I am progressing, actually.
The hall is on hold while the wood acclimates. I got the long wall of wainscoting primed and one coat of trim paint on it. I took down two hall doors, primed them, and got a coat of trim paint on them too. Tomorrow I'll second coat all that stuff, then I can re-hang the doors and see how they wear. I actually really like the way they look painted, so I hope they don't chip and look shitty :(
I took down the two small piece of wainscoting. Yep, they were nailed AND glued to the wall, so it's really spectacularly ugly right now - bits of Liquid Nails, s-shaped rips in the pink sheetrock, different texture... ugh. Today I've been thinking about how to deal with some trim issues.
I am not sure if this is good descriptive writing. One of the reasons there are so many "secrets" to home improvement is that it's amazingly hard to describe a problem or a solution without pictures, and before camera phones that was just not feasible. I've taken some pictures, and I can take more or just try to clarify what I'm talking about. So if reading this makes you go "huh?", let me know!
I'm gonna use this term a lot, so I'm gonna take the time to explain it. There's two kinds of corners in a room - inside and outside. Inside corners are the four corners of your standard box-shaped room. Outside corners, counterintuitively, poke IN to a room. If you have a doorway that doesn't have a door in it - just a drywalled opening - then those are outside corners.
First, the wainscoting terminates at each doorway. I am going to trim the doorway to the kitchen, because it'll look ok with trim and it's much, much simpler that way. But the "doorway" to the hall is actually just an opening that goes to the ceiling. Since matching the fake stucco drywall texture is off the table, (glares at jenj) I want to put up replacement wainscoting. The previous stuff was "framed" with reversed door trim, which meant the plywood edge of the wainscoting didn't show where it ends at the outside corner to the hall. I am using chair rail for the top line and baseboard for the bottom line of the wainscoting, but I needed something to cover those outside corners to the hall. I poked around Home Depot and decided that a piece of flat 1" trim won't look too bad - it's got one sharp edge, which I will butt up against the new wainscoting, and one slightly rounded edge, which will line up with the outside corners.
This is the reason why I had to buy a sheet of new wainscoting, by the way. The new trim is narrower than the door trim, and the current wainscoting wouldn't cover.
My second problem is much more daunting (but easier to ignore!) If you've never seen it installed right, or looked closely at crown molding, you might not realize that it sits at a 45 degree angle between the wall and ceiling. It actually touches both the wall and the ceiling - there's a triangular gap behind the piece of molding you see up there. The idiot previous owners "trimmed" the walls with door trim attached to the walls, touching the ceiling. It didn't make that 45 degree bend and attach to the ceiling too. (Well, it couldn't - real crown is beveled on the backside to fit snugly against the wall and ceiling at the same time.) I pulled that crap down, so there's a 2.5" wide pink band around the top of the whole room. Miraculously, the "stucco" goes all the way up to the ceiling, but it's all chipped and there's cracks at the ceiling line and it looks gross. And it's a big room, so it would actually look quite nice with crown molding.
Here's the problem: I have to figure out how to terminate the crown at an outside corner. Remember how I said there's a triangular gap behind each piece of proper crown? I've got to cover that up! It's pretty easy to terminate to an inside corner - Home Depot even has little decorative bits to make it look snazzy - but not so easy to terminate an outside corner. I don't want to run crown down the whole hall; I don't think it would look very good and that stuff's not cheap. If I don't figure it out before I get to the crown, I will probably run it along two walls and leave it for later.
I've found some decent tutorials for how to terminate the crown there. It may be beyond my capabilities, but they're short runs so it's worth trying.