05 March, 2012

Hallway Make-Over!

I'm so glad to finally post this: a nasty cold found me this weekend and delayed me...but I'm feeling better so here you go!

Until Dax was born, my hallway wasn't really featured on my list of house tweaks.  I figured it could wait.

And then my dear newborn son insisted on being fed at o'dark thirty for several weeks...and every night, through the haze of exhaustion, I rocked my little guy as he ate and stared despondently into my hallway.  Where there was no rest for the weary.

And as the weeks past, the thorn became infected, until one day, come hell or high water, it was going to be fixed.

That said, I was fresh off maternity leave and disinterested in a big investment.  But between resourceful God-given instincts and courtesy my Pinterest bug, solutions presented themselves.  Hear me when I say this: these projects are less about what you spend and more about when you buy.

So, voila!

The worst part for me was the floor, which was worse than any floor in the rest of the house, no question.

However, I wasn't interested in spending the time or money to refinish it.  So I simply used some of the stain a previous owner had left behind to touch up the finish, and gave the whole thing a coat of Minwax Floor Refinisher (thanks, Mom!).  The results were perfect.

But since this was a high-traffic area and I wasn't applying a durable finish to the floor, I decided to add a carpet runner.  I looked at the pre-fab ones available on the market, but didn't find what I was looking for.  So I measured the hallway and visited Essis & Sons carpet remnant room.  The runner cost me $25 to have cut and bound, so I sprung for a pad for under the rug as well, to muffle hallway noise and creaks.  Plus its a little more cushy, which I like.  That was also $25.  I picked it out on Saturday afternoon and picked it up on Monday.  You should visit Essis & Sons.  Nice folks, and a great way to get rugs tailored for your home.

Cost: $50 (and elbow grease)

Our home features the old heavy solid-wood doors of years gone by.  Which I like, because of the character.  And I'm sure someone will string me up by my toenails for painting them, but sincerely, the dark doors sucked all light from the already small hallway.  So Mom & I primed them with BIN primer (which I did not figure in my costs because I always have it on hand--it's about $30 at Lowes) and finished them with two coats of the same trim paint that I'm using everywhere in the house (also not figured into the costs because again, I have it on hand).  Sorry if that's cheating. :)

We also painted the walls.  I wanted something fresh.  Not to sound uber-spiritual or whatever, but one night while I was nursing, I feel like God told me I would find my hallway paint on the "mistints/mistakes" rack at Sherwin Williams.  Which I did.  For $5.  It's a shade called "Grasslands" but since it was on the mistake rack, who knows if its right. :)  It was semi-gloss, which I typically wouldn't use for hallway walls, but the sheen is fairly unobtrusive and the finish will whip easily.  So perhaps that was a blessing as well.

White doors made an ENORMOUS difference.

I found a perfect chunk of fabric for the window at Joann's.  I spent about $12 on the fabric and $5 on the mini blind that I destroyed to make the Roman shade.  I also used fabric glue (which I keep on hand) and instead of gluing the sides, I sewed them for a better overall look and durability.  I've made a few of these shades now (here's the tutorial I use), and this one took me 45 minutes total.  I'm slowly getting better with picking out fabric.  It's like paint--you have to screw up a few times before you trust yourself.
Cost: about $17

Now for some wall decor, which for me oddly is the hardest part.  In every room of my home, I struggle with what to put on the walls.  I'll get there--I'm just slow in this area.

Pinterest got me started with two terrific ideas:

The first is a framed piece.  I created the insert in Photoshop as an 8x10.  It looks like odd numbers, but its all the significant dates in our family life.
If you want one, I'll make one for you.  It's a piece of cake.  The 8x10 costs $2.95 at LA Cameras.  I bought the frame on the clearance rack at Michaels for about $8.  I liked it because it was a little different--it's a 12x16 matted down to 8x10, instead of the more standard 11x14.
Cost: $11.

And these are my favorite:  8x10 photos mimicked as gallery wrap canvases.  I love canvas-wrapped photos but they're too spicy for this project.  This Pinterest link showed how to use artist canvases and 8x10 photos to create a similar look for much less moola.  So in this case, I had about $9 in the 8x10s and $6 in the canvases.  (I bought them when Michaels was running them BOGO, and a twin-pack of 8x10s was $5.99).  In a lot of cases, its just about buying at the right time.

Note: this project calls for ModPodge glue, which I am a novice in using.  And it's not cheap, starting about $8 for a small bottle.  But check out this tutorial: you can make it yourself using Elmer's Glue and seriously reduce your investment--more like less than $2 for a bottle of Elmers.  Sweet!

This project also suggests using patterned scrapbook paper around the edges of the wrap, which I think looks terrific but I couldn't find a pattern I liked for my hallway.  So I just painted the edges with orange acrylic paint, which I thought would juxtapose great with my wall color.  Then I realized I bought the wrong shade of orange and went brown instead.  The paint technique worked just as well.  $3 for the acrylic paint (I'm not counting my error!:)


I'm going to make more as my kids grow.
Total Cost: $18.  I know, seriously.

And a shot of my supervisor, whose appetite is the reason this whole project happened in the first place...