Build­ing sim­ple wooden ‘arch­ways’

The Southern Gazette - - Saltwire Homes - Heather Laura Clarke My Hand­made Home Heather Laura Clarke chron­i­cles the trans­for­ma­tion of her fam­ily’s builder­ba­sic house into a per­son­al­ized House of Dreams – us­ing paint, fab­ric, wood, and her trusty glue-gun.

I re­ally wanted an open-con­cept house. Now I wish I had more walls.

I can’t say I re­gret buy­ing our house — which doesn’t have a sin­gle di­vid­ing wall on the en­tire main level, other than around the bath­room — be­cause it worked well for us when we had ba­bies and tod­dlers. In those days, I needed to be able to watch the kids closely at all times — even when I was duck­ing into the kitchen to empty the dish­washer.

Now that they’re six and eight, I feel a long­ing for one par­tic­u­lar house we toured. It was re­ally old and had lots of lit­tle rooms, all sep­a­rated by hall­ways and doors. I’d scoffed at the closed-off kitchen at the time, but now I think it would be nice to shut my­self in there and lis­ten to mu­sic qui­etly while I make din­ner ... without hear­ing the TV blast­ing from 15 feet away.

Any­way, the other is­sue with an open-con­cept house is that you can’t eas­ily tran­si­tion to dif­fer­ent paint colours be­cause the whole level is all con­nected. No walls. No door­ways. Just ... open­ness!

Af­ter our roof leaked (and we re­placed it), we had to re­paint the walls around our stair­way and into the liv­ing room. I still loved the light blue shade we’d cho­sen for the walls (CIL’s Bear Run) years ago, but felt ready to re­place it ... at least, I Heather sep­a­rated two dif­fer­ent paint colours with 1x6 pine boards on the tran­si­tion be­tween her liv­ing room and din­ing room.

thought I did.

So we re­painted the liv­ing room in our favourite neu­tral (Ben­jamin Moore’s Re­vere Pewter) and I liked it. But just be­fore my hus­band started on the kitchen and din­ing room, I stopped him.

As much as I liked the fresh paint in the liv­ing room, I just couldn’t let go of the blue en­tirely. It still looked so good against the white cab­i­nets, the white frames, the white hutches, the lit­tle white desk. Ev­ery­thing popped beau­ti­fully against the blue. I wor­ried ev­ery­thing would look too blah and beige without it.

Now I had a dilemma. Our open-con­cept main level was painted two dif­fer­ent colours — half greige, half pale blue — and it looked strange. I don’t like when two dif­fer­ent paint colours meet, even if it’s at a cor­ner.

Oh, how I wished for walls to sep­a­rate the din­ing room/ kitchen from the liv­ing room/ front hall. If only there was some way we could eas­ily di­vide those spa­ces. Hmm ...

The so­lu­tion I came up with was to build sim­ple wooden “arch­ways” — that’s what I call them, de­spite them not be­ing curved or a real arch at all — to sep­a­rate the two spa­ces. My handy hus­band helped me screw plain 1x6 pine boards into the walls where the din­ing room meets the liv­ing room, and where the kitchen meets the front hall.

Then he cut small an­gled pieces to make a Y shape up to the ceil­ing. (Handy hus­band would like me to tell you this part was frus­trat­ing. “I wish I’d paid more at­ten­tion in math class.”)

Now, I’d wanted to run an­other board along the ceil­ing it­self to con­nect them, like beams, but he drew the line at drilling holes in the ceil­ing. He’s al­ways con­vinced fu­ture home­own­ers won’t un­der­stand my weird ideas, so we com­pro­mised — I got the “arches” I wanted, but we left the ceil­ings untouched. #mar­riage

The nat­u­ral pine looked pretty good with our light hard­woods, but I de­cided they looked too un­fin­ished. So af­ter I’d globbed on some wood filler and sanded off the ex­cess, I brushed on a sin­gle coat of white (Case­ment by Fu­sion Min­eral Paint) to con­tinue our home’s “mod­ern farm­house” feel.

I still wish I had a few more walls, but this sim­ple project has done a great job of mak­ing these two spa­ces feel more like sep­a­rate rooms.

And no ceil­ings were harmed. Ahem.

She helped her Handy Hus­band at­tach an­gled boards for an “arch­way feel.”

Heather di­vided her open-con­cept main level with mod­ern farm­house arch­ways so she could use two dif­fer­ent paint colours.

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