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A Birch Forest Hallway

There is an awkward little hallway that leads to my master bedroom. Actually, calling it a hallway is quite generous…it’s really just a wall that blocks people from being able to see our bed from the street. That probably doesn’t make much sense, so allow me draw you a (horribly inaccurate) picture.

Diagram, schematic

So as you can see, the wall is weird – but the wall is important!

Here is what my little hallway has looked like since we moved in and painted

hallway makeover - before


It’s a small space which means I’m free to go as crazy as I want with it. Did y’all not know that rule? The smaller the space the bolder you can be. Okay I made that rule up, but I think it’s a good one. So I wanted the hallway to ‘pop’ a little, while keeping in mind that you can see it clearly from all the main parts of our house. It may be small, but it still has to mesh. Usher in the Birch Forest stencil from Cutting Edge. I’ve liked this stencil since I saw it in Jen’s  playroom over at I Heart Organizing.

tree stencil

Forget the stencil; that whole room is awesome. Seriously, go check it out if you haven’t seen it.

I ordered my stencil and when it came in I excitedly got right to stenciling  This was my first time to stencil a wall, up until now I had just stenciled furniture (in case your curious, stenciling furniture is waaaaay easier.) So I did a couple of rounds and stepped back to admire my work, and when I did I thought it looked…off.

how to stencil a wall

The trees were green and the background was white. That’s not what I wanted, I wanted white trees on a green background. I tried to tell myself it was okay and would look just fine when it was all finished, but I couldn’t bring myself to keep stenciling. So it stayed like that – dropcloth and all – for about a week. Adam really wanted me to hurry up and finish it, so he told me stories that went something like this – “Imagine a forest at dusk, the snow is softly falling and the remaining rays of sunlight reflect off the snow and make the forest seem bright and the trees appear shadowy and dark…” They were beautiful stories really, but we both knew they were total BS. I KNEW he agreed with me but I was never going to get him to admit it. He just wanted me to hurry up and finish.

hallway makeover

Being an intuitive and obedient wife, I did what he wanted me to do – I waited till one day when he was at work, and the kids took naps at the same time (!!!), and I painted the whole thing white. 

And then I stenciled and stenciled, and oh my gosh, it took forever.

Like days.

The easiest wall to stencil is a big flat one without any windows or doorways – I chose to stencil a tiny pentagon with multiple doorways. It’s my own stubborn fault for it taking forever. I’m really glad this is such a forgiving stencil though, because I ended up painting all my corners by hand.

birch tree stencil

The finished hallway was totally worth it though, I think it’s really fun without being overwhelming.

hallway decor ideas

hallway makeover ideas

That cheap boob light is getting the ax next, once I find all the pieces I need for the DIY light fixture that I’ve already made in my head.

birch tree wall stencil

I obviously need some decor or something in here, but I don’t really have any ideas for that part. Suggestions are welcome! I would love to make it useful, but we don’t need shelves and it’s not big enough for much else.

wall stencil in a hallway

Okay, so I actually did have one idea. Since it’s a birch forest I thought we might build a tree house, for the boys to climb on and hang out under. Allow me to draw you another picture…

hallway ideas

Brilliant, right? Except that it would be about a foot deep so it wouldn’t work. Also, my boys would probably just take turns pushing each other off and I am kidding myself to think they would sit quietly underneath and read books. It would have been fun, though, and Jen’s playroom would have had some serious competition for the best birch-forested playroom in blogland. Ha!

 Update – click here to see the completed hallway!

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  1. Great job, Ashley! Looks beautiful.
    i think the stencil stands on its own and doesnt need anything on it. I notice Jen’s doesnt have art on it. It is great as is!

  2. Your ‘drawings’ pretty much made my day. Especially that last one. I about choked when I scrolled down. Hilarious. Also, I love the wall. 2 thumbs up on revolting and switching the colors. Turned out awesome! ~ V

    1. And by I, I mean it, of course. Maybe a nice piece of art for the wall? I’m sure you’ll come up with something amazing and I can’t wait to see what!

  3. It looks awesome! And I love that you call that light fixture a “boob” light. My house is full of boob lights too. How about a quiet nook for mama to imagine sneaking off to? (I have a 17-month old…I would like a little place to imagine sneaking off to!) Or how about a simple lighted fixture to light up that fancy wall??

  4. I love it and i love Cheryl’s idea of just one or two red birds!!! And for the boys maybe a small mouse hiding somewhere. Ooooooh how about your’s and hubby’s initials carved (painted, obvie) into one tree!!! :)

  5. I agree, if you are going to do something, you might as well take the time to do it the way you want it, otherwise you’ll never be able to enjoy the finished result. Possibly a large black and white photo on the “fort” wall?

  6. I like the idea of the decor being part of the forest. What about a kid-sized park bench? That might be fun, and a place to wait and play until they’re allowed to wake Mummy and Daddy up (6:00 am? lol)

    The stenciled nook looks great! Your house is really transforming, bit by bit. It must feel awesome!

    1. I like that park bench idea too…and there just happens to be one on sale at my grocery store! I’ll have to measure it next time I go to see if it would fit. Thanks for the idea!

  7. Looks amazing! As for adding to it, my mom painted a picture of trees a few years ago & put her and my dad’s initials on one of them. He’s since passed away, &I love seeing their initials in that tree. So yeah, I’m kinda partial to that idea. Also I’m thinking maybe some real branches (white of course) sticking out 3-D style near the top. Maybe you could put the birds on there…like those little clippy Christmas ornament ones. Whatever you decide to do will be wonderful I’m sure.

  8. It turned out gorgeous! Why not make it a reading alcove for you? A cozy chair with a pillow a nice pretty light.

  9. That is a seriously unusual wall configuration, but I like it! Different from everybody else’s ordinary, everyday walls. Gives your house some character, you know? And I love what you did with it. I love all the ideas people suggested, the birds, initials, etc. I really like the idea of a tiny mouse!!! I would never dare try to stencil a wall, but you did a great job with it!!

  10. Love nooks and crannies and rustic nature themes! I was going to suggest a small old rustic wooden chair with maybe a woven wood vase/basket with some forest-y looking stuff in it. Or maybe a larger sized rustic bird house ( you know the kind, with the door knob perches, old shingles etc?) that would sit on the floor beside the chair, instead of the basket. Can’t wait to see what you’ll create!

  11. I enjoy reaading your post! Isn’t it great to say you did it yourself? Good design/ideas often get improved on as we see and think about it. It is also helpful to get feed back from others. You’re an inspiration to many. Thanks!

    1. So true Nance, most of my projects morph as I work on them and end up being different (and better!) than I intended. I always get great ideas when I ask my readers for feedback. Thanks for the sweet comment and have a great weekend!

  12. Beautiful! It looks a lot like your header. If you don’t have room to build a treehouse, you could take cute pics of your kids playing in a tree house and hang them in the forest. Yeah! Happy Thanksgiving!

  13. BAHAHA. I love the happy reader you expertly drew in under the tree house. I stenciled a wall recently – a blank wall with no windows or corners or anything – and I ALMOST gave up on my whole entire life. It was torture. I salute you.

  14. Oh I can see why the wall is so important. I just love what you’ve done with the birch stencil too – that’s gorgeous! For a suggestion on what to hang there: what about hanging a deer head?? Like, not a REAL one, like a paper mache one maybe??

  15. love the stencil! i think you should take a round of wood and either carve or burn into the wood your initials surrounded by a heart. then you could screw in some hooks at the bottom so that it’s also useful!

  16. Oh Ashley, This is stupendous. Love it and you are right this is the PERFECT place to be a bit bold. I LOVE that stencil too and I am thinking where could I use it too. So glad you posted this on BeColorful.

  17. This is really, really lovely. You did a great job. I used this stencil too and enjoyed it very much. Thanks for posting your pictures!

    1. I love this, it’s kinda exactly what I had in mind! We don’t have the room for it in our hallway unfortunately…if we did it the fort would only be about six inches deep. My kids are small, but that’s pushing it!

  18. I just found your blog through Pinterest and am having fun reading. I love how you raised your kitchen cabinets! It would work perfectly for my kitchen and laundry room.
    The tree stencil is so cute. Makes me think of the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. It might be cute with a lamp post in the corner like this, http://narnia.wikia.com/wiki/Lamp-post . I like the birds and carved initial ideas too.

    1. You could literally hang birdhousees on the walls… i guess really flat ones or something.
      Or put that one picture back up…. I liked the tree picture… and its a tree.. so lots and lots of trees…

      Love the lamppost idea though.

  19. You could try a tallish & narrow mirror on the flat wall – just touching the slanted wall so it looks centered. I don’t know what you have “to reflect” in the mirror… so maybe a small ledge with candles? I don’t have a website.

  20. I am SO GLAD someone else had trouble with that stencil!! I’m working on our half bath and using the same thing. This is our first house and also my first room reno, and it’s disheartening how long it’s taking and how hard it is! I linked the most recent post regarding our bathroom – I’m sliiiiightly further than that now, but the stinking room still isn’t done!! (I started in July. >.<) The walls we decided to use the stencil on were narrow and none of them were totally smooth – I had an outlet on one wall, a light and sink hookup on another, and light switches on the third. The night I finally decided I was going to finish the stencil I broke my roller and had to go back to using a paintbrush (takes about a billion times longer and requires multiple coats)!

    We're supposed to redo the bedroom for Christmas, and I just don't think I have it in me… :\

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