Planning the Vestibule Renovation

The best way to conquer the hallway renovation project is to attack it in stages. There are several areas that must be addressed, including the vestibule, the hallway, the stairs, the floors, the lighting, and the color palette. Each of these can be considered a stage where I focus on that item alone, taking a modular approach where I finish one aspect before moving on to the next logical aspect.

I’ve decided to tackle the vestibule renovation first because it will give me immediate satisfaction and motivate me to tackle the rest of the renovation project. Frankly, the vestibule appears to be the easiest part of this project and it would be ideal if I finished it before winter arrives (working in the winter would make mudding, taping, and painting especially difficult).

None of the changes I thought of were especially challenging so I began working on them already. The accompanying photos show the work in progress.

Front Door
The previous owners—those Fauvists who chose the existing palette—added one of those trendy and oh-so-garish fiberglass doors that are all the rage in Home Depot. The door has been boxed into a crude drywall enclosure that makes it extend a few inches into the vestibule, ruining the normal joins between walls. They put baseboard trim around the perimeter of the door and in the wall joints.

Removing Baseboard Trim from Door

Solution: I’m considering painting the back side of the front door to match my chosen color palette. A pleasing color should lessen the sting of the faux wood treatment. I’ll also take off the baseboard trim and use paper tape to create sharp 90° corners for a modern look.

The sconce in the hallway is terribly off center and uses a basic, vanilla ceramic fixture with a CFL bulb in it. There’s no reason for the sconce to be where it is because hanging centrally from the ceiling is the obvious, logical choice for placement. The side light that it currently throws casts a horizontal shadow, obscuring the keyhole for the deadlock.

Sconce in Brownstone Hallway

Solution: We’ll achieve better lighting by rerouting the fixture from the wall to the ceiling. This is a project for an electrician, so I’ll have to hire someone to move the fixture for me (my DIY skill set doesn’t allow for involved electrical work…yet). Moving the fixture is a start; I’ll have to choose a chandelier or other solution to complete the task.

The rug, which is laid throughout the hallway, has an indescribable color and is a thin, cheap pile. It’s worn and unraveling, showing its age and making it all-too-obvious that I must intervene and save everyone from the horror underfoot.

My wife placed a thick pile welcome mat over the rug and I admit that she has wasted her effort.

Welcome Rug

Solution: It would be better to find a plush alternative that is easy to care for and has a pleasing color. A thicker version of the carpet in a smaller size could be placed on top as a welcome mat.

Door with Sidelight
The original interior door with sidelight must have been an awesome sight when it was first installed: heavy, 2″ thick, and solid wood. The sidelight has been removed—broken or sold…I am not aware of what happened. What remains now is a newly-built wall in place of the sidelight.

Door with Sidelight

Solution: I’ll remove the baseboard trim and make proper corners. The surface-mounted deadlock is a flimsy, inexpensive lock that doesn’t appear to be able to withstand any force so I’ll replace it with a high security Schlage or Mul-T-Lock deadbolt. The varnish and stain of the door is unattractive also, so I’ll prime and paint it.

Most of the vestibule renovation will be completed over a few days with joint compound and sanding. Following that, I’ll prime and paint to complete the renovation.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s