The first floor bathroom renovation is one step closer to completion! Plumbing, electrical and floor plan upgrades are all complete. Our contractor also recently completed tile work and paint and handed the project over to us to wrap up the final details. We wanted to maintain a classic vibe that worked well with the rest of our home, so the decision to install a hunky (as Kim would say!) board and batten treatment was an easy one! It was a quick project that required more math than we would have liked, but it turned out exactly like the vision we had in our heads. Maybe even better.
Tools + Supplies Used
- 1″ x 6″ primed MDF
- 1″ x 4″ primed MDF
- 1″ x 3″ primed MDF
- 3/4″ pine corner molding
- Miter saw for cuts
- Nail gun or brad nailer
- Construction adhesive
- Caulk + caulk gun
- Sanding blocks or orbital sander
- Painter’s tape
- 4″ foam roller
- 2″ angled paint brush
- Measuring tape
Choosing the Boards
We started with three different sizes of primed MDF boards for a smooth and seamless look. From left to right, the 1″x6″ boards formed the bottom rail in lieu of a baseboard. The 1″x4″ boards formed the top rail, and the 1″x3″ boards formed the vertical stiles. The 3/4″ pine corner molding on the far right was used to trim out the interior of each ‘box’. That pine molding, while small, had a big impact on the finished look!
Installing the Top + Bottom Rails
We started with the most complicated cut of the project – the top rail on the window wall. In order to keep the top cap level with window sill, as well as the ledge on the other side of the room, we cut the board to length, then traced the shape of the windowsill. Using a jigsaw, I removed the small section of the board and sanded the cut down until we had a perfect fit. Continuously checking for level along the way, the first board was attached using construction adhesive and 2″ finish nails.
Once our top rails were complete, we moved on to the bottom rails, continuing to check for level. We planned to forego shoe molding for a sleeker look, so we were sure to keep a tight fit to the floor.
Installing the Vertical Stiles
Once the top and bottom rails were complete, we were able to move on to the outermost vertical stiles. The stiles are the vertical strips (our 1″ x 3″ MDF boards) that create the ‘box.’ Because drywall is rarely – if ever! – perfect, we used the thin tips of shims to ensure that all of our transitions between boards were as seamless as possible. Shims are a necessity to help keep things as flush as possible, which cuts down on the amount of spackle and sanding needed before paint.
At this point, we measured the gap between the stiles on each end and did waaaay too much (incorrect) math until we finally figured out the following formula for perfectly spaced verticals. It was almost comical how many times we incorrectly measured, so we made this cheat for you!
How to Measure the Width Between Stiles
- Measure width of the entire wall.
- Subtract width of all the stiles (ex: for our 4 stiles at 2.5” w, you’d subtract 10″ from the wall measurement).
- Divide that number by the number of ‘boxes’ between the stiles (in our case, we wanted 3).
- That final number will be the space between the stiles!
- Working from one side to the other, install your first vertical stile. Then take your final number from above and measure over to the next stile. Maintain your final number between stiles.
The math checks out, trust us. (We had initially been measuring the gaps ‘on center,’ which led to a comedy of errors. Learn from our mistakes!) Once we had our spacing locked in and marked, we cut all of our stiles to length and gave each one a bead of construction adhesive. Tip: Measure the length of each stile individually, since they may incrementally change, depending on how level your floors are.
Checking for Level (Every Time!)
Checking level constantly along the way, each stile was then nailed into place. In a scenario like this where nailing into studs is unlikely, the adhesive is what will actually hold the boards in place. The nails are simply there to pull the board tight against the wall and hold it in place while the adhesive cures.
With many rounds of flawed math behind us and all of our stiles fastened in place, it was time to move on to detail work!
Adding the Detail Trim
We selected thin pine molding that happened to mimic the edge detail of our marble vanity top beautifully! This step is not necessary, but we think it gave the wall treatment a more classic, slightly traditional feel that we were looking for. These cuts were all very simple and very gratifying! 45 degree inside corner cuts make up the inside of each ‘box’ and voila! Hunkiness ensues.
Hiding All the Gaps with Spackle + Caulk
To this point, the results might look a little… less than perfect? A bit messy? That’s okay! This is where spackle and caulk will be your best friends. We used spackle to fill all of the nail holes and seams between boards. Once dry, I used a random orbital sander to get it all smooth, and then after wiping up all the dust, Kim followed up by caulking all the gaps along the top and sides. Tip: This is our favorite spackle, and we used Big Stretch caulk for the first time after hearing so many great reviews!
Here’s how the board and batten was looking after the spackle and caulk:
Painting the Board and Batten!
Finally, it was time to paint! After loving it so much in Daniel and Meghan’s living room refresh, we decided on Benjamin Moore’s Odessa Pink, which we had color matched to Valspar paint in a Satin finish. It’s the perfect pink that leans more into a subtle peachy hue than, say, little girl’s bedroom. There’s enough gray in the color to keep it feeling sophisticated, and it dries down to the most beautiful shade of pink. For the best results, Kim used a 2″ angled brush for the detail work and followed that up with a 4″ mini foam roller in the ‘boxes’ and on the stiles. We did two coats overall, plus a third in any areas that needed a touch-up.
The junction between the top rail and the windowsill turned out better than we could have imagined, with the thin white sill dipping just enough into the top rail to add a bit of visual interest!
As mentioned before, the detail trim molding ended up mimicking the edge of the marble vanity top nicely! I wish I could say that we planned it that way, but we’re happy all the same. You’ll notice that we left a tiny gap above the backsplash (which we trimmed down on our wet saw to keep the proportions of the wall treatment looking nice) to allow for the vanity to be leveled, but everything will get caulked and finished down the road.
The newly installed subfloor gave us a level base for the new tile, and all of the trim work meets the flooring so well! We love the custom touch of the slightly metallic black flowers set into the white hex tiles. The pink board and batten and the tile pattern pair together like PB + J.
The seam between the tile and the board and batten came together better than we expected as well! The edge of the wall treatments meets right up to the pencil tile that lines the shower tile. We love how the pink pulls some of the warmer tones out of the varied wall tiles and keeps the room feeling inviting.
Now that the board and batten treatment is complete, our contractor will be installing the stone slabs in the niche, transom window, shower curb, and ledge. Once the stone is installed, our glass fabricator will take measurements, and then we’ll be one step closer to a functioning bathroom! We can hardly wait to have a second bathroom again, but it’ll certainly be worth the wait!