Caitlin’s Long, Dark Hallway Makeover (And The Perfect Paint Color That Worked With All 3 Of Her Bold Wallpapers)
Information about Caitlin’s Long, Dark Hallway Makeover (And The Perfect Paint Color That Worked With All 3 Of Her Bold Wallpapers)
OH HEY. Fancy seeing you back here for the second time today! As promised, I’m coming in hot with your little afternoon amuse-bouche. It’s a good one, too, with lots of intrigue. Like, sure, there’s a reveal, but I’m also going to tell you the story of how I kind of, sort of stole a partnership from Emily. Sometimes, the heart wants what it wants…and this time, the heart wanted to do a dramatic weekend makeover with its new all-time favorite not-neutral, but also somehow kind of neutral paint color. (If you’ve spent any time on ~home decor IG~ over the past few days, you may have seen it…we’re talking Sherwin-Williams 2022 Color of the Year, guys!!!) It’s a neutral for maximalists, if you will. HANDS OFF, BOSS. I’m taking over this one!! Let’s get into how we got here so we can get to the ‘after’ photos, yeah?
First thing’s first: Welcome to more of my house! This hallway is 17′ long, narrow, and VERY dark. It’s also Tetris-piece shaped (the “Cleveland Z,” to be specific – it zig-zags in the middle), because OF COURSE it has to be a little weird. Who wants a plain, simple, boring hallway (like the “Hero” Tetris piece, if you’re interested in googling 80s video game etymology later) when you can have something that’s kind of confusing and disorienting and difficult for inebriated guests to navigate? It’s also an interior hall that faces east, which means that the light in here is questionable at best.
BUUUUT, it’s also kind of nice, once you get used to it. 4 main rooms are located off this hall – the dining room, kitchen, bathroom, and my bedroom – plus there’s a huge built-in linen closet next to the bathroom along with a bonus private entrance that’s right next to my bedroom. It does feel like it’s been pre-zoned – there’s a natural space for an entryway, a dedicated bathroom section, and a nice standard long stretch that’s begging for some art.
And while I lived with this space for two years without complaint – it’s for walking! It works! It’s fine! – it became design priority #1 after I wallpapered 3 of the adjacent rooms. Life lesson learned about maximalism: if you’re going to go big, you have to go big EVERYWHERE. My wallpapered rooms were so bold and vibrant and this hallway, in comparison, looked SO sad and dingy and unfinished. I know it’s just a thoroughfare, but I wanted my hallway to have its own little design moment so that it felt like it belonged in the same home, you know? I set off on a quest to find the perfect paint color and I had three main criteria:
- It had to be dark. It’s hard to believe (potentially impossible), but the hallway was originally a warm white. A WARM WHITE, GUYS. Going brighter in here wasn’t going to help, so I knew I wanted to embrace the cave-like feel with some dark paint.
- But it couldn’t be stark. All that said, I’m not allowed to touch anything painted with semi-gloss in the apartment (for lead reasons, I think), so I needed a dark color that wouldn’t look absolutely bonkers next to the white trim and built-in features. I wasn’t looking to put a black hole in the middle of my house – I needed something that wouldn’t be too distracting or imposing.
- It had to work with all three wallpapers. This one was the biggest doozy of all. I know that some folks are “whole home” decorators – you know, like, kind of thoughtful in how one room flows into the next – but I, tragically, am not one of those people. I was leaning towards a green – to tie in the kitchen and dining room wallpapers – and was dreading the color-picking process until the universe basically stepped in and was like, “HERE YA GO, GIRL.”
Here’s what went down: I was picking up a TON of potential samples from my local Sherwin-Williams when their team shot me an email that they’d included a sample of Evergreen Fog SW 6244, the 2022 Color of the Year, with my order. (You know you’re in DEEP when you can start naming the color codes.) ANYWAY – we had been offered the opportunity to partner with Sherwin-Williams on some Pinterest exclusive content (if you’re not following us over there, what are you waiting for?!) around the Color of the Year Launch and I was technically supposed to pass the paint on to Emily – you know, in case she could work it into one of her upcoming projects – but instead, I fell in love.
I brought it home, made a little (ok, enormous) sample swatch, and taped it on every surface in the hallway. I then sent a pleading email to Sherwin-Williams. I KNOW I’M NOT EMILY BUT PLEASE, LET ME SHOOT EVERGREEN FOG IN MY HOUSE, I begged. It’s such a great, creamy, rich color – not too green, not too gray, not too bright or too dark. It was the goldilocks of paint. Evergreen Fog doesn’t overpower and it doesn’t compete – it just goes. It feels like a fit. In a true testament to Sherwin-Williams’ vision, they read my pitch (which was basically “this is the only paint color that works here, please help” – a consummate professional, I am), saw my before shots and were like, “yeah, okay, have at it,” which I’ll always be grateful for. Bonus life lesson: shoot your shot! Sometimes it works out! (And let me know if you see any of the sponsored content on Pinterest throughout the month, will you?!)
OKAY. You sat through a lot of intellectualizing about what I wanted so this is obviously where we have to start: THE RESULTS, BABY. Three VERY different rooms, all connected by my new favorite not-technically-neutral but also kind of neutral paint. I don’t want to pat myself on the back too much – you know, seeing as I uh, didn’t actually source this color – but I’m so excited about this space, guys. There’s enough delineation and difference to be like, “hey, the hallway is its own moment, let’s enjoy it,” without being like “AH, why is there a big, distracting black hole in the middle of this apartment?” It’s dark without screaming for attention but still saturated enough to feel happy, if that makes sense. LET’S DEEP DIVE A LITTLE, YEAH?
I ended up hitting the whole hallway – ceiling and all! – with two coats of Evergreen Fog in a Satin finish. (If these walls weren’t fairly textured plaster and if I was better at paying attention to detail, I could have done it in one – the paint coverage is great, but my rolling abilities are a 6/10.) The previous paint had been flat and it had done a very impressive job of sucking up EVERY DROP OF LIGHT in the entire hall, so I wanted a finish that’d do a better job of bouncing light around. You can actually see it on the ceiling – despite being a darker paint color, it’s actually carrying the light WAY farther down the hall. (Scroll up and check if you don’t believe me!) IT’S WILD.
To that end, I’m firmly a member of team #PAINTYOURCEILING. These are standard and only 8′ high, but they looked about a foot taller after being painted because everything sort of blended together – it’s way harder to tell where the walls end and the ceiling begins, which I love. If you have a dark room and you’re noodling on color options, let this be a sign to go deep and rich with your paint – embrace the space you have instead of fighting it. (And maybe consider going with a Satin finish instead of a Flat paint, while you’re at it :))
But now, let me tell you about this gallery wall. LET ME TELL YOU. I texted the team at Minted (415-993-WALL) and they designed this wall for me based on photos of my space and a few suggestions from me…but this isn’t some influencer exclusive special. THEY DO THIS FOR EVERYONE. FOR FREE! Can you believe????
Basically, you’ll answer some style/inspiration questions via text (my texts: “I want to do a gallery wall here but don’t have enough art and don’t know how to pull things together that’ll work in the space. Help!!!”) and a Minted Stylist sends back recommendations. Once you give feedback, they’ll send you an actual rendering of your art selections on the ACTUAL PHOTO OF YOUR ROOM. All of my photos were at an angle because of like, hallway geometry, so my Stylists (Melanie and Stacy, thank you!) ended up making me a custom head-on render.
Gallery Wall Left to Right: Sandstone Dunes 1 by Liz Taylor | Malena by Alex Roda | Tangerine by Emily Kariniemi | Roller Skates by Cristiane | you are seen by Alicia Schultz | Face Study I By Chelsea Petaja | Arches by Alaric Yanos | Falconer by Andrew McClintock | Squares by Alisa Galitsyna
They handled all the nitty-gritty stuff – you know, the size, the frame color, the matte, the float, the signature – AND they laid it out so install is a breeze. Added bonus: Minted places all the art you’ve agreed on straight into your cart so checkout is SO fast and easy (no accidental “oops, I ordered this without a mat!” or “woops, this frame should have been brass and I grabbed white!”). It was the first time I’ve hung a gallery wall without tears, which is really saying something. I did my best to follow their layout and although it’s a liiiiiitle more spread out than Minted had planned, it was a one-and-done hanging job. That’s right – no need to double to triple nail holes in the wall trying to get things just so.
These were my first-ever Minted pieces and while I love the aesthetics, I was super impressed by the packaging, too. Each piece comes with some info about the artist which I loved – my stylists helped pull pieces that were almost exclusively by incredible women, and it was so cool to learn about each of them. (Highly recommend checking out more of each artist’s work above – it’s fun to browse, I promise.) ALSO. In a past life, I helped design boxes for a monthly subscription service (don’t ask) so I know firsthand that box design for fragile objects is NO JOKE, and they knocked it outta the park. Minted, please extend my congratulations to the box designer because I can tell they put a lot of care and effort into the presentation. A million THANK YOUS to the whole team for helping my gallery wall dreams come true from start to finish. I hope they can help you, too.
That art feels like such a breath of fresh air, right? I’m especially partial to the roller skate piece on the top right – that was a special request from me that the Minted team facilitated. 🙂 I love this part of my hall, though. You see that little hole in the wall? It’s a vintage steel milk receptacle. There are a ton of options inside – whipping cream, milk, butter, cottage cheese, buttermilk, eggs, etc. – alongside a variety of measurements that range from “nothing” to “2 lbs.” Basically, you’d make your order using this door and then the milkman would drop it off in this insulated area the next day. HOW FREAKING COOL IS THAT?
And then OF COURSE we have to talk about the phone nook – it’s an LA classic. I grabbed this faux plant from the dollar spot at Target two weeks ago (it was $3 and it looked so sweet, I had to!!!) and it’s the perfect fit for this little nook. After a lot of trial and error (error, mainly), I’ve learned that real plants don’t do super well in this space, so I’ll settle for this little guy for now. The rest of the surface is left clean because it’s usually a drop zone for keys or mail or scissors or really any sort of random ephemera that I need to remind myself to bring somewhere else in the apartment. #reality
I also wanted to take a second to talk about these UNREAL semi-flush mounts from Rejuvenation. I took a little bit of a gamble on these – by every standard I’ve read, they were technically too big for the space – but I pulled the trigger anyway and I’m SO GLAD. I customized the Eastmoreland Fitter 6″ Semi Flush Fixture in Lacquered Polished Brass with a 14″ Opal Deco Stepped Shade and MAN, DO I LOVE IT.
They’re big without being too visually heavy – remember, this is a 36″ wide hallway with 8′ ceilings – and I’m a sucker for the Old Hollywood shape. They’re only an inch or two higher than the door frames and I just love how they fill out that space. The shades give off such a warm glow at night, too – cannot recommend them enough. I can’t believe I tolerated the boob lights for SO LONG, GUYS. What a freakin’ improvement. I linked my custom configuration above (in case you wanna be matching!) but you can also make your own right here. (PS. I hired a pro to swap out all the fixtures because the wiring is old and I didn’t want to electrocute myself. If you’re in LA, I swear by 5 Star Electric. They’re neat and timely and talented and their prices are BANANAS fair – just bookmark if you’re ever in need! #notsponsored, just a fan.)
Welcome to my little mini-entryway – she’s small but mighty! That’s my bedroom to the front and my private door/stairs to the left. I don’t use this exit/entrance a ton right now (it heads straight to my garage area, and I haven’t been driving that much…buying a new car today, though!!!) but it’s stocked with the basics: some fun, affordable hooks from Urban Outfitters and a vintage mirror I bought at the Rose Bowl a few years back.
Let me tell you – I stalked this mirror. It was $40, I only had $30 on my person, and the seller was SO firm on the price that I ended up trekking to the ATM and paying a bogus fee just to withdraw 10 extra bucks to buy it. It’s silly and weird and fun and every day I walk past it, I’m thankful for 2019 Caitlin’s heat-induced-determination. I also swapped out both light switch plates in the hall for these $13 unlacquered brass ones I grabbed on a whim at Home Depot – they’re really heavy and beautiful and surprisingly great quality for the price.
This may be my favorite shot of all because you can see the texture on my walls (UGH, I just love plaster) but more importantly, I’M SO EXCITED TO SHOW YOU THIS NEEDLEPOINT. I grabbed it from one of my favorite Etsy shops, Object Vintage Goods, and it felt like the finishing touch on the hallway in that it’s signed and dated from 1936 (!!!), it has some fun personality, a little bit of wisdom, and it ties in all the colors that I’m obsessed with. It just feels like one of those slam dunk internet finds, you know? (Also bookmark Sep’s shop, because the curation is so good. I’m just lettin’ you in on all my favorite vintage resources today!!!)
Speaking of Etsy – I knew I wanted an Antelope runner and was SO JAZZED when I discovered ArtcoreOnline’s shop. I paid about $150 for this runner – over 25% cheaper than a comparable one I’d been eyeing – and Artcore’s customer service was INCREDIBLE and so communicative. I know there are a lot of “new rug” vendors on Etsy and it can get kind of tricky figuring out who’s legit, but this place is an absolute dream to purchase from. 10000/10, would buy again. 🙂
And man, you thought we’d show you all these photos with candle sconces and NOT give you a little treat with both of them lit up? Full disclosure: this isn’t the norm and DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME, but I had to share these shots for two reasons: first, because I love how you can see the light bouncing off the walls (Satin paint wins again!). And second, GOSH, I love these vintage sconces. I grabbed both from Dude and Edith which is, you guessed it, another one of my favorite Etsy shops. (They’re the kind of Etsy shop who emails you after your order to be like, “hey, I found a more affordable shipping option,” which is ABSOLUTELY the kind of shop worth supporting. They don’t even know I’m writing this!!!) ANYWAY – the sconces. I fell for the scale, shape, and tassels, and stayed for the solid brass. I’m a vintage lover at heart (you know, in case you missed it when I said it 80 times earlier) so having these next to my new, more modern Minted pieces brings a lot of joy.
And here’s me: unintentionally dressed in what could be mistaken as my first holy communion look, standing in my old-and-improved hallway while staring into an empty mug. I DON’T EVEN DRINK COFFEE, GUYS. Who do I think I am??? (I don’t know, either.)
I just wanted to take a second to thank Sherwin-Williams for letting me shoot some Color of the Year content in my own home – I love Evergreen Fog and I’m so lucky and thankful that y’all trusted me and worked with me on this project. (Keep an eye out on our Pinterest, too – there’s some more of this hall rolling out there throughout the month!) Thanks to Minted for stepping in when I was lost in an art rut – try texting them, it’ll blow your mind – and thanks to Rejuvenation for making my deco-shade and tall-ceiling dreams come true. (I’m pretty tall at 5’8″ but these ceilings look huge, RIGHT?!) But most importantly, thanks to YOU. I know I’m a little wordy – blame it on a year and a half alone in my house – but chatting with y’all is truly the best part of my day. It’s fun to talk about design!! I really like you guys!!!
But ENOUGH ABOUT ME. I’m ready for your thoughts. Hit me with your best ones – I’m 30 now, so I can take it. See ya down there, yeah? xx