’m working on covering all the walls in our current home. I love this color.
When I was at the paint counter at Home Depot the paint specialist asked me where I found the color formula because she really liked it. I answered that I found it in one of their promotional color brochures.
She said, “that color doesn’t exist in our database”.
I said, “I’ve never purchased paint anywhere else, I promise I got this paint color from you”.
“Nope, it’s just not here”, she says.
So, it’s just a number, a mixture of pigments that I will guard with my life so I never lose the formula for paint happiness. I get asked about it a lot so if anyone cares to have the color, just leave me a message. I don’t mind sharing.
Ahhh, the Fuzzy Warm Feels
What used to be an ugly eyesore has now become warm, welcoming, and comfy, and it matches the mood and style of the built-in library! Goal accomplished. A guest once commented that the window box looks like it’s been here “since forever”. I had to do a little internal victory dance.
While I don’t want to replicate the negatives of something old, like musty smells or creepy vibes, I do want to replicate the positives. For example, something that has a story to tell, has seen decades of history, and has meaning and purpose. Our modern homes don’t always have those elements, but we can create something that tells our story for future generations to discover.
I hope you are inspired to take on that project that’s been ruminating in your mind. That something that will bring warmth, comfort, and happiness to you and your home. Please share your project with me and let’s keep inspiring each other. Happy creating! xo Jayme