The Main Hall

hallMuskoka Living

Let’s start out with an inspiration photo, shall we? Feel free to scroll back up to rest your eyes.


Because this is what greets you when you walk through our front door.

down the hallThe day we closed. That first door on the left leads to the basement, if you were wondering what that one weird blank wall was to the left of the sink in the kitchen–it’s the back of the landing for the stairs to the basement. The door on the right is the master bedroom, then a coat closet, then the old laundry closet past the threshold along with a pantry. This little house has lots of storage.

dirty carpet

Every. Room. In. This. House. Is. Begging. For. Attention. Now! Each space is pleading it’s case telling me why it should be the one that we focus on first and spend all of our little bit of money on. I hear all of their voices in my head and it’s my job to decide what we can live with for awhile, what gets a temporary fix, what gets addressed immediately.

We did take the carpet off the the first step just to see what we were dealing with. I have a fear that halfway up the stairs there’s no more wood treads, but we’ve yet to remove any more stair carpet and I’m really happy with that first step.


The hall will need to be patient with it’s two layers of peeling wallpaper, sprayed on ceilings and multiple dark doors. We have more pressing issues than measly ugly wallpaper and bad carpet. Tomorrow I’ll explain a little of the order of things and why we are doing what, when.


The best parts of the hall? Duh, the floors (I may have bought this entire house just because of the floors!), also the hall is nice and wide…


There’s a Dutch door at the far end of the hall near the kitchen, and I’m a sucker for Dutch doors even if it’s pretty clear that someone just cut a regular door in half.

dutch door

dutch door

“Paint me next!” Did you hear that?!

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  1. have mercy! you got one big ol’ pile of work ahead of you, but you’re young. there’s nothing like getting to know a house & falling in love :-) i am so with you on that dutch door thing. love the hall inspiration. you can do it!

  2. To decorate your sweet home you can use Mahogany Doors such as French, Interior, Exterior, Patio, and Hand Carved doors including Transom, Sidelites, and Surroundings.

  3. When we remodeled our little house, the doors were the last and some of them are still waiting on paint :) I decided that having some interior doors a little rustic added to the old house charm.
    Your floors are definitely a selling point – they are gorgeous. It’s amazing what a little elbow grease and paint can do for everything else!

  4. You do have your work ‘cut out’ for you with this house; but oh boy, the possibilities. I love the screen door on the front. That is nice. Your floors are nice too. It will be work but it looks like it will be wonderful when it is done.
    I look forward to seeing the work in progress. Roxie

  5. I can’t wait to see what you’re going to do with this house! It’s so overwhelming to look at right now, but I’m so excited for the possibilities!!!

  6. Though you probably already know this….you can get all the primer and paint you need for FREE at the recycle center. Professional painters drop off there leftovers (they ALWAYS have primer which you will need if covering the wood doors and trim) and you can “collect” (it may take several trips to the recycle place) enough light shades of the same basic finish of paint to combine in a five gallon can—then make friends with your local home center “paint mixer man” who can experiment and get your “almost perfect” paint shade match with a few tries.
    Of course, this also works for making your homemade chalk paint (I personally prefer the calcium carbonate version over the un-sanded grout or plaster of paris) waxing with paste wax or clear shoe polish (antiquing if desired with darker shoe polish) or just applying a coat of poly.

  7. I <3 Dutch doors too! This home has so much potential! It's a lot to think about–so many dreams and plans.

  8. Wow! Love your inspiration photo, and your hard wood floors. Can’t wait to see what you guys accomplish. .

  9. need help? Looks like fun! I’ll be right over :)

  10. OMG this whole process is going to be so much fun. I can’t wait to follow along! I would be so impatient.

  11. Yah, the floors are great. For some reason I am silly with happiness every time I read about your new home. Maybe its because I know that you have waited and waited for it, so I know you must be extra excited.

  12. Melissa McIntyre says:

    Wow, that’s creepy! I CAN hear them all crying for your attention at the same time! Just tell them all to be quiet or no one is getting any paint LOL! ;-) This is awesome! STILL soo happy for you guys and STILL sending our prayers too!

  13. Great investment! Wow, you are going to have a gorgeous showplace by the time you finish!
    Do you have a bulletin board up in the house with your ‘dream photos’ for each room yet?
    That may help keep you ‘fueled’ on those nights when your hands hurt from stripping wallpaper and you have old paste stuck in your hair (been there, got the T), oh, and the steamer doesn’t seem to be working right (5 layers deep w/3 to go…)
    Those doors are beautiful and don’t you let anyone tell you otherwise – if they are wood, then you are golden! They can be stripped and re-stained, or painted, or whatever you want!
    And if those stair treads are like the first one you’ve uncovered, well, you just bought a goldmine!
    Don’t let anyone, or our remarks, keep you from pressing on! You’ve got a ‘ginormous’ (thanks to my 7yo DS for that word) little jewel and what a lovely home she will be. Sooner than you think.
    One tip – I found the only thing, besides the steamer, that took off wallpaper best was the Pirahna liquid from Lowes (not a plug, it just worked where other stuff didn’t – on gold & felt 1970’s wallpaper stuck d.i.r.e.c.t.l.y. to the drywall).
    Be sure to get a sample of the popcorn ceiling(s) for testing as asbestos abatement of an empty house is 100% easier for occupants, than having to move out for it! (Did I mention the T-shirt?)
    Can’t wait to see your list, your dreams are just beginning!! You must be so excited!!!:):):):):)

  14. I second on the asbestos comment. It’s worth doing right for the sake of your lungs and your kids’. It’s got to be easier to do on an empty house than it was for our family, who had to move out for a few days during the process (furniture, too!). We were doing an extensive remodel and had it in the old insulation, plaster on walls we were removing, floor, glue under floor tiles. Everything seemed to have asbestos. My dad worked for DuPont in the 60s building factories, and he said everyone thought it was a fantastic building material. Huh, hasn’t turned out so well, after all…. Love your inspiration for the hall — I can totally picture it already! You are in for so much fun.

  15. oooh that inspiration!!!! i think i m just as excited as you are! :)

  16. I just caught up with the fact that you are now the happy owner of a place to call your own. How exciting for you! Since I started reading your blog 4 years ago, I know this must be a super joyus occasion! With your skill-set and style I am sure it is going to be one beautiful and perfect for you place. Oh the possibilities! I can’t wait to find out what you are going to name it :) Love the inspiration photo. Enjoy the process of turning this house and land into your home. Congratulations!

  17. Oh- I can see it restored and in all its glory already. I can’t wait to see more! xo Diana

  18. i am so excited about this journey!! congrats!

  19. Seriously, every picture you post I think, “THOSE FLOORS ARE AMAZING!!!”

  20. So much potential! I can’t wait to see it after you’ve worked your magic on it! Don’t forget to have fun along the way.

  21. hah-larious!!! It’s going to be gorgeous, hang in there!

  22. So I just saw that people are giving you tips…so, I just removed 1973 wallpaper from my laundry room. Luckily, the paper peeled off in long sheets (so lucky!). Then I threw a couple dryer sheets in a bucket of hot water and used that to scrub/wipe the paste off the walls. Worked wonderfully and smelled good too!

  23. Beth in the City says:

    This is so exciting! Every house we have bought so far has needed TLC, some more than others. This one? Whole fist floor needed painting, carpet thrown out, wall removed, kitchen gutted of it’s cabinets and started fresh….I am going to enjoy watching your transformation so much. Gorgeous floors! Gorgeous place. Love walking in and knowing the potential that lies beneath the grime.

  24. Bless it. It really needs you.

  25. I love your inspiration hallway. Half of the fun of fixing up a home is the planning (and dreaming) stage. Thanks for sharing your journey, and dreams, with us!

  26. Amazing bones here. I cannot wait to see what you do with this! So, SO happy for you!!!

  27. Oh my! The potential is limitless. Have fun and keep us with you along the way.

  28. That’s our exact hallway except our doors don’t lead to the same places and our popcorn ceiling in that area has been scraped. I can’t wait to see what you do because 2 years later we’ve only just begun painting. I have found the door opening virtually onto the stairs to be a major challenge when welcoming people in through the front door. I’m wondering if I could reverse the way the my door opens like yours does to ease the flow there. Thanks for sharing!

  29. I can’t wait to see what you with your front hall! Our front hall is VERY similar and I’m in the middle of taking off the carpet with NO idea what color to paint it next!

  30. If you don’t already read the Young House Love blog, you need to jump right over there and check it out. They have an entry hallway that is remarkably similar to yours that they have recently redone. Your house looks like a wonderful canvas to creatively make your own – very exciting!

  31. It definitely could use some help, and I’m sure it will look amazing!

  32. your rooms may be saying “paint me, next” but they’re also saying “GLORY BE! a new homeowner that loves us & will make us all shiny & new again!”
    i’ve been following for almost 5 years now, and finally caught up to everything with your new house purchase. it gave me goosebumps.


  33. I’m SOOOO excited for you and so inspired too! We just made an offer today on a house too and guess what….it’s popcorn ceilings and brass and if it works out I too will be deciding where to start with my little bit of money!!! I’m sure I will be looking to you for tons of inspiration and ideas as you tackle this amazing home and begin a new chapter of your life! You deserve every square inch of it all!!!


  34. Oooh, are the interior doors real wood? Don’t paint them!

  35. It looks like all of the doors except the dutch door are stained. If so, have you considered painting everything else white and leaving the doors stained? I love that look! For inspiration, see Centsational Girl’s blog post today on mixing wood and white. Whatever you decide, I’m sure it will be beautiful – enjoy the process!

  36. I can’t get over the floors. Divine! I found you through a post on your trip to Africa, where I am returning to this summer (Uganda) to work on a project I am working on with my non-profit as we have partnered with an organization there. And now I shall continue to lose myself on your site~
    a mama of four boys who thinks we may have quite a bit in common…

  37. I am sure this article has touched all the internet users, its
    really really good piece of writing on building up new

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