Hallway: Part 1

Our apartment was still occupied when Max and I came to view it for the first time with the broker. He led us up to the fifth floor (although I later swore with certainty that it was the fourth—wishful thinking!) and knocked loudly on the door. When no response came, he banged louder. “There’s kind of a long hallway,” he explained, so Max and I nodded and waited for a response. No dice.

The banging escalated from obnoxious to violent before somebody finally came, a bleary-eyed man who we’d evidently woken up. He mumbled an apology about not being able to hear the knocking before letting us into what was, indeed, kind of a long hallway. The broker led the way to the end and turned, but where I expected to walk into a real room was just…more hallway. When we got to the end of that section, where surely there would be the living space, there was yet more hallway, yet finally some doorways became visible—the first indication that the whole apartment was not actually just a labyrinth of hallway.

That shoddy floorplan above, by the way, is to scale. In case you were curious.

So basically my first impression of our apartment was that it had a laughably awkward layout, needed a ton of work, and smelled like cat piss. Luckily I’ve managed to solve the cat piss problem.

This was the first thing you saw when you walked in the door. It is hideous, yes? Yes. The most hideous.

To break it down: Bad overhead “nipple light,” chipped up moldings, yellow walls with overlapping rectangle “paint treatment,” hooks everywhere, weird overhead shelf situation. It’s a horror show, basically.

This is looking back at the door from the other end of that curve in the first picture. I’m sure that overhead shelving was super practical and awesome for storing a ton of crap, but…no. Even though the ceilings are 9 feet high, the shelves really closed in the space even more and just pretty much 100% sucked visually. It’s like all the bad things I can imagine in the world crammed into one very small very weird space.

Oh, and did I mention squares of cork sticky-tacked to the walls at random? Because that also happened. You can see one on the floor in this picture.

Now before we get to all the before and afters, I need to point out that this hallway is terrible. Our building was built in 1890, and I think the original apartments would have been “classic 6” layouts—kitchen, living room, bathroom, dining room, 2 bedrooms, and a maid’s room. I’m guessing around the 1920s or so, everything was split up and the weird long hallways were the lowest-impact way to divide the spaces. They were also the stupidest way because WTF. I mean seriously, what the what.

At its widest, the hallways is only a little over 3 feet wide, and around some of the corners, it squeezes down to a pretty cozy 28 inches or so. That makes it really narrow and awkward to try to squeeze any storage into, even though it’s very tempting to just use the whole thing to stockpile stuff. There just isn’t enough room to make that dream a reality.  It’s a super weird, very long, very strange space that needs a goal and a purpose in life and didn’t really have either. Luckily, I love to give things goals and purposes, like when I told my dogs that their one and only job was cuddling.

I really applaud whoever made the hallway look this ridiculous. I mean, this curious paint explosion of bad taste and crazy took some serious effort, planning, and commitment. It’s a really tempting space to just totally neglect, but these fine artists chose to unleash a firestorm of pizzaz up in this mother and express themselves. Hat tip.

Also, just prepping it was, and I mean this, THE WORST THING IN THE WHOLE WORLD. Worried that the outlines of the squares underneath would be visible through a new layer of paint, I hatched a plan that would make me miserable for days and probably shave years off my life. “Easy!” I thought, “I’ll just sand them all!”

Hellish nightmare like I can’t even describe. So much trauma that it has literally taken me over a year to write about all of this. Also I’m bad at pictures and editing and things and I still want to fix stuff and change things around, but what else is new? I used an electric sander and everything, but still…not recommended. If I were going to do it again, I might try to just skim coat the walls with a roller and watered-down joint compound or maybe just rent a different apartment.

Maybe all of the sanding made me a little insane because I think by day 3 or so, I decided, “hey, you know what would be pretty cool and groovy? If I painted the ceiling black.”

Why did I do that? I don’t know. But I did, the whole thing, before deciding about an hour later that I’d made a huge mistake and I needed to start over. I snapped the above picture, probably while sobbing tears of great disappointment and regret. You’ll notice that the edges of that picture are all shaded and closing in, which is not something I did in photoshop. I’m blaming spirits.

But I fixed it? Here’s the same angle today—weird shelves and hooks removed, walls patched and painted (BM White Dove), new light, fauxdenza, art, hang-it-all. BOOM. Clock is from IKEA. The door is black like the rest of the doors in the apartment, Benjamin Moore Onyx (which I maintain is the best black ever).

Because this is the widest part of the hallway, I decided to add a fauxdenza in the great tradition of Anna Dorfman and Morgan Satterfield and many others who like slim, wall-mounted, stylish storage for cheaps. We have SO little storage in this apartment, and after tons and tons of thinking, I decided this was the only way I could be happy putting storage in the hallway.

The whole thing is just 3 IKEA AKURUM kitchen cabinets affixed to the wall and wrapped with wood. These cabinets are SUPER easy to put together and hang and the whole project is pretty simple and fast. Any dimension cabinet works, but I chose three 30″ x 18″ cabinets with ApplÃ¥d white doors, which I think came to a total of about $220.

I didn’t really take a lot of process pictures, but we used a sheet of plywood to cover the top and two sides. These cabinets jut out about 13″ from the wall, and I couldn’t figure out where to buy a plank of wood wide enough to cover it. Instead, we bought a piece of 4’x8′ “Sandeply,” which was cheap—$44, if I remember correctly. It’s really lightweight, but it’s sort of weird cheap soft wood that didn’t stain evenly, so I wouldn’t really recommend it. It’s fine for now and the price was good, but maybe not so great for long-term durability or for feeling “fancy” or “competent at life.”

I basically just cut the wood to size with my circular saw, sanded, stained, and screwed it into place from inside the cabinet. I tried to get really fancy and miter the corners, which doesn’t look great close-up because I cut the whole top about 1/8″ too short. It’s not the worst thing in the world, but I probably shouldn’t have tried to miter edges with a circular saw. Lesson learned—I make mistakes, I’m not perfect, in fact I’m a total failure who can’t measure or do anything, really, I’m completely useless and I hate myself, don’t worry about it.

I want nicer wood someday anyway, so I’m going to try to forgive myself for the small mistake that people probably don’t notice anyway.

I love this fauxdenza thing though, for real. It gives us a great amount of storage space in a way that looks great and is totally custom to the space, without making it feel totally crowded or like anything is teetering precariously over our heads. We keep keys in that little thrifted enamel thing, and I’m always changing around whatever’s on top of it. And obviously because it floats off the ground and only sticks out a little over a foot, it looks pretty visually light and still allows for enough space to comfortably walk past everyday. Consider me an all-around fauxdenza fan.

The chair at the end is a little original Fritz Hansen 3-legged Jacobsen Ant chair that I found in a pile of junk near the roof exit of the building. After it sat there for a couple of months, I figured it was trash and stole it one night, when we needed an extra chair to host some friends for dinner. I later found out that it belonged to my neighbors and offered to give it back, but they insisted that we should keep it. I feel bad, but it’s cute? I’m a dirty rotten thief and also a hoarder of chairs.

The art over the fauxdenza are two lithos by Gregory Gummersall. The print hanging at the end is something I stole from my parents’ basement, turns out its a backgammon board? Whatever. I think it’s very pretty.

So that’s the first section of the hallway, which seems like enough for one post. Back with the rest later in the week.

About Daniel Kanter

Hi, I'm Daniel, and I love houses! I'm a serial renovator, DIY-er, and dog-cuddler based in Kingston, New York. Follow along as I bring my 1865 Greek Revival back to life and tackle my 30s to varying degrees of success. Welcome!

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  1. 11.13.12
    Jeremy Kanter said:

    Wait, did you frame a backgammon board?

    This looks amazing by the way.

    • 11.13.12
      Daniel said:

      No, it was already framed like that! I just added a picture wire to the back and stuck it on the wall.

      Thanks, brother!

  2. 11.13.12
    B said:

    I don’t know why, but I’ve been looking forward to this post for a long time. That before was awful and now I’ll never complain about my “long” entry hall of a whole 9 feet ever again. The after is AMAZING. It’s so welcoming and fresh.

  3. 11.13.12

    FAUXDENZA: 3,260 results. That is a dream come true.

    I still think you should maybe paint the entire human digestive system on the ceiling of your hallway.

    • 11.13.12
      Daniel said:

      Ha, that’s phase 2!!! The door will be an anus.

    • 11.13.12
      bliss said:

      ahahahahahaha! GREAT idea. seriously, you are a miracle worker

    • 11.13.12


    • 11.13.12
      Jill said:

      Why am I reading this and eating lunch?!

    • 11.13.12
      kelly w said:

      Re: the creation of the word ‘fauxdenza’– it’s crazy amazing. YOU DID THAT!

  4. 11.13.12
    Claire said:

    This is AMAZING. I literally gasped when I got to the first “current” shot. Now it finally looks like it’s attached to your apartment! The fauxdenza is ridiculously good-looking in that space. The next people who live in your apartment aren’t even going to know what psychedelic whack-show you saved them from.

  5. 11.13.12
    Ana @ Rearranged Design said:

    Your awkward layout is my dream apartment. I have a large collection of show posters, thirty or so, identically framed, that I have to mentally find room for every time I apartment hunt. This hallway would be absolutely perfect. You lucky bastard!

    On a side note. Maybe a wireless doorbell would help?

    • 11.13.12
      Daniel said:

      That’s a good idea…I might look into it! I’ve been thinking about installing a big knocker…most people don’t know that you have to knock LOUD.

  6. 11.13.12
    Joy J said:

    A breathtaking transformation as usual! Honestly, I feel like your landlord should be paying YOU rent after all you’ve done to the apartment. ;) Can’t wait to see the rest of the hallway! <—(Annnd, I don't think I've ever said that before in my life.)

    • 11.13.12
      Daniel said:

      Wouldn’t that be nice?? Never ever going to happen, but we can dream.

    • 11.13.12
      Richard said:

      He could at least refund the cost of the paint. You’re adding so much value to the apartment!

      Great job!

    • 11.14.12
      Daniel said:

      For a while he was, then we settled on $20 reimbursed per can of paint because he didn’t want to pay for Benjamin Moore. It’s kind of bullshit, but it’s something…and I’d rather use the paint and colors I want than have it done for me…particularly here, since I’m quite sure they wouldn’t have done the necessary prep work!

  7. 11.13.12
    Charlene said:

    Woah. Hat tip back at ya.

  8. 11.13.12
    Louise said:

    Adore the fauxdenza <3

  9. 11.13.12
    Austin said:

    I am blown away by the before and after pictures. Your hallway looks so good. I had to do a triple take when I saw what you’ve done. This might be my favorite transformation yet in your apartment, especially since the hallway was previously so heinous. Way to go!!

  10. 11.13.12
    Eliza said:

    sooooo beautiful. for real. i flippin love it. can’t wait for part two. bring it.

  11. 11.13.12
    Martha said:

    When I first saw the hallway I thought – I don’t know how he’s ever going to make that weird space look nice… BUT LOOK AT THAT! Great job!

  12. 11.13.12

    Yay! hallway pictures!\(^_^)/

    I alway saw this hallway as some punkrock art gallery or, well, as the human digestive system. But now it looks like a part of your apartment! I didn’t think that would be possible. I agree with Austin, maybe the most impressive transformation in your apartment; which I love, btw.

    (On a sidenote: English grammar is challenging.)

  13. 11.13.12

    FINALLY! Been waiting on this post for like, ever! Does this mean you’ve updated your floor plan? ;-P


    • 11.13.12
      Daniel said:

      No, there’s nothing nice on the site yet…just that little drawing. Anna and I will work on it! We have some ideas…

  14. 11.13.12
    scamel from the rocks said:

    I didn’t realise I’d been holding my breath until I literally let out a sigh of relief/delight when you posted the after picture! Huge credit to you for making the claustrophobic space in the before pictures into a beautiful place!

  15. 11.13.12
    Monica said:

    If I didn’t totally trust your blogging integrity I would say that can’t possibly be the same space, but I do. You are magic.

  16. 11.13.12
    Jan said:

    Amazing! You are a genius! Can’t wait to see the rest.

  17. 11.13.12
    Elly said:

    Woah, what a transformation! Good job, hey :)

  18. 11.13.12
    Abigail said:

    I seriously feel that “firestorm of pizzaz” should enter into our everyday lexicon. (Incidentally, when Firefox told me ‘pizzaz’ was spelled wrong, I googled it, like ya do, and we have the spelling choice of: pizzaz, pizazz, or pizzazz. So many choices!)

    Also, I can’t wait for part 2!

  19. 11.13.12
    joanna said:

    As usual – absolutely stunning! You’re my style guru!

  20. 11.13.12
    Naomi said:

    You are a marvel. I think I love you. And your writing is hilare! Thank you

  21. 11.13.12
    Janie said:

    You clever thing. Fauxdenza win. Hallway win.
    I’m kinda envious of your skills. Actually, I’m extremely envious. Looks fantastic.

  22. 11.13.12
    Erin O'Grady said:

    Another amazing post – seriously, I cannot explain how much I enjoyed this post.

    Can you please come to Australia – in particular Melbourne and work your magic on my rental! ha ha!

    • 11.14.12
      Daniel said:

      I request only air travel, room, and board.

  23. 11.13.12

    This is really.. I simply love this transition. Totally changed everything.

  24. 11.13.12
    Charlene said:

    Wow! The thing I most appreciate is that you not only have great ideas, but your extra-handiness makes the execution aspects of your projects even more impressive! This post inspires me about my shorter hallway and the various storage issues we’re trying to solve. Thanks!

  25. 11.13.12
    Maryse said:

    That hallway is the stuff of nightmares for a claustrophobe like me but your after is superb

  26. 11.13.12
    Nicole said:

    This is fantastic. I need to make a fauxdenza!

  27. 11.13.12
    Simone said:

    Wow that looks great. That black ceiling would have taken me some time to get over (I hate painting ceilings, when I help friends paint I always say “I don’t do ceilings”).
    Love the chair we used to have those (with three legs as well, but black) as diningroom chairs. They are more stable than people tend to think they are. I think I like red better. Have a wonderful day!!!

  28. 11.13.12
    Lena said:

    Love, love it! So beautiful! And why do you have neighbours like that!?! What do you put into the fauxdenza?

    • 11.13.12
      Daniel said:

      Which neighbors? The guy who answered the door? He was the previous tenant, who I’m pretty sure was an illegal sublet who was very…strange.

      It holds lots of stuff! Right now…my old school stuff, lots of paint and supplies, a bunch of Max’s keepsakes and art supplies, camera equipment, stationary, craft supplies. Even though our apartment is small, the end of the hallway still feels kind of far away, so we mostly use it for stuff we don’t use all the time.


    • 11.13.12
      Lena said:

      I mean neighbours who get rid of good paintings and chairs and stuff….My neighbours move out all the time, but the only stuff they leave behind is things that even the grossest thrift store wouldn’t take.

    • 11.14.12
      Daniel said:

      Oh, those neighbors! Yeah, it’s not common, most people leave junk or nothing at all, but sometimes you get lucky! These neighbors with the chair weren’t actually moving (they still live next door and are lovely!), I think they just had too much stuff and were using this little junkyard area of the building up by the roof as auxiliary storage.

  29. 11.13.12
    Marta said:

    Wow, love the fauxdenza! The whole things is amazing, what a transformation. Can’t wait to see the rest. One question: where do you keep a circular saw???

    • 11.14.12
      Daniel said:

      MY SECRET SHAME!!! There are like three kitchen cabinets dedicated solely to tools and home improvement stuff (and one cabinet in the fauxdenza that holds paint!) It’s a little ridiculous and out of control…trying to scale down and compact everything, particularly as the *big stuff* is winding down.

    • 11.14.12
      Marta said:

      Ha ha! Love a man who loves his tools and is good with his hands ;D

      Now for the rest of the hallway?…

  30. 11.13.12
    Lisette said:

    [WOW]2!! What a M A J O R improvement!! Well done! absolutely love the fauxdenza and may have to copy it at some point in my flat! You steal chairs, I steal ideas! Ha!

  31. 11.13.12
    Sarah said:

    This is the most unbelievable and ridiculous makeovers I’ve ever seen. How do you do it? You are magic.

  32. 11.13.12
    Ann said:

    Absolutely stunning!
    I think the old tenants moved to Astoria- I was walking my dog and saw an apartment w/ LOTS of rectangles and squares on the wall!!

    • 11.13.12
      Daniel said:

      Could be!! My greatest fear is that they’ll find this blog, haha.

    • 11.14.12
      Jessica said:

      LOL. Have no fear. People who paint ridiculousness on their walls (aka former tenants) are not the sort to follow design blogs.

      On a side note, I can’t believe you painted the ceiling TWICE!!! I like to paint, but Hate (yes, with a capital H) painting ceilings. You get major props from me (for the painting and the finished look, tres chic!).

  33. 11.13.12
    Marti said:

    I bet dollars to donuts that overhead shelving was a catwalk for the very cat who was responsible for the piss smell.

    • 11.13.12
      Daniel said:

      Probably! Who knows. I think a cat (or 2…or 3…) was using this hallway as a glorified litter box for several years.

  34. 11.13.12

    All I can say is, wow. You really turned a creepy off-putting hallway into something so chic and BRIGHT. Your landlord should pay you for how much more appealing you’ve made this apt. for future showings. That is, by far, the craziest hallway I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen some weirdo NYC apartments in my life. My grandma had what I previously thought was the oddest hallway that wrapped around the back of her apartment, behind the living room, out to the same opening where the living room ended (why not just EXTEND the living room and get rid of the crazy hallway, builders of the early 1900s???), but this takes the cake! Amazing job.

    • 11.14.12
      Daniel said:

      I know, I want to have a design book dedicated solely to really fucking weird New York City renovations. I guess I’m glad the hallway exists, if only because I think it allowed the renovators of yore to save the rest of the good stuff in the building by more or less maintaining existing layouts. There’s a building next door that’s identical, but it’s a separate owner and it looks like it was extensively renovated in the 50s or so…and I wouldn’t want to live there! The apartments certainly don’t have whackadoo hallways, but I’d also be willing to bet they aren’t half as charming or original.

  35. 11.13.12
    Mariane said:

    Hey Daniel, as always so good!
    I read a study that said that when you live high in an appartment building something like past the seventh floor, you go out a lot less cause you kind of feel disconnect with the street and well world! I wonder if having to walk the long hallway make you feel the same!? Can we see your dogs cuddle please since it is their one job!

    • 11.14.12
      Daniel said:

      I don’t know if that’s the same, maybe! I don’t think we feel disconnected from the street (we still hear a lot of street noise and whatnot), but the stair thing definitely makes it a little more challenging to just come and go constantly. But we’re also both kind of homebodies at heart, so it suits us, I guess.

  36. 11.13.12
    Molly said:

    Daniel, you are my home improvement/DIY hero. This is amazing.

  37. 11.13.12
    Ibis said:

    oh my god you finally wrote about your apartment again. it’s a miracle! seriously though, I cannot believe that you managed to take this crazytown hallway and turn it into something so gorgeous. well done! I can’t wait to see the rest! I especially like the boardgame as art, I’ve done the same thing with an Aggravation board (which is kind of like Sorry but made out of wood, with marbles, and played by crazy people who live in trailers…and my grandparents).

  38. 11.13.12
    Adam said:

    I agree with all the other commentS: you’ve done an amazing job! Can’t wait to see what you’ve done with the rest of your infinity hallway.

  39. 11.13.12
    Mia said:

    You should know that I was so excited about this post (finally! the hallway reveal!!!) that I spilled coffee all over my desk and everything on it. Well done! I look forward to Part 2, which I expect will be so marvelous it causes me to ruin my cubicle completely.

    • 11.13.12
      Dusa said:

      I’m right there with Mia…been wondering about this hallway since you moved in. And how is it that it actually looks WIDER now???

  40. 11.13.12

    An amazing transformation! Seriously, kudos. This looks GREAT! I too have been struggling with storage in our (much shorter) entryway. The brilliant chap who built this house made all the closets too narrow for hangers. Maybe the building predates hangers. So the five coats that fit in our tiny closet hang at an angle. So do all of our clothes. Sigh.

  41. 11.13.12
    Shannon said:

    You are Midas. Everything you touch turns to pure gold. When can I hire you to come work your magic at my house? Also, how on earth did you ever get any furniture moved into your space with only 28″ to squeeze it through??

    • 11.13.12
      Daniel said:

      It was a challenge! I hired movers when I moved in, so I didn’t really have to deal with that, thankfully. The biggest piece of furniture was the sofa, which comes apart into 4 small-ish pieces, so it wasn’t too bad. The dresser and credenza had to come in vertically…it’s always a little stressful!

  42. 11.13.12
    Kim said:

    This was an awesome post! I read it very slowly to take in every detail. And then I read it again just for giggles. The clock at the end of the hall is genius. Somehow it reminds me of Alice in Wonderland and the white rabbit. Like always worrying about running late from having to get through such a long hallway!

  43. 11.13.12
    susan said:

    I have been looking forward to your hallway post FOREVER! This is amazing. I really didn’t know how you were going to fix that horror show but, man, you knocked it out of the park. You need to do a separate post on how you took care of the cat piss smell. I thought that, like taxes and death, was something you could never get rid of. You are just amazing.

    • 11.13.12
      Daniel said:

      I think I just did lots of scrubbing with Murphy’s oil soap and white vinegar. I also cleaned between the floor and the baseboards with little picks and toothbrushes and things…lots of matted cat hair had accumulated in those spaces, and getting that junk out helped a lot. The smell did linger for a few months, but now it’s long gone. It was pretty awful.

    • 11.14.12
      susan said:

      I also can’t figure out how it looks wider now even though you have the fauxdenza taking up space. I think it’s magic.

    • 11.15.12

      There is NOTHING worse than cat piss. Nothing. I speak from experience. For future reference, Nature’s Miracle works like a charm.

  44. 11.13.12
    Chris said:

    Super love. Pinning to remind myself why I want to paint our living area white. Used that same white in daughter’s room make over, thanks to you. Turned out great!

  45. 11.13.12

    This is the second execution of the “fauxdenza” that I have seen and it makes me that much more determined to finish mine already! You have accomplished nothing short of a miracle in that awkward hallway.

  46. 11.13.12
    Andrew said:

    The one thing about your long hallway is that it serves as a buffer to the noise in the common hallway. This is particularly useful when you have dogs. My entry door drops you right into the living room. When I first moved in, my dogs would bark every time someone walked in the hall…Ugh, can we say embarrassing? Now, many years later, they hardly lift their heads unless someone actually knocks on my door!

    • 11.13.12
      Daniel said:

      Yes, we’re lucky that the hallway (combined with old brick and plaster walls) makes our apartment verrrrrry quiet. We never hear anything! The dogs can still hear us when we come up the stairs, somehow…they’re always running to the door before we even put the key in! LUCKILY, MIRACULOUSLY, neither of the dogs really bark.

    • 11.13.12
      Simone said:

      Dogs have a 6th sense. Our dog used to run to the front door when my husband was still 2 streets away, no way she could hear him. When that happened we knew that he would be home in two minutes. Funny how they do that isn’t it?

  47. 11.13.12
    Kimberly said:

    The redo looks great. I’m especially impressed with the fauxdenza.

    How did you get rid of the cat piss smell? That is probably the biggest achievement. That stuff stays around for-ev-er.

  48. 11.13.12
    Clare said:

    What a transformation! Good work, as usual. I’d really like to know how you managed to eliminate the cat piss smell? This is a problem I have in our garage. I think the previous tenants kept the litter tray in there. It doesn’t both me too much because we don’t spend much time in there but if you have any tips for getting rid of the smell that would be great.

  49. 11.13.12
    Lisa W said:

    Your landlord should give a year of free rent just for this trasformation alone…..it is absolutely ridiculous how terrific it is.

  50. 11.13.12
    jbhat said:

    It’s just so perfect! And you are so funny. I read that particularly hilarious paragraph several times it was so funny. I’m glad you have a fauxdenza. It’s beautiful, and the flaws are invisible to me and my nakey eye.


  51. 11.13.12
    frances said:

    an ugly duckling to a swan…….amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  52. 11.13.12
    Shannon said:

    Holy fabulous! Jaw dropping transformation! Love, love, LOVE it!

  53. 11.13.12
    Lacey said:

    Oh my gosh, you worked wonders!! It looks fantastic!

  54. 11.13.12
    Kelly said:

    Wow its so odd that adding furniture to that hallway actually makes it look bigger. so cool.

    Daniel, I have to ask you about molding. I also live in a 100+ year old space. My home as most of the original wall trim around the windows and baseboards, except its been painted 100 million times. It cracked, chipped, bubbly, peeling, ugly and ragged. Usually not all in the same place, but sometimes. I tried stripping it and it was a complete nightmare that I never ever ever want to deal with again. I hate that as much as you hated those squares. So my question is what do you do with the molding in your apartment? Do you paint over or trip? What products and techniques do you use?

    • 11.13.12
      Sherri said:

      Ooh, if I could piggy back on Kelly’s questions — did you paint the molding / door frame BM White Dove *as well* as the walls? Or did you do a different white on them? It’s hard to tell from the pics.

      Gracias! Love it.

    • 11.14.12
      Daniel said:

      No, the moldings are all Benjamin Moore Super White (it’s an off-the-shelf can) in semi-gloss! Sorry, I should have made that clearer.

    • 11.14.12
      Daniel said:

      Yeah, our moldings all have tons of paint on them too. I kind of take the path of least resistance on things like that…I just chip off any loose/flaking pieces with a spackle knife and paint right over it. I guess you could also try a heat gun technique…they aren’t very expensive and less messy, but I really don’t deal with chemical strippers unless it’s totally necessary for some reason. That said, I rent, so I’m not super concerned with advanced restoration work. I really don’t mind when things show their history and what they’ve been through…and if that means moldings with many layers of paint, so be it!

  55. 11.13.12
    Jill said:

    I liked the before better.


  56. 11.13.12
    Sara said:

    Holy Crap, Daniel! This fauxdenza is the best and I’ve bookmarked it for a future project of mine. I have a 9 ft wide alcove in my dining room that something like this would be perfect for. Thanks so much for explaining how you did it and for all your wonderful ideas. Love your blog!

    • 11.14.12
      Daniel said:

      The fauxdenza would be great for that!! Lots of storage and a fabulous buffet surface, too!

  57. 11.13.12
    Brianna said:

    Only you could make that hallway look oh so wonderfully lovely. And you have sold me on the fauxdenza*

    *TM Anna Dorfman

  58. 11.13.12
    Kirk said:

    Ahh…nice. You mentioned somewhere that we wouldn’t believe what you had done with the hallway and always mention the lack of storage space, so I had a feeling you went the fauxdenza-route. Since the cabinets take up half of that 3′ wide hallway, is it a problem getting things in? Especially with all the stuff you lug in and out for projects/redecorating?

    • 11.14.12
      Daniel said:

      They don’t really take up half…more like a third. The hallway wall-to-wall in this section (discounting the depth of the baseboards) is about 39″, so the fauxdenza takes up about 13″ of that…so there’s still more than 2 feet walk through. It’s never been difficult getting anything in except one thing (which I’m keeping under wraps until a later post) that did require the whole thing to come down. Luckily it was very easy to remove and just put back up…whole ordeal was only a couple hours and it looks like nothing ever happened!

  59. 11.13.12
    grace said:

    i seriously can’t get over how you make EVERYTHING you touch better. seriously. this landlord is the luckiest person alive to have you guys in that apartment. it’s a magazine-quality makeover. well done.

  60. 11.13.12
    sarah said:

    yay! a good old fashioned MN post.
    Just like the good old days when I started following your blog wwaaayyy back in 2010 . How many spaces and places we have seen ?!

    Keep up the great work!


  61. 11.13.12
    stephanie said:

    F***ing Genius!

  62. 11.13.12
    Vanessa said:

    Well, as impressive as your hallway is (and it really, really is) I am actually here to tell you how much I loved your last post. I noticed a couple of comments here saying they were glad to get back to old MN posts, but what you wrote about marriage & equality was brilliant. I cried and watched that video a number of times. You are a great domestic, but I also love a flash of politics & personality. I visit for both :)
    Thanks for all you do!

    • 11.14.12
      Daniel said:

      Thank you, Vanessa, that’s very nice to hear! Hoping to strike a balance between old-school house posts and other…stuff. Glad to know I’m not the only one interested in that :).

    • 11.15.12
      misa said:

      completely agree! i loved that post.

      on a side note, now i have to go home and stand in my ugly hallways and clutch my hair and cry.

  63. 11.13.12
    Colin said:

    I saw that fauxdenza and I was all like “oh no he did not just put a mitred edge on that shiznit!” But then I read on and was like “oh he did. He did.” damn. You’re putting all us apartment-dwelling-DIYers to shame!

    Bravo for finding a way to fit some attractive storage in this narrow space! I imagine the long hallway also makes for some fun games of fetch with the scruff-monsters.

    You mentioned the gap between your baseboards and floors – did you fill that with caulk after pulling out the cat hair?

    • 11.14.12
      Daniel said:

      We can’t really play fetch in the apartment because of the downstairs neighbors!! Mekko nails skidding across a wood floor = noise complaints. whoops.

      So I attempted to caulk for about a foot before giving up…it was too messy and it really didn’t look good. It I were ever going to paint the floors (which crosses my mind 800 times a day), I’d probably do that, though. I like the idea of hermetically sealing my apartment as much as possible…some units in our building have mad roaches, and I don’t want them getting in here!

    • 11.15.12
      Nancy in Minnesota said:

      How do you keep the roaches from migrating to your apt?

    • 11.15.12
      Daniel said:

      Roaches really don’t seem interested in our apartment. We keep things clean and don’t really leave food out, and I think that helps a lot. We had a LOT of those poisonous roach trap things when we moved in, but I think I’ve removed them all and we haven’t had a problem! Hopefully that won’t change, I hate them!!!

  64. 11.13.12
    bekah said:

    as someone who recently ‘saved’ an Eames off a neighbors porch (dressed in black at 4am) I salute you. It was in a pile of trash and I live in a terrible neighborhood, so, its cool.

    • 11.14.12
      Daniel said:

      Oh, Bekah…be careful, girl! I’d say a good rule of thumb is to wait until it’s actually out on the street?

    • 11.14.12
      bekah said:

      I knooow, its danger/terrible karma, but it really was in a pile of garbage, almost hip high!

  65. 11.14.12
    pamela said:

    Whew, long post, but totally worth it! I love before and after pictures when they are so far from one another. What an amazing transformation. Great use of space. Bravo!

  66. 11.14.12
    Heather said:

    Oh, I’ve been waiting so long and patiently for the hallway posting! I once looked at an apartment uptown that had a hallway so long I could roller skate in it, and it gave me a little agoraphobia so I got a tiny studio instead. Yours looks fantastic!

  67. 11.14.12
    Mina said:

    Woooaoohh I love that! it’s really great now!
    I love your blog.
    Kisses from France !

  68. 11.14.12
    Tuesday M. said:

    Holy up the creek Batman! When I saw the original pictures of that hallway I could not imagine any way that one could make that space aesthetically pleasing….I stand corrected. You’re a hallway wizard!

  69. 11.14.12
    Kara said:

    Incredible! You have such vision for the diamonds in the rough. I’m thoroughly impressed.

  70. 11.14.12
    melissa said:

    You make a hallway look GOOD!

  71. 11.14.12
    Juliet said:

    You are a genuis, Daniel. This is so gorgeous. I want to live in your hallway.

  72. 11.15.12
    Nancy in Minnesota said:

    I kept seeing MN and thinking it was Minnesota. Ok, I’m a dork.

    Really look forward to seeing the rest of it and the kitchen too. :)

    I just made a nightstand so I know what you mean by thinking for a long time on the what and how. Made a few missteps along the way, but I’m pleased with how it turned out.

  73. 11.15.12
    Steph said:

    Nice transformation! Love how it doesn’t look crowded at all.

    Doggie update post please???


  74. 11.16.12
    Jennifer said:

    I love the fauxdenza, and it’s so clever that you wrapped it with wood. It makes it really look like a special piece.

    My house has crazy uneven floors due to foundation issues, and I have been looking for a storage solution that doesn’t touch the floor. If you wanna know how crazy check it out here: http://www.jjmodern.com/?p=130

    BTW, I also love the way you write. It always makes me smile when I read it. :) Thanks for the great idea!

    • 11.16.12
      Daniel said:

      Oh man, those floors are very uneven! But super beautiful!

  75. 11.17.12
    Camille said:

    This is absolutely famtastic , you did an amazing job! The whole entryway looks lovely and I’m ridiculously jealous of that fauxdenza

  76. 11.21.12
    gracie said:

    While I read this my boyfriend is watching a programme about the beginning of earth and how it was formed and I think I am more amazed by your hallway…! I love the idea of a faudxenza because I hate the cat hair/human hair/whatever else we’re shedding around here collecting around the legs of things! Although legs are nice too.

  77. 11.25.12
    Emma said:

    Hi! I was just wondering if you used wood conditioner on the ply before staining it. And did you use a poly sealer afterward? You don’t mention either of these steps in your posts about staining, and I’m so impressed with the results you get!

    • 11.26.12
      Daniel said:

      No, I didn’t use either! Though both might be a good idea, haha. I just sanded, applied the stain, and then finished with some oil (Danish or Tung, can’t remember) and Howard’s Feed n Wax. It’s good for surfaces that are easy to clean off and reapply the oil and wax every so often. Not recommended for bookshelves, though.

  78. 11.27.12
    MarlowWhere said:

    Where did you pick up your picture frames?

  79. 11.28.12
    Sonal said:

    Oh my, the before is as scary as the after is amazing. Seriously, great work! I lived in a triplex where the whole thing was basically as bad as your “before” hallway. We were nowhere as ingenious as you and ended up calling its quits and moving 6 months later.

  80. 11.28.12
    Lyda said:

    Wow, I gotta say that you did a fantastic job and I feel so much better for your space, even though it has nothing to do with me haha. I’m a new reader of your blog, I caught onto it from Apartment Therapy, someone mentioned your blog in their comments about installing frost on window panes …or maybe it was Houzz? In any case, I wanted to tell you that your hallway looks fantastic and you’re very smart at understanding scale. I would have thought adding any furniture, let alone a fauxdenza, would have totally blocked the way of the hall but you did it and it’s perfect and functional. One more thing, props to the rescue dog, i’ve got two of my own and feel strongly that people with rescue dogs are generally intelligent, caring people, of which the world could use more (or maybe I’m just flattering myself). :) Cheers!

  81. 11.29.12
    Amanda said:

    Any thoughts on how it would look to do the wood around the fauxdenza with veneers or even just wood contact paper?

    • 11.29.12
      Daniel said:

      I don’t think that would work very well…the top of the cabinets isn’t even (where the cabinets join, there’s about an 1/8th inch ridge), so you definitely want something a bit more rigid and substantial to cover that. The bulk of the project cost is really the cabinets, though…a piece of wood shouldn’t set you back more than about $40-50, and you can have Home Depot or Lowes cut it for you for free as long as you bring measurements!

  82. 12.5.12
    Cindy said:

    Hi! I’m in love with how you treated the fauxdenza. I’m revisiting this post to ask how difficult it is to open the cabinet doors? I have the same series of cabinets for my tv stand, entryway cabinet, and have a little Expedit for books that I would like to attach wood sides to (including the bottoms, I think) but am not sure if knobs/handles would be necessary?

    Basically I saw the kitchen in this post:
    today and realized I NEED to add wood around every single white piece of cabinetry I own. Obvs.

    Thanks in advance if you get a chance to answer this!

  83. 12.31.12
    Joy said:

    Hi Daniel–Did you use toggle bolts or EZ anchors? Do you think it matters?

    My walls are drywall with some kind of masonry (concrete?) about an inch behind the drywall. It’s weird because I’m used to old buildings with crummy plaster, but I’ve recently had a lot of success with EZ anchors (as per your awesome recommendation). I saw in one of your previous kitchen posts that you hung cabinets with toggle bolts. Do you think it makes a difference in this case?

    Thank you! Stunning work, as always.

    • 1.1.13
      Daniel said:

      Hi Joy!
      It really just depends on what you’re hanging and your wall material. On that wall in the kitchen, we just have drywall with a mix of wood and metal studs behind. The E-Z anchors I’ve used are rated for either 50 or 75 pounds, but the toggle bolts are supposed to hold about 100 pounds each. Since I couldn’t do the whole thing just screwing into studs, I opted for toggles since they can hold so much weight and obviously cabinets are HEAVY, particularly when filled with tons of dishes and stuff! The E-Z anchors are great for stuff that’s heavy but doesn’t need to hold SO much weight, though!

      If you have concrete that close behind your drywall, though, you might not be able to use toggle bolts! They need some clearance behind the wall board to straighten out and for the bolt to screw into.

    • 1.3.13
      Joy said:

      Thanks for your response! You’ve gotten to the crux of the dilemma–no real clearance for toggle bolts. But you know how it is–just work on it til it works (usually with some janky, backwards solution that turns out surprisingly sturdy). I’ll do some further research and let you know if installation is successful.

      Thanks again!