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Dark narrow hallway. Help me please?!
Marjan Yeoman
February 28, 2013 in Design Dilemma
This is our hallway. It's dark (this is taken with the front door wide open so normally even darker!). It barely has natural light (tiny square of glass in the front door), has 12 doors (up/downstairs), is narrow and has picture and dado rails. I want to make it brighter, lighter and lot more stylish. 1) paint woodwork (white?). 2) change carpet 3) paint walls. My dilemma is whether painting the walls and ceiling a nearly white shade will make it brighter but also just feel like a narrow hall or whether I would be best to paint the walls up to the picture rail in a slight taupe shade (elephants breath -too dark?- skimming stone - cornforth white- too grey??) would open up the space? Also would it be better to make the hallway look bright but wider by using different shades on the wall and then above picture rail or should the colour stop at the dado rail or at the ceiling?? Argh. Help me decide please??
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curacaoblue
I think the carpet is a big part of why it appears so dark. It is also dating it. Can the carpet be removed or replaced with white or cream? That would help
February 28, 2013 at 6:28AM     
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Marjan Yeoman
Oh yes the carpet was inherited from previous owners and I swore it would be the first thing to go but seen as I want to paint before putting new carpet down, I need to decide what to do with the walls! Definitely will go for a brighter plain carpet.
February 28, 2013 at 6:30AM     
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PRO
Barnhart Gallery
What great bones your home has. I recently re-watched Hitchcock's "Dial M for Murder" with Grace Kelly and I want to look for a key under the carpet on the stairs.

I love the idea of two tones of the elephant on the lowers and white above. Rather than dark to light from floor to ceiling, I think I'd put the darkest in the center to give drama to any artwork you hang here. So yes to 1, 2 &3, and of course, turn on the chandelier!
February 28, 2013 at 6:35AM     
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rojonogo
I agree that the carpet is too dark. But having had cream-colored carpet on my stairs, I don't recommend it. Stairs get dirty and worn quickly, and such a light shade shows every bit of it. We had to replace it much sooner than a different color would have allowed. (Boy, I bet the rest of this house is gorgeous!)
February 28, 2013 at 6:36AM     
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elklaker
Certainly there must be hardwood under that carpet (based on the age of the house). If so, pull it up and refinish the floors.
February 28, 2013 at 6:37AM     
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apple_pie_order
The woodwork is gorgeous, I would not paint it. I suggest a very bright white wall paint with high reflective value. Get the tile floors cleaned professionally, then sealed, so they are as light as possible. The floor and woodwork have different tones, so pick which one you want the paint to go with best (I'd choose the wood). Then put in much brighter lighting, perhaps several new fixtures instead of one fixture. Add new taupe or mid-beige carpet on the stairs. Add a patterned rug in the front hall.

In the long run, how about a skylight on the second floor hallway or over the stairs?
February 28, 2013 at 6:39AM     
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PRO
What's Inside Design Ltd.
Good morning Marjan,

When choosing your paint, pick a paint with a high LRV. (Light reflectancy value) The closer to 100, the more light it will reflect. Therefore making your space brighter.
Also, I would keep to one paint colour above and below your chair rail! As soon as you paint in different colours, the contrast will make the space feel smaller.

I agree with curacoblue about installing a much lighter carpet as well! If you're worried about a light carpet showing dirt, choose one with dark flecks in it.

If possible, I'd also consider installing wall sconces for additional light.

I hope this helps!
Please post after pictures!
Caroline :)
February 28, 2013 at 6:44AM     
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Marjan Yeoman
I think the problem with keeping the woodwork dark is that there are so many doors in such a small dark space that the surface area of the doors would still counteract any brightness put on the walls. Do you think if all the woodwork was white (sorry :-)) that painting the walls should be a case of "all in the same bright shade" or should the walls' shade stop at the picture rail to open up the space and then paint the above picture rail the same white as the ceiling? Some more pics.
February 28, 2013 at 6:48AM   
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PRO
Interiors International, Inc.
I would light up the color of everything. Here is a picture of a white painted stair that I love. I don't know if this look will fit your home. But it does give you an idea of what it would look like with painted railings.
February 28, 2013 at 6:49AM     
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Marjan Yeoman
This is our living room which we took the picture rail out of and painted it all a light reflective colour (dulux frosted dawn). This has lots of natural light so not so much a problem). Would this work in the hallway?
February 28, 2013 at 6:51AM     
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Amy Stanley
Leave you woodwork it is gorgeous, are you sure there isn't wood under those awful carpets?
February 28, 2013 at 6:53AM     
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Marjan Yeoman
I don't thinking can face keeping the woodwork. I really think that is the main issue with the darkness of the space. It's like being in a cave as there is no natural light to speak of. My husband loves the dark wood though so we are having a battle over that!
February 28, 2013 at 6:54AM     
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Marjan Yeoman
What about these as options for wall shade/colours?
February 28, 2013 at 6:57AM     
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Marjan Yeoman
Under the stairs!!!!
February 28, 2013 at 6:58AM   
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Amy Stanley
I don't blame him, it is a historic house with beautiful woodwork. Everyone wants painted everything, in your case it devalues the home. Use lighting mimicking the era- wall sconces, ceiling etc. use a light color from a historic pallet, even a mirror can brightening it up, but stay true to the homes roots you will regret it somewhere down the line if you don't.

Pull the carpet and up and see if you can refinish them. If not it is worth the money to have wood put back down. I think it would add so much to the home.
February 28, 2013 at 6:59AM     
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Patricia Pelgrims
It looks like a British or Irish home ???
I love the style of your livingroom and if it were me I WOULD paint the stairs white. The dado and piture rail in the same colour as your walls.
You could go for a slightly darker/muted colour below the dado and brighter/lighter above
February 28, 2013 at 7:00AM     
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bevballew
I think the chair,rail in the lower level should be painted same color as walls or removed. I think if you use same color as living room would look good. Maybe a purple rug up the stairs? Or at least a bright color that will cover the dirt and cheer up the area. Maybe mirrors or bright artwork would cheer it up without painting any woodwork except for that chair rail.
February 28, 2013 at 7:01AM     
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Marjan Yeoman
What about this?
February 28, 2013 at 7:02AM     
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Marjan Yeoman
And yes we are in England. :-) the woodwork is def nor staying dark as its just making the whole room to dark. I think it was painted, stripped and revarnished in the past.
February 28, 2013 at 7:04AM     
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PRO
Restoring our 1890 Victorian
Your house is gorgeous! (or, it will be when you’ve given it a little bit of love!) We’re restoring an 1890 Victorian home.
Here is our house when we first looked at it: http://wp.me/p36IiD-1kA

Somewhere along the way all our doors/trim/moldings/windows… got painted white. I do like the look of it—it’s brighter, and it’s currently a popular look, BUT I wish we had the original wood.

Aside from the authentic-ness, painting approximately 1,200 miles of trimwork is a nightmare. It is a TON of work. We re-painted ours, since it was dingy and yellowing, and I cannot emphasize the work involved in prepping, priming, and then painting multiple coats. (I guess if you’re not diy-ing it, that’s not a concern for you.)

I personally would use a few well-placed mirrors. A large wall mirror on the left of the entryway, with a small table underneath and some sconces or lamps would open up the space and reflect what light is already available. And a tall, thin mirror at the top of the stairs with some recessed lighting in the hallway would brighten things up.

Plus, like you said, swapping out the carpet will make a world of difference!
February 28, 2013 at 7:07AM     
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bevballew
I think this pic you uploaded is stunning! I would go for it yesterday. ! All of the above with white as shown above are nice as long as you don't mind painting the woodwork. Gorgeous look the one you chose as opposed to the others. If you paint at least it is one coat of paint that could be removed if someone wanted to go back to the original.
February 28, 2013 at 7:09AM     
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Patricia Pelgrims
Is it a Victorian terrace ?
As i said, I'd paint the stairs white. I don't know what your other doors are like but the door at the end looks lovely. Only it could do with stripping and bleaching, which works well with white.

In Europe dark wood, as Marjan and I well know, is out dated. Unless it is wood of a very good quality and beautiful grain. Dark stained woods are so out of favour since the 80's, I don't think there will be any devaluation of the house in many years to come.
February 28, 2013 at 7:11AM     
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Adriana Toth
We had a very similar halway in our old house.
I have removed the panel from door (that led into the kitchen) and left just the frame.
Inside the frame I have placed a stained glass panel (just beveled glass, no color)
It took a month to make because it was large, the effect was great when it was in place.
I do not have very good photos of it but I can send waht I have.
The whole hallway was lit and it looked much better.
February 28, 2013 at 7:27AM     
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Amy Stanley
I live in New England, USA so it is the complete opposite here in regards to wood..However considering your location, I think the picture you posted is very bright and cheery and leaving the top of banister dark might be a good compromise for you and your husband.
February 28, 2013 at 8:01AM     
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Marjan Yeoman
Yes I am considering getting some of the wood panels in the front door and potentially also in the door at the back of the hallway (to kitchen) replaced with glass panels to add some natural light.
February 28, 2013 at 8:45AM     
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carole
well,nothing to add,its all been said,but my vote is paint,like the darker bannister too,and what a difference it will make from what is was!!!!!!!!!!!!
February 28, 2013 at 10:40AM   
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Marjan Yeoman
Really appreciate everyone's comments. So the woodwork is decided. We will paint that white. Leave the banister. Now, the wall colour... The room is narrow, so would painting all wall segments and ceilings one uniform colour (ie. near white) be best or would a slight hint of colour (say Skimming stone or similar or slightly darker) on 1 or 2 of the lower segments be better to "open" up and widen the room? THANKS AGAIN FOR ALL YOUR COMMENTS - REALLY APPRECIATE IT!!
February 28, 2013 at 11:42AM     
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Patricia Pelgrims
You can go either way with this. I love the all white feel of the last pic you posted. It ties in very well with your sittingroom. But if you want to create an extra layering so to speak, you could paint it taupe (or another muted light colour) below the dado rail.
February 28, 2013 at 12:21PM     
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bevballew
I would paint it all white. Then if you want to experiment just place a piece of cardboard, posterboard or wood painted with taupe and lean it against for several days and evenings to get a feel. I like the idea of all white but the taupe might be gorgeous...or paint on the second or upper floor a few panels of taupe. . Glad you are moving so fast!
February 28, 2013 at 12:56PM     
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PRO
What's Inside Design Ltd.
Hi Marjan,
From your last comment I hear you want a colour that will help "open" and widen the room.
Cool colours are considered "receding" colours and will make the room feel bigger.
Warm colours will do the opposite and will advance towards you and make the room feel smaller.
Therefore, if you're looking for an off-white with a hint of colour, I would recommend that it have a slight cool tint to it.
Good luck and have fun!
Caroline
February 28, 2013 at 4:31PM     
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Marjan Yeoman
Ok so have got some paint options going. They are all Farrow and ball. Left to right: skimming stone, cornforth white and elephants breath. Cornforth white standing against tiles. White trim.
March 11, 2013 at 4:05PM   
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bevballew
You show three on the stairway and another on cardboard in the hallway. Confused but I will say the middle one on the stairway or the one on cardboard on the floor.
March 11, 2013 at 4:29PM     
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Patricia Pelgrims
I like the skimming stone and the cornforth white
March 11, 2013 at 4:34PM     
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revss
The Skimming Stone looks to me as if it has more grey tone than taupe, which I hear you are wanting to use somewhere. Maybe I just can't see it well...If you consider purple color for the stairs, I hope you don't have a dog/cat that sheds!
March 11, 2013 at 4:59PM   
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zuzu25
Consider keeping the carpet and border it to show the hard wood floor. Add brass rods on the stairs for style. Add wainscot up the side of the staircase in a complementary color to the tile floor. Pick a wall color using a color from the carpet.
March 11, 2013 at 5:04PM   
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Marjan Yeoman
So the cornforth white is middle of the three on the stairs and also the one leaning against the wall off the floor. It's twice the same colour. Think I am also leaning towards that one. It comes out bright enough - almost as bright as skimming stone but with a bit more grey tone rather than beige undertones of the skimming stone/elephants breath.
March 11, 2013 at 5:06PM     
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Marjan Yeoman
No the carpet is definitely not staying. :-) thanks though.
March 11, 2013 at 5:07PM     
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Marjan Yeoman
Am thinking this kind of colour for stairs carpet. I know it's a basket... But just for the colour tones. :-)
March 11, 2013 at 5:08PM     
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Marjan Yeoman
Pic came out too narrow before.
March 11, 2013 at 5:10PM   
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Marjan Yeoman
Try again. Sorry.
March 11, 2013 at 5:12PM   
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bevballew
You may want to get carpet first before painting. Maybe paint a section and bring home some carpet samples.
March 11, 2013 at 5:40PM     
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Patricia Pelgrims
For your stair runner, I would go for a natural material like sisal, seagrass or similar.
March 12, 2013 at 3:19AM     
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PRO
88 Atelier for Architecture
Change the finishes certainly, but to brighten its dreariness a skylight at the top is the way to go.
March 12, 2013 at 4:12AM     
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Luciana
I wouldn't use Farrow and Ball for a hall and staircase; we've done up a few properties in the last few years and all painters&decorators we've used were against it - they said it needs at least 3 coats to get an OK finish and is rather opaque, so no reflecting light there. I obviously didn't listen, used F&B in our previous home - after 3 months I wanted to paint the walls again - it scratched in no time and it was rather dull. What we were told was to get Dulux 10* tougher - trade if possible. It has a better finish and you can wipe it clean in the same way as a kitchen/bathroom paint, which is great for such high traffic areas as halls. Dulux has a cornflower white which is quite nice.

Our staircase looked like yours when we bought the house we live in at the moment - we ended up covering the steps and risers in oak planks and getting new spindles, and we're very happy with the results (see before & after photos or have a look at www.houzz.com/ideabooks/5800709/thumbs/finished-house). Alternatively, you could consider painting the stairs with those floor paints - a friend has done that and it looks really great. We shamelessly added lots of wall lights and a narrow skylight (we had to apply for planning permission for it, being in a conservation area) even though as end of terrace we have windows in the hall.

Good luck with your project! (and seriously, you'd regret using F&B in a hall).

March 12, 2013 at 5:14AM     
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rinqreation
Keep the wood! The woodwork as it is, gives your house character, it's part of the structure, the blueprint.

Remove the carpet on the stairs and then decide whether to paint or clad. Choose offwhite paint and sisal carpet/runner. Put (frosted/patterned) glass in the top panels of the doors to get more natural light. High gloss wooden doors are not the major problem in dark spaces. Paint the ceilings bright white. When you've picked a color for the walls, get a gloss on the bottom half and a matte on the upper (so the same color). Install proper lighting, not too bright, but enough. A motion detector is great in a hallway. It might sound strange, but a black floor might add space (and well placed tile-seams help too).

And when you do decide on painting doors, only paint the door itself, not the frames.
March 12, 2013 at 5:35AM     
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rinqreation
Only color I can think of painting the trims in, is black.
March 12, 2013 at 5:42AM   
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Marjan Yeoman
Thanks for all your input. Really good to hear everyone's perspective and ideas. I understand the value of original wood but as these are varnished in a red/orange undertone and really not the original (see stairs bare wood finish under carpet) I feel like I am not desecrating the house by repainting the wood if that makes sense. I think if I do go with F&B paint I would get the modern emulsion which is more hard wearing a slightly more light reflecting (7% sheen).
March 12, 2013 at 5:50AM     
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Patricia Pelgrims
No Marjan, you aren't desecrating the house by repainting the wood. And don't do trims in different colours as it will look twee.
There is a clear difference in decorating styles between Europe and US. Europe doesn't like stained wood so much. ;)
March 12, 2013 at 6:18AM     
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rinqreation
I'm dutch and I like wood, especially if it's part of the characteristics of a house.
I'd remove the old stain and see if the wood looks good enough for some clear coat or maybe a dark nut stain. If not, I'd paint it black, because these trims are 'made for contrast'. Desegrating would not be a word I'd easily use, it's still a house.
March 12, 2013 at 6:45AM     
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Marjan Yeoman
Thanks everyone. Main problem with the wood varnished or unvarnished is that it adds to the dark feel of the hall as its so small with barely any natural light.
March 12, 2013 at 7:14AM   
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Patricia Pelgrims
Haha, rinqreation ! So you ARE European ! :-D
I like wood too, but depending on the wood and the use of it. I like white -ish painted wood even more ;)
I had a look at your ideabooks and you seem to like painted wood also.

Anyway, it is up to Marjan now. She'll have to 'feel' the space and see what works for her.
:-)
March 12, 2013 at 7:27AM   
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PRO
Dogwood Solar
Before you change the colors or finishes, consider adding more natural light. Adding a tubular skylight [or two] at the top of the stairs and or above the bottom of the stairs will bring in a lot of natural light
March 12, 2013 at 7:35AM     
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PRO
Dogwood Solar
Couple more before/after. These results are typical with a properly installed Sun Tunnel
March 12, 2013 at 7:38AM     
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Marjan Yeoman
I did look at those light tunnels. I am scared it would end up with a leaky roof though. Would have to find a reliable company. How much would you roughly pay for those in uK?
March 12, 2013 at 8:04AM   
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lisalovesquilts
Hi Marjan. I live in a house from 1910, with original features (mostly.) We have the same light problems (Scotland - dark in winter not much natural light.) Our interior doors are painted white thankfully because otherwise it'd be like living in a coffin. Anyone who subsequently buys your house can dip and strip the doors if they don't like it. You live there enjoy it. About glass panels in doors - that's ok for public rooms but woud you want that in a bedroom? I don't think so, you need dark to sleep and privacy. Are you really keen on gray shades for this hall? I'm just thinking that if it's gray outside (bearing in mind British weather) it may be a little dull/depressing? That may just be me I hate rain and gray reminds me of it! I liked your paint sample on the right, it had warmth without being dark or dull.
March 12, 2013 at 8:06AM     
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aerinrae
I also have a lot of dark wood in my older home. I decided to keep it natural in most rooms. I did paint it in the kitchen and a second living area and didn't get struck down by lightening or anything. Honestly, painting that trim would not be a bad idea. You do not have to paint the banister. I would do the brightest white, remove all carpeting and maybe refinishing the entire staircase in a darker color. I think it would be a nice contrast. You can add color with a runner going up the stairs. Are you keeping the tile? No problem with it, just curious. I would get a more simple pendant and place wall sconces where needed. Once you personalize the area and add color I think it will look great.
March 12, 2013 at 8:17AM     
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PRO
Dogwood Solar
Marjan,
I'm not sure what they go for in the UK. We only use VELUX products for Sun Tunnels and Skylights, their UK site is http://www.velux.co.uk/private/products/sun_tunnel

Here in the US, we provide and install a 14" [35 cm] for about $900 USD on average. There should be a installer locator on the link above. The product itself is great and using a VELUX certified installer should offer further peace of mind. Properly installed, they will not leak. Good luck brightening your space with whatever you choose!
March 12, 2013 at 8:19AM     
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aerinrae
All one color, I forgot to mention! Good luck! I'd be curious to see your progress!
March 12, 2013 at 8:19AM     
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alyssamcmanus
I really think the tile is wayyyyy wrong, here! Not in keeping with the period or style of the house. That being said, I'd do some lighting that would allow you to aim it where you need it, paint the walls a lovely historic shade of yellow and maybe do a stair runner or something in beige up the stairs. My first plan of attack is to get rid of that tile, though! it looks so out of place!
March 12, 2013 at 8:35AM     
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Marjan Yeoman
The tile isn't great but it's staying as it runs through into the kitchen.
March 12, 2013 at 8:50AM   
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alyssamcmanus
Oh, that is unfortunate. I think the tile movement needs better guidance. Especially when it comes to historic homes. It's the rich wood you want. Plus, the noise of tile..its everywhere and its always noisy!
March 12, 2013 at 8:52AM   
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Marjan Yeoman
Luckily the space is tiny so there isn't really a noise issue with the tiles. But I do wish we had a different tone in the tile. But hey, can't change that right now so will decorate around it. (For now).
March 12, 2013 at 9:01AM     
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alyssamcmanus
You can paint it or apply a coating, but since you are looking for lighter shades, Im not sure how it would work.
March 12, 2013 at 9:02AM   
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kellychristine7
Get rid of the carpet. Get hardwood floors. Paint walls a warm tan. A darker on the bottom and a lighter on the top. Also paint wood work white to really brighten up the space. If possible knock down the wall to the left. Especially if there is a living room or kitchen on the other side. That will make it do much larger.
March 12, 2013 at 9:19AM   
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PRO
Marie Hebson's interiorsBYDESIGN Inc.
Add applique or wainscotting - painted white - with pretty wallpaper on upper portion.
Change out foyer light fixture to something more appropriate - two toned stairs, wood treads, white risers, white spindles, wood post and hand rail. New carpet runner
March 12, 2013 at 9:27AM     
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Luciana
I found this photo somewhere (can't remember, could be on Houzz) - something like this could work with your tiles if you like (and bear to clean) an all white hall.
As for the wood, I wouldn't worry. As Lisa said, you have to live in that house with what you like; if you ever sell it then the next owners can do what they like; the wood would still be there and if they want to strip it, stain it, varnish it or whatever, that would be their problem. Plus, it is rather easy and not that expensive (at least where I live) to buy old doors, dado rail, skirting boards and so on (not floor tiles, unfortunately), if someone really wants to restore the house to its Victorian glory!! :))
March 12, 2013 at 9:31AM     
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maureenroth
I used F+B modern emulsion and eggshell in my kitchen after finding that I could no longer buy oil paint. I have found that it has much nicer flow than the other latex paints I have used and durable. My hallway is similar to yours and I painted the dark woodwork because it felt like a cave. The compromise I made was to leave the doors stained and varnished, as they were, and paint all frames, paneling and trim. It made a big difference and I also installed a larger sized, very bright chandelier with a dimmer. You could refinish the stairs but paint the risers the same as the painted woodwork, then put in a light coloured runner. If you remove the tiles in the hall, you can still keep them in the kitchen. I just looked at your lovely lounge/living room - what is on the floors? The same tile or carpeting?
March 12, 2013 at 10:05AM     
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Marjan Yeoman
Thanks. I do still like the all white look and that is my husbands preferred option (walls would look like the living room walls). Living room has carpet in a biscuit like beige colour. And a purple rug. I love the all white hall in the last picture but that seems to have a lot more natural light than ours. I want to stay away from yellow tones (the tiles actually have quite a few different tones in them) for the wall as it looks quite old fashioned in this space (previously had yellow/gold toned wallpaper on the walls). What sort of light fitting would you suggest?
March 12, 2013 at 11:08AM     
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maureenroth
The light would depend on your ceiling height. Although I think a white drum shade might be nice, I don't think it would be bright enough. I see that you have mixed period and modern in your lounge, which is what I like to do myself. So you could go either way, I think. I put in a traditional chandelier in my hall because it gives the most light. I have an older house and although i redid my kitchen in a mostly traditional style to respect the architecture, I put in a decidedly not traditional Brand Van Egmond pendant light, which totally changes the look. Anyone else have a chandy they could recommend?
March 12, 2013 at 11:20AM   
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Luciana
Depending on your budget and style, there are some great lights out there (apologies in advance, I'm a lights enthusiast, I could talk lights all day!). Before I get loose though, what's wrong with the lamp you already have? It looks OK to me.
Our hallway light is a cheap pendant from Dwell (to compensate for the thousands of pounds we spent on our Artemide lamp in the living room and Tom Dixons in the kitchen :)) http://dwell.co.uk/101652/Drum-ceiling-light/. Dwell has some good sales at the moment and quality wise they are pretty good. If you like the style this can be a good choice, as it has 3 bulbs: http://dwell.co.uk/106840/Open-top-glass-shade-pendant-light/.
In a previous house we had this and got compliments on it: http://www.heals.co.uk/pendants+chandeliers/frandsen-copenhagen-glass-pendant-light/invt/377853
If you are more of a chandelier type, then John Lewis has this nice little shade: http://www.johnlewis.com/john-lewis-easy-to-fit-helene-ceiling-shade/p149035 or this one: http://www.johnlewis.com/john-lewis-nebula-pendant/p149921
I also like the look of this: http://www.habitat.co.uk/mizuko-3-drop-pendant/pendants//fcp-product/29592
Or, at the other end of the budget but still ok, these classics: http://www.davidvillagelighting.co.uk/product/Foscarini_Caboche_Media_Suspension_-_ClearTransparent/314 and this: http://www.panik-design.com/acatalog/Kundalini_-_Clover_Suspension_Light.html or this: http://www.heals.co.uk/pendants+chandeliers/ligne-roset-very-thin-pendant-light-by-arik-levy/invt/306514

I could go on all night; please don't tell hubby I've been browsing lights again, he'll have me sent back to my country!!
March 12, 2013 at 12:23PM     
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maureenroth
omg, LOVE the Kundalini - Clover Suspension Light! Probably not bright enough for Marjan though...
March 12, 2013 at 1:25PM   
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maureenroth
Oh Luciana, now I'm upset. One of your links has my favourite dining table, the Vanessa by Bonaldo for about $3000 cheaper than I can get it here in Canada;-(
March 12, 2013 at 1:32PM     
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Marjan Yeoman
Thanks! You are all being so helpful! I like the multi bulb chandelier types for their extra brightness. Might see if I can keep the current one maybe but spray it white? It's currently a yellowy antique finish looking shade. Wouldn't go too great if I went for all white or even the cornforth white. Cool shades Luciana.
March 12, 2013 at 3:30PM   
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March 12, 2013 at 3:40PM     
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alyssamcmanus
Marjan, for some reason, your project stuck in my head. I had a 'eureka!' moment. You could do this and achieve a lighter look: paint/coat tile a nice chocolate brown, then, paint what you need to on the staircase, leaving the handrail natural, which is a classic craftsman style element. It's the opposite effect of what you have now. you have light on bottom and dark on top. reverse it to dark on bottom and light on top and I think you will get that lighter look.
March 13, 2013 at 5:54AM     
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Marjan Yeoman
Thanks for taking the time to think about my horrible hall (as I cal it)!
March 13, 2013 at 6:51AM   
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Marjan Yeoman
I've never heard of painting a tile though. Would the paint not chip off?
March 13, 2013 at 6:52AM   
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aerinrae
Hmm, it sounds like you're on board with the white on white? I wouldn't worry about the tile until you're ready to change the material. You can put rugs down. While I agree they're not really right for the space, I think if you get that trim painted and refinish the stairs you will be able to step back and see where you want to go from there. Just doing those two things will be a really positive change.
March 13, 2013 at 8:12AM     
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alyssamcmanus
there are tile coatings available and people who apply them, yes.
March 13, 2013 at 8:36AM     
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kroze
My daughter bought an eighth floor flat (top level) last year in Edinburgh, Scotland and it has a sky window in the foyer. The building is over two centuries old and is on a protected buildings list. They have no problem with roof leaks and it floods their flat with natural light. She can even grow potted plants in the foyer. So, that is the way I would go with your foyer.
March 13, 2013 at 8:41AM     
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Luciana
Maureen, that is a cool table!! However, let me tell you from experience, never ever buy a glass top dining table unless you resign yourself that it will never look sparkly clean. I put up with this: http://www.heals.co.uk/dining-tables/calligaris-tokyo-dining-table-glasswalnut/invt/tokyo for 6 years until this last move 3 months ago when I refused to take it in to the new house. It looks wonderful, you can easily feed on it, but try keeping it clean... it's bloody cursed, all it takes is a touch with only the very tip of your finger and the smudges start to show and multiply worse than cell dividing bacteria! Or maybe I'm a lousy (lazy) housekeeper, but whatever! I'll never have a clear glass dining table ever again!!

Apologies for indulging in this little rant on your thread, Marjan but I just couldn't abstain when I saw that table. Now, I realised I only gave you some links to ceiling lights, completely neglecting the gorgeous wall lights! Do you want me to have a look for you? As long as HE, the scary deporting monster doesn't find out, we can have a merry time looking at the wonders of illumination! Let me know.

On a serious note though, depending on your budget and priorities, you could spray-paint white the light you have and keep it until you find something you really like and can afford.
March 13, 2013 at 11:53AM     
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maureenroth
Luciana, thanks for the input. I currently have a 50 inch square glass coffee table, and although I have naughty persian cats and am not a total clean freak, it hasn't been too bad. On the other hand, maybe a glass dining table would be worse because it is higher up. I'll ponder it. The problem is that I seriously have looked at a bazillion tables and this is the one that hubby and I agree on. I like it because it has a lovely organic shape, is elegant and refined, not too rustic like many wood tables, and is modern but would sit well with traditional pieces, of which I have many. Sigh. What to do. Also, this table starts at $8000. :-( I may pay 3 or 4, but 8 is too much.
March 13, 2013 at 12:00PM     
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Marjan Yeoman
Might have to spray paint the current light white until I can find something else. BUT I do want to have a bigger hanging light feature above the stairs upstairs. Can you see in the pic where there is a big wall/space in front of you as you look over the banister to the left/as if you walk down the stairs. Was thinking of some sort of multilevel twirling down light fighting that would fill some of that space and provide some more light.
March 13, 2013 at 12:24PM     
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Marjan Yeoman
Also there are no electricity points for wall lights. :-/
March 13, 2013 at 12:25PM   
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Luciana
Hmmm, wouldn't be great if they'd invent some really classy LED wall lights on batteries - then you wouldn't need wires in the wall for them.
All I can think of on the spot is climbing lights, either this: https://shop.ligne-roset.co.uk/store/596-p-le-plic-wall-light-set-of-3.html or this: http://www.black-blum.com/products/climbing-light/ - that is if you have plugs in the hall. Or this, which looks a bit less childish: http://www.archiexpo.com/prod/la-lampe-gras/design-steel-wall-lights-adjustable-67937-778310.html. I'll have a think for a multilevel light.

I have the Black and Blum in my den (I promise I'm older than 9!) - it scratched the wall already!
March 13, 2013 at 12:45PM   
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New York Stone
If you need help with sourcing stone for your kitchen call us at New York Stone! 201-679-7031
March 13, 2013 at 12:57PM   
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Luciana
Maureen, I know is not ethical what I'm about to suggest to you, but when prices are prohibiting you have to learn to improvize. How about you find a good carpenter/ cabinet maker and ask him to cut-carve and varnish the legs of that table (I think they have the sizes on their site) - it can't be that expensive. Then you either search for a glass top or buy a cheap(ish) table with the top you want, use the glass on your custom made legs and voila! - the Bonaldo table at half price!
March 13, 2013 at 1:00PM   
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calikym
Paint colors really change with different lighting. I would add sconces to the right wall perhaps and also change the light fixture to illuminate more. I know people normally don't change lights first but seriously if you are painting with your current lighting, it will still look different after you change the lighting in the future. Hmmmm. I also wouldn't paint the stair rails.
March 13, 2013 at 1:20PM     
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maureenroth
Luciana, no, it's not exactly kosher, but I was thinking the same thing. I do woodworking myself and I know this is a walnut, multi-laminate piece. I have already priced out glass and could find someone to manufacture the metal centre hardware piece. The problem is the grain pattern. The pattern follows the form (or visa versa) and they are all bookmatched. I have a very good lumber yard close by but I sincerely doubt that I will find anything suitable. The table isn't really hard to make at all.
March 13, 2013 at 3:44PM   
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PRO
CMR Interiors & Design Consultations Inc.
You could do a velux sky light above the stairwell. They are amazing and help with the lack of light and then get a chandelier with a lot of wattage and maybe a few sconces in the foyer to help with lighting there as well or up the stairs.
March 13, 2013 at 3:49PM     
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maureenroth
I may just design my own. I am an artist and could come up with my own design. hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to the lumber yard I go...
March 13, 2013 at 3:51PM   
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babzie933
Yikes! I can't believe all the comments! I'm a white woodwork lover (sorry!) and think it really brightens up a place. What about leaving the stairs bare, and painting the risers a light color? Also, you could line the hallway wall with pictures, and put those little artwork lights above each?!?
March 13, 2013 at 4:04PM     
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Marjan Yeoman
What do you mean by rizers? (Lost in across pond translation here). Do you mean the spindles on the staircase? Or the chair rail? I am planning to paint the chair rail in the same colour as the wall. So it's not so segmented. Aargh this is so hard to decide I keep going round in circles with this colour choice on wall vs just painting it all in Dulux Frosted dawn (like living room). Definitely sticking with my plan to paint the wood. Velux window wouldn't work as the ceiling isn't the actual ceiling there is loft space above it so would have to go with one of those light tubes if needed. Not sure I want to go that far. Or husband would want to go that far. This is getting a bit epic. Just a quick vote. Imagine white woodwork, same tiles, light fitting spray painted white, stairs carpet (poss colour of that basket I posted a pic off) and now vote: 1) Dulux frosted dawn, 2) F&B skimming stone, 3) F&B cornforth white or 4) f&B elephants breath?
March 13, 2013 at 4:34PM   
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Susan H
Risers are the front of each step. Not the part you step on but the vertical front part. (The decorated part in this photo:
)
March 13, 2013 at 5:33PM     
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babzie933
Thanks Susan! Those are very cute Risers :) Marjan, I think using the color from the living room is a nice transition. Would the white woodwork contrast the walls a bit? That would be very pretty. Lots of choices make it hard. Just go with what you like, and add some of the ideas people have shared if you like them. And please don't forget to show us the results!
March 13, 2013 at 5:45PM     
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aerinrae
FROSTED DAWN gets my vote. And yes on painting the little light fixture as opposed to keeping it the current color. I do think the stairs should be refinished but natural but if you choose to paint white, they will still turn out great. Any carpet is better than whats there now! Please post pics of the finished project! I love a good before and after.
March 13, 2013 at 6:17PM     
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Luciana
Dulux (and Fired Earth) would always get my vote ahead of any other paint makers. And Frosted Dawn looks great!
March 15, 2013 at 12:09PM   
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donnasd
Hi Marjan.
I haven't commented before but now that I've completed reading this, I have just some suggestions. Do not put sisal down on the stairs. Here's why: it gets dirty very fast in a high-traffic area. I have researched this & it can often smell bad. Even when sisal is professionally cleaned there's no guarantee that stain(s) will come out. Whatever attractiveness it may have when you first put it down will be gone within 6 mos. That would be an awful lot of investment for something to become such a headache & you not get your money's worth out of. For the steps, I would recommend either a pretty oriental type runner, with some lighter colors than you have now. In lieu of that, a Berber carpet might be a good solution. These are softer than sisal, have great durability & can really lighten up your space. Also, 2 problems with wood or painted stairs is that they are quite noisy, &. if painted, the paint can easily chip.

I think that you should do your decorating by degrees. Paint the stair spindles white, while leaving the chair rail dark as well, as the newel posts. Live with that a while & you'll see if its a successful combination or if you need to go back and paint the railings, too. That is handling it by degrees.

And dark wooden trim can be easily painted, without going through a lot of hassle. Krylon makes a paint called 'Fusion' that covers plastic, ceramic, glass, woodwork, etc. You don't even to prime first to apply this.
In addition to painting the door a light color on the inside, it would be a great to enlarge the glass in your front door. Maybe you know of someplace where you could get that done. If you want regular glass, as in window panes, you could install a rod on the inside of the door with a privacy curtain over it. Just make sure that the fabric there will also allow a lot of natural light in. If you go with etched, wavy glass, etc., you may not need fabric there at all. I believe that you should get an estimate on installing a skylight. If the installer comes in to look & see if that's a possibility with the architecture of the space, be sure to get an idea of the labor, any problems that might arise & cost that you'll incur. Balance that with the amount you're willing to spend. Then you'll know at once if a skylight is right for you.

I respect the historic nature of your home. But while giving a nod to your home's past , you must make your home right for those who live there NOW. Keep that in mind while your decorating. It's possible to go overboard if one a slave to the past. Doing that might make a case for outdoor privies, cooking over an open fireplace or using kerosene lighting. But times do change & a lighter, fresher look is something that will improve both form AND function within those walls.

As decorator/designer Christopher Lowell has said, "Wood isn't always good". And a few painted surfaces will work wonders in your home's entryway.

Start with your chandelier. Paint it a lighter shade. Paint all the way up your wainscoting, too. After you've lived with that combination a while, & you decide you want a different look, its only paint, for goodness' sake. It's easy enough to change paint colors & it's one of the most economical changes you can make. And be sure to add sconces on the walls where they're most effective and you should probably add another ceiling light as well.

I haven't seen this anywhere in this post before. Where your longest un-interrupted wall is, why don't you consider a mural? If you can locate a good local artist, that would be great. But before you hire him or her, check out some of their previous work to observe the quality of it, if it's too traditional or too modern, whatever. Ask about references, too. And as a nod to the past, a beautiful mural might be one of your street, when it was newly built. Or it could be any kind of wonderful scene that you imagine Also, you can often find pre-done murals in a good wallpaper shop. They are applied like wallpaper, too. For the rest of your hallway, alternate between mirrors and pictures, coordinating with oriental rug(s) on the floor.
Hope this helps some.
April 16, 2013 at 2:18PM   
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annabellar
your living room mirror is nice, where did you get it from ?
April 25, 2013 at 12:49PM   
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Marjan Yeoman
The mirror is from a market in Belgium by a craftsman who makes/sells them. It was a wedding gift.

Well, we finally made some progress after having our walls reskimmed. The horrible carpets are gone. New ones are coming this week so the paint has to be finished. Cornforth white (F&B) on the walls. White satinwood paint on trim.

The spindles, skirting boards and door frames will be white. Doors will eventually be painted white too.

Dilemma: we are planning to paint the dado and picture rails in the cornforth white too. We thought this would give it a cleaner, more modern look. Good or bad decision?

Dilemma 2: front door internal colour: black (outside is black) or white?
December 1, 2013 at 1:03AM     
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Marjan Yeoman
Also the colour needs to still be painted above the picture rail up to the ceiling. Ceiling will remain white. I know the tiles aren't nice but they worked when the walls were yellow but can't change them for now. This is the carpet colour sample vs floor tiles, vs wall colour.
December 1, 2013 at 1:14AM     
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bistodog
You can always investigate looking at a light well http://www.velux.co.uk/private/products/sun_tunnel
December 1, 2013 at 1:44AM   
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2dogssashatess
Can you replace your front door with a shatter proof glass one to let in maximum light
December 1, 2013 at 2:23AM     
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maggielou362
Looking lovely so far Marjan. Main thing is: do YOU like it? My preference for skirtings, stair spindles, door frames, doors (including internal side of front door), dado and picture rails would be to have them all the same white. I think you mentioned white satinwood? or perhaps that's the name of an actual product? This way you get the lovely lightened-up effect you are after while still very subtly highlighting/acknowledging the historic details. On the other hand, leaving the internal side of the front door as unpainted wood ties it in nicely with the varnished timber railings. I wouldn't introduce black to the internal side of door. It certainly will look a lot brighter and prettier, whichever way you choose. Nice work :)
December 1, 2013 at 3:13AM     
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babzie933
What a difference already! I love the white woodwork - what if you paint the back of the front door white, or one shade darker than the walls (?!) The architectural elements of the door(s) if you paint the ones upstairs too would be more visible if you painted them a light color. Love the carpet selection! I hope you're enjoying the process!
December 1, 2013 at 7:54AM   
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kristylou
I'm a little confused. The last set of pictures, isn't the second one the front door from inside the house? If so, leave it; don't paint it!!!!!!!!! It matches the railings and looks great!!! I think the before pictures ha too much dark wood but you've done an amazing job and leaving the door is the perfect amount of wood. DON'T PAINT it or any of the doors upstairs that have that gorgeous wood on them!!!!!!!!! :)
December 1, 2013 at 8:09AM     
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rinqreation
I completely agree with kristylou, leave the doors and railings alone!
They're gorgeous and add so much charm to the hallway!
December 1, 2013 at 11:29AM     
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maggielou362
I too was thinking that I would leave all internal doors, including inside of front door, the colour of the timber because it looks great with the railing. But if you are set on white doors then I would do the inside of the front door the same, don't add black.
December 2, 2013 at 2:41AM   
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Greg
I don't know if there is a historical value to the railing that is there, here is a railing we have used to open up a space. #jmkarchitects.com
December 2, 2013 at 8:02AM     
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kroze
Wow, that really did open up the space gpe66! Good job.
December 2, 2013 at 9:32AM   
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Marjan Yeoman
Thanks. Looks nice so modern and clean. Would you say paint the dado and picture rail in the wall colour to blend them in or leave those white. I think it would look cleaner and more modern with them painted in the wall colour rather than being very traditional in white?
December 2, 2013 at 1:44PM   
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maggielou362
Hi Marjan, sounds like you are after a quite modern and sleek look which would mean playing down the more traditional timber details like the spindles, panelled doors, picture rail and dado. You could go to town and totally remove all those features which would definitely streamline the look. If you are considering removing the spindles then definitely remove all the other timber details as well. Otherwise paint the dado and picture rail the same as the wall, paint all the other internal woodwork white. Personally I would be loathe to do either of those things because I like those details and would leave them in the warm timber tones like you've done so far. But hey, it's not my house, it's your home!
December 2, 2013 at 3:20PM   
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m_j3ff_fr33z3
Try adding light carpet, a different banister, and can lights. You could even paint the walls a pale color like a very light green or blue.
December 2, 2013 at 5:02PM   
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Marjan Yeoman
All done. :-) the little table is getting painted together with the light fitting in lamp room grey still but other than that it's done. Until we decide to start on the doors!
December 5, 2013 at 1:13PM   
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Marjan Yeoman
picture attempt.
December 5, 2013 at 1:14PM   
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PRO
Marioarts
Add rope light fixture to each step. A down lit effect.
December 5, 2013 at 1:44PM   
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Marjan Yeoman
Picture attaching attempt.
December 10, 2013 at 4:12PM   
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Marjan Yeoman
Current state. Still considering painting doors white and hardware black (instead of brass). Table and light fitting will need to be painted still, maybe also in the same colour as the walls (Cornforth White) or a slightly darker grey (Pavillion Grey).
January 10, 2014 at 9:19AM   
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Marjan Yeoman
More pictures. Still don't think the tiles are the best colour but whenever we replace we will go more neutral with those.
January 10, 2014 at 9:26AM   
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Marjan Yeoman
This one was before the carpets were installed.
January 10, 2014 at 9:27AM   
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