Next project – The Hallway (Plus, Meet My Dog, Boo!)

Many people have asked me over the last month or so which room in my house I’m going to be working on next.  I had though that I would tackle the breakfast room next, but then I decided that since I’ll just be finishing up a several-months-long, down-to-the-studs kitchen remodel, I needed to focus on something a little easier before I jump right back into a room that needs pretty extensive work, like the breakfast room does.

So I’ve decided to work on the hallway.  The polystyrene ceiling tiles are already down, the 1 x 4’s that those tiles were attached to have already been removed, and the ceiling even has brand new drywall.  So I was thinking that this project would be relatively simple.

As it turns out, it won’t be nearly as extensive as the kitchen (obviously), but it won’t be as simple as I had originally thought.  When I told Matt my plans, he informed me that he would like the bedroom door widened.  I had noticed that he had a harder time getting through the bedroom doorway, but what I didn’t realize is that it’s the narrowest door that he needs to access on a regular basis.  Just by looking at it, it looks like the bedroom door (on the right) is the same width as his game room (on the left).

hallway 2

But the bedroom door is two inches narrower.  It’s a 30-inch door, which means that even when the door is open, the actual space that he has to go through is only 28 inches wide.  That’s quite narrow for him to maneuver through, which accounts for all of the scrapes in the paint at the bottom of the door.

I was a bit disappointed, not only because that’s way more work (if I replace one door, I’ll have to replace all of them since they don’t make these doors anymore, and I’ve searched ReStore many times for matching doors with no success), but also because these doors are original to the house.  But, it is what it is.  I’d rather make things easier for Matt than hold on to original items that make his life more difficult simply because they’re original to the house.

And really, the current doors don’t even match.  The bathroom door has raised panels…

hallway 3

…while the bedroom doors have flat panels.

hallway 4

I’d definitely like all of the doors to match.  Also, the bottom of the bedroom door has been cut off.  I assume that happened when all of the carpet was installed so that the door would clear the carpet.  See the wide gap under the bedroom door?

hallway 1

New doors will give everything a more uniform look.  So when it comes down to it, I’m happy to replace the doors if that’s what needs to happen.  And I’ll either donate these old doors to ReStore and let someone else get some use out of them, or I’ll come up with a really cool project for them.  I have an idea brewing in my mind to use these to build something for my back yard.  But more on that later, if it actually happens.  🙂

I’ve decided to go with black interior doors with white trim, and of course the trim will match the elegant but very simple trim that I’ve already put in the kitchen, music room, and the entryway…

one year housiversary - entryway

And I’m pretty sure that I’ll be using these Schlage Andover door knobs with the Addison Rose decorative plate in an antique brass finish.

schlage door knob in antique brass

I’m still looking at options, but so far those are my favorites.  And I think they would look stunning on black doors!

And now on to the biggest project of the hallway.  I’ve also decided to build something like this where the hall closet used to be.

entryway by Blue Sky Building Company, via HouzzEclectic Hall by Shallotte Home Builders Blue Sky Building Company

I don’t have a coat closet in my house, and I’ve been trying to figure out where to put one. As it turns out, this part of the hallway where the green credenza currently sits, and where the closet I tore out was, is really the most logical place for one…

one year housiversary - hallway 3

I’m still very glad I tore out that closet, though. As I mentioned, it really wasn’t built correctly, and looked like a 1970’s addition. Plus, since it was a fully enclosed closet, it really made the hallway seemed cramped.

I’m hoping that by building something that’s more open, it will keep the hallway feeling big and open, while giving guests a place to hang their coats, purses, etc., while they’re here.

I could go with something that has no sides at all, or I could do something like this with the very narrow sides.

mud room by Alan Mascord Design Associates, via HouzzTransitional Entry by Portland Architects & Building Designers Alan Mascord Design Associates Inc

Or I could come up with my very own unique design. 🙂

I’m so excited to get started on this!! It’ll be so fun to work on something completely different from the kitchen. But first, I need to finish up the kitchen, and then spend about a week at the condo getting it ready to sell or rent. Hopefully my excitement about working on the hallway will give me the motivation I need to get the condo finished and stop dragging my feet on that.

And now, on a completely different topic, since so many of you have asked, let me introduce you to my dog, Boo.


He’s a mutt, and we’re not really sure exactly what he is. We’re pretty certain that he’s part black lab.  But the other part?  From his looks, and also from his personality, we’re almost certain that his other half is that of a herding dog — perhaps Australian shepherd or border collie.  He just has a natural tendency to herd and protect our cats.  He weighs about 70 pounds, and he’s very affectionate, easily trainable, and incredibly intelligent.

Boo literally showed up on our doorstep with his brother, Bosley, about eleven years ago when we were still living in Oregon.  The neighbors down the street couldn’t keep the dogs under control, and they were always getting out of the back yard, so they asked if we wanted one of them.  They warned us that Boo (whose name was Oso at the time, which means “bear” in Spanish) was out of control, wouldn’t behave, and was always getting into trouble.  Turns out it was the owner’s problem, not the dog’s problem.  We trained him, gave him boundaries, positive reinforcement for good behavior, etc., and he very quickly became an incredibly well-behaved dog.

Anway, his name is Boo, but we most often refer to him as Boo Bear.  🙂

And now you’ve met all of our furbies.  Boo the intelligent mutt, Powder the demanding flame-point Siamese, and Peeve the mischievous calico.

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  1. I have a hall bench like the ones you posted, and I love it. My kids can easily use it, there is a place to sit down and put on shoes, and jackets get hung up as opposed to ending up on the floor. I fully support your idea! I also have a coat closet, but its in an awkward location and its used for junk storage. Bench is the way to go.

  2. I have seen so many uses for old doors. From book shelves to hall trees. Which made me think. Would using them to create your coat rack be an option? I remember you wanted to use clapboard or maybe shiplap in the hall way and perhaps with your creativity you could keep the doors and make a special hall tree. Also, I am glad that you can remodel to fit Matt’s needs. Just another good reason to buy an old house and create your own haven! I need to tell you how much I am in LOVE with those door knobs! I kind of want to pet them. LOL And now to the most important part of your post. Boo! He is beautiful and those eyes just pulled me in. He looks so “Most Interesting Dog in the World”, nonchalant! “I don’t always bark at the mailman, but when I do he drops his biscuits. Stay hungry my friends.” hahaha. Oh Kristi, you just make my day. Thank you again.

  3. I think the bench idea is great and if, as you have mentioned before this is your forever home, so you’ll be needing a place to sit while you put on/take off your indoor/outdoor shoes once you creep on up in years. That’s assuming that kind of thing happens down south. It sure does up here with shoes, rain boots and snow boots! I’m beginning to dislike doing the one-legged stork act while I change shoes still the door. And heaven help me when I zip my pant leg up into the zipper!!

    Btw, your fur babies are all very cute and I can’t help but falling in love with your Boo Bear. He’s *almost* as cute as my own Bear!

  4. Love Boo and all your kitties! It is appropriate to introduce them in your blog because they contribute to making your house a home.

  5. Boo Bear is beautiful! He looks so intelligent. Glad you introduced him to us.

    As far as the hallway ideas, I like the first one with the corbels and paneling. Seems they would repeat the ones you’ll have in the kitchen and tie those elements together. And the paneling would tie in the wainscoting in the living room, what?

  6. What if you incorporated one of the extra raised panel doors into the bench design? You could use it as the back of the bench and save yourself some time cutting trim strips. I love everything you do!

    1. I was thinking the exact same thing! That way it sort of “belongs” with the house!

      I love the open bench design – that way it doesn’t cut off the hallway length like the closet did. If its open the hallway still flows but you have the one side that has an end (that wall). But only the “side wall” part, the top still could have a shelf and a bottom seating area – I hope that make sense! I just wouldn’t enclose the whole thing.

      LOVE the dog BOO! When I saw his picture I right away thought of a mixed border collie lab! We have a Sheltie named Dexter, and he of course herds everything in the room, even ifs sitting still, (this includes chairs and tables)….he runs circles around stuff — but we love him to bits!

  7. Love the plan for the hall bench. Love that you’ve decided to go with the black doors/white trim – I think it’s going to be absolutely striking when all said and done. But most of all I love, Love, LOVE that face!! Sort of amazing how animals can be taught to be good citizens when “parented” correctly wouldn’t you say? So glad you decided to rescue him!

  8. Love your ideas for the hallway. I second the idea of having a door custom made so that you wouldn’t have to replace all of them. Seems like it might be cheaper? You are my favorite read of the day. 🙂

  9. As always, I so look forward to taking a break at work so I can read your blog. Especially on Mondays when I can see what you’ve been up to over the weekend.
    I, too, love your plan for the hallway. Both of those looks are fabulous, but I especially love the upper cabinet in the first one. It has the look of cabinetry that would have would have been original to an older home. I can think of so many things I’d be storing in those two drawers. The bench is a great idea. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve lost my balance putting my shoes on right before I leave the house. Winter is the worst – trying to stand up while jamming my feet into a pair of LL Bean boots while hanging on to the wall. It’ll also be a great place for the cats to sleep!

  10. I have to admit, I was curious about your dog after you mentioned it in the last post. He looks absolutely precious!

    On another note, the hallway idea sounds great. It sounds like it won’t cramp the hallway like the initial closet did.

  11. I like most of what you have planned for the hallway. Still not sure about the black doors but if that floats your boat – go for it! I love the idea of a built in for coats, boots and a bench besides. Lots of ideas on Pinterest (like you didn’t already know). Can’t wait to see the finished project. Room by room…

  12. Hi Boo! You look so sweet and just like our border collie, Bob, who is now in heaven. Boo is about the same size as Bob was. I have two cats, who I love, but miss having a dog.

    Your hallway will look great! Can’t wait to see how it progresses.

  13. Have you considered offset hinges for your door? I am looking at these to accommodate our bathroom for my mother. At Amazon “The Health Smart expandable door hinge adds 2″ to any doorway opening, which allows barrier free access for most wheelchairs. They are ideal for narrow bathroom doors. Installs easily, using the same screws and holes as the existing hinge. The three hole sides measure 2″ x 3-1/2″.”

  14. I love the bench idea…wish I could have my own. Only comment is with your door knobs,…I switched out my knobs to handles, which are easier as people get older. Plus, it’s easier to open a door when your hands are full….just use your elbow!

  15. I can’t wait to see your black doors. I LOVE black doors and have been working up the nerve to paint my interior doors black ever since we moved into our new house in October 2013(and really before then, too when we lived in our old house, but was afraid because the house was so small(only 1250sq ft)). I have a question for you. I am unsure as to whether or not I should paint the entire door black, or just the exterior part that everyone sees in the hallway and living spaces. For some rooms, like my master bedroom, which is painted a beautiful warm gray color, I think the black on the interior of the room will be beautiful. However, in my little girls room, which is painted a bright pink, it might look too dark. What do you suggest? Thanks. I look forward to seeing your new posts every day.

  16. Hey Kristi ‘
    I cant wait to see the finished hall way. Your dog is adorable. Looks a lot like my grand dog who is part black lab (had the hair color) half blue heeler (had the body) and of course he sheds terribly. Which both these breeds do But you know his “grandma” spoils him too. and yes I have grandkitties too from a different daughter oh and guinea pigs but they are mine lol

  17. I love the idea of the hall bench! We have a small mudroom and one of the options was a built-in but I didn’t like the builders built in so I opted out. I wanted to simulate the same thing and actually found a solid wood bench with cubbies at the bottom. It fits my needs and style better. But I still love the idea of the built ins and of the hooks on the wall and hope to follow through with that part on my own. 😀 Boo is a cutie. He looks like a real gentleman dog. Isn’t it amazing how a dog transforms when you teach him some manners and give positive reinforcement?! My dog gets sweeter as he ages- he was always a snuggler but more so (weather permitting) lol I also have that 2:1 cat:dog ratio. 😀

  18. Love what you’ve been doing and admire your incredible guts and determination to do a job well.
    Love the bench idea but wondered if you ever wore long coats and do you have a spot for them when company comes. Just being practical.

  19. I have the exact same solid wood doors as your hallway doors. I bought them unfinished at Home Depot and they still carry them on their website – I haven’t checked at my local store. If you were able to locate one in a larger width, maybe you would be able to skip having to replace all of your hallway doors.

  20. Kristie, Fabulous progress and work on the kitchen. Love you’re tackling something less extensive for the next project. This will obviously go faster. I’ve been wondering if the front room designated as your office should be Matt’s game room. It’s larger and set closer to the action of the house during the day, as well as the view to the street. Instead of widening the small door to his office, you could install french doors into the larger front room, which could be kept mostly open, allowing him free wheeling access to the room. And it would allow light in to the hall area even if closed as glass panels could be clear or frosted. Also, you could consider putting in a side door to the front porch, allowing him to easily meet with visitors of roll onto the porch.

    1. Sue, if I remember correctly, that was the original plan, but Matt changed his mind so they swapped rooms.

  21. Perhaps you could use your old doors in the hallway/entryway division project? Knock out those panels and install glass?

  22. Both benches look nice and would be a great organizational tool for the whole household, but like Sandy mentioned neither one would accommodate adult size coat(s). If that concerns you, I know you will make your own design! Can’t wait to see what you come up with ’cause my foyer is completely blank……
    Boo ‘s a cutie.Thanks for including him in this post. My dog, Buck, is a herder too. Catahoola Leopard hound mix, sneaky and willful, keeps me on my toes.

  23. I don’t know what it’s called, but there is a kind of hinge that actually lifts the door away from the frame, so you’d be gaining the depth of the door. Would that be enough for Matt? The hinge looks a bit like a zig zag–can anyone help? As far as matching doors go, my sister’s first house had widely mismatched doors, and few if any people noticed. Go with whatever makes you and your husband happy.

  24. First—Boo looks like the handsome, intelligent, laidback dog he probably is. And such a sophisticated gentleman at the age of 11. Thanks for properly introducing this important member of your family.

    Regarding the hallway doors: Do you have doors in other areas of the house that you could exchange for these?

    And the hall bench: If you don’t put on your shoes in the entry, or change into boots, do you have need for a bench?

    I would also suggest that your coat hooks be far enough from the floor (or bench) to hang coats, not just jackets. It does get cold in this area sometimes…. 😀

  25. Loved seeing your kitchen floor in the last post, and also the hall project in today’s post. However, I would make the hall unit without sides and slightly more narrow to ensure it doesn’t dwarf the hallway. And please widen your bedroom doors as much as possible (for aging). It looks like you could easily fit in a 36″ door for the master bedroom, but I’m afraid it would be a real squeeze for Matt’s game room. Wish you could even enlarge the bathroom door, but not sure the bathroom layout would allow it. What do you think about making the hall bathroom into a powder room with a larger door, since you will eventully have a new master bath?

    Please think ahead for aging.

    Thank you for sharing Boo Bear with us! He’s a doll.

  26. Boo is gorgeous – his eyes are beautiful. He looks like he may have some flat coated retriever in him as well. We had one we adopted from a shelter and he was wonderful. If we even would play fight, he would not stand for it. He would break it up immediately. They are super intelligent, very loyal and love their people and will do anything to please them. I’m so glad you have him. It’s never the dog that’s difficult but the people that don’t know how to train them.

    Take care

  27. Oh, he’s a handsome fellow. Definitely half border collie – my family has them, and you can see it in those eyes.

    I so enjoy your blog, and what you’ve done with your house so far. As I’m a newcomer, it’s great for me to see what you started with and where you’re going to. Your kitchen is drop dead gorgeous! I know the rest of the house will be, too.

  28. Thanks for introducing us to Boo. He’s a sweetie! I had this idea that you could move the doors of the game room and the bedroom forward into the hall so that they line up with the other wall in your bedroom, to make your room bigger. What do you think?

  29. Glad to finally meet Boo. I am a dog person and wondered if where you were keeping him. He is a beauty and I can tell his is smart. He has that look about him. You hallway ideas all seem good, eventually you will come up with what you want. I wanted to mention here In PA we have two place that know of. One is Philadelphia Salvage and the other is Scranton Salvage. Both of them have warehouses full of doors like yours. They sell for about 20 to 40 bucks depending on the size and detail. I am sure there must be places in the bigger cities around you like Austin that have Salvage places. You should google for them and make contact if you find any. The may be able to match doors and just ship them to you. Scranton Salvage in PA has an entire half of a warehouse with nothing but doors. It is a shame to buy new, if you can get what you want without to much of a cash outlay. Best of luck, still waiting to hear if you have to apply the Waterlox in the direction of the grain of the wood. Blessings.

  30. Boo is a very handsome dog, looks like he is part Flat Coated Retriever.

    Love the idea of a bench/hooks in the hallway. Great alternative to not having a closet and a great place to put on or take off shoes.

  31. Off set hinges will give you 2 extra inches of space in a doorway. I have a son who uses a power wheelchair, due to a spinal cord injury. We did widen 2 doorways, after his accident. The biggest door available without having a custom made door was 36: wide in 1998, and that is what we put in his bedroom and the hall bathroom.

    Here’s the link I found to Home Depot, but a google search will turn up many options.

  32. If you combine your need to use your old doors and your desire to have the hallway coat rack bench, heres a pix of an idea taken from Cottage Charm. (She also includes instructions for her project.) I apologize for introducing another blog, but the photo IS inspiration. (I would have just included the pix if possible and not the link. Sorry.) Go Kristi!

    1. No apologies necessary! Link are perfectly fine in comments. 🙂 And I love Missy! She showed me a picture of her mudroom bench yesterday, and I said, “You need to blog about this!” so she did. 😀 I wanted to see how she made it, so I love that others have seen it as well. It’s fantastic! She does wonderful work, and I’m definitely going to keep this in mind when I make mine.

  33. Considering that your husband has MS, door levers instead of door knobs might be a better idea for the long term.

  34. Boo Bear is a handsome and intelligent looking boy! Such sweet eyes. Could he be part Irish Setter? Love the hall bench idea. Just a thought – what about 2 rows of coat hooks? That would allow for guests’ coats or longer coats. Those doors will come in very handy for a project or two. As many have mentioned, possibly for the hall bench!

  35. Ahhhh my favorite post ;^)
    Boo is beautiful and I LOVE a black dog!! The kitties are so cute too…..
    Princess Posie cat sends a hug to all of them!

  36. I love the ideas you have shown for your hallway. Can’t wait to see what you design. On another note, I have a couple of questions. I don’t see any extra bedrooms in your house. Will you be using your office or Matt’s gameroom as a guest room combo? Also, do you think you will be finishing your living room anytime soon? 🙂
    Thanks and Have a Blessed Day.

  37. Cool! We have a dog named Boo, too! Except, he’s white and has only three legs. A “gift” from a previous neighbor, too. We couldn’t be happier!

  38. Kristi – is that a new picture of Boo? Hope he is loving his new home and being able to be outdoors! Miss the commotion of your projects out here but love seeing your house turn into a home – it is beautiful!