Monday, January 21, 2008

Eureka: hallway

I had a eureka moment today.
Q: Why do these eureka moments always happen in the bathroom?
A: Because that's where This Old House mag is. (and in the case of our shower door Eureka, that's where you see toilet partition brackets that inspire the hinoki panel).

OK, TMI, right?
Anyways, I did have a eureka moment about the hallway.

The problem was that we took off the ugly, hideous railing that was attached to the top left part of the stairway. It had a short section of ugly old 1970s dowel-type railing that would impale you should you slip and skewer yourself on the end. And it stuck out into the stairway, which was uncool and unaesthetically pleasing. I think that removing it was probably not OK as far as code, but it was necessary from the perspective of design.

So again, another typical Bangor Bungalow conundrum: how to integrate form & function? Especially when I always come down on the side of form. Except the few times that I've had very sore knees from hiking/snowshoeing, then function starts to sound good and a railing seems like a decent idea. Here's what our hallway looks like now, mostly denuded of paint & wallpaper:

So, looking through the Jan/Feb 2008 This Old House, there's an article about an Arts & Crafts foursquare, and in between the bouts of jealousy because of the quartersawn oak trim and coffered dining room ceiling, I noticed a teeny little picture in a corner: their stairway, which was set up very much like ours - and how they got a railing on there without making it look like an eyesore. Here's a photo of the photo - they didn't have this pic online, sadly:

The solution is to put up a chair rail, darker paint/wallpaper below it, and attach the railing to the chair rail so it looks like one and the same. Ha! The setup is absolutely perfect, and I think we'll have to do it. Eureka! Thanks again Mom for the subscription!

So here are a couple of before shots of the hallway, which I grabbed from old pdfs just to jog our collective memory about how far we've come already.

This first one is the upstairs part, the end with all the bedroom doors, which is shown during paint stripping on the previous blog entry:
And here's the part that's the end of the living room, from just before we bought the house. Kind of gives me heart palpitations to see those curtains again. Avert thine eyes!

Note: Ken just started laughing hysterically when he saw the 2 photos above. Yup, UGLY.


Jennifer said...

Great idea! It really looks nice in the pic... I bet it will look great in your house!

Fred said...

You've obviously put in an amazing amount of work. I'm actually amazed at how nice the staircase came out in the picture, and I think the chair rail - railing idea is a good one. Although, I disagree with Jennifer, I'm not a big fan of how the picture looks - but that could be the "photo of a photo" causing it.

Very nice progress. I'll check back frequently.

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