Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The Front Hall | Before + After |

When combined, the front foyer and upper hall in this home easily became the largest and scariest project that we had to face. I even went so far as to call student painters and have them come in and give us an estimate (how much would it really cost to just make someone ELSE do all this painting??). Of course, in the end, the sensible thing was to do it ourselves. It has taken months of work, but we're finally done! 

The photos don't begin to capture the true horror of the hall: the yellowing popcorn ceilings full of cobwebs, the cracked plaster walls, the broken bare bulb light fixture, the patterned orange floor tiles, the bent and rusted heating grates, and the offensively awful front door. Yes, this place was terrible! I can't believe we actually lived in this dank little cave all last winter. Before I present the new hall, here's a look back at our nightmare! 

These were taken the day we moved in. Everything was painted the same abominable colour: custard.


To begin, I plastered all the cracks in the walls and then smoothed everything out with the belt sander. 

Remember the stairs? Or rather, the carpet that was on the stairs? On the first warm day of spring we ripped the brown moulding rug away and found a lifetime's worth of dust and decay underneath. 

Next we have the terrible tile and a front door that never should have been on the front of a house.

OK! That's it for the 'before' photos. Back in April I wrote a post about my plans for the foyer. I drew most of my inspiration from one photo that I came across online. 

I love the way the hall (in the photo below) is designed. Mounting the hooks on a bit of trim is a great way to give the hall some visual interest by creating a simple structural element. And best of all, the clean lines created by the trim give you a definitively separate area, perfect for a striking accent colour. 

We mounted mdf board (primed with white paint) on the left wall in the front hall. We used three pieces (2 for the horizontal and 1 for the vertical). I later painted them white with an eggshell latex paint and mounted 4 hooks across them. 
The out-dated tile floor was a completely new challenge. I couldn't live with the pattern on those tiles, but I wasn't sure what to do about it. I had heard of paint primers that are able to stick to the slick surface of tile, but I didn't know anything about the products, or where to start.

It turned out to be quite straight forward. We went to Home Depot and asked the lady in the paint department. She sold us two paints: 
-Behr All-in-One Primer and Sealer  (this primer sticks to glossy surfaces)

-Behr Porch and Patio Floor Paint (this paint can be tinted any colour and works well on top of the primer) 

To paint the floor, I started by taping off the baseboard. I then gave the tiles a light sanding. Next, I cleaned the floor as well as I could. The goal was to get every bit of dust and dirt off the surface before painting.
When the floor was clean and dry, I rolled the primer onto the tile. It was an incredible product! You could actually hear and feel the paint sticking to the tile as it was rolled on. 

After the primer dried (24 hours), I applied the dark blue floor paint. I rolled on three coats, each a few days apart. The last coat I applied before our weekend away in Prince Edward County. I would recommend that if you're painting a floor, you arrange it so that the last coat of paint has a drying time of at least two days (when no one will be walking on it). This helps the finished surface to be smooth and free of smudges, bumps and bits of dirt that can so easily be imprinted on the paint job. 

I also used the dark floor paint on the flat surface of each stair. Although I had many ideas for the staircase (all white/ white with a painted runner) I chose to do the traditional two tone stairs. The white surface was painted with an eggshell latex white paint that I had used elsewhere in the apartment (bedroom, kitchen, baseboards and trim). 

Here are some photos of the front foyer and upper hall, all finished:

You may have noticed a bit of a 'sneak peek' of the bedroom in these photos. It's almost done and I am super super excited to share the photos of it. I waited two years for the bed of my dreams to come my way on Kijiji and it finally did last month and, well, now the bedroom is looking lovely and just needs a few finishing touches. I should have it posted soon!