Sunday, February 6

Archway Project

A lot of you have been hearing about this project for ages.  I don't want to keep you at 90% finished here it is: my post on the perpetual 'Archway Project' that started last fall.  There is a catch:  If you read this please help me out by making a suggestion for the finishing touches - what color am I going to paint it??  Read and then comment, please!

Interior archways are a great way to add architectural detail to any home.  In my case I’ve improved the archway between my living and dining room.   I felt the archway was a bit boring and the shelving in it dated. I started my search online (last spring) for mouldings on archways and along came this beauty:

Stacey Branford Photography
Bingo!  That was my inspiration.  I decided to re-create the above, but with hidden storage. Yes, clever it seemed, but quite the task it turned out to be. 

I took before pics myself but this pic of the archway before we took possession seems to be the best view overall:

Notice the open shelving.  Opposite the shelf facing in is a wall but it also has storage...accessible from the kitchen on the other side.  I wanted both sides to be identical.  The shelving always seemed cluttered and was collecting dust.  

I hired a carpenter to help me with the curved mouldings to create the panels. We thought we'd be able to bend MDF but who were we kidding?  Normally, from what I've learned, curves are cut out of plywood and then applied.  The trick was to cut strips of 1/4" plywood and apply layers of them:

In between the plywood we used 3/4" MDF.

Inside the 4 square panels you'll notice smaller decorative mouldings.   I tried the plastic moulding at home depot (normally used for bathrooms) but it wouldn't properly bend on the curve.  Next attempted to bend snapped.  I even put slits in the back of it to help it dice.  While describing the project to a friend I was told that a product called RUBBER WOOD existed!  Vintage Mouldings in Burnside sells this rubber wood.  It's made in Truro and needs to be custom ordered.  I will warn its very expensive, but lucky for me, I only needed 10 feet.  On each side of the arch there are 2 curves - each 2 feet - wich are rubber wood.  The rest of the moulding is identical MDF.
The doors proved to be complex, given we had to determine how they would fit.  Would they set in the openings, etc?  Finding the proper hinges locally was impossible, they had to be special-ordered from out west.  There is a door on each side of the archway. 

The doors (as seen above) still need to be hinged, chair rail finished and the inside shelving completed.  You'll see those pics in the next post.  I've done about 4 rounds of filling and sanding.  What a relief to be finished that part.

The project is near completion.  I just had to share it with you; it really is wonderful!  So any paint ideas?  I've only applied white primer, so far.  Should I paint the trim a different color from the inside panels?  (To give you an idea: I've got white, black and empress teal in the living room.)  The dining room is also still open for ideas...I was thinking of an accent wall behind the mirror in the above pic.  Tell me your thoughts! 




  1. Beautiful!! I think that for sure the trim and outside panels need to be painted different from the white on the outside. For sure, keep the outside white but I am torn between whether you should paint the inside or the trim a different accent color. I am leaning towards the idea of painting the trim an more antique white and the inside a light shade of color. I am all about pale blues right now, but that might clash with the teal in your living room. What about a soft yellow to match with your dinning room? This is a hard for me, I'd have to play around a bit and then decide.

  2. Almost there Kelty, and looks even better in person! I would just match the trim to your baseboards and crown moulding, and the inside panels to your off-white living room walls. Then, carry that through to your dining room. May sound boring, but gives continuity (something I learned from you) and teal in living room gives enough of a colour accent.

  3. All white...the colors you have now are enough by the sounds of it. Like the picture you fell in love with, its all white.

  4. Cant wait for the finished product! I might take something like this on myself. thanks.


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