I took the bull by the horns for an upgrade. I don't fool around with structural projects, so a contractor pal took down the old sheetrock, replaced loose and missing bricks with heavy duty cinder block, and re-sheetrocked. I had a nice bit of cleanup to do, then got to work on the "turd polishing."
The transformation was messy but fairly painless. The contractor left Friday night and I was finished by Sunday afternoon. The main idea was to create a transition to the yard, so I chose garden-y colors and accents.
I prepped the area (swept, spackled, sanded, caulked) and used a sand textured sage green paint to mask the imperfect tape/spackle job where the new sheetrock met the old. A 95% smooth taping job was ok with me on a low impact job like this (hallway, not master bedroom!) as long as the common brick wall between houses was solid! I was not going to spend nights feathering out the joint compound for perfection and waiting for it to dry.
Because the brick is very old, and I don't want to tempt fate, I kept the old shelving up. I dressed it up by painting the hardware, wrapping the shelves all the way around in contact paper, and securing the seams with little nails called 'brads.' Thumbtacks would work, too.
I know, it looks crowded, but I seriously purged stuff before I re-loaded the shelves! OK, maybe I can thin out some vases.
Open storage is less preferable to a closed cabinet but there are very few available that are under 9" deep, and with glass fronted sliding doors. With the house NOT being level and plumb (!) I'd have to bolt the cabinets into the brick wall and that's dicey. Open shelving keeps me a tad neater.
I covered the concrete floor with adhesive-backed carpet tile that I cut to fit, and rolled out a hooked runner that makes it more comfy underfoot. I picked up the doormat at Tar-jay, and I already had the hooked rug.
Two cabinets from the kitchen re-do had been mis-measured, so those went up over the washer and dryer. I measured for and ordered opaque glass in gray, which made sense with the gray carpet. Glass is easy to install---just squeeze out clear silicone around the inside, press and and the glass sits tight. I'd found 'garden themed' cabinet pulls in the sale bin at Restoration Hardware a few years back, and finally had the chance to use them. Adorable!
I had the old wooden door out to the yard and a pitted aluminum framed jalousie window replaced a year or so ago. The final touches were a wooden shade for the door, a sheer, flowy lace curtain for the window overlooking the yard, and doodads like garden shadowbox art and a ceramic thermometer. Now the hall is light and bright, and all the vases, wine glasses, linens and things are organized. A recent dinner party guest spilled red wine on her white jacket. Without missing a beat, we stepped in from the yard, treated the spot, threw the jacket in the washing machine, then the dryer and she was wearing it by the time dessert was served. Easy, breezy.