before & after: upstairs hallway

Ok, this is kind of an exciting before & after, because the DURING felt like an excavation. The original plan was to peel off the gross wallpaper, rip up the carpet, and voilà! New hallway. AHAHAHAHA. No. The wallpaper went all the way back to the house being built in 1836, and after we managed to get down to the final layer, the plaster was crumbling away. So, it all got pulled out, new sheetrock went up, and the entire thing took about a month longer than expected. But now? Gorgeous indigo walls, wide plank honey colored floors, and one of my favorite spaces in the house.

We still need furniture (I’m thinking a wide upholstered bench and a wee bookcase, to create a cozy reading nook) but we haven’t found the right pieces yet. I’m also thinking about another coat of paint, looking at these shots! And, we have some large scale art waiting to be framed and hung.

Paint – Benjamin Moore Deep Royal

Electrical Hardware – black outlet, push button light switch, black covers from House of Antique Hardware

Light fixture: Vintage, with West Elm conversion kit

These doors head into the extension that was added about 75 years after the house was built, which is why the door moldings don’t match. My brother had the idea to just wrap them with sheetrock for a seamless look – I love it! We still need to find a matching antique doorknob for the bathroom door. Once again, rolling my eyes at the past owners. Would it have killed you to invest in a decent doorknob, people?

My brother is also a champ for sanding these floors – so much old glue and gunk.

Bonus: The original 1836 wallpaper!



  1. I love before and afters (and well any form of makeover, really). The hall looks gorgeous. What color is that on the walls?

  2. ah, I love the walls! We had the exact same plaster/old wallpaper problem, everything had to come down. Of course now we are thinking about putting wallpaper up. *bangs head*

  3. Those floors are pretty dreamy and all the details are so clean & nice. I’ve been feeling desperate to move and work on someplace new & worthy. This is really inspiring!

  4. Beautiful!! The combination of that deep blue with those wood floors is incredible.

    I’ll be thinking of you and sending happy “baby-making” thoughts your way (I didn’t mean that to sound so creepy…) Hope you feel better soon!

  5. The before and after pictures are great! It really does seem like magic. ^^
    And ah, it is so wonderful to see how much things can change / be polished up.
    ♥ xixia

  6. This looks great! Old plaster is a beast to work with. I had to fix water damage in our 1858 home and really should have just gone the sheet rock route, too.

    Is that lovely bannister original? It has that lighter-than-air, graceful, federalist look to it.

    1. I think the bannister is! It’s also VERY short, so we may need to replace the balusters at some point. We still have to redo the stairway.

      I was bummed about losing the plaster but it was nice to get a fresh start, and to check the wiring / add more insulation!

      1. If it’s super short, it’s probably the real deal! So cool! Interior pieces of old houses so often get lost/tossed/updated to wrought iron in the 60s. If you swap out the balusters, I’d tuck the old ones in the attic just so that everything stays together if/when you sell the house. And to curry favor with the historical society :)

  7. You have done amazing things with the hallway. You, Sean, and your brother are a house renovating wonder team.

    Also, thank you for showing us the original wallpaper. As soon as you said you peeled all the layers down to the original one, all I could think was I want to see it! I’m glad you under covered such a large portion of it and didn’t just strip it all off down to the raw wall in small sections.

    1. As soon as we uncovered a tiny bit of it, I got all crazy and painstaking about getting the other 3-4 layers off without ripping off the first layer. Poor Sean had to deal with me tweezering the walls! I had a brief moment of thinking I could cover it with resin or something to make a VERY shabby chic wall (haha) but the plaster really was just crumbling. :(

      There was the grey one you see here, a deep deep red Victorian one (border in the last photo), and a ditsy 30s/40s one. Then this 80s Christmas paper monstrosity!

  8. Gorgeous! Love the shade you chose!

    Landed on your blog after doing a google search for dark blue black paint and look forward to going through more of your posts!

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