Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A Retrospective: 2. Passageways: Entry ways, Hallways and The Stairs

This is the second in a series of looking back at the changes I've made to the house since this blog began --over eight years ago.

Passageways are all those spaces we pass through--like hallways and entry ways and the stairs. I like them to be functional--and most especially plesant. They are scattered all over the house, though, so I made up floor plans in order to help orient ourselves.

There's the front (green) and back (pink) entry ways, what I call the back hallway (blue), and the stairs (orange) between the main floor and the second. The itty bitty hallway opposite the stairs between the two bedrooms on the second floor makes a brief appearance as well.

Main floor:

Second floor:

pre- 2007

Entry ways are a Big Thing in the Cure. A whole week is spent on creating landing strips. When I finished in the front entry at the end of my first Cure in 2006, I took this picture.

That niche with the flowers poking out on the right hand wall is a fun little place to decorate.

In 2007, I took that cabinet from black to yellow.

I am so grateful I did.

Around the corner from it is the back hallway where the white dresser has sat from time immemorial. It seems to be holding the mail among many, many other things.

I love that picture my son did!

The back entry way was sad. At this time, there were two parts: one area right inside the door with a few hooks,

And a second area right inside the kitchen. I used this mostly for the kids' stuff, as you can see!

Note the calendar on the back of the door here. It will move.

Lastly, we have the stairs.

I believe those risers are freshly painted, too, but I'm not entirely sure when we did that.

I am surprised to see pictures up on the wall. They look good. I'd always thought this would be the family growing gallery wall--but the pictures always fell down. Eventually, I gave up.

The library landing worked out though. 2007 was the year I believe I put up the bookcase to the left of the window.


This year I decided to focus my Curing efforts on my basement. I did take small forays to other rooms, however. But, except for some tidying, not much changed.

However, let me introduce you to my back entry.

For many, many years it was an area I simply hated. I tried to make it as functional as possible by using the space beside the stairs leading to the basement, like so:

The baskets: (Antonius by Ikea).

There are three of them.

The shelf on the opposite side of the stairs:

oh, I cringe.

I put up a small piece of wood with cup hooks for keys. We didn't have a dog at the time: so the leash and his halter when they hung here interfered with the light switch. sigh.

That year, though, I did put up a paper towel holder underneath the fuse box. I needed a better solution for that towel to wipe the dog's paws.

Upstairs, the window in the library landing was dressed in a new-to-me set of vintage curtains.

I don't know: what do you think looked better--long or short?

Opposite the library landing, in the little bitty hallway between my daughter's room and ours I created this tiny gallery wall of family photos.


I didn't make too many changes--except, it seems, to the things hanging on the walls.

In the front entry, I took down the candle sconces (you should have seen the wax on the wall!) and the large picture and put up this thrifted seascape.

Yes, I know, it is way too high.

In the back entryway, I took down my son's drawing and put up this other thrifted painting.

I also decked out the little alcove with a little fall vignette.

Wow. Way to kitschy for me, now.

2009 was not a good year for decorating!



It seems I made no changes to the changes I'd made the year before.

Love the sparkle from the new tray.

Aah--I spy the influence of one of Aby's Simplify 101 courses, here. I remember I had a terrible time with my daughter leaving her things all over the main floor. (Her bedroom is on the second floor.) I was relunctant to put anything on our narrow stairs, so I came up with this idea of  basket for her things. She and I chose it together.

The idea was, I could run around the house while I was doing a decluttering session and just toss her things into the basket.  She would then take it upstairs and empty it out. The system actually worked quite well.

 Here's another change prompted by one of Aby's classes: the pocket organizer at the back door. So handy to have a place for gardening gloves, and mosquito repellant, etc.

Upstairs, I tried out some lace curtains I'd had from a previous apartment. I loved them dearly.

Here, once again, is our little itty bitty hallway. What's different, you ask? It took me a minute.

I painted the small bookshelf.

One last thing:

I like Mr. Pumpkinhead there. I wonder if I still have him?


I took the paint brush back in hand this year.

The front entry way got a lovely shade of grey--Edgecomb Grey. (Benjamin Moore HC 173)

Finally got the right thing on the wall in that front entry way!

It took a while, but eventually I noticed it seemed slightly pinkish. It confused and disappointed me greatly. It wasn't until I read one of Maria Killam's books and she mentioned that the violet undertone in the Edgecomb Grey came out
when it is painted in a room with earthy beige and brown tones that don’t relate to a colour this cool.  p. 20, Bonus Book of Whites, by Maria Killam.
Lack of light + hardwood floors + unpainted trim = way too much warmth for this grey.

I've had the dickens of a time coming up with an alternative.

The back door was painted the same yellow as the cabinet above (and not incidentally, my kitchen cabinets at the time).

I hung the large picture that had been in the front entry on the wall beside the bookcases in the library landing.

I am sorry I don't have a better photo of it to show you.


Two small changes happened this year. They had a huge impact,

About midway through the year, I removed the yellow cabinet from the front entry way.

The most useful thing it had done was hold books to go back to the library. Other than that, it held useless junk. It had also been a purely decorative surface for me. I put it into the living room where the piano had been. (You can see it peaking out there on the left hand side of the picture.)

The hallway felt amazing without it.

Around the corner, I hung up our family calendar. We were getting too busy to keep it on the back of the kitchen door.


It was a busy year.

As a result of taking the Organizing Fundamental's course from Simplify 101, I made two further changes.

First, I mounted a shelf in the front hallway. I was missing my decorative surface too much! Plus I needed a handy spot for things to leave the house.

Around the corner, in the back hallway, I set up a paper transfer station with individual file folders. This hasn't worked out quite as well as I'd hoped--the kids would forget to put papers in my folder--and, sometimes, when I returned the papers to their folder, I forgot to tell them! But, it's a handy pace for the fast food coupons, anyway!

2013 was the year I got my hands on a book called "The House that Cleans Itself" by Mindy Clark. The first edition, which I got from the library divided the house into zones and gave great tips for making those spaces not only more functional but plesant to look at. The first zone was "Entry ways" and so I used the book to tackle my dreaded back entry way. It took me nearly three months.

The entire area got a coat of new paint. All the dinged up edges and corners got corner moulding. I hung new curtains for the door (tea towels from Ikea) and a photo I'd taken over the fuse box.

I added more hooks.

I painted that nasty boot shelf, hacked some magazine racks into flip flop holders and hung a long curtain rod--and hung up our boots.

The view from the kitchen is much more cheerful.

The stairs to the second floor also got some attention.

I put up these mirrors from Ikea to help bounce some light around--and marked out where I wanted to mount another one we had in the basement. (I never did put it up.)

The vintage curtains returned.

Hmmm. This looks good! I've been working on transforming this area. I hope I like it as much as I like this photo!


And here we are. The last year of our retrospective.

Guess what?

Nothing changed.

Maybe that's because in 2014 I transformed my bedroom, my Mother's bedroom, the living room and the kitchen, instead!

So, I'll leave you with this image from early 2015.

Next up: 3. The Bathrooms, Laundry Room and Pantry.


MMarie said...

Hi Alana,
Nice job on the compilation. I like your vintage curtains upstairs the most. The long dark ones looked to heavy for the small space. I know curtains are supposed to go to the ground, but I think your library landing looks much better with the shorter, airier curtains!

Alana in Canada said...

Thank you MMarie--such timely feedback! I am going to put up something different (the original vintage are too faded and won't work with the changes I'vemadeand I've been dithering over whether to put up along dark curtain--or some short patterned ones. Short ones it is,then!

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