Way back in April, our hallway looked like this:
Well, technically it looked a little worse, but we forgot to take pictures before we ripped out the burgundy carpet. Here’s how the same hallway looks today:
Yay! We love doing before-and-afters! We’ve been living with this project day in and day out, so we forget how far we’ve come. Seeing the befores makes us giddy.
We went with Olympic Horseradish on the ceiling (same as the office & guest bedroom) and Valspar Tempered Gray for the walls.
We initially wanted to do something darker, but the halls are so narrow that we decided to keep things soft and light. We’re so glad we did because it makes the hallway feel super light and open. We love the way it looks. Here’s a view from the brick wall looking towards the entry:
We put two recessed lights down the center:
We still haven’t found the right bulbs — some are too white, some are too yellow, others are too long and stick out too far — so we put in plain old 60 watt bulbs for now. It took a lot of finagling but Bradley installed a dimmer switch:
We’re rocking a 75% right now. We’ll probably go lower once we get the right bulbs in.
The trimless windows are a pain to paint, but they looked pretty slick when finished:
So do the French doors:
We haven’t taken the plastic mask off the windows, which is why they look like a 2 year old painted them. They still need one more coat on the flip-side. We went ahead and hung them because we’re getting kinda impatient. We also hung the bathroom door:
It was awkward for a little while thanks to the close proximity of a window that overlooks the street:
So pretty with the hardware installed!
The door frame looks streaky because it only has one coat so far. We’re giving it 2 more thin coats this weekend. We’re loving how the door still looks old. You can see all of the texture and cracking:
It definitely took some time to fix this puppy up, but we’re so glad we did. We scraped off all of the old paint, sanded the door smooth, then gave it one thin coat of primer. After that, we did 3 coats of black paint. The trick to getting a smooth surface was sanding in between each coat and painting paper thin coats.
Check out the flip side of the same door:
I had to stand inside the bathtub to take that shot — that’s how small our bathroom is. We’re not quite ready to show the before pictures of the bathroom because it’s not a remodeling priority. It was redone a few years ago, so it’s not in terrible shape. Just kinda…blah.
How sweet does that hardware look? Spray paint works magic, I tell ya! Speaking of spray paint, lookie what made it into the bathroom:
I think my lookalike hook looks extra Anthropologie against the beat up door. Even Bradley ended up loving it.
We’re still not sure whether to paint the door white or not. Luckily we have our hands full with a bunch of other jobs right now, so we have some time to think about our next move.
What we learned:
- Low-VOC paints smell, too.
We used Olympic, Valspar and Benjamin Moore paints over the weekend, and all 3 brands make an appearance in our hallway. Ben Moore was, by far, the least smelly. Olympic was the runner up — it smelled, but not so much that we needed respirators. Valspar was super stinky, but the smell was gone by the next day. Here’s the kicker: the Ben Moore cost almost twice as much as the Valspar! Valspar was $23 a gallon and Ben Moore was $40 and change. Next time we’ll put on respirators, crack a few windows and save ourselves twenty clams.
- Big box hardware stores don’t carry the good stuff.
We went to three different hardware store chains to find a good floor paint. The paint department employees at Lowe’s and Home Depot didn’t inspire much confidence. They hemmed and hawed, eventually recommended an outdoor patio paint, but couldn’t answer the questions we had about it. Meh. Our local hardware guy recommended a Ben Moore oil-based primer and black latex floor paint. It was expensive. And it’s a good thing we tested it on our doors and doorways, because there’s no way it would last on our soft pine floors. It’s fine for doors, but latex just isn’t durable enough for floors. Totally not talking smack about Big Blue and Big Orange (we love them both!), but they carry standard items for standard houses.
- Next time we need paint for something special, we’re going to a specialist.
We ended up going to Bradley’s finishing product supplier (aka the paint guy), and this guy has pretty much seen everything. He wasn’t confused by why we would want to paint our floors (instead he said it was the best method for soft pine). And he knew what he was talking about. Here’s what he suggested:
- NO primer. Instead, sand the floors very well to make them porous.
- Use an oil-based black thinned down with paint thinner to make it very runny.
- Put down a suuuuper thin layer of black and let it soak into the wood.
- Follow that with 2 more paper-thin layers of black, lightly scuffing the surface in between.
He didn’t recommend a brand. Just that we should leave latex for the walls and do oil-based on the floors. We ended up buying a big bucket of high-gloss black from him.