HALLWAY MAKEOVER | BEFORE + AFTER

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Our Hallway Makeover Journey 

I say journey... only because it's taken nearly eight months from the initial plan to completion. And before and after is said in the loosest of terms... it's mostly after. When you see the before pics, you'll understand why! Unlike the living room, these befores were snapped in a bit of a hurry, post taking down the few remaining pictures that hadn't fallen off their inadequate hooks and just prior to Patrick grabbing a paintbrush to start the redecorating. 

Looking at the hall now and seeing those before images after some time has passed, I can't quite believe the state it was in. But isn't that always the way with most makeovers and renovations? Maybe that's why I only snapped three pictures... 

A House Full Of 70’s Elements 

Apart from the ancient dirty carpet and the feeling of it being a just a thoroughfare as opposed to another room in our home, for me it was all about those horizontal 70's bannisters... as in they had to go!  

Ours is a 70's house meaning there’s a lot of 70's ickiness still to be erased including Artex ceilings and old fashioned skirting boards etc. As we've continued to decorate over the years, bit by bit, these elements are being replaced either by Patrick when he has the time and know how or by professional trades when we’ve had the funds. Way too many rooms still have that nasty stipple-effect ceiling thing going on but re-plastering always feels like a bit of a major undertaking and will have to happen as and when we can afford to do each room. Rome wasn't built in a day!  

Before... 

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But the bannisters... Urgh! And not only that but also the weird, no lower bannister situation that has been a thing since I moved in. Patrick had moved into the house first before we were together and in true boy fashion, decided the downstairs part should be sawn off. Maybe he was going for a less 70s bannister the better approach... maybe it's best not to question his motives. But fast forward a couple of years, one wife acquired and one baby later and I distinctly remember asking where we going to put a stair gate. The same question arose five years ago only this time it was more how do we keep a bouncing puppy from bounding up the stairs. In both cases, we got by! 

Back to the present day and late last summer we allocated a couple of weekends where I was on child and dog distraction duties and Patrick proceeded to apply liberal amounts of Farrow & Ball Down Pipe to the hallway and landing walls. This was a shade I'd been itching to have somewhere in the house for ages.  

Around late September I began thinking of Christmas garland opportunities (don't judge - I ALWAYS start thinking about festive decorations in September), on a non-70s bannister and so began the mission of pursuing carpenters for quotes and availability. Turns out that both getting a quote and a commitment to booking in the actual work is no easy task! 

After… 

I finally got around to pinning someone down (not literally, although maybe I should have), to a date in November and within one day, horizontal was replaced by vertical and after sixteen years of scowling at the staircase, I was a happy bunny indeed! 

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Just before the Christmas decorations went up we had a new carpet laid and suddenly the hallway looked half decent. Since January, it’s been all about the gallery wall... which in if I'm honest, scared the Bejeepers out of me. Whilst I can visualise most things, this one left me with a bit of an interiors blind spot. Thank goodness for the gods of Pinterest and IKEA!   

After finding a few pins that featured framed prints leant on picture rails in amongst books and other objects, I decided this was the way forward. Say Hello to the IKEA Mosslanda Picture Ledge. No more middle of the night, pictures falling off inadequate hook and waking everyone up scenarios! 

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Then it came to sourcing the right lighting. Patrick is now fairly sure I have an out of control  lighting obsession... and I think he might be right. After much deliberation we opted for a three light cluster pendant * set up and were able to adjust the length of the flex to fit in with the landing ceiling space. Next we got down to the serious business of finding actual prints to go into our various assorted picture frames we’d accumulated over the years. Turns out this is the quintessential head-scratcher of a task when it comes to matching up print and frame sizes. 

Somewhere in amongst the entire process I was approached by both Lumitrix and Mapiful asking if I would like to receive a gifted print. Possibly it was the fateful intervention of the Interiors Gods... or maybe they'd just seen me warbling on over on Instagram Stories about the hallway... 

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 From Lumitrix I choose a beautiful seascape print from the Venice Surf series by Kate Holstein that now has pride of place on the new shelf. 

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And Mapiful kindly gifted us a custom print map poster. I choose our location as the Champagne Caves of Veuve Clicquot in Reims where Patrick proposed in 2003 and added in the date and year of this momentous event.  This print makes me smile every time I walk past it! 

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In terms of the rest of the gallery wall prints, there’s a mix of our own photos, a couple of Etsy prints *, some prints from Olive et Oriel and the #ElevateTheEveryday poster by Too Wordy that I repurposed from my desk. 

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Things I Love About The New Space… Apart From The Bannisters! 

Overall, it now feels much more like another room - one that's cosy and lived in. I'd happily sit on the stairs with a glass of wine on a Friday evening... in fact that's probably where you'll find me later on this week! 

As with most Farrow & Ball paints we've used in the house, the shade appears to change colour a little depending on where and how bright the sunlight is during the day. If you look at these images, depending where I was when taking the pictures and the angle of the lighting, it looks almost blue in some shots and a rich dark grey in others. As I type this at 5:00pm, the sun has gone around the front of the house and is currently flooding a white kitchen and a dark grey hallway with light. The kind of monochrome magic that I love. 

I’m also fixated on the new shelf. If we had a bigger hallway there would have been a console table in there somewhere, styled with ever changing vignettes no doubt. But by moving the coats from above the radiator to near the front door (H's excellent idea), we made room for a shelf instead. Cue much shuffling of vases, prints and scented candles on repeat. And it's a great place for keys and a loose change pot... although I've had to appoint myself the Shelf Monitor. 

Dear Family, repeat after me... It is not a dumping ground! 

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My other two favourite things in the hall are the chance to switch on the Metal "Happy" light in the evening and lighting a scented candle in the hurricane lamp jar to "throw" fragrance further up and around the hall and landing.  

Our hallway makeover was a long ongoing project that due to resources, time and getting around to a serious stair bannister conversation that should've taken place fifteen years ago, took a while to complete. But as with most things in life, it was more than worth the wait! 


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