And this is how the alcove looks now, after numerous coats of paint. Xy tried a porcelain crackle effect first. It didn't work out. I covered it up with blue. I also painted the whole hallway. I used three different shades of blue in all: one for the hallway, a lighter color above the picture frame moulding, and an ever-so-slightly darker color for the edge of the archway and the alcove wall (with the shelves).