Brand New Year, Brand New…Paint!

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Ahhhhhh, the first days of a new year! The promise! The potential! The overwhelming need to try to start things off on the right foot, as though your actions at the beginning of the year probably-definitely-certainly will inform the rest of the year and, by extension, your entire life. Isn’t it exhilarating?

For me, the new year always brings with it a certain feeling of dread over the things I failed to accomplish in the previous year. I love performing the ritual of listing out goals in January, forgetting all about them, and then later using them to feed my end-of-year self-loathing about all the things that I haven’t actually managed to complete. Then I roll those items over into the next year, so what starts as an actionable plan to finally pull my life together inevitably just creates more evidence that I have not, in fact, pulled my life together. But maybe this is the year! Who’s to say! Because I’m kicking it off with a big grown-up someday project that has, heretofore, rolled over as a goal from year to year but has not actually gotten done.


My house is a big project, as we well know by now. And I’ve done a lot of work on it. But I’ve also neglected this space because it’s not an actual living space—just a large area you pass through to get to the living spaces. Like most typical side-hall layouts, this hallway runs from the front to the back of the house and contains both the stairs and access to all the main rooms. So I’ve told myself that it’s a project for another time since it won’t functionally change how I live in the house, and so I just have to wait.

The problem is, it makes me feel very bad, what with its abandoned paint samples and general rattiness. It’s like a monument to that final 10% (OK, maybe more than 10%) of work that’s so hard to get yourself to actually do, and it’s the FIRST thing you see when you walk in and the last thing before you depart. Added to this is the palpable sense of indecision, which is somehow scarier than the actual work? I generally think I’m a decisive person who knows what they want, and this hallway makes me question that idea every single day. I’ve been stumped for years, which makes me feel worse and more insecure and less capable of just making a decision!

So let’s end the madness. Right here right now. It’s 2020 and I have HAD IT.

To be clear, a lot of work has already gone into this space! It’s easy to forget, so let’s take a little trip back in time.

This is almost exactly 7 years ago, from the first time I saw the house! About 5 feet beyond the grand front doors was this big 1970s wall, covered in fake wood paneling with weird windows and a hollow-core door. I had been OBSESSED with this property listing but there were only a few photos and they were, unsurprisingly, horrendous, so I don’t think I was expecting this. Note also that both doorways to the current living room (left) and the enormous someday-living-room (right) are covered over in plywood, and that little tiny sconce on the wall was the ONLY source of light in the entire space.

BUT THEN! Once through that crazy “vestibule” I was hit with this gorgeous unpainted newel post and banister and I fell in love.

At the back of the staircase was this other 1970s wall, which provided the entrance to the first floor apartment.

At the top of the stairs was yet more 1970s fun and excitement! The door served as the entrance to the second floor apartment, and the entire upstairs banister was obscured by wood paneling to create more of a wall. They stopped the wall about 1′ short of the ceiling, for light I imagine?

It did not work especially well, because this hallway was DARK DARK DARK. So very dark. The upstairs space was also extremely narrow, in addition to being so so dark.

I’m unclear on whether the previous owners were just being kind of lazy when they built these additions or if they were concerned about preserving the house, but either way…the plywood-covered doorways still maintained the doors on the other side, none of the trim work had been removed or even really cut into, and I felt confident that the original banister would be hiding underneath the paneled walls. And it was! All of this was really very lucky and I’m so thankful they didn’t destroy the house in the process of dividing it up.

First order of business was opening up those doors again! It was so exciting.

And then the “vestibule” had to go too! Returning this space back to its original layout and scale was the stuff of old-house-renovation dreams! Immediately the house felt so open and airy, like it could breathe again.

Upstairs, I did in fact find the original banister relatively unscathed. The upstairs hall has no windows and is just generally pretty dark, but opening everything back up really helped.

I can’t forget about stripping ALL THAT WALLPAPER. It appeared to be a couple layers of wallpaper, and that green and gold pattern was actually painted with some kind of patterned roller. It was separating from the original plaster all over the place, and it all had to come down to restore the walls. Fun fun! So messy and sticky and slow.

Later on, I had the radiator moved away from the stairs and closer to the front door (if you really want to know, I actually put the hallway radiator in the dining room and the dining room radiator out in this location in the hall), other plumbing re-routed into the walls, and electric roughed in for new lighting! Then I tore out the ceiling, which had already been replaced with drywall that was poorly installed and even more poorly finished—it just made more sense to take it down and start over, especially since the living room and dining room both got new ceilings at the same time!

New ceiling! This was also the first time I hired Edwin—who knew what THAT would turn into?!

Finally, I did have some good sense to hire out skim-coating the walls, which was a huge job that I still would not want to attempt today. This left smooth and hole-free walls, ready for a little finish work and PRESTO! Restored hallway!

Except that’s not really what happened. All this major work occurred years ago at this point, and then progress in here just hit a total stand-still as other things were attended to. Eventually I did get my act together and throw a coat of primer on the walls, because I was sick of getting covered in white dust every time I swiped against the raw joint compound.

And that’s how it’s been for the last few years. Generally ignored and neglected. Being treated as a landing zone for materials and supplies as they round-robin their way in and out of the house. Waiting.

Well, I’m done waiting! I’m so tired of it looking so lousy in here, and so tired of apologizing to guests and sheepishly telling them the house is a “work in progress” as they walk in the front door and take it in. That feeling? It does affect the way that I live in the house. Negatively. And it occurs to me that if this space was “finished,” it wouldn’t matter so much what’s going on behind a few of the doors where rooms are in various stages of renovation, because the overall impression would not be one of a total construction site. This all sounds so luxurious, so I just have to make it happen!

I don’t think I’m easily overwhelmed, but yet this all feels extremely overwhelming for two main reasons. Maybe they sound familiar:

  1. The scale of the project. It is not really a room and yet there are—count ’em—13 doors in this hallway needing various levels of restoration work (think missing hardware, alignment issues that don’t allow them to close, sloppy old paint jobs, etc.). There are also 17 stair treads—all painted—and 57 spindles—all with some paint on them but not enough to justify painting them—and three transom windows and miles of painted trim and a lot of wall and ceiling surface area to contend with. Oh and the floor needs some patches where radiator pipes have moved around, and eventually a full refinishing.
  2. COMMITMENT PROBLEMS. How many years should it take for me to decide what I want to do? APPARENTLY ALL OF THEM. While my typical attitude toward painting is usually “hey, it’s just paint!” (i.e.—the easiest part of renovating and the least problematic to change down the line), this is SO MUCH WORK (see item 1) and SO MUCH PAINTING that I really don’t want to face redoing it any time soon. Which has created all this internal pressure to get it right the first time, which has led me into an insecurity spiral of uncommon proportions.

So I’ve been thinking long and hard about how to overcome these obstacles and get my butt in gear. I thought if I told you about them, it might help you work through whatever version of this hallway you have in your life! Unless you don’t have one. Think you’re better than me?! Ok fine. You are.

First, I finally cleared everything out. That stack of drywall had been there for years, and now it’s waiting in the other room. Hooray.

Next, I evaluated what actually needed to be done. I’ve had hallway blinders on for so long that I didn’t really have a list, and like most painting projects, it isn’t so much about the painting itself but all the prep that has to happen first to get a nice result. This list quickly became very daunting, so I turned to my default strategy: break up the project into parts so I don’t completely lose my mind! Sometimes you have to take it in smaller chunks to keep things feeling manageable, which I often forget is an option. Not everything is a strictly all-or-nothing endeavor, Daniel!

So. First I will tackle the upstairs hallway. It probably needs the least work? And getting it squared away should help motivate me to keep going. That, or I’ll just get completely burned out…but at least I will have accomplished something.

Then I will tackle the stairs”“a massive project unto themselves. I painted the bottom three treads black years ago to see how I liked it, and the verdict is: I HATE IT. Black treads often/usually look GREAT, but not only did the dogs and I quickly wear through the paint, I’ve finally made peace that I just CANNOT have painted floors in this house. They are destined to always look dirty—no matter the color—and I just simply cannot deal. Does that dog look like someone concerned with keeping dirt and fur off the floor? Because he is not remotely concerned. I am outnumbered in this regard and it’s a battle I plainly cannot and will not win.

Obviously, these stairs once had a runner. I’m actually pretty sure they’ve always had a runner, meaning that the paint build-up on other edge of each tread is…immense. So many layers. And I have considered a runner, but I actually don’t think I would like that option much better than painted stairs from a functional standpoint, and it would cost a fortune.

Which leaves me with…I’m going. To Strip. The treads. And I WILL SURVIVE IT. I used to get really hung up on whether to stain the treads to try to match the banister or the floor, but honestly? I think leaving them natural pine and then letting the sealer enrich them to whatever wood tone they want to be is going to be just fine. I’m testing out various chemical strippers to try to avoid lead exposure and endless hours of scraping and sanding, although I know scraping and sanding will inevitably be part of the process. I think I will be extremely happy with this result, and I’ll just divide and subdivide the process to keep it feeling achievable. A little bit at a time is the name of the game!

And then, finally, I will tackle the first floor hallway. And then it will be so so nice. I can’t wait to strip that transom window over the bathroom door at the back of the hallway! And put a doorknob on the bathroom door. And finally make what’s behind that door into a bathroom. Ha!

So now that I have a decent idea of the how, I just needed to commit to some daunting choices like color and fixtures and stuff. Easy, right? Fun, right? WRONG.

FOR INSTANCE. These samples have been on the wall for so long that I no longer remember what they even are. I did not label them because I figured I would tackle this in a timely manner and therefore would still have the benefit of my memory.

I think where I’ve gotten hung up on these decisions is the fact that there are a lot of options that would all look good! Hallways can be a great place to have some fun with some amazing wallpaper, and they can also be a perfect opportunity for dark and moody colors and interesting arrangements of art and some bold, whimsical choices. I’ve felt like there’s a simple solution that I know will look nice—white-ish trim, grey-ish walls, and black doors all around—but that I’d somehow be betraying myself or the house or everyone on the planet by just going with the simple solution. But sometimes classic and simple and—sure, maybe a little boring—is all you really want, and all it takes is the confidence to hush whatever’s telling you it’s not good enough and commit.

So I guess my basic rule is this: if you feel PASSIONATE about a bold decision, MAKE THAT BOLD DECISION. But if you feel on the fence, or like you should but your heart’s not really in it…there is nothing wrong with the most obvious choice. I’ve always felt like paint should complement whatever else you have going on in a given space, but it shouldn’t be the dominant choice. In other words, if you’re relying on the color of your walls to make or break a space, you’re probably doing it wrong—try to think more about lighting, rugs, art, objects, furniture, and architectural detail.

ANYWAY. Upon revisiting these samples that I’ve walked by everyday for years, I finally realized that none of them were really right, but that doesn’t mean the general direction was wrong. I can get a few more samples! Or 17 more!!!

Picking paint based solely on a paint chip rarely works out the way you want it to, so getting actual samples and painting big swatches is KEY. I like to narrow down by a process of elimination, and then paint more samples of the finalists in different areas to see how they work in different lighting.

So. I wasn’t kidding—I literally got 17 samples mixed. The women at the paint counter at Lowe’s are some of the nicest people ever for humoring me in this endeavor. And the craziest thing happened—I ACTUALLY THINK I MADE A DECISION. ACTUALLY SEVERAL DECISIONS. BEHOLD.

A mood board? FOR A HALLWAY? LIKE I SAID, 2020 IS WILD. Here’s what I’ve got!

  1. PAINT, DUH. I’m going with my gut, and my gut says that this space is so pretty on its own that it doesn’t need to get all gussied up—a quiet, classic approach won’t feel dated in a few years, but will really allow the existing architecture to shine. So it is decided: black doors (Sherwin Williams “Caviar”), white trim (Sherwin Williams “Extra White”), and grey walls (Sherwin Williams “Oyster White” I THINK). Grey paint is really tricky because of the temptation to go too dark (like my first round of samples), and the undertones will drive you nuts EVERY TIME. The swatch on this mood board looks like a putty color, but on my walls it has a lot of green and a little blue but somehow is still warm? I think I love it, but I won’t really know until I go for it. Obviously I will report back. After years of mostly using Valspar, I want to give HGTV Home by Sherwin Williams a shot—the paint itself is a little more expensive but coverage and durability I think are both supposed to be better, and since it’s a relatively narrow high-traffic space, the walls and moldings do get accidentally scuffed up on the regular.
  2. I’ll refinish the stair treads, which are old pine and hopefully will look amazing.
  3. A nice vintage rug in the entryway will really help define that space, and add some color and texture!
  4. The banister and spindles need some restoration work and stabilization, but will look more or less the same. I think the wood is mahogany!
  5. LIGHTING! I’ve already added the oh-so-fake-but-who-cares foam ceiling medallion, but I’ve had a little temporary bulb dangling there ever since there’s been an electrical box to power it! I AM SO READY FOR A REAL LIGHT FIXTURE. I like the contrast of a decidedly modern fixture in an old house to keep things from feeling too much like a time capsule, which led me to this fancy fancy Kichler chandelier from Lowe’s (currently 35% off!)! I’m so excited for it to be delivered so I can see it in person. It’s about 3 feet across with 8 bulbs, and I think it’s gonna look great. Eek!
  6. MORE LIGHTING! There are three light fixtures in the hall—one at the front, one at the back, and one over the stairs. The one over the stairs feels like the trickiest, because I want it to throw off a lot of light and feel kind of sculptural/impactful without being too in-your-face. I’m really hoping this Globe Electric number from Lowe’s (currently 40% off!) fits well, because the price is great and it’s also in the mail! It sort of feels like a modern mobile that also lights up.
  7. I got really excited the other night when I realized this is my moment to add traditional gold leaf house numbers to the transom window!!! I’m about to be too classy for words.
  8. Little details! Even though all the light switches in the hall are only a few years old, I want them to look like they’ve been there—so antique-style push-button switches it is! I haven’t used these in the past because $, but I love them and so I’m just going for it. 2020, baby!!!
  9. I ALSO ordered nice radiator flanges for where the pipes come up out of the floor. Currently I don’t think ANY of my radiators have them and I can’t wait for that to change!
  10. I *think* a little console table will fit nicely at the top of the stairs (I have a little modern one that belonged to my grandparents—the one on the mood board is kinda-sorta similar), which will probbbabbbbbly end up being where I stack dirty dishes that need to make their way back down to the kitchen after I eat my meals in bed while watching trash tv. Not that I do that!!! (except all the time).
  11. Finally, art! I’m stumped on art, to be honest. I have a lot of it laying around, including a couple of vintage sketch pads that I bought which are full of figure drawings. Lotsa nudes! Maybe get a bunch of them framed and do a big gallery wall?! I’m not sure. This feels so far in the future. It’s hard because there are big expanses of wall, but I think the space is too narrow for a huge piece to fill them.

SO! IT IS ON! I am shedding my old habit of beating myself up over this space and getting to WORK. I started a few days ago, and I have to say…I’m truly no longer mad at myself for not doing this earlier. The prep is always 10x what you think it will be, and this is no exception! It is SLOW SLOW SLOW so I just hope I can get it all done without losing steam. I’ll keep you updated along the way!

Are you circling back to a long-neglected project this January? Let’s hear it. I can’t be the only one!

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. 1.9.20
    Melissa said:

    At least the dirty dishes will all be in one place to take back downstairs! Can’t wait to see this makeover Daniel!

    • 1.9.20
      Daniel said:

      Haha!! And off the floor, since dogs! (AGAIN, NOT THAT I KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THIS)

    • 1.11.20
      jenna said:

      But dogs are the best pre-rinsing agent before the dishwasher!

    • 1.13.20
      Daniel said:


  2. 1.9.20
    MB said:

    You got this, Daniel! Who cares how long it takes. Your house, your timeline. And you’re not the only one, duh. Any minute now I’m going to get back on the trim painting project in mine. I previously did the ceilings and 75% of the trim and doors. But that last 25%…dang. Then I can finally paint the walls! 17 samples of paint coming in late 2020, in my guess!

    • 1.9.20
      Daniel said:

      You can do itttttt!

  3. 1.9.20
    Heather said:

    I’m super excited to follow along. I need my Daniel Insta-Stories fix!

    • 1.9.20
      Alison said:

      This!! Can’t wait!

    • 1.9.20
      Daniel said:

      Haha! It’ll LITERALLY be watching paint dry, but hey! Why not! :)

  4. 1.9.20
    Kim said:

    Remember how much stuff you pulled off in that kitchen in what…six weeks?!
    You. Got. This.

    2020 is your…well, you know what it is. Your traditional gold leafed bitch. That’s what.

    • 1.9.20
      Daniel said:

      From your lips to god’s ears!! And I know…I can’t believe I’m whining about PAINTING of all things…I think it’s just all the monotonous tedium that’s made it feel like such an overwhelming dragggggg. But the results will! be! worth! it! :)

  5. 1.9.20
    Laurel said:

    Ahhhh!! Daniel I’m so excited for you! This will be amazing! I remember when you first did all this plaster work repair and dry walled the ceiling. It is a daunting space for sure and I think your feelings are justified, but you have amazing taste so I’m sure it will turn out beautifully. Plus who wouldn’t love a hallway of nudes?

    • 1.9.20
      Daniel said:

      WHO WOULDN’T?! Not anyone I’d want in my house! ;)

  6. 1.9.20
    Laura said:

    wowww i love the mood board! Especially the button light switches. I’m rooting for you!

  7. 1.9.20
    Kimberly Arbuckle said:

    Hey there! I’m stoked to watch you achieve a beautiful and gracious entry space in which to display your dirty dishes ! You have the best and funniest homestuff bloggety blog on the interwebs. Oh, the vicarious fun I have had through your renovation and restoration antics! And I am MESMERIZED by your Burgevin Gardens Kitchen. I can’t stop looking at your before and afters. The pink window! The corner soldier! Everything! Aagghhh!

    • 1.9.20
      Daniel said:

      Thanks so much, Kimberly!

  8. 1.9.20
    Mette said:

    Omg! You are crazy for beating yourself up for not finishing *all the things*. You get sooo much done, I’m always impressed by how much you manage to do on several houses at once. You should try making a monthly tada-list. I’m sure you’ll give yourself a little more credit than you do now

    • 1.9.20
      Daniel said:

      Thank you, Mette! Maybe I’ll give the Ta-Da list a shot! I do *know* that I keep busy and am not a lazy person, which I think is why this hallway bothers me…it just FEELS lazy? There are so many other projects that are so involved, but this (at least at first glance) just looks like I don’t care enough to slap some paint on the walls, which I know isn’t *actually* true but is easy to tell myself every time I walk through it. Which is a thousand times a day! I honestly think the house’s to-do list will feel like so much less of a “cognitive itch” (to borrow a phrase I will now be using all the time!) if this space wasn’t such a constant reminder of the scale of everything I have left to do!

  9. 1.9.20
    Chrissy DeMartinis said:

    Thanks for another awesome, “You cheered me up again!” post. I’m really grateful you make the time to share your journey with us.

    Are you sure you don’t want to paint stripes in all the sample grey colors in the hallway LOL

    …that’s why I can’t buy paint samples BUT I can commit relatively quickly to a color which sometimes drives my family crazy. I’ve only ever repainted immediately once because the color was NOT what it was supposed to be and, as it turns out, when I took the paint back, they admitted the label wasn’t what the paint actually was and they gave me the right one for free (as they should). Then again, I stand at the paint counter and ask for the color recipe then tweak the pigment counts to get the color I want sometimes so I might not be a good example of how to get the color you want. Every time I do that they say, “If I make this, you have to buy it because it’s not even a thing.” And then they change the number and tell me what actual color I’ve just asked for an we find the sample on the chip wall. It’s hysterical…to me. I live a sheltered life.

    Can’t wait to see what you choose. I took a figure drawing class years ago. I still have several of the sketches of our nude model, Sara, hanging up (although they’ve all migrated to the bedroom in our new house). It’s made me think that every house should have at least one nude art piece to remind us how human and utterly absurd we are.

    • 1.9.20
      Daniel said:

      Haha, Sherwin Williams, give Chrissy a job! (and YES every house needs a nude or two or one thousand. I wholly endorse this rule!)

  10. 1.9.20
    Betsy said:

    100% confidence that whatever you create will be beautiful, Daniel! Sounds like a ton of work but remember that time you planed every single board on the side of your house one by one? Or that time you renovated an entire kitchen with no money in what seemed like 2 weeks? If anyone can tackle a fancy hallway, it’s you. Question for you – if the treads are natural pine, how do you merge that with the gorgeous trim on the sides of the stairs? Wood tread supported by white trim on the side? I don’t know any of the fancy vocab words but hopefully you understand what I mean! Btw that scrolly side trim is beautiful and love that it repeats overhead.

    • 1.9.20
      Daniel said:

      How could I forget! I can do it!! I just have to muster the energy and patience. The patience part is the hardest I think…planing boards is pretty immediately gratifying but paint prep is a killer…you can work for 8 hours day after day, and it just looks worse and worse until you FINALLY get to the paint part and then BOOM! MAGIC! Trying to stay focused on the magic bit, haha.

      Yep, I know what you mean, and that’s the solution! Pine treads with white trim below/risers. I’ve seen instances where that cove molding that supports the underside of the tread is the same color as the tread, which looks great too…makes the treads look a little thicker and the staircase less steep, but I don’t have the strength for that! Since all of this was always meant to be painted, I think only stripping the treads is the best solution here. Who knows what’s under the paint on everything else!

  11. 1.9.20
    Tom said:

    Dan – You are amazing! Thanks for sharing not only your efforts, but also your emotions. I just redid my old hall, which had some serious dents in the plaster and went with textured wallpaper from Herzogs. It was easy enough to put up, but to stabilize the raised texture in the paper – it needed a coat of paint. Who puts up wallpaper that needs to be painted? Anyway, I’m still wrestling with the stair treads, so it will be fun to watch your progress. Keep up the good work, please.

    • 1.9.20
      Daniel said:

      Thanks Tom! We both put up wallpaper that needs to be painted, evidently! I used anaglypta in my bathroom in the spring, and it looks so gooooood with paint! I know someone else in Kingston that used the same paper and did an amazing traditional faux finish on it…like a dark base coat with gold bringing out the patterned detail. It’s versatile stuff!

  12. 1.9.20
    Caitlin said:

    It’s 2020, so hope this year brings you even more clear vision (ha!!).

    I’ve been running into the “overwhelming project procrastination” feeling with decluttering various areas of our house for years and I’m slowly starting to realize I don’t have to tackle a WHOLE project all at once to feel better about it. I don’t have to clean out the whole closet – I can focus on cleaning out a drawer, and save the rest for the next time to chip away at it. Instead of spending an overwhelming weekend dealing with tearing something apart and putting it back together, I’m getting better at working on more manageable sections and it’s helping me maintain my momentum better. Hopefully tackling small sections of your house will make it more feasible for you, too!

    If you’re feeling really burnt out, say “I’ll work on X (maybe sanding or chipping paint) for 15 minutes and then stop”. Then, pat yourself on the back for working for a short amount of time instead of beating yourself up for not spending the whole evening killing yourself.

    I think fixing up these high-visibility areas will really help you de stress and have less to-do projects “in your face”, so I hope it goes smoothly and quickly for you! Happy New Year!

    • 1.9.20
      Daniel said:

      That’s exactly right! As much as I love Marie Kondo and what she’s done for my clothing drawers, that all-or-nothing approach is EXACTLY what stops me from doing anything at all most of the time. It doesn’t work for everyone and that’s OK! I try to break down my to-dos into as many steps as I can think of (since there are always MORE steps than I can think of!) and remember that the only way to get to the finish is taking all of those little steps along the way. It doesn’t make it less exhausting, but I think it helps mentally!

  13. 1.9.20
    Amy said:

    I love your plan, I love your choices, and I know EXACTLY how paralyzing a big project can be. You can do this!!!

    I’m excited to see those stairs stripped. I pulled carpet and linoleum, and scraped paint off my (much more modest) flight of pine stairs and I am so happy with the look and the feel underfoot.

    I love push button switches but I hope you consider using dimmers in the hallway. It’s great to be able to set the lights lower during parties or if you know you’re coming in at night and don’t want to get blinded by bright light. Also great to leave them on low overnight if you have houseguests. They can find their way to the bathroom without crashing around.

    I was talking to friends yesterday about front doors and hallways and how they are the “handshake to a house.” Setting the tone and personality for the whole place. I can’t wait to see the end result.

    • 1.9.20
      Paula said:

      You can get the same effect with Hue Phillips wifi light bulbs on a regular switch.

    • 1.9.20
      Daniel said:

      Nice, that is a big job!! Did you use any chemical strippers or just scrape?

      Oh, and the push-buttons come as dimmers now! They just work a little differently—the top button turns the light on and off, and the bottom one rotates to dim. Modern technology is wild that way! So everything will be dimmable, yes!

    • 1.10.20
      Amy said:

      What?! There are dimmer push button switches?! Excellent news.

      My stairs had a bit of adhesive residue from old linoleum and multiple uneven coats of paint on the treads and risers (more at the edges because, like your place, I think there had been a runner). I used a gel stripper for both the treads and risers, let it sit for HOURS on the first pass and about an hour on the second pass. I used a plastic scraper so I didn’t gouge the soft wood. A couple of passes took almost everything off with very little elbow grease, I did need to go over a few stubborn spots with a third coat of stripper and a metal scraper. Once the stripper was wiped off and the wood was dry I used a palm sander to smooth things out but not to take out the old dips and wear patterns. Finished it all with multiple coats of danish oil, caulked the seams where the treads and risers met the stingers. Something I learned by not doing – strip every other stair so you can still go up and down while the stripper is working away.

      The stairs go between the main floor with is a 6″ wide antique pine plank in a danish oil finish and the second floor which is a 2.25″ oak strip with a satin varnish. The railing and stringers are painted white. Even though it’s not a ‘match’, I like the look of the pine against the oak strip and the tidy, formal railing. It shows the evolution of the house and that’s more important to me than a perfect match. I suspect you’ll feel the same about the mix of elements in your home too.

    • 1.13.20
      Daniel said:

      Smart! I’m lucky that the center of the treads is unpainted, so I can get away with stripping one side and then doing the other side. I don’t know how I’d get the dogs to only use every other step, haha! I think you’re right on the wood tones—as long as I can get down to the wood at all! It’s proving a real challenge, haha!

    • 1.10.20
      pericolosaa said:

      Do you know about Speedheater infared paint stripper systems?
      I first read about them here:
      I have no first-hand experience to share, but Devyn gives a thorough account of his.

    • 1.13.20
      Daniel said:

      I do know! Those types of strippers are supposed to be great, but they’re just so expensive. My pockets aren’t that deep!

  14. 1.9.20
    Meredith said:

    I’m literally dancing in my seat to dig into this post, but you mention the whole dream-list-overwhelm-ignore-guilt cycle. AKA my resting state in life. But I’ve made great strides because a friend of mine – who has become a professional organizer – taught me the Getting Things Done (GTD) method (which sounds like a cult). A former CEO invented for himself and wrote a book about decades ago, so it’s a little business-y, but it works very well for this interior designer and mom who likes DIY but has no time for it. I have zero stakes in this, it’s just helped me so much I wanted to share.

    There’s nothing to buy and no membership or anything; it’s mostly reworking your to-do lists to be easier to finish and – crucially – stop berating yourself for falling behind. Highlights: first, break out to-do lists based on where you have to be to accomplish them. Then when you’re sitting in a doctor’s office killing time, you can pop open a list for ‘phone calls’ and get some crap done without feeling nagged by the unfinished things you could only do at Bluestone cottage. Two: separating the big projects off from your ‘to-do’ because “renovate my kitchen” is not achievable in the next two hours, but you may be at Lowes for a client and your ‘hardware store’ list includes a small but necessary item for your own kitchen – boom, actionable and achieved. So you keep your action list achievable in little bites, and the big picture is a separate sheet of paper that doesn’t guilt you. Three: a ‘someday/maybe’ list for things that are exciting to plan but in no way priority, so they don’t nag you when you’re buying groceries. Four (the big one mentally): never leave out the materials for unfinished projects to “remind” you to do them, because all they do is guilt you. Make your space as tidy and pretty as possible, make a note of where the stuff is so you can find it when you actually have time, and you’ll stop feeling like a big fat failure just walking past a pile of things you meant to do. It worked for me mentally within ONE DAY.

    The mental space it has given me was shocking. It’s wonderful. I could connect you to my friend, who is like a personal trainer for learning and implementing the method, or you could just buy the book and try it yourself. It’s adaptable to any system you want (paper lists, excel sheets, phone apps) and basically just teaches you how to be kind to yourself and be your own executive assistant. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

    • 1.9.20
      Daniel said:

      Thanks for this, Meredith! I am a chronic and constant list-maker, but admittedly I do it more to calm (or enhance??!) my anxiety than to really refer to as I’m doing stuff. I’ve tried various methods but location-based lists is new to me! And makes a lot of sense! Maybe I’ll get the audiobook to listen to as I sand moldings and strip stair treads! :)

    • 1.10.20
      Meredith said:

      I’m that way with lists too. It’s been a learning curve, and I e fallen off the wagon for following it closely, but even those basic four things have definitely helped me. The book has compelling arguments about the soothing power of writing down every single thing your brain insists you should be doing RIGHT NOW. So even if you never look at the list again, somehow you scratch the itch of RIGHT NOW and my brain at least quiets down. It remembers something random and thinks ”˜oh right, that’s on a list. Carry on.’ Hope it’s helpful!!

      Btw I’m 100% on board with the paint scheme you picked. Sometimes you can “dare to be dull” in a space and it’s actually the loveliest option. It’s gonna look just right!

    • 1.9.20
      Lori said:

      Ok, this is super interesting! I am someone who needs to make lists, and I love crossing off items on lists to motivate myself (and yes, I purposely break lists down into the smallest components so I can award myself for crossing stuff off, because I am prone to anxiety and easily overwhelmed). I love this idea of making to-do’s location based. Gonna see if my library has this book, thank you!

  15. 1.9.20
    'col said:

    SO EXCITED for progress on this, even though progress is likely to be incremental because the space is so big. Show me the increments! I am here for them! I am off to get a screwdriver that I thought I already owned but no, and then do a couple of tiny things in the house (fix a dresser drawer, put up an ugly-but-necessary bag-wrangling device inside a kitchen cabinet). Yay, Daniel!

    • 1.9.20
      Daniel said:

      That’ll feel so good! Yay! :)

  16. 1.9.20
    Paula said:

    Wallpaper stripping is one of those horrible DIY projects that you instantly forget after doing it, so when you walk into an unfinished room where you had to strip wallpaper, it feels like you’ve done nothing, when in fact you just did the shittiest job there is.

    You’re reminding me how much work it took to strip the wallpaper in my bathroom, so my currently unfinished walls aren’t getting me down as much. When I really don’t want to do something I find tricking myself into doing something small works, and once you get started the momentum will keep you going. That and your tried and true break it down into small parts trick!

    I love your choices, classic as ever!

    And not to overwhelm you even MORE, but I have to admit that I’ve been dying to know what the plan is for your other living room. You know, the one on the other side of the house that’s big enough to host a modest rave?

    • 1.9.20
      Daniel said:

      Hahaha, right?! Wallpaper stripping is the old house version of picking a scab. Gross yet weirdly addictive!

      Oh man, the other living room! The long and short is that it’s really last on the priority list, since the house totally feels like a fully-formed house without it, ya know? So I don’t even really think about it much…it’s there for someday, but right now it just holds a hoard of extra furniture, art, lighting, and renovation supplies, pretty much. It’s kind of a horror show, honestly!

    • 1.9.20
      Jakob said:

      Side note, what’s above your other living room? Is it original or an early add-on?

    • 1.13.20
      Daniel said:

      I *think* it’s an early add-on, but I really don’t know. And there’s nothing above it, just a little attic-y crawlspace accessible through a removable beadboard access panel in the upstairs linen closet! *IF* anybody ever needed this house to be bigger, I don’t think it would be criminal to raise the roof a little and add a second story there for more bedrooms/master suite or whatever. As long as they reconstructed the cornice faithfully. ;)

    • 1.9.20
      Sara L. said:

      That’s hilarious, I was also going to ask about that “other” living room! Seeing the door to it reminded me of it. I always thought the same thing as you, Daniel, you have so much house already that you don’t need it, but it was such a cool space, I hope it eventually gets some attention. You know, in, like, another 6 years or so. No pressure.

    • 1.13.20
      Daniel said:

      It definitely will! It’s just way down on the list. It will need some $$ but not a TON—hardwood floors and new ceiling (and I’m sure a thousand other things) but will be so spectacular. It’ll really take this house from a nice old house to a grand old girl perfect for entertaining! At least in my head, haha.

  17. 1.9.20
    nancy said:

    YAY!!! I feel you with the resolutions. But we’re all here for it, and excited for what you’ll accomplish!!

  18. 1.9.20
    April said:

    I live for your projects so bring it on in 2020!

  19. 1.9.20
    Jude said:

    Love your renovations Daniel – so creative and frugal! One question for the hallway – is this where you or guests enter the house regularly? Where do people hang their jackets, put their shoes/boots, gloves, scarfs, hats, sunglasses?

    • 1.9.20
      Daniel said:

      Yep, it’s definitely the most frequently used entrance/exit. I’m working on that storage issue!! Currently there’s really nothing to accommodate any of that, and without a hall closet it’ll have to be something fairly minimal. Sometimes I consider moving/downsizing the radiator AGAIN and switching it to the opposite wall (thereby freeing up that wall for some kind of hall tree or whatever), but I didn’t have that much forethought when I had it moved the first time, and the middle of winter is NOT a good time to be shuffling radiators around the house, haha! For now it might just be some simple hooks. I’m not really sure!

    • 1.9.20
      Southern Gal said:

      ikea has a great coat/hat tree. it actually looks good (i realize you may want something older but its a good price and lots of storage fast)

    • 1.13.20
      Daniel said:

      Thank you! I guess I’m thinking something more like a victorian hall tree and less freestanding? Or something wall-mounted? But I may have to accept that this just isn’t the space for it. I have a couple ideas!

    • 1.11.20
      April said:

      For coat storage in our tiny Victorian, my husband took an old piece of lumber from our porch restoration (old cedar) and then installed four old white porcelain doorknobs we got from Zabrowski’s (up in your town!) and we hang our coat on those doorknobs. Just an idea for you.

    • 1.13.20
      Daniel said:

      Nice! Love me some Zaborski’s, haha!

    • 1.13.20
      Jude said:

      I look forward to seeing your storage solutions! If you live anywhere where there is snow, it is such a major issue. I spend a ridiculous amount of time thinking about entrance ways and storage which leads to my second hobby of thinking about mud rooms and enclosed porches. At the least the radiator is good for drying gloves and hats on? Perhaps a custom bench with some shoe storage underneath in the small wall space between the doors? Good luck!

  20. 1.9.20

    Holy moly, that mood board is ev-er-y-thing. I’m gonna live vicariously through this project, since my “entryway” (such as it is) is pretty cramped and I don’t have the money/skill/space/will to move walls. Can’t wait to see how this turns out! Be kind to yourself and don’t rush – good things take time. <3

    • 1.9.20
      Daniel said:

      Very true! Thanks, Laura!

  21. 1.9.20
    Jacqui said:

    Daniel you so have this. If only I lived near I’d be so happy to come to a meet the author /stair tread scraping party to help and keep you company. It is going to be amazing and it’s such a good idea.

    • 1.9.20
      Daniel said:

      Aw, thank you! I’d never put somebody through that, but some friendly company wouldn’t hurt! :)

    • 1.11.20
      April said:

      Came here to tell you about the wonders of the Cobra Infrared Speedheater. We have two (a small one for our windows and a large one for doors, flooring, exterior clapboard, etc.). Anyway, we live in the Hudson Valley and would be happy to join you for a “paint removal party” and bring along our fancy tools, if you are interested. They are truly amazing. They make short work of stripping paint and do so in much less challenging ways than using chemical strippers. And because they are infrared, they don’t heat the lead paint up too hot–they are designed to allow for safe lead paint removal. I included a link to our blog post where we did the exact same thing on our stairs, in case you want to see the before and after from JUST the Speedheater, then a sander. We’re pretty much done with our interior restorations, which means we’re stuck inside without too many projects to do while waiting for it to warm up enough to return to working on our exterior. H

    • 1.13.20
      Daniel said:

      Thanks for this offer, April! Might just shoot you an email…the chemical strippers aren’t working super great, and I can’t afford the Cobra but have heard great things!

  22. 1.9.20

    Aloha Daniel! Great vision for the hallway. I think the hallway in the Domus was the most challenging project that took the longest and had the greatest amount of procrastination. Someone had painted the banister putty and the spindles babyshit harvest gold. Hell, all the millwork was “harvest gold with a layer of nicotine” throughout the house. There’s something very soothing about walking into the house and entry and feeling that sense of home. I’m so glad you’re tackling this and will achieve that feeling this year.

    We are going to tackle the whole house, well mostly the whole house. I think we’re going to replace all the exterior doors in February (2 sliders and the front door) and then the floors and kitchen. Baths will have to wait until I can afford to do them. But the thought of having a decent kitchen and decent floors is terribly exciting. It will include replacing the dinky window over my sink into an expansive 6 foot window, an 8 foot bar, and 17 feet of cabinets and counters. We’ve spent all our time and money on the downstairs apartment and the car port over the past two years (gotta take care of the money maker!), and so it is exciting to be contemplating our actual living space!

    Good luck and keep plugging!

    • 1.9.20
      Daniel said:

      Ohhhh, exciting! 17 feet of cabinet space! You’re going to be over the moon!! I’d love to see updates on the blog if you ever feel like sharing!! :)

  23. 1.9.20
    Robin said:

    So exciting- a project in your own home!! I am going to love following along with your HARD work. Any chance you might update us on your kitchen, whatever stage it is at?

    • 1.9.20
      Daniel said:

      Sure, I’ll try to put a post together! Not a ton has changed but hoping to get back to it this year…the “temporary” kitchen hasn’t turned out to be all that temporary!

  24. 1.9.20
    Cheryl said:

    I’m so excited for you to do this and I’m 100% behind the choice to frame and hang the figure drawings! I think they will look fantastic in that space.
    I too am planning on tackling a hallway! Although, MUCH smaller and much less work. But it will feel good for sure and I will finally hang the framed art that’s been leaning against the wall for a year. Oy.

  25. 1.9.20
    Katrina said:

    I have to do my hallway too! The previous owners painted it flat, flat, flat and it’s just covered in marks. And the light fixture is also too small. And the stairs have a sad, office-style grey runner. I did scrape the paint off the transom and the glass is… red? It’s def vintage so I want to keep it sort of but I also wonder why red? Anyway! You’ve always amazed me and I’m sure the hall will be gorgeous, can’t wait for the reveal!

    • 1.9.20
      Daniel said:

      Interesting! Is it Victorian? If you end up wanting to change it, often salvage shops will have pieces of cool old patterned glass (or cheap doors with glass inserts you can harvest) that you can have re-cut at a glass shop to avoid the brand new clear look. Sorry if that’s stating the obvious, haha! Thank you!!

  26. 1.9.20
    Kimberly said:

    So excited for this project (and for you once you start to feel the momentum of progress!). I took a break from our whole house project (some true reno, some just ambitious cosmetic updates) in December and November and I’m chomping to get back at it. Breaks are key. I’m tackling either the laundry room or the kids’ room next – still trying to decide.

    • 1.9.20
      Daniel said:

      Nice! Good luck, whatever you decide!! :)

  27. 1.9.20
    Justynn said:

    We have Osyter White for the main areas of our home and it’s the best color! It changes throughout the day with the levels of light and I’m always happy with it. At night with only lamps it turns into a deep warm neutral, and during the day it cools with the daylight. We have an old 50s Ranch with 3ft overhangs for the roof so even through we get lights it’s very shadow-y.

    • 1.9.20
      Daniel said:

      Ah, that’s great to hear! It’s one of those non-color-colors that’s so tricky, but everywhere I’ve put up a sample I think I really like it! Totally not what I expected to like but things often aren’t!

    • 1.21.20
      Tisha said:

      This is good to know! I’m looking for a nice, neutral color for the main area of my 50s ranch with overhangs. :)

  28. 1.9.20
    Susan L. said:

    I can’t wait to see this! I appreciate your thoughts about how to choose when you have strong opinions and when you don’t. I’m not sure about the light fixtures but I have learned to trust you. You have helped me think about a big project I am working on (or not) and I am motivated to tackle it! Thanks and I’ll be watching. Best to you for 2020.

    • 1.9.20
      Daniel said:

      Thanks, Susan! I’m not sure about the light fixtures either, but we’ll find out! Worst case I’ll just return them or swap them down the line…unlike painting this space, THAT part really is an easy change! Waiting with anxious anticipation to see them in real life! :)

  29. 1.9.20
    Ann said:

    I’m excited you’ve started another project. This looks like a TON of work, but the end result will be fabulous and you’ll be so happy you did it. Just imagine June 2020 when you have the front door open and light is spilling into your gorgeous foyer!
    I didn’t see in the post that you plan to put crown molding along the ceiling/wall joint? I hope you do! It’ll look so finished and classy. Also, you mentioned being a bit stuck for art in the hall. Think about hanging a rug or a quilt on that wall parallel to the stairs; that hall gets a lot of use and traffic, and if you put framed pictures there you’ll always be twitching them back into place. But a rug or a quilt? Would look wonderful and can take the abuse of being brushed or bumped.
    I can’t wait to see what you do in this space. I have faith it’s going to be GOOD.

    • 1.9.20
      Daniel said:

      It’l be soooooo exciting to see that front entry part looking all spick and span, for sure!! I’ve never seen it that way!

      I’ve debated crown SO MUCH, but I get stuck on what to do when you get to the front door, since the molding goes all the way to the ceiling?? This has led me to believe there was never crown molding in this hall (also didn’t see any evidence of it back when the walls were stripped bare), but I agree that it would be extremely nice!

      Textile on that wall is such a good idea!! Definitely might steal that!! This one antique coverlet I bought JUST BECAUSE IT’S SO BEAUTIFUL BUT HAVE NEVER PUT ON A BED might be a perfect candidate!!

  30. 1.9.20
    Jillbert said:

    I’m so happy you are being sponsored for another project and can not wait to see the awesome results!

    • 1.9.20
      Daniel said:

      Me too, Jillbert! Thank you!

  31. 1.9.20
    Kayla said:

    Yay!! Slow decorating is REAL life. Don’t try to trick us again with that boom the kitchen is done crap
    Seriously excited and feeling exhausted for you. Can’t wait to cheer you on during another go at it!! Any progress IS progress and I like the idea of taking it in small steps (that are still huge, painful, daunting steps). This is every renovators stressball of euphoria. You got this.

    • 1.9.20
      Daniel said:

      Hahaha! I wasn’t trying to be tricky!! But it was kind of fun…for me…lol. Hopefully I don’t lose steam too fast…this is some seriously long, mostly boring work!

  32. 1.9.20
    Claudia said:

    Your plans sound fantastic and you are going to feel GREAT once this project is finally off your to-do list!!

  33. 1.9.20
    Marjory said:

    Not to add to your project list…but what if you created a dumbwaiter for all those upstairs dishes?? :D I can’t wait to follow along with this reno. I’ve been reading your blog sporadically for years, but when you shared the kitchen reno via instagram stories, I felt like I was tuning in to my favorite show! I hope you’ll do the same for the hallway!

    • 1.9.20
      Daniel said:

      Hahaha, I have ABSOLUTELY considered a dumbwaiter for EXACTLY this one stupid problem! Which wouldn’t be a problem if I could just manage to sit and eat without a TV in front of me when I’m alone. WE ALL HAVE OUR WEIRD LITTLE THINGS. But alas, there just isn’t really anywhere to put one. ADORE the idea, tho!

  34. 1.9.20
    Janine said:

    Am I crazy, or do your stairs call out for Victorian dust corners?

    I just learned about these and I’m obsessed.

    Your post is inspiring! I also have a long neglected space – my own bathroom. We’re just finishing a main floor renovation and so perhaps it’s time for me to invest in ME. I should rehab my sad, tiny bathroom. It’s a closet full of skin care products, bad lighting, and paint that’s coming off the walls because the bozos who renovated it didn’t remove the drywall dust before priming and painting. I bet Lowes can help!!

    • 1.9.20
      Daniel said:

      Gah, I do love them! Why did you have to remind me of dust corners?!! I’m trying to save money here!!!

      Lowe’s *can* help! This stuff is kind of a miracle for peeling and dries to a great surface for new paint to adhere to. I know it comes in gallon and quart sizes too, but those might only be available elsewhere. I’m not seeing them on the Lowe’s site.

  35. 1.9.20
    Polly said:

    Amazing! You totally need your own tv show!

  36. 1.9.20
    Jennifer I said:

    Six years!?!! Nooooo. I started reading your blog when you were working on this hallway. I think this hallway certainly brings out your writing voice — totally hooked on the adventures of Daniel after reading it. I think it will be fabulous. And I like the Sherwin paint, just used it for my living room and a bedroom and the coverage is great.

    • 1.9.20
      Daniel said:

      Closer to SEVEN years, if you want to get all technical about it! I know. Insane!

      Good to hear on the paint! Did you find that you had to thin it at all?

  37. 1.9.20
    J-Dub said:

    Hi Daniel,

    This is a great project to kick-start 2020 as the things that make us sad are the things we change first. Or something like that. Am I crazy to be most excited about the radiator flanges? I have a slew of radiator pipes in original 1920s fir floors and have not found any flanges that fit — the vintage are too small and the new are shiny plastic-like horrors. I have fingers crossed that you will offer a better solution than steel wool pads (which stopped the cricket invasion but….).

    Anyways, look at you, roaring into the ’20s…


    • 1.9.20
      Daniel said:

      Hahaha, you might be crazy but then so am I! I got mine at Signature Hardware…there are a couple design options, several finish options, and several sizes available…not an inexpensive endeavor, but I think it’ll be a big improvement over having no flanges and just awkward square holes in the floor for round pipes. I got chrome ones because it was the least expensive option, and I’ll just spray paint them when they get here.

  38. 1.9.20
    Virg said:

    Adore you and can’t wait to see! Moodboard looks A++++.

  39. 1.9.20
    Diane C said:

    OMG, your second paragraph slayed me! You are a genius with words and houses and…so many other things. DH and I are between projects as this new decade dawns and it feels…weird. Until we discover what the universe has in store for us next, I plan on living vicariously through you. No pressure, though. Can’t wait for your next installment.

  40. 1.9.20
    Nancy said:

    Daniel, please don’t be so hard on yourself! Even though my idea of DIY is contracting to have the work done, I love your blog! Your writing is so witty and your projects are mind-blowing! I don’t know how you do such incredible work on your own home and the homes of others and then write it all up in a very amusing and charming voice with All The Details. This blog is a delight, and I love Lowes for being a sponsor. (Also for allowing me to return that rug from my living room on Day 89…”¦)

    I’m hoping this will be the year my husband finishes painting the indoor trim at our cottage – a project begun in 2008. So, yes, it’s 2020 and anything can happen!

    Love your work! Also, more dogs randomly scattered about, please.

  41. 1.9.20
    CR said:

    Wow, your choices look faboulous! I wish you to get in flow mode every time you need it!

  42. 1.9.20
    Isabel said:

    Super stoked to follow your hallway renovation! Entry spaces and hallways are so important and I think just moving the sheetrock out of the way made a huge difference! I am convinced that when you have obstacles like that in the way of visitors it is as though you are telling them to stay away. I lived with a pretty blah center hallway for years and the space feels so alive since I painted it and spruced it up with art, storage and plants. You can feel energy flowing through it (if you believe in such things). Always excited to read your blog.

  43. 1.9.20
    Arli said:

    Oooooh, SO exciting! She’s gonna be a beautiful hall. I hope you story it so we can follow along like the Burgevin kitchen.

  44. 1.9.20
    Rachel said:

    Hey there! long time reader, first time commenter (I think).

    I live in a victorian apartment in San Francisco and we recently stripped our stairs (we hired it out, 3rd floor walkup = 33 stair treads = not a DIY job…)

    Our stair treads are douglas fir I think and TBH I don’t love the way they look next to the white oak floor but I like it a hell of a lot better than what it was before (painted BROWN). It sounds like you may be in the same boat but none of this is to say that you shouldn’t strip them, you ABSOLUTELY should. I just find myself 1% bummed when I notice the warmer doug fir next to the white oak and I wanted to share my perspective!

    There needs to be some kind of special jail for people who paint wood brown. I mean seriously, what even is that.

    • 1.13.20
      Daniel said:

      Hahaha! Yes painting wood brown has never made any sense to me! I feel mostly prepared for the contrasting wood situation…I’m hoping that since everything else is painted, the different wood tones will feel kind of nice instead of busy. I wish I were in a better position to refinish the floors at the same time—it would be nice if those were in the same family as the treads, but I won’t know until I get to them down the line! We’ll all find out together!

  45. 1.9.20
    Rosie said:

    Just today, I repainted our kitchen cabinet face frames for the 3rd time (hopefully got it right this time!), and I’m hoping to keep the momentum going to actually finish the cabinets after at least 2 years in their unfinished state. We built them ourselves, so we were waiting to get the color right on the face frames before finishing off the doors and drawer fronts…but getting the color wrong twice (it’s a blue/green/gray situation, and there’s some green slate nearby and lots of various levels of sunlight – super challenging!) really took the wind out of that project, because the prep – taping off all the appliances, walls, floors, etc. – was so annoying. So fingers crossed that this time is good and we can go on, because I’m so tired of all the hardware and other pieces cluttering up the basement! Keeping the momentum going once something is functional but not yet finished is tough!
    Good luck to you, and add me to those who would watch the insta-stories, even if it’s mostly watching paint dry!

    • 1.13.20
      Daniel said:

      I HEAR YA! It’s so deflating to get the wrong color, especially more than once, and especially after you’ve done all the “hard” work already! This is allllllll too familiar. Rooting you on from here!

  46. 1.9.20
    Sasha said:

    I’m tackling our entry hallway/stairwell this January, too. I’ve left it untouched since we bought our house four years ago, because the pale green paint was fine (and there were MUCH bigger fish to fry in this wacky house). Every time I walk through the entry hall, I feel bummed, and that’s no way to feel in your house, so I’m getting ready to paint ALL. OF. THE. THINGS.
    I can’t wait to see where this makeover takes you. Those transom windows absolutely SLAY me! This is going to sound weird, but if your house was a human, I feel like it would be Dame Judy Dench… mine would be Rip Torn :)

    • 1.13.20
      Daniel said:

      Good luck!! I love the idea of my house as Dame Judy. You’re not wrong!

  47. 1.9.20
    Kim said:

    Excited, excited, excited! And I hope there will be Instagram progress videos? I so loved those while you were working on the kitchen–it was so fun to see it go from kinda ugly to gorgeous.

    A pox, a POX I SAY, on whatever past heathen painted over that transom. Who DOES that? It’s at the top of the dang door, it’s not like someone can peep in it to see you pee. Also, I remember when you tore out that vestibule and how much better it looked immediately. I understood (kind of) their choices in how they split things up, but that vestibule was absolutely HEINOUS.

    Loving the mood board, although I’ll probably need further convincing on the light fixtures. I generally come around to your vision in the end, so I will this time too, I’m sure.

  48. 1.9.20
    LD said:

    I need to get this house ready to sell. Back in 2004, yes 2004 the basement flooded and the quarter round was removed because the vinyl was removed and the concrete stained. it will get done!!! And a transition added to the office where the cork floor meets the tile bathroom. Unfinished projects is my Achilles heel.

    Love love your plans!!!!

    • 1.13.20
      Daniel said:

      You can do itttttt!

  49. 1.9.20
    Louise said:

    Can’t wait to see what you transform this into (although you’ve already done so much, it’s already a massive improvement).

    Re New Year’s resolutions, in recent years I have started to list all the things I *did* do in the previous year. Its way too easy to think you’ve achieved nothing and are in the same place you were in 12 months ago. But once you start listing what you actually did you can see that you’ve done a lot. Last year I made my list and realised I’d forgotten about an entire course I did. I always finish it feeling much more positive than I did when I started it. Much better and more inspiring than a list of future resolutions, half of which you know you are doomed to fail at.

    • 1.13.20
      Daniel said:

      That’s a great strategy, and you’re so right! I DO know that 2019 was a very productive and busy year, and also that I tend to set goals that are just not grounded in the realities of time, money, and energy. I’ll work on assembling that list…in my free time ;)

  50. 1.9.20
    Sally said:

    Way to go, sir! I heard a feng shui lady say that the entry was a very important part of the house. I’m wishing you good luck.

  51. 1.9.20
    Jakob said:

    The sad solitary sconce could’ve been worse – I have one light over my two-story foyer, with a dozen feet of pull chain! A poor man’s three way switch! I tied on my childhood glow-in-the-dark rosary and it’s not a bad solution for finding the chain at night. I should run proper switches, but the chain is right there when you walk in the front door, and easily reached from the top of the stairs.

    I can’t wait to see how your hall turns out! Good luck!

    • 1.13.20
      Daniel said:

      Haha! I kinda love that. Charm! I actually like that solitary sconce…definitely hoarded for another use, just not sure what yet!

  52. 1.9.20
    Shadlyn Wolfe said:

    My neglected project is a raised stone garden bed that’s about 50 percent done! I stopped to work on an inside project and a) ran out of energy and b) didn’t see it every day cuz Winter. 2020! Cuz that baby has to be ready for Spring plantings!

    • 1.13.20
      Daniel said:

      I have one of those too! I mostly ran out of stones but maybe this summer is when it gets done. It’s good exercise, I’ll say that much!

  53. 1.9.20
    Kelly said:

    So much potentia!. I’m looking forward to seeing the plan become a reality!

  54. 1.9.20
    Cathy said:

    Your house on you blog and Insta has seemed to me to be kin to big old farm houses I’ve lived in as a kid but she’s an Elegant Lady! Rediculiously excited to watch you do this

  55. 1.9.20
    Suzanne said:

    I love your plan and can’t wait to see how how it comes along. I’m especially curious to see how the black doors look. Maybe that’ll be the push I need to work on my dingy white doors…
    Something I feel I need to bring up about a stair runner: as your dogs age going up those stairs will get more and more difficult. Your pups look a little big to be carried up and down. Eventually you will probably want a runner, that’s what we had to do. Actually, we now have rugs all over the house for our geriatric dogs. It’s a good thing we love them!

    • 1.13.20
      Daniel said:

      Hear, hear! We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it, ya know? Right now Mekko has no problem and Bungee is still in the phase of exploring whether he likes to lay on rugs or chew them, haha. So it might be better to wait regardless!

  56. 1.9.20
    Karen said:

    Just yay!

  57. 1.9.20
    KathieB said:

    Ok. You asked for it. In 2000, I moved into rather derelict 1860s American gothic farm house. One of the 4 bedrooms immediately became the “storage room” because… attic and cellar not suitable to store anything. Room eventually also became “the cat box room.”

    Fast forward 18 years and I Was now without cats… whew! Hired help to skim coat and paint ceiling, repair the original plaster, and prime the walls. oh, I first purged as much as I could of the stored stuff, and the rest got pushed into the once pristine guest room. i had the floor professionally refinished. The rest was up to me. I painted the walls, and sanded and primed all the moldings and baseboards and gave them two coats of paint …. and that was last May.

    In October I took the two windows to be re-glazed, took the door to the barn to be stripped and primed, and stalled again. In the past week primed and painted the inside of the windows and both sides of the door. They all need a second finish coat, the door needs to be hung and the hardware cleaned up and replaced. …and then …I can try to figure out what to bring back. I believe there is another significant purge in my future…

    • 1.13.20
      Daniel said:

      This all sounds fine to me!! Slow and steady progress is better than no progress at all, and you’re doing it right! It’ll get there!

  58. 1.9.20
    Chelsea said:

    This is amazing!!! I think you’re very, very right about the importance of having this space done. No matter the other projects to come, this may end up being the best space in the house!

  59. 1.9.20
    Brandi said:

    I’m painting the brick on the outside of my house again!! Started staining it a few years ago and didn’t finish. We did not care for the look. I’ve finally committed to mineral paint (thanks younghouselove)! Started over the Christmas break and wondering why it took me so long.

    • 1.13.20
      Daniel said:

      Yayyyyy, that’s going to feel SO GOOD!

  60. 1.9.20
    Katherine said:

    Happy New Year!! Love the mention that this space is what lead you to Edwin! This space is gonna look great. Those push lights are

  61. 1.9.20
    Taylor said:

    Random tangent – I live in Sydney, Australia and am a devoted fan of this annual reality TV show called “The Block” where 5 teams complete to renovate a block of derelict apartments/houses room-by-room, week-by-week. This post made me laugh because on show, “Hallway Week” (dun dun DUN) is always super dreaded and deemed the hardest of all the weeks. Hallways seem simple, but – as you mention – they’re full of so much painting and are often deceptively large and hard to do well!

    Back on topic – absolutely love the design direction and can’t wait to see the results! The blend of traditional colours and design with modern lighting is spot-on (aside, my Dad used to live in Rhinebeck and I just love the homes of the Hudson Valley so I’m a devoted fan of how you’re restoring this beauty). Good luck!

    • 1.13.20
      Daniel said:

      Haha, that makes me feel better! I think HGTV did a knock-off of that show a few years ago…I vaguely recall it being entertaining, haha! Thank you for the kind words!

  62. 1.9.20
    Mom said:

    The WORLD (or at least your readers and your Mom) LOVE your Insta-stories! Doesn’t anyone know Ellen DeGeneres or Oprah or The Today show or HGTV to get this guy some air time? Anyway, looking good and can’t wait to see paint dry and progress stories and my grand dogs looking all helpful. Love you.

  63. 1.9.20
    Mary W. said:

    Love love love a gallery wall near the stairs. Can’t wait to see what you do with his space!

  64. 1.10.20
    Ken in SF said:

    Hey Daniel if it makes you feel better about your timeline…we did a Reno 15 years ago and did a lot of the work ourselves and so, kinda ran out of energy. So never got a final sign off. Turns out there was inspection of the welds of the steel frame holding up the back of the house NOT done by the city and now is lost (it WAS done, just cant find it). So we are now looking at having to open up our walls so they can be reinspected. Of course we just replaced the siding on the house and if we had known this we could have had it done then. But we need this done so we can sell our home for and move to Palm Springs (guest room always available for you. Dogs welcome).

    • 1.13.20
      Daniel said:

      Ohhhhhh boy. Good luck with this! Hopefully the city recognizes their mistake and gives you a pass. Oy vey! (I LOVE PALM SPRINGS AND I WILL BE TAKING YOU UP ON THIS, KIND STRANGER!)

  65. 1.10.20

    Daniel that’s amazing. I love that ”˜divide and conquer’ approach. I’m in the midst of a refurb in Wales, I reel back and forth between your approach and overwhelm! The decorator starts on Monday, so yesterday we ripped out the entire fitted kitchen, and today we’re Re-doing it with free standing items only. The biggest piece is a giant Victorian pine wardrobe repurposed into a larder by installing shelves. We hope it looks as good as it does in our imagination! Your posts are always incredibly encouraging. You help me keep moving when overwhelm could easily make me get stuck! Thanks so much

    • 1.13.20
      Daniel said:

      That sounds so beautiful, Catherine! I want to see pics!!

    • 1.14.20
      Catherine in Wales said:

      I would be honoured to share pics with you Daniel! :-)

  66. 1.10.20
    Andrea said:

    My put off project is restoring my health this year.. And I’ve already blown it this year! But I’m not giving up!! I hope writing this post made you realize how much YOU’VE ALREADY DONE in this space. A huge amount of work so you are definitely not lazy and you definitely got this.

    • 1.13.20
      Daniel said:

      That is a GREAT goal and one of mine, too! Remember that dates are arbitrary…I get so stuck in “well, it’s 2 weeks until the first of the month, so then I can start” which is such lunacy! Our bodies don’t care if it’s January 1 or August 17, just that we’re treating it better!

  67. 1.10.20
    jana said:

    Hah!! i’ve never felt something more! i’ve been living with a half primed, half stripped, half demolished hallway for 3, 4, 5 years?? i can see it from the couch every day and just pretend it doesn’t exist. i was feeling extra productive when i started until i got stripper on half of the built ins that line the hallway and remembered just how much i hate stripping wood and there is SO. MUCH. my sweet husband hasn’t mentioned it once and i don’t know if i should praise him or be worried about him for that. haha

    • 1.13.20
      Daniel said:

      Haha! Stripping paint really is one of the most frustrating activities in all of old-house-renovationland. Good luck getting back into it!

  68. 1.10.20
    Alex Duffy from Indi Painting said:

    Hey, so I just painted a really nice farmhouse about 20kms from where I live now, and they have the same decals as your grand staircase! I’m really into architecture and its heritage and was wondering where this house is in relation to my clients!

    • 1.13.20
      Daniel said:

      Kingston, New York!

  69. 1.10.20
    Lindy said:

    A. If I were your friend in real life, I would totally come over and help strip your stairs.
    B. I’m looking forward to your results! Your plan sounds lovely and I love hearing your process.
    C. Your description of Oyster White is so spot on! I picked it for my house originally based on its warmth, but couldn’t detect the blue and green undertones until the painter had done a whole day’s worth of painting. Ultimately it wasn’t what I was going for, but I’m looking forward to seeing it in your space.

  70. 1.10.20

    Love your entry and staircase, very similar to 2 of my past historic homes. Think your plans are perfect especially mixing in the modern fixtures.

  71. 1.10.20
    Heidi said:

    Have you tried Samplize? I have and I think it works. Much easier than buying all those little paint cans. Maybe they’d sponsor you?

    • 1.13.20
      Daniel said:

      Never even heard of them! But that’s a cool product for sure—I’ll have to give it a try sometime!

  72. 1.10.20
    Jenn said:

    You got this. Baby steps to beautiful, and functional.

  73. 1.10.20
    greta said:

    I think the hallway came back to life when you took the 1970’s fake walls down. You really have done a lot of work on that area already. Moving those radiators was such a heavy clunky project, also. Anyway, I like all your product decisions. It would be cool to get those new light features up first–it might be good inspiration to see pretty lights. Also, I am not a fan of nudes in the foyer. I feel the that foyers are a public space which should be decorated with appropriate local art. Photographs of the old house or its owners. Or maybe some reproduced paintings from the Hudson School of Art. Or early presidents. Anything historical from the area.

  74. 1.10.20
    Kristen said:

    This hallway has so much potential! That trim work on the stairs (and really the whole staircase) is just beautiful. I really enjoy watching your makeovers. You’re so creative with re-using and re-imagining things. I love your plan for the space and I think simple is just what this space needs.

  75. 1.10.20
    Aunt Connie Perwien said:

    Dear Daniel,
    Your hallway was so beautiful! Even unpainted! The high ceilings and that beautiful newel post!!! I will so be looking forward to seeing this when you are finished!!! I liked the light grayish color. I say this because that is what I picked out for the new ONE story I am building on Lake Houston, First new house I will have ever lived in and at my age, it is very exciting.

    You might find this humorous: I decorated an office for a Chinese gentleman. I found a life size Chinese warrior in an antique shop, and stood it in a corner. Imagine my consternation when he came in and said he loved his office right up until he saw the warrior … turned out is was a Japanese warrior!!! I had to drag it out of his office IMMEDIATELY!!!! Lesson learned! Again, love your beautiful hallway!

    • 1.11.20
      Mom said:

      Can’t wait for you to love your new place, but with the same beautiful view and the love you will fill it with.

    • 1.13.20
      Daniel said:

      Hello Connie!!! Thanks so much for the kind words! So excited and happy for your new house—it will be fabulous!! Looking forward to coming to visit! :) Lots of love from chilly upstate NY!

  76. 1.11.20
    Sophie said:

    Daniel, your numerous paint samples made me laugh- very much like the walls of my small house in England! I now put my samples on flattened pieces of cardboard box, so I can move them around and test what they look like in different lights. Your hallway is fabulous! And that staircase! I’ve just finished stripping down my stairs. I’m going to varnish the treads and paint the risers and sides. I can’t wait to see what you do with yours. And your radiator is gorgeous too. Good luck with it all!

  77. 1.11.20
    Kerry said:

    Daniel, you are amazing! Your house loves you so much. You get all the positive energy from it – keep going, it has more. Very very excited to see how your entry turns out. As for indecision: in our house, we have a lot of anxiety to deal with. And we have success when we tell that worry voice who is boss. You are boss, Daniel! And you are Boss! Damn, can’t wait to see it. Final thought for this morning: when all is done I think you should publish a book on renovating your house. Find a solid editor who gets you and knows how to finesse your energy into book form. You really are gifted and I see this as being successful for you. Happy New Year! Thank you for the post!

    • 1.13.20
      Daniel said:

      Thank you, Kerry! That’s very kind!

  78. 1.11.20
    D H said:

    While I do agree with the the no carpet on the stairs (and I work for a custom carpet company!) I’m curious what your idea of a fortune is? because it *CAN* be done relatively inexpensively without out using the fantastically ugly runner rolls. The big expense is the installation, but I’ll tell you a secret – it’s not that hard. Some nails, some padding, some tack strips and you’re pretty much good to go. I have faith that a few you-tube videos would be MORE than enough for a man of your talents… Even easier would be a simple wool flateweave with stair rods, but those *ARE* expensive and look fussy, IMO. Either option WILL leave you with holes in the treads though, so again, I support no carpet!

    • 1.13.20
      Daniel said:

      Thanks for this! Paying for install never even occurred to me, haha! Having done almost no research, I guess my big hesitations would be: 1) the price of the runner itself, and 2) all the hardware I’d want to go with it! You can see that the original runner had stair rods, and that would add up fast for me to try to restore. And then I just worry about it all getting trashed/irreparably stained by the dogs, and life being miserable as a result. That’s how it works, right??? ;)

    • 1.20.20
      NestFan said:

      Best of both worlds is possible – if your dogs (and you) prefer the stairs with a runner underfoot at some point, you can easily DIY staple one on (there are plenty of bloggers like you who describe how to do it using fairly cheap runner rugs.) No reason to add stair rods – they aren’t necessary, though they do look nice and likely do their job of keeping the carpeting in place well.

      If you want something that won’t be too trashed by dirt and stains, you could use something designed to be indoor-outdoor so it cleans up easily, though you would want to find something with a very dense weave. You could use a flat commercial carpet in a synthetic fiber, the kind with different colors of fibers making up a mottled or heathered color (hides dirt better) – the carpet of such type that we had installed in the public hallways and stairs of my Brooklyn coop wore like iron, cleaned up amazingly well (spot cleaning by us when we saw a stain, and an occasional yearly or so cleaning by a commercial carpet cleaner that was quite cheap to have in for the job), even when people tracked in dog crap and mud up the stairs. The carpeting still looked new when I moved out eight years later, even though at least 5 people trod it daily in their street shoes (though no dogs except visitors.). I wouldn’t choose that particular carpeting for home stairs (I’d want something a touch softer on bare feet), but I have seen commercial carpeting with a softer feel underfoot.

      All the ones that look horrible in all those brownstone apartments are the ones where people use carpeting designed for living rooms on stairways – public stairs require commercial carpeting. Though your stairs aren’t public, you could apply the same thinking to accommodate the dog traffic. You could have a runner made from carpeting to staple on, if they don’t make ready-made carpet runners that would be suitable (I have no idea if they do, as I haven’t looked), though make sure you find a carpet place that will sew on the edge binding, not just glue it on as some do now.

      You can also just glue or staple stair pads to the treads – though I’m not sure you’d want to after refinishing your stairs – and I’m not sure if they’d stay in place as well as a whole runner with doggie feet running up and down. I wonder if those stick-on carpet tiles (there are commercial styles available in addition to the Flor catalogs) would stick, or if they are even recommended for stairway use (they wouldn’t be if they don’t stick well enough, though I supposed they could be stapled/nailed. If they do stick/are recommended for stairs, they have the advantage of your being able to replace just one stair pad at a time if they get stained or otherwise destroyed.

  79. 1.11.20
    NestFan said:

    A hall is not an easy room to do – in addition to all the doors (and the trim, transoms, hinges, knobs and assorted hardware that come with them), it connects all the spaces of the house, both floors, and contains the stairway to boot – it’s a big job!

    Whoever had to subdivide your house probably didn’t want to do it – they probably lived in the house and loved it, but had to divide it in hard times for the rental income. So of course they purposefully did it in such a way as to do the least harm to the house, preserving the bannister and spindles – and they probably left the walls an inch from the ceiling so as to not mess up the plaster on the ceiling – hoping that they, or their descendants, or someone someday would be able to put the two units of the house back together – the likely saw it as temporary (in the life of the house, if not in their lifetime – and they were right) – they did it with the restoration you are doing in mind, not for the light.

    As to the foam medallions, if they had such materials back in the day, they’d have probably used them. I know that what we think of as fancy old wood and trims in other materials in late 1800’s brownstones were just relatively common elements that the builders ordered from pattern books of house parts. I don’t know much about building in the earlier era your house was built in – they may or may not have had pattern books to order house parts from them – but in either case, they used the materials they had at hand, and if they had a lighter material than plaster available to use for medallions, I bet they’d have used it, as no one is touching them but the painters (and maybe the occasional housecleaner for dusting.)

    I also don’t think the lights are right. I’m used to seeing modern lights in old brownstones, and have gotten used to them and think they look fine, but your house is older and a different style, and I think it is crying out for vintage (or reproduction, but better vintage) fixtures. Put your modern ones in now, maybe, but keep your eye out for some light fixtures that your house actually wants – you’ll spot them once the hall is done or getting toward done.

    I want to see how the sample of paint looks on the wall – is the Oyster grey the middle one of the seven samples you showed in the photo of samples on the wall?

    I agree you house seems whole without the big living room – which is why it looks like an add-on to me. I know you think it was built at the same time as the house, so perhaps it was an add-on to a complete existing house style while your house was in the architectural planning stages. That would be the entertaining room, and your smaller living room perhaps the “sitting room” as some of my friends with old victorian houses call the room the family uses – an older word for “family room” I guess. Or, if they did a lot of various things in the big room (people did a lot of music playing, and yarn spinning, sewing, quilting and the like at home then), then perhaps the smaller living room was the parlor for receiving guests. I’m curious as to how the original builders and later 1800’s inhabitants of your house would have used the rooms.

    If you don’t need the big room much once it is done, you could rent it out as an event space – or even for a chef friend to use to make and serve restaurant meals. Though you’d want to install a professional stove and especially a serious professional exhaust hood if you ever use it for those purposes.

    Have you moved back into your kitchen? – can’t wait to see it in a post one of these days – you don’t need to wait for it to be complete to show us what you’ve done in a progress post.

    • 1.13.20
      Daniel said:

      I don’t know when that big parlor room was built! I think it was an early addition, actually, with later alterations in the 20s when the big glass wall/built-ins were put in. I’m pretty sure they used it to play piano/organ (apparently there was once a whole organ!), and I know they used it for a bunch of funerals! I know half of it was a bedroom in the 1960s, but it’s never been evident to me what the last owners used it for. And yep, I’ve been back in the kitchen for over a year! It’s farrrrrr from complete but performs all the basic functions, and I’ll get back to it when I have the time and funds. Kitchens are pricey beasts!

  80. 1.12.20
    dianna said:

    2020 looks to be amazing! I’ve recently used the Sherwin Williams paint and the coverage is fantastic! I love your blog! Looking forward to see more

    • 1.13.20
      Daniel said:

      Great to hear, thank you!

  81. 1.12.20
    Jeannette said:

    I thought this would amuse you: Anarctica, the hippest architecture on earth.

    • 1.13.20
      Daniel said:

      Thanks, this is cool! I saw the headline last week and assumed they were talking about the ice!!

  82. 1.13.20
    Molly Schlagel said:

    I love your work, and I can’t wait to see the progress. You got this!!!

  83. 1.13.20
    JenMS said:

    Haha! This is so awesome. Way to start the year off on the right foot.

    My “hallway” / neglected project this year is myself. I finally signed up for mental health therapy (your comments about the anxiety/avoidance loop really hit home), physical therapy (from a TEN-year-old ankle injury), and exercise classes (haven’t gone yet; it’s hard to exercise with a bum ankle, but soon!). I also quit a job that was grinding me down and I cut 90% of sugar out of my diet. 2020 IS MINE.

    Keep up the good work – can’t wait to hear how this project turns out!

    • 1.16.20
      Daniel said:

      Danngggg, yes, you own this year! Rooting you on!! All of those things are so hard and it takes a lot to make those first steps I’m sure! Congrats!! You got this.

  84. 1.13.20
    emily jane said:

    I feel compelled to say something here that is possibly totally inappropriate as we have never met but… I ADORE you! That’s all : )

  85. 1.14.20
    Raven said:

    So exciting! Our place has a cute vestibule with the original entry double doors, and some newer hollow core doors, both with transoms. However, the previous owners closed in the porch, with a drop ceiling. From the inside you can see the transom, blocked by that drop ceiling. But, I can just make out on the glass where the address was painted, just like the numbers you chose.

    All that is to say, I love those numbers, and your project is making me want to move our porch/entryway project on our to do list! Can’t wait to see how yours turns out!

    • 1.16.20
      Daniel said:

      Ahhh, very cool! From what I can tell this transom never had numbers like that, but who knows. It will now! Your project sounds funnnnn!

    • 1.20.20
      NestFan said:

      Reminds me that I meant to say – skip the stick-on house numbers. If you are going with gold numbers on the glas, then your house definitely deserves to have the numbers custom painted with gold leaf. There still exist painters who do this for homes in Brooklyn, and there is likely someone up your way who does it too – though being a DIY type, you might choose to read about it and try it yourself – but the ones done by the artists who do this work are lovely, and worth what it costs. You’ll see – your finished hallway will clearly deserve better than stick-on numbers.

  86. 1.14.20
    Alison said:

    Good decision with the stairs! I’ve been searching for solutions to finish our old yellow stairs (I have two dogs). Your decision did it for me. There is never a good and easy way out, but there is the right way! Cannot wait to see the result of your stairs.

  87. 1.14.20
    Alison said:

    The stairs leading to our basement have been on MY rolling to-do list since 2017. So I will get her done this Spring. I also struggled between painting the treads and covering them, but after reading your post I think I will man-up and refinish them. There is no quick-and-easy way that gives quality result, but there is the right way. So thanks for this post! The fact you have a lot more to tackle other than the stairs left me no excuse to settle for less. Happy New Year!

  88. 1.21.20
    Tini said:

    I’n so excited for you! I just faced my massive hallway (or rather repainting and retrimming the entire living space on the first floor). I also put it off for years and was dreading it, but it really wasn’t that bad. I listened to several audiobooks while I painted and it became sort of meditative. Like, I am here to paint this wall and that’s it, there’s not really a faster way to do it, you just have to sink into the moment of getting it done. Good luck. I can’t wait to see the finished product!

  89. 1.24.20

    I’m so excited to see this. I’ve been puzzling over my hall/office for a while so maybe it will help give me a jump start. I also know about getting just the right color… it’s amazing when you find a color that changes the way a room feels…but also throughout the day changes with the light and the mood. I usually go dark where you go light… but I think it still works.
    I am just thrilled about the wall o’ nudes. I love nude sketch art, actually I usually like the sketches more than finished works. Something about how raw and gestural it is. When my brother got married last year, we had a life drawing class as his bachelor party night. Bunch of us queens (and one straight guy!) drawing a hot naked guy and drinking sangria. Much classier than a cliche exotic dancer, nescafe? I would love to have a gallery wall like that, especially if i had that much ceiling height to work with!