If you’ve been following along on Insta stories, you already know I’ve been painting my heart out in the hallway. Immediately after finishing our giant kitchen renovation, we dove right into the hallway reno- stay tuned for that reveal next month! A good chunk of our time was spent updating the built-in linen closet. I wanted to share the before and after images, as well as a guide to choosing the right paint for a specific project. This has been one of the more challenging projects I’ve tackled in regards to painting, so I relied on the experts and listened to their advice; it made all the difference. We still have a way to go on the hallway, but consider this a sneak peek and enjoy the transformation. Click through for more!
Here’s what the end of our hallway and the linen closet looked like when we moved in. It was pretty gross…
The below image shows after the interior doors were replaced. The existing linen closet looked so sad sandwiched between all of the new millwork we had been installing. I knew it was overdue for a much needed makeover. It hadn’t been updated since it was built in the 50s.
If you’re wondering about the linen closet door (or lack thereof), the plan isn’t to leave it open. We’re going to install a door over the top portion of the linen closet once the french doors for the hallway arrive. We’re waiting on a special hinge. In the meantime, I went ahead and put our towels, toiletries, and linens back into the built-in. I have to say, I’m growing accustomed to seeing it open and it’s forcing me to keep things tidy. Maybe that’s a good thing?
If you’re wondering how the vignette evolved from point A to point B, here’s how it went down… as you might imagine, there were many things to address before I could get to the fun part- painting & color blocking. Emmett built new lower drawers, sanded the shelves, and centered the built-in between the guest room door and office. It was driving me crazy that it wasn’t centered- it felt very unbalanced. After the structural elements and millwork was completed, it was my turn to contribute to the project.
I knew I wanted to color block the entire hall (sneak peek shown above), and the linen closet was no exception. We have used Sherwin-Williams products to paint our entire home and I always turn to their experts for advice when it comes to choosing the correct product. It turns out, a lot of thought and planning goes into color blocking. In addition to two-toned paint, I also wanted to see a textural difference. That meant I needed to work with 4 different paints simultaneously (not including the primer).
I ventured to my local store and asked my friend, Cara, what products she’d recommend for the hall. There’s quite a few to choose from, but after analyzing the design plan and making note of yellowish stains that needed to be covered, she recommended Multi-Purpose Water-Based Primer and Emerald Interior Paint from their Emerald line.
We’ve used Emerald products in every single room, so I didn’t even hesitate to have her mix Emerald Interior for the hall. It’s durable, self-leveling, contains paint & primer in one, goes on easily, and is a breeze to clean. I went with a flat finish for the walls, and a gloss finish for the millwork and doors. I wanted the finish to go from one extreme to the other, since the color would remain consistent. We also spent a ton of time skim coating and sanding our drywall to make it perfectly smooth, and the best finish to emphasize that was a flat finish.
Cara said that most stores have a handy display and chart, if you’re ever curious about which product is best for your project. I took a photo of the setup at my store. You can always ask an employee as well! I’ve found that everyone knows their stuff. . You can even sign up for the free PaintPerks® program, which will help you keep track of the paint colors and products you’ve used, and get you exclusive benefits. I digress, onto the best part… the paint colors! I went with Extra White SW 7006 (my favorite bright, neutral white) for the millwork and Amazing Gray SW 7044 for the walls.
I’m not a big fan of painters tape, but I did use it around the casing to color block the millwork. Otherwise, I ended up finding my groove with a laser level, pencil, straight edge, and then proceeded to cut in a straight line. The linen closet was one of the easier hallway features to color block because of the straight lines and flat surfaces. It’s honestly a good thing I started there and found the method that worked best for me.
I also ended up wallpapering the interior of the built-in to add texture and a pop of pattern. I used this little makeover as an opportunity to not only clean out and toss unwanted bath products, but also purchase new bath towels and linens.
Much like white bedding, you can’t go wrong with a classic, plush, white towel. I love the way they pop against the pattern. I tossed a bunch of the products we use on the daily into the baskets, and it made things look so much more organized.
You can also catch a peek of the pattern on the bottom of the drawers. I had extra, so I thought it would be a functional and visually appealing addition. The raised pattern and rough texture keeps items from sliding around in the drawers.
The hallway reveal is coming soon! We’re just waiting on the doors that were lost, but I’m excited to show you the entire space. Believe it or not- this isn’t even half of our hallway- it’s super long. I’ll share all of the sources in that upcoming post!
Who else has an old house with a built-in closet? I feel like they’re super common around here! I’ve toured some homes in my neighborhood and every single house has one and they all look the same. It’s a shame they aren’t being updated because it really is a functional storage space. If anyone has paint questions about products or color blocking, let me know in the comments below. I’m always happy to help!
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