Painting the Hallway

The hallway is one of those slow & steady projects. It has never gotten our focus, but we keep slowly chipping away at it. I first showed you the hallway and my inspiration, then we knocked a few things off the list when we changed up the lighting and added a transom window.

Here is what the hallway originally looked like

Hallway Before
Hallway Before

This was what the hallway was looking like after it’s lighting & transom updates.

The Hallway after new lighting and a transom
Hallway Nook (Outside Master Bedroom)
Hallway Nook (Outside Master Bedroom)

We knew we needed some new paint (the flat beige walls had seen much better days.) I decided they needed to change NOW, and one dreery Sunday afternoon I waded through our paint cans in the basement, and pulled out a can of white paint. I proceeded to march upstairs and paint one of the walls in the hallway white, then I ran out of paint.  Oops. Apparently a 30 foot hallway takes a lot of paint…So I headed out to Home Depot and picked up another can of white, and this past weekend I painted the rest of the hallway.

The Hallway with its fresh coat of white paint
The Hallway with its fresh coat of white paint

After painting the 30 foot hallway bright white…it was starting to feel a bit stark, so when I got to the nook outside our Master Bedroom, I again raided the basement paint can supply and found some nice grey paint. I painted the little nook and the wall in front of our master this medium grey.

The nook with its grey walls (both walls are the same colour grey, the skylight just hits the one wall more and makes it seem lighter)
The nook with its grey walls (both walls are the same colour grey, the skylight just hits the one wall more and makes it seem lighter)
The view of the accent wall when looking down the wallway
The view of the accent wall when looking down the hallway

With $35 in paint (the grey was left over from the main floor) we had an updated hall. Now all it needs is a runner and some art. I am thinking gallery wall!


Hallway Update

I posted a little while ago about my hallway hopes & dreams. I have not yet convinced anyone that I should paint the doors black (I still think its an excellent idea, but thank you everyone for not having any faith in me.) 😉

While we havnt made tons of progress, there have been a few improvements. We completed the transom window from the guest room, and it adds a ton more light to the hall, especially in the mornings.


We also replaced the ugly cheapo hallway lights with new school house lights that match the downstairs hall.

I got the best deal ever on these schoolhouse lights. The one for the downstairs hall was on clearance for $36 (which was amazeballs all on its own.) I went back to get another two for the upstairs hall but they were sold out. Sad face. Instead of giving up, I set the Mom’s on the task to check their local Home Depots. My Mom struck out, but my Mother in Law struck it rich when she landed on a stach of the at a HD in Brampton. She picked up two and guess what, they were reduced further to TWENTY FOUR BUCKS. Yep, you heard me $24. Holy effing awesomesauce.

So heres what it looked like before:

Hallway Before
Hallway with new transom but old lights

And heres what we’ve got now.


The one big thing is how much more neutral colour the new lights put off. The old ones were soooo warm, they made the whole hall feel crowded and tight. The new ones are much cooler (in every sense!) There is one small thing that is driving me a bit nuts, the ceiling isnt level, but the lights are made to sit level. This makes them look a smidge crooked. Which drives my eyes nuts. Until I figure out a fix however, I will have to live with it.

We still have a long way to go. Need some paint, art, a runner and a plant & mirror for the nook, but its a good start!

Adding a Transom Window

As you may remember I went buck wild a few weeks ago and cut a hole above our guest room door to make a transom window. I really need to get out more if thats I what I called buck wild…eep.

So I cut a hole in the wall, and then 4 days later my in-laws were set be rolling into my house for Thanksgiving. I know…who starts a project days before company is due to arrive and sleep IN the room where the project is happening… Dont worry, it wasnt such an epic fail. I may not have finished the transom in time, but it was presentable. Now after a few more days work, and some custom cut glass, I am pleased to reveal our new transom.

How how’d we do it?

  • We used a stud finder to generally figure out what was behind the wall above the door. We found studs on either side of the door, and one right in the middle above it.
  • We did our research, and found that building code in our area has doors framed with King Studs and Jack Studs and a Header, and that the cripple stud above the door was nothing structural. (which means we can take it out without having to reinforce anything else)
  • Using the markings of our stud finder, we drew straight lines on the insides of the studs to use as a guide for cutting.
  • We cut our hole using a drywall hand saw (or should I say I cut 1/4 of it, then wussed out and El Granto cut the rest…there are you happy you got your due Mr. Granto?)

  •  We removed the cripple stud with a combination of a reciprocating saw and a hammer.

  • We cleaned up our drywall ensuring there wasn’t any in our way for when we put casing on the transom hole.

  • We cased the window using 5/8″ mdf that we had laying around the house. It also happened to be the same thickness as our current door trim. We measured the depth of our transom hole and ripped some mdf with our circular saw to fit. We then brad nailed it in place.

  • We trimmed the transom frame with more of our 5/8″ mdf.
  • We made a little frame inside the casings to hold the window. Filled, caulked and sanded.

  • We painted two coats of our trim paint.
  • We measured our hole and got a piece of glass cut at an awesome local glass shop Snap Services.
  • We installed the glass with some silicone caulking and a couple glazing points. Now if you’re home owner with an old home you’re probably asking why we didn’t use glazing compound? Well it’s an interior window, and it wont be subject to direct sunlight or weather of any kind. SO, silicone will hold it in just fine (and keep it from moving rattling around when a truck drives by.) The glazing points combined with the mini frame we built for it will ensure the glass never moves.
Transom Painted
See how much light it brings to the hallway?!
Ta Da Transom!


5/8″ MDF – Home Depot (scraps from our bedside table project)
CIL Trim Paint – Home Depot
Custom Cut Glass – Snap Services

Tools Used:
Circular Saw
Mitre Saw
Brad Nailer
Caulking Gun
Paint Brush & Tray

Difficulty Level (on a scale of 1-5):

Two out of five

Total Cost: $10

Hallway Schoolhouse Light

You may have noticed that I have gushed about schoolhouse lights once or twice in the last few weeks. It’s true, I was in love. However my budget wasn’t allowing me to date any of those lights (sad face).

Not to be so easily broken, I set out to find a way to get my schoolhouse lights in my budget. I found schoolhouse glass at Home Depot for $7.50 (awesome!) I just needed to find an inexpensive fixture to use with the glass…not so awesome. I must have opened every box in Home Depot trying to find one that fit the glass. I didn’t even care about colour, as I could easily spray paint them. I struck out, hard. Nothing would work. In my depressed state, I wandered around Home Depot feeling sorry for myself. Then I spied on a bottom shelf, a clearance priced Hampton Bay Schoolhouse Semi-Flush pendant. Priced at…wait for it…$36. WTF? Where did this come from? I had never before seen this light (and I was SURE I knew of each and every schoolhouse light HD carried.) I took a pic, sent it to El Granto for approval. He gave me the thumbs up, so I promptly marched one over to the checkout.

Hampton Bay $36 Schoolhouse Light

Ideally I would have gotten three, so I could replace all the heinous hallway lights in the house, but they only had 2 left at my Home Depot (boo) and realistically I was already buying paint, so I really couldn’t carry them all. So I just took my one treasured light home, and vowed to check other Home Depot’s later.

I quickly roped El Granto into swaping out our main floor hallway light for the new schoolhouse light. So quickly in fact that I didn’t take a pic. So instead here is a pic of an identical spaceship light elsewhere in my house. (all told my teeny tiny house holds 6, yes six of these ugly little UFO’s.)

Careful; this UFO masquerading as a light may steal your children from their beds at night and take them off to space
After: New Hallway Schoolhouse Light
View down Main Floor Hallway

Ahhh…so much better. I have been loving gazing at my new light every time I pass it by. It’s true love I say.



Hampton Bay Schoolhouse Light: Home Depot

Tools Used:
Screw Driver, Ladder

Difficulty Level (on a scale of 1-5):

One out of five

Total Cost: $36

Hallway Inspiration

Our house is very very skinny (our property alone is 12.5’ wide, and after walls we’re left with less than 12’). I know what you’re thinking, how on earth can we live in such a skinny house? As many other Torontonians know, size isn’t everything, layout is. The people who renovated our house prior to us, did an exceptional job with the layout. On the main floor they squeezed in an open concept 35’ long kitchen/dining/entryway, a compact but cozy living room and a powder room. On the second floor, we have three bedrooms and an 8×8 bathroom. The one problem with the second floor is to make that layout work you need one big long hallway. It is long, and skinny, and dark. It is currently painted (you guessed it) beige, has two “spaceship” lights for lighting, four doors to the bedrooms and bath, one skylight over the staircase and a strange little nook. I have been trying to come up with solutions to make the space feel bigger, lighter, and more polished.

Hallway Nook (Outside Master Bedroom)

Here are some of my (hairbrained) ideas:

  • Cut out the spaces above all the doors, and install transoms. The bathroom & office each have large skylights, the front bedroom has a big bay window and our master has a glass door and large window. I think that with transoms all this light that is usually kept captive in the rooms will spill out into the hall. I think it will also make the ceilings feel higher.


Source: via Kristen on Pinterest

Source: via Kristen on Pinterest



  • Paint the walls white, trim white, and the doors gloss black. Wait wait wait, before you have me committed, hear me out. I think the contrast of the dark doors, light walls and all the natural light will actually make the space feel bigger. Contrast does wondrous things.


Source: via Kristen on Pinterest



  • Replace the lighting. This one is a necessity. There are two forms of cheap flush mount lights from the big box stores. They will hereafter be known as boob lights and spaceship lights. My metaphors are pretty straightforward. One looks like a boob, and the other like a spaceship. They both suck. Cant anyone make cheap attractive flush mounts? I would love some schoolhouse pendants in the hall space.


Source: via Kristen on Pinterest



  • Large scale artwork. The one problem is that it needs to be thin. The hallway is incredibly narrow, and already the walls get bashed with elbows when you try to carry anything down the hall. The artwork needs to not get in the way, and be well secured to the wall, and it needs to break up the large expanse of space. This is the only part that is still stumping me. You will only be looking at the art while walking down the hall, and even if you stop and look at it, you will be a foot away, so its not an ideal gallery space. May be a good candidate for some Blik vinyl wall art. Graphic and impactful, and gives definition to the space.
Blik Fox


Blik Birds of a Feather
  • Bigger mirror for the nook, small artwork and a nice large plant, preferably of the citrus tree variety. I love the thought of having a lime or lemon tree in the house, and think this would be a great place for it.



So what do you think? Have I won you over with my black doors?