Our home has a pretty modest central stairwell that runs from the first floor entryway all the way up to the 3rd floor. While we LOVE the floorplan that comes with a central stair (and our original dark oak banisters are gorgeous), the tight corners and small spaces leave something to be desired. It's not like we want anything grandiose-- this home was built as a summer home for the original 19th century owners. So, it's supposed to feel somewhat simple and comfortable. And, I get that. But, Dave and I still want the hallways and stairs to feel special, like the rest of the home. So, we decided that we would like to spruce up these areas with architectural elements like wainscoting, trim, and some additional lighting (which was greatly lacking here).
Here are some of our personal inspiration images (all links can be found on my Pinterest page)...
love the clean white look and simple details.
compared to the first image, we loved the addition of a detailed trim on the inset and decorative cap on the base molding.
another great example of flat panel wainscoting-- simple and beautiful.
within the same home as above-- it's interesting to study how the wainscoting makes each tiny turn around the doorway and down the hallway (they used small plinth blocks at the doors).
love this room-- the height of the chair rail is lower than we would like, but we still love the elegance and simplicity of the trim... and color scheme with the wall paint (ps. I want a Dutch door somewhere, someday).
DYING over the semi-gloss finish of this hallway!
this is a more modified version, with a chunkier chair rail piece.
Love this example on the stairwell-- excellent spacing and proportion. Also, love this chair rail.
again, same story.
We found this diagram over at Wainscoting Long Island and thought it was a pretty good example of what we're trying to achieve:
We decided to go with a flat panel wainscot design that incorporates some detailed pieces (like the panel molding on the inset and the baseboard cap). We need a little bit of "fancy" to complement our original banisters, which are solid oak and feature turned spindles. So, this combo of simple/fancy is good for us. Also, if we went too simple, and ditched the decorative trim elements, I feared that we would be crossing into Craftsman/Mission style territory. This is not a space where we belong. :) Our house tends to lean more Victorian (late 1800s), so adding the little bits of decorative trim went a long way.
I suggested applying the wood directly to the new drywall and painting everything to match (since I have seen this trick done all over the web, and it looks pretty good -- see here and here). But, Dave wanted to go a more traditional route and apply solid wood sheeting within the insets. So, the entire application would be made from wood, top to bottom. He's doing the majority of the work, so I didn't complain about that. :)
I measured the space and drew it in AutoCAD with our proposed wainscot design.
(just an FYI, the wainscoting continues down the stairs to the second floor -- that drawing is not pictured above, but you get the idea).
And, just to give you guys a good idea of what we're working with, here are some "before" pictures of the 3rd floor hallway. These were taken the day we closed on the house (about 3 years ago). We have salvaged all of the original door trim and baseboards, and we will be using all of it.
you can see the detail of the original stair here-- we're preserving all of the original wood, so I think that the bright white finish of the new wainscoting will be a welcome complement.
And, the space looks like this today...
Now, we've got some work to do this weekend. :)
Progress pictures to come!!