Master Bedroom Renovation Challenge: [Stage 9] Matching Antique Baseboards & Door Trim

Catch up on the renovation progress! 

Woo boy, have we been busy! So busy that I haven’t even been able to sit down and catch y’all up on how things are going in the master bedroom/closet in a little while!

The reality is that we actually moved into our master bedroom/closet nearly two weeks ago!

I can’t tell you how wonderful it feels to type that!!!

Also coming up (any day now) is the arrival of our first kiddo, a baby girl, so we’ve been shifting gears a bit to try and get things ready for her as well. 🙂

But, before we get around to showing our moved-in bedroom, I have to go into the little saga we went through to finish our baseboards!

Sounds so exciting, right?

…but really, do y’all know how hard it is to match up antique 100+ year-old baseboards?

Not exactly something they readily carry in your big box hardware stores, for sure.

Not to mention matching up the stain color.

Though it turned out that part was much easier, because I am the master of colors (my humbleness is astounding).

Seeking Antique Baseboards:

our antique baseboards that needed matching 

To start, we had no available baseboards in the area where we took the 90’s wall closet out.

I remembered that we had a pile of wood, some of it old trim, in the garage left behind by the last owner. Not being able to bend over or move things around much in my current status of 9 months pregnant, Karl took a look but didn’t find anything to match. Drat.

After talking with several friends we decided to try a local lumber mill that a few people recommended. Karl went and showed them samples of the baseboards…and the guy there went on to geek-out a bit, and for good reason!

Turns out that the wood for the baseboards is American Chestnut, which can’t be found anymore. They were once known as the “Redwoods of the East” for their enormous girth and towering heights. Sadly, lumbering practices and a blight that was noticed in 1904 began killing them off, and by the 1950’s the tree is (for the most part) extinct.

The American Chestnut. Photo courtesy of American Chestnut Foundation

(Note: another hint for us as to what time range our house was built – we only know it was between 1900-1907).

He also was able to tell us that the wood was likely milled somewhere in Denver, PA, as it was known to supply much of the wood for homes in our area.

All very cool information – we love learning stuff like this! Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to help much further than that. He explained that they would have to make custom blades to match our baseboards, so it was something pricey. We only needed approx 20 feet or less of baseboards, so the cost ratio wasn’t in our favor.

We have a local architectural salvage warehouse that we were going to try next, however luck played on our side when Karl, on a whim, decided to dig into our garage’s wood pile a bit deeper. Amazingly, he found toward the bottom baseboards that matched and there was exactly the amount we needed, no more or less!

Can I just pause here and say how astounding that is?!

The rummaged baseboards were even still in raw form – never been stained or painted. Thus our next task was to find or mix a matching stain; something definitely up my alley.

I of course turned to my fave; good ol’ General Finishes.

When I arrived at the local supplier of General Finishes I realized I didn’t have any of our sample baseboards with me to help match up colors. Whoops. But despite my wall color inadequacies, I know my GF paint and stain colors! I eyed the stained wood samples they had and picked Candlelite, a gel stain that from my memory looked to be a very close match to our existing baseboard color.

The color sample printed on the can looked a lot darker than the wood sample and made me wonder if I’d chosen wrong…but when we tested it out, by jove I was right on the money with the color!

I had fun teaching Karl how to use the stain. ^_^

The baseboard is in 3 parts: the main baseboard, and a top and bottom runner. Here it is going up, stain and top coats all dried now:

Looking good! (sorry for only cel pic!)

Done!

We also had just enough door trim from the closet to use for the new door we made between the bedroom and closet. You can see it here just before we added the last rosette (door on left):

Very glad we were able to save a lot of time looking for or making baseboards, as well as money!

Next up: showing the room with our furniture moved in! Also, if you missed it, here’s the design plans I have for the bedroom as we begin to furnish and decorate!

Be sure to subscribe and see the progress!

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