Before & After: The Hallway Needed a Little Help (and has a Stealthy Secret)

Decorating Project

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Renovation by: Mike (you may remember his bathroom renovation)
Location: Chicago

We live in a typical Chicago apartment with a really long skinny layout. When you enter our apartment the foyer and hallway are the first things you see so they really needed some TLC. When we first moved in to the apartment the foyer and hallway were painted in a yellow glaze and the only light fixtures were flush mounted glass domes from the 80’s.

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The first step was to paint everything white to get a clean slate, next we addressed the lighting with a combination of track lighting from home depot and a modern chandelier that we modified with an edison pendant light. Luckily there is a lot of natural light from a skylight in the foyer so we were able to use only a 60 watt edison bulb in the chandelier.

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Once all of the walls were white the dark wood trim and doors were very noticeable so we decided to paint them white. Since the doors themselves were cheap hollow core, we had decided to replace them with new solid core single panel shaker doors. We found a black friday deal on the solid core doors, the only catch was that they were pre-finished in a wood stain as well, initially we tried to paint over the finish but latex paint didn’t adhere to the door so it turned out to be a much longer process of sanding all the doors down to bare wood, priming, painting and then drilling holes for the vintage mortise doorknobs and hinges. If I had to do this again I think I’d spend the additional money on a primed white door slab and save the hours of sanding, priming, painting but who can resist a black friday deal?

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Once the doors were complete and we had gone through the headache of painting over dark wood we decided to remove all of the hallway baseboard and door casing to replace it with a taller 8” base that matched the rest of the vintage woodwork in the apartment and was available primed, ready for white paint. The transformation with new lighting, wall color, trim and doors was huge and the hallway already felt much brighter and inviting. The final problem area was the wall at the center of the hallway that had some unsightly thermostats and security system boxes. We decided to turn this into a gallery wall primarily as a method to hide the thermostat and security controls but it actually draws your attention down the hallway and accentuates the height of the ceiling.

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After we settled in to the new all white hallway we felt comfortable enough to add back some color and actually ended up painting the foyer a yellow color (again) this time no glaze finish, the color helps to define the foyer as it’s own space and complements the dark wood pocket door leading into the guest bedroom. A simple console table, mirror and set of mid century chairs make the foyer functional and welcoming, plus the umbrella stand is a must in rainy Chicago.

Thanks, Mike!

More from Mike: Here's his bathroom renovation project on Apartment Therapy

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(Image credits: Submitted by Mike)

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