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Creating historic-looking trim

Hallway, How-To

When we gutted our stairwell and hallway about a year ago, we got rid of any door and window trim that wasn’t original. Basically, we got rid of a bunch of 1″x4″ boards that had been haphazardly nailed up. That left us with 3 doors and a window looking incredibly sad and trimless, and 2 doors looking marvelous with their beefy, built-up century-old molding.

Nice trim doesn’t come cheap, but it certainly makes a new entry feel like it fits into a very old house.


Here’s a closeup of a doorway in-progress, blending old (the inner side of the door still has it’s original trim) with new. It’s made to match the existing doorways throughout the house, using off-the-shelf pieces from Lowes. The fanciest casing we bought sits on the outer edge, on top of 1″x4″, and quarter-round meets with the 1″ at that inner edge. A little painters caulk makes the seams disappear, and after a few coats of primer and paint it looks almost identical to the original doorway casings… minus all the dings and scratches.

For more on building trimwork, check out the post we did after tackling the master bathroom. We could be accused of going a little overboard when it comes to trim, but damn – it looks fantastic.

This hallway has been through a lot. It started out like this:


You can see our master bathroom at the end of the hallway. The paneling is hiding what is now the open stairwell.

Here’s what the stairwell looked like, with some of the paneling walls still in place (pink, on the right):


The carpet got pulled up 2 summers ago because it reeked of cat pee. Then we took out the wood paneling “walls” and a sliding door that were put up where the stair railings used to be – walls and a door used to make the upstairs into an apartment with it’s own entrance. After a while, we got sick of the drop ceiling and pulled that down. Finally, we tore the place apart and took out the walls and ceiling since they were all crumbling anyway.

Since then, we’ve been pretty much ignoring it. We did put walls  and a ceiling in, but we ran out of steam after drywalling. There it sat, awaiting paint and trim, right up until Tuesday morning when our burst of energy turned on it.

It’s not totally finished, but it’s very close. As of tonight, it looks like this:


See the pretty door molding? OOOOH. AHHHHHH. And, my favorite part, tin ceiling tiles (original to the house) repurposed as a wall dado:


This was actually there when we took the wood paneling off – but it was hot pink, so we repainted it ;)

It still needs a light fixture over the stairwell, and railings (ha! safety, who needs it?), and baseboards, and some type of floor covering. But hey – we’re a whole lot closer to done.

Comments, Thoughts, and Feedback

Eilis had this to say on 07.02.07:

Looks awesome!! You guys are getting there!
(Should I start sending you some NC real estate magazines???!! Please??!)

Beth had this to say on 07.02.07:

Railings, schmailings. Love the terra cotta color — isn’t that the color of your dining room or similar? Gorgeous.

Mindy had this to say on 07.03.07:

Haha – if only NC real estate was as affordable as upstate NY real estate, we’d have packed our bags already! :)

The terra cotta color is in fact the same as our dining room – good eye, Beth! We used the same color because the stairwell opens up to the dining room, and we thought adding yet another color to the house might be going overboard. Even for us color-happy folk. The actual color is “Decorous Amber” by Sherwin Williams, and it’s my favorite in the whole house. I highly recommend it. It looks good in every type of light!

Poppy had this to say on 07.04.07:

Getting caught up on my blog reading and wanted to let you know that the hall is looking very, very nice. Love the wall color! So pretty.

Back to finish catching up!

Leah had this to say on 07.09.07:

loving those tiles on the walls. if you have any extra, feel free to drop them off (or even just stop by) on your next drive south through nj.

tara had this to say on 02.01.11:

love the hallaway nice color choice the white with the orangey color

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