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Make An Entrance

The front door entrance of every home is your first chance to make a first impression. It's no secret that mine is way past overdue for some upgrades. Here is a sneak-peak of my ongoing hallway re-vamp project.

Have you ever been in a situation where you have multiple items on your 'task list' but you can't do this until you do that all the while having limited funds to make any of it happen? Such is my life, pretty much. When I returned to live in this (more than a century) old farmhouse cabin I could see right away that I had my work cut out for me. There was and is an ongoing list of projects that need tending to. My mind was spinning trying to prioritize according to necessity. After emergent issues, the entryway has been my primary focus.

Part One

"One thing at a time and don't forget to breathe"

I began by assessing the entryway area and developing a list of what I hope to accomplish. My list in no particular order:

  • Front door - Needs a coat of paint - decide to keep the color or change it

  • Replace a ceiling section - find the same style if possible - caulk the seam

  • Re-do the stairwell - paint and carpet runner

  • Need a light fixture & re-do the wiring

  • Replace side panel beside the doorway

  • Need a coat rack

  • Paint the entire area - walls, ceiling

  • Need trim molding

  • Find a way to preserve the heat downstairs from escaping upstairs

  • Re-finish the hardwood floor

Starting At The Top

I decided to start at the top and work my way down. You can see in the photos above that half the ceiling was missing. I have no idea why it was removed or where it ended up. The upstairs floor is still in terrific shape. I went ahead and used a wood epoxy mixture in some minor cracks. None were in serious condition, it just made me feel better to do so.

So, here I am faced with the decision of removing the remaining section and going with something completely new or replacing the section with the same style or something similar. For this, I consulted a friend I have with building and maintenance experience. He informed me that, as far as the remaining section, it was a higher quality of wood that just isn't made anymore. He said, if it was him, he would keep it in place and try to match it up as close as possible because it was still in prime shape, just needs a little sanding and a fresh coat of paint.

It made sense to me, so, that's what we did. While the ceiling was open, I had him replace the old wiring and install a new farmhouse-style light fixture, which I plan on painting dark gray to match the trim and stairs. He found some beadboard that was pretty close to the same style and mounted that in place. Only thing is, the right angles of the house are a little off, an issue with most old cabin-style homes. I will need to, at some point, caulk or epoxy, the seam so it will come together nicely. There is a small gap from the ceiling to the wall. I am thinking when I install the trim-work, that will be a non-issue. Wide enough trim should cover that just fine.

Onward & Upward

"Those stairs are in need of some serious love"

Now for the stairs! I'm sure the last time these stairs have seen a coat of paint was some time in the seventies. Oh, if they could talk, they would surely have some stories to tell. My grandfather built these stairs many years ago and they are still in rock-solid condition. That paint though... I guess dark colors and dark paneling were all the rave back in the day. It had layers too, from a dark greenish color to a weird caramel color. It made for a very dark area. My goal was to lighten it up while keeping a traditional look with a touch of class and style.

As you see below, it made quite a difference. Check out my blog post at to find out more about my staircase journey.

Paint, Paint, & More Paint

"It's coming right along"

Now that the stairs are complete, my next goal was to get started on the rest of the painting. Since the original section of the ceiling is white, I believe I will stay with white. It will need some minor sanding on the old section and some caulking at the area they connect. I plan on tackling it in the spring, probably. In the meantime, I have been working on the walls. Starting with the areas above and around the stairs, keeping the new color scheme.

I found a nice coat rack at Hobby Lobby that has rod iron hooks. It was very nice but white so I painted it light blue, to match the blue striping dividing the stairs and baseboard trim. Then I mounted it by the door.

It's a good start. The door frame will need a second coat before I am finished. Gradually, I will work my way around. For now, it's under control.

Time Is Wasting

"It's freaking cold down here"

At the start of fall, my focus has been on figuring out a way to preserve the heat. The problem is, during the cold winter months, all my heat travels to the upstairs rooms. Since they are vacant, I don't have to heat the upstairs. In the past, blankets have been hung up and cardboard put to use. So, I put on my thinking cap. I needed a way to keep the heat downstairs and also keep the dust from the floor vent from dirtying up the newly carpeted staircase. Also allowing my cat to be able to have access to the upstairs. Buster likes to go upstairs looking for a cool place to lay or to hide from visitors.

My solution was to install a curtain on a track. Like the ones used in hospitals to divide rooms to allow patients some level of privacy. Luckily, I found what I had in mind while browsing Amazon. I wanted it to go from just above the floor (from the first stair-step) to the ceiling around the staircase. So, I measured the height and width I would need. I found a great quality curtain, which I believe, was about 7 feet long and 9 feet wide. I also ordered a flexible curtain track that I could cut to size.

First, I painted the ceiling around where I was mounting the track. After it dried, I began installing it. It was a lot easier to install than I thought it would be. All you have to do is screw brackets every 2-3 feet. The most difficult part was sliding the track into place. You have to pull the bracket latch while placing the track into place. Some of the brackets were a little stubborn. Being that it was so long, it made it difficult to hold into place until I got it going. All in all, it wasn't too much of a headache. Especially considering that I did it myself.

It matches the stairs too, which is great!

Maybe this spring, I will readjust the brackets above the base of the stairs so the curtain will come around the post a little better. It will do for now. We can already feel a massive difference in the temperature. I don't have to run the furnace as often. It's doing its job nicely. I also attached a plastic air deflector to the vent on the floor beside the staircase. It sits at the back of the vent with magnets to keep it in place. It directs the heat in an outward direction.

To Be Continued

There is still a long way to go but I feel like I got a decent start on it, just in time for winter too. We're on the downhill run. The painting will go by quickly. I just hope the price of wood comes down soon so I can score the molding trim I will need to finish the job.

Thanks for reading and have a blessed day.

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