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The Hallway

It’s funny to me that, before I had started my way across the bathroom, it seemed to me that there really wasn’t all that much on its walls. Here, standing in its doorway to a hallway on the second storey of our home, I find myself thinking the same thing about my immediate surroundings. There just doesn’t seem to be that much on the walls. We’ll see.


To the immediate left of the bathroom door when facing the hall there are two light switches. The closer operates the bathroom lights and fan, while the farther controls the bedroom light. Both of these switches seem to have been installed rather haphazardly as the bathroom switch sits immediately beside the frame of the bathroom doorway, with roughly an eighth of an inch between the edges of the door frame and the light switch panel. Additionally, the switch for the bedroom sits noticeably higher on the wall than the bathroom switch.

These two switches are also quite different. The bathroom switch is an older one, the panel is not original to when we moved in and has been replaced with one that is simply white, however I recall the original being more elaborate, metallic and embossed with a pattern around its border. The switch itself is still the same though. It is a small black switch, similar in form to the larger more modern, rocker-style switches, with a shallow angled V vertically along the its surface so that the top and bottom protrude slightly, but in the footprint of the more iconic toggle switch. The bedroom switch is entirely white, and is a much newer dimmer switch. Its footprint within the faceplate is the same as the larger rocker-style switches, within which is a narrow horizontal bar that slides up and down within a thin, slightly raised frame. There is a small slit in the wall just under this switchplate where the rectangular hole that was cut in the drywall to mount the switchbox was cut slightly too long on the lower left side, and never patched. The wall to the immediate right and top of this same switchplate is indented where the edge of an older, larger switchplate met the wall’s surface.

Baseboards cover the bottom edge of the drywall throughout the hallway (this is not the case throughout much of the house). These are a fairly short, warm brown stained wooden baseboard of moderately complex design relative to the other mouldings throughout the house; they has several horizontal flutes and steps. Their more major sections might be divided into three; from top to bottom: the upper quarter is a series of steps creating a slight triangular protrusion, followed by a shallow gouge just below, and finally a flat plane on the lower half. The baseboards throughout the hallway area sit roughly an inch from the floorboards so that through the small gap, the inside of the wall is visible in several places. Various materials occupy the length of this opening, however the majority of its length has been packed with a pale yellow fibreglass insulation. Small pieces of plaster can also be seen - evidence that these walls are made up of two layers: the original lath and plaster, and a layer of drywall on top (this is more obvious in other rooms, where the bottom edge of the sheet of drywall butts against the top edge of the baseboards), as a previous owner opted to cover up the old walls rather than replace them. These small pieces of plaster are fragments of the keys that are formed when plaster is initially applied to the lath, pushing through its gaps and into the centre of the wall - and now coming loose, resting at the base of the interior of the wall.


As I write this, the final days of this short residency are slipping by faster and faster. It seems that the scope of this project might have gotten away from me, perhaps it was a little too ambitious a task to take on in the period of just one month. It turns out that my initial characterizations of my walls as relatively baron might have been a little off; there is a lot to notice, and I’ve been at it for over a year now in this house.

I have decided that from this point forward I’m going to try and focus on a few specific things around the house that I had initially planned short landings at, I’m going to jump around a little bit, and maybe talk more concretely about some things that have shown up in recent paintings.

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