Brightening the Hallway

The kitchen project moves at a glacial pace as big institutions (such as bank, insurance, etc.) have to have their say about everything. Not to mention that one UPS envelope went missing and peons at one of the institutions apparently don’t understand what enclosed, self-addressed, overnight envelopes are for. This kind of project seems to be a “hurry up and wait” affair.

In the meantime, in a desperate attempt to have SOME control over my living space (and to head off that Gray Gardens panic) I started painting the hallway. It’s a tiny hallway (70s ranch feature! I’d love to say all the space went into the bedrooms but that would be a lie) and the dark trim makes it even smaller.

There is just kind of a feeling of doom looking down there.

I’m not bothering to paint the floor trim since that will all come up and be replaced with the floor.

This should be an easy project but it has been really hard to get any traction. I have had house guests coming and going and every weekend seem to have been (and will continue to be) booked. I can make some progress in the evenings after work but it seems rude to inflict paint fumes on them (as well as offer them a room with no door). However, I may not have any choice as this has now been dragging on for four weeks and people are starting to make fun of me. Come to think of it, the next person who tries to tease me about the lack of progress WILL be required to give me an afternoon to power through this. You’ve all been warned.

This cabinet needs to do ALL THE THINGS

This poor cabinet has always been a bit of a problem. It has never provided enough storage and what I could cram in there is poorly stored and hard to access. As you can see, it is just some deep shelves that are a little too close together and have seen better days.

Seriously, the way all these pictures tilt to the right and left you would think I lived on a boat.

Of course there is the requisite soffit. What purpose do these offer? What are builders thinking when they put them in? “No no, we don’t want to have extra storage up there. That’s just crazy talk. Build a closed box instead; that is a much more practical solution.”

I had my usual helper. She never misses work. She actually showed up while I was sitting there staring at the cabinet. As I really got in there and started looking, I was starting to see so many flaws that my brain was short circuiting.

There is a part of me that is AGHAST at the thought of leaving something sloppy or stupid. That’s probably my German ancestry. Then there is another part of my brain (the unkind part) that tells me I’m crazy for thinking about fixing this. No one noticed it before, no one will notice it moving forward. I don’t have the time, money or skills to do anything about this. That part of the brain (we’ll call her Insecurity) irritates me and drives me to do crazy things. Insecurity gets confronted (and usually over-powered) by LovesAChallenge who says, “For heaven’s sake, NO one is born knowing how to do stuff. You learn how to do it and you are perfectly capable of learning how to do this. It will be a great learning experience and then you’ll be set for future challenges!”

LovesAChallenge wins a lot of arguments and I’m generally pretty happy about that because she is right. Everyone starts at 0 and everyone can learn. She gets me in a lot of pickles but I’ve always felt if you aren’t in over your head, you aren’t doing enough interesting things; you aren’t changing and growing which means you are stagnant.

All this philosophizing and inner dialogue was because I was seeing things like this (I’m so sorry for the terrible picture. It was very dark in there and I didn’t want to get my camera and tripod to take a proper picture. I’m a terrible blogger). What you are looking at here (and probably getting a little motion sick from too) is the quarter round trim along the side doesn’t fit against the quarter round trim along the top. The side isn’t even laying flush against the cabinet. There is a giant gap because someone didn’t want to sand the corner of the trim so that it would fit snug against the top trim in that corner.

I’m lazy, but even I’m not that lazy.

At the bottom of the cabinet you see the handy work of the previous owner and his idea of how trim is installed. Not only did he not bother trimming the pieces so that they fit with each other but you can see where trim was before (both along the floor and also up the side of the cabinet). See the paint line where someone painted up to a previous piece of trim some time in the past? The last owner removed that trim, didn’t bother sanding down that paint line (or filling old nail holes). He just put the quarter round up and painted over everything.

It makes my head explode a little every time I look at it. I don’t even know how to fix it but I can’t leave it (actually that isn’t entirely true. The trim is a puzzle for me but even I know you sand and spackle before painting). I can’t even begin to tell you how comfortable I am with things being “OK” and this still bothers me to distraction. It is a level of lazy I can’t take and I’m plenty lazy.

I’ve talked myself off the ledge a little. I was seriously contemplating demoing the whole cabinet to grab that soffit space at the top but for once a reasonable voice (we’ll call her RarelyShowsUp) convinced me that the soffit is less than 12″ high so I wouldn’t gain enough space for the size of the project. My objective for this project is to update the look of the cabinet and open up the space a little for a future organizational solution. I have no idea what that solution is but I am sick of shoving sheets into corners and hoping the cabinet door will mostly close.

Project list:

  • Clear everything out of cabinets
  • Remove cabinet doors
  • Pull off quarter round framing
  • Smooth/repair surface to prepare for painting (both on the cabinet and the wall/ceiling around cabinet)
  • Sand and paint cabinet doors, shelves, and box, white
  • Replace quarter round with something more attractive and updated
  • Get rid of some sheets and towels that are just taking up space (maybe move rags to garage and toiletries to bathrooms?)

Now I just need a couple of undisturbed weekends to make this happen…