We’ve made some much-needed changes to our hallway!


The very first thing we did to it was replace the ceiling two winters ago because the old one was sagging and probably going to collapse soon.  DSC_0251Then we took down the wallpaper (gag me with a fork) and had the floors and steps refinished when they got scratched by the contractors.



The next thing we did was replace the lighting fixtures.  We ordered bell lanterns like the ones in our kitchen but a big more snug to the ceiling so you couldn’t bang your head.


Over the course of last spring, between naps and whatnot, David removed the chair rail, which was glued and screwed into the wall of course.  And this past August we got around to painting the walls Classic Ivory by Sherwin Williams.

Classic Ivory

We wanted a pale pale pale yellow that would complement the robust yellow in the family room and yellow accents in the kitchen.  I originally wanted to do a neutral white and off-white combo (stripes, maybe?) but figured realistically, I’m never going to get around to doing the stripes, so we should just pick a color that we could paint easily and be done with.  David, Evie and I stopped by Sherwin Williams one Saturday morning after the farmer’s market, took a look at the Historic Color pamphlet, David pointed to the Classic Ivory one, we ordered a gallon and went home with it.  Voila.  Gone are the days, at least for the time being, of staring at different colors for weeks and weeks wondering which gives off the best vibe, and which looks best with the light in your house.  Ha.  I painted most of the hallway while David worked on grad school homework but in the end I got a lot of help, especially with the tall wall and above the doors.  🙂

Next to tackle was the staircase.

We went to Hawaii in August for a week to visit David’s sister and brother-in-law (who were WONDERFUL hosts, by the way!), and while we were gone we hired help to remove all of the paint from the stairs– the railing, the spindles, and the risers.  The issue was it was all old paint… and therefore most likely lead-based, not what you want a baby crawling around in…  and it was oil based paint covered in latex layers, meaning we had lots of peeling, scratching, and a not-so-graceful aging process going on.

aging stair risers

That meant we couldn’t just prime and paint over the existing paint… we had to have it removed completely.  And I didn’t want the baby in the house while it was happening.

When we returned from Hawaii, the before-and-after was amazing to me: basically no more paint on the stairs!

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Isn’t the natural wood GORGEOUS?!2015-08-30 17.00.01

This is what I love about old houses: the craftsmanship that goes into things like this.  The stairs are obviously original to the house (1850) and they are just so well made that they can withstand years of wear and tear, be totally scraped raw… and be stunning.

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At first, I thought I wanted to keep the stairs all natural wood and not paint anything white again.  Once the guys cleaned up the last few paint specks, I was smitten.  The warm wood felt so welcoming when you walked in the door.

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We lived au natural for about a week before I started to not like it anymore.  It was too dark, and it kind of reminded me of living in a wood cabin.  The hallway downstairs has no natural light and upstairs has only one window shrouded by the two-story porch ceiling, so it’s a pretty dark space to begin with, and the dark wood made it feel a little dreary.

So we painted the spindles white.

At last– the perfect, welcoming combination– mostly all wooden, but with white accents to break up the heaviness.

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I can’t begin to describe what a difference I feel when I walk in the door of my home now.  Instead of the usual “ohmygosh we have so many projects to do ahhhh!” feeling that used to make me immediately feel anxious and out of time, I now smile and feel grateful to have such a beautiful scene to greet me.  It wasn’t until this project that I understood the importance of interior decoration to your quality of life… I seriously am a less stressed person because of what I view to be a pretty hallway.  And when Mama’s happy, everyone’s happy, right?!