Monday, January 2, 2012

What To Do With High Walls?

I hope everyone had a fun and love filled holiday season this year, and that 2012 will be a fabulous year for all of us. The lack of posts the past month are testament to just how busy the season was for me. Between parties, decorating, travel, and shopping, the blog unfortunately had to take a back seat for a bit. But a new year is upon us, and I will do my best to return to our regularly scheduled blogging.

And first, a transformation is in the works at my house. Visitors enter into a two-story foyer with a bridge that overlooks the front door to one side and the great room to the other. While the volume gives the house a nice open feeling, the high walls have always been a challenge. What to do with them?

 See what I mean? Acres of blank wall space! 
 The other side of the bridge.

Pieces of art were the first answer I came up with, but anything large enough was prohibitively expensive, and I hated to invest in something that would be too high up to be truly appreciated. I've seen high walls like these treated with hanging quilts or tapestries, and that's certainly a good solution in some homes, but neither seemed to suit our taste. 

After touring a builder's model last fall, the answer was clear--molding and paint! The model we saw had a similar foyer, and they had created squares of molding and painted the inside of them a contrasting color. 
So I took some measurements, laid out some ideas, and for my partner's Christmas present, had installed these striking panels:

 The "L" shaped corners will be painted in the same darker accent color that we used on the great room fireplace and a niche in the foyer. The center squares will be wallpapered--we haven't found what we want yet, but it will likely be a tone on tone damask or geometric.

I was surprised just how big a difference these panels make, even before they are painted and papered. The whole scale of the space changed, it feels much more welcoming now. Even with professionals doing the work, the paneling was cheaper than buying art to fill these walls, and had I the patience and skill to install them myself, they would have been a real bargain!

This post is linking to the Metamorphosis Monday party at "Between Naps on the Porch" Visit them for many more inspiring before and afters!

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  1. LOVE what you did with the walls Brandon!

  2. Thanks Tammi (and sorry for spelling your name wrong on my comment to you earlier today! I caught it as soon as I hit enter, but it was too late.)
    It really did make a much bigger difference in the foyer than I thought it would...but finding the right wallpaper for the center panels is proving to be quite a challenge. Got any tips for upholstering walls? Fabric would be much easier to find.+

  3. Upholstering walls is very easy and I love that idea even better than wallpaper. My office wall is upholstered in a purple and cream toile. All you need to do is spray glue the batting to the wall, I would staple the top and bottoms because of gravity and some around the side. Then, starting at the top, staple your fabric on, pulling taut, then staple a couple at the bottom and sides and work your way out. Finish by gluing a nice cording around the edge between your trim. I think a 1/4" or 3/8" would be sufficient. Don't want to take away from the trim.

    You will need a scaffolding for this! Let me know how this project goes, sounds exciting.

  4. I just love the moulding pattern you used Brandon! Did you come up with the design yourself or your finish carpenter?

    If you want to define the space even more for a very low price, then just add a wide (c. 4"), relatively flat moulding, horizonally around the room -- about 4" below the air vent cover.

    Then you can paint the walls above the moulding a slightly or much lighter color than the walls below. This creates a more intimate room below the moulding and at the same time emphasizes the lofty heights of the room.

    I like that moulding pattern so much I'm going to create a link to this page for my DIY moulding readers' inspiration!


  5. Tammi...thanks for the how-to! I will certainly post more "afters" once it's all done. Ken...I came up with the design myself, after trying out a few others on paper. Like the idea of another trim board...I still feel like the space between the door and upper window feels a little "naked" and that would help that. Thanks for coming over to take a look at your site now...need inspiration for some other molding projects!