Remodeling is a runaway train. First we just wanted to get rid of the old shag carpet in our family room and replace it with a laminate floor. Then my wife said we should paint the ceiling to get rid of the black rafter outlines. Before you know it, we’re painting the room a two-tone color scheme and adding chair rail. Of course to put up chair rail, I had to tape and mud the room corners, because rather than actually finish the drywall in the corners, they put up cove moulding to hide the seams.
Which brings me to the title of this post: when the family room addition was built, they left the window over the kitchen sink and framed it as a pass-through between the rooms. Over the years we’ve found this pass-through incredibly handy during mealtime to pass dishes back and forth. Since the pass-though was framed in walnut stained oak which no longer matched the color scheme, I had to reframe it. As long as I was reframing it, I also wanted to change the narrow 5-inch ledge to a nice 11-inch shelf.
Skipping back a few years, I was browsing the wood selection at Fleet Farm and found this gorgeous wide board of rough cut walnut with both a double knot and single knot pattern. At the time I didn’t know what to do with it, but today I’m glad I bought it, even though I was only able to make use of the single knot portion for this project. Prepping this board was a lot of work though, it was rough cut with circular grain. When I tried hand sanding, I kept scratching across the grain. I ended up using a random orbital sander and progressed slowly from 40 grit, 80 grit, and so forth until 220 grit, to get the striking results. I then applied 4 coats of Minwax Tung Oil.
To finish the rest of the opening, I framed it out with red oak and stained it with Minwax natural oak. Rather than using oil-based polyurethane I used Minwax’s Polycrylic. I was very pleasantly surprised at how well the water-based product covered and I didn’t miss the smell or clean up one bit. To cover below the window where the casing would have gone I used some crown moulding.
Okay, so I cheated a little bit. I screwed up the casing I had prepped and finished on the kitchen side of the window and ended up buying some prefinished golden oak trim. It better matched the kitchen color-scheme and saved me a few days of prepping.