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Adventures in Home Improvement

The Hallway Project


I Ain't Van Gogh

November 2004 - August 2005

Looked great… until the red went up!.

What started out with “just slap some paint on the wall,” became a ten-month-long endeavor. It began when I (Pat) bought some display cabinets from Ikea about a year and a half ago that remained unassembled in their packing cartons on the front porch for the next twelve months because I couldn’t decide on paint choices for the hallway where they were to be installed. Lee finally said, “if we don’t like the colors for the hallway we can just repaint it.” Yeah, right! After long, and I do mean long, deliberation I picked out the colors.

Since the house is 81-years-old I decided on three colors. Ceiling down to the picture molding was a lemon yellow, the walls awning red, and the floor trim lemon drop. Lee decided to paint the floor trim first.

I came home one day and Lee told me he hated the battleship gray linoleum tile. I hated it just as much, but was unsure what to do with it: rugs, new floor, take up the tile? Next day I came home and, to my surprise, there was a two-foot-wide strip of hardwood floor peaking out from under the tiles. Lee had noticed wood around the heater duct and decided to chip up some of the tile. Within five days the tile was gone and under it was a very well-preserved hardwood floor. With a little cleaning, the floor looked really good. We do have to refinish it, but what a difference!

Then we got sidetracked installing attic stairs in the hallway ceiling. Next was all the plywood, compress board, and foam insulation going up the stairs for flooring and insulation in the attic to turn it into a real studio; I had long since outgrown the garage, and needed extra storage space. I digress, but I wasn’t about to paint the hall with all the construction going on upstairs.

Once the attic was almost complete I figured it was safe to paint the hall. However, I REALLY must digress. I hate to paint and painting trim is the worst. Lee had gone off with our neighbors one Saturday morning and there was my time to paint. I started with the ceiling, got that done and figured I had time to do the walls. My last brush stroke and Lee arrived home. He took one look at it and said it looked like the back room of a porno store. I said it looked like a Portagee ( I’m Portuguese) painted it. It wasn’t a bad paint job; it was the clashing color combo.


A few friends came over, rolled their eyes, and ran. Needless to say not many of our friends liked it. It was not pretty. The ceiling was TOO yellow.

So, I gathered up a few paint samples and brushed out some of the ceiling. The color I picked was Golden Gate, a sort of dark butterscotch. The lemon yellow floor trim looked nasty and was changed to white.

In the meantime I had to replace the picture molding. I don’t do woodwork either. It was a learning process; I procrastinated so long, but finally bit the bullet. I got the molding up and with a few mistakes (like ten) the molding was replaced. That weekend I got 99% of the painting done and I thought it looked cool. So did Lee.

A month later the cabinets were assembled but continued to sit on the front porch. Then with much trepidation, I got in and tried (that’s the key word) to put up those damn cabinets in the hallway. I finally asked Lee to help (I was being macho thinking I could do it myself) and together, we got one mounted. Lee had measured out where the studs were supposed to be but we didn’t hit any.

A week later we got the second cabinet up after another “I, Pat, am going to put it up myself since I know how to do it from the first one.” NO! I messed up and with Lee to the rescue, we finally got the second one mounted to the wall.

Later that week Lee installed lights in the cabinets and with a little math and figuring, I built a half table to hide the plugs while Lee hung the artwork. With the both of us doing it we finally got it finished.