This is Oliver's gate from the kitchen to his room. The door right behind him leads to the back yard (after you go down some scary concrete stairs).
Oli can look out over his back yard from this vantage point...
This area used to be the back hall, but we took out the wall dividing it from the back porch room. It was not a load-bearing wall, and it opened up the space. Now you can do figure 8s around the downstairs. Which does happen sometimes, if I am chasing Oli when he has stolen something. He thinks it is great fun, I think it makes it hard to corner him.
We had to replace about four feet of floor boards in the back hall. They are not a perfect color match to the rest of the back porch room, but they are mellowing with age, and after only two years it isn't nearly as obvious as it was when the floors were first refinished.
We removed all the paneling: 1950s and 1970s. We took out the drop ceilings and gained 18-24" of height. And we added three spots of recessed lighting to this room. Mom had Jeff, our fabulous electrician, put nearly every light in the house on dimmer switches. A bit overboard, but often appreciated. ... or get a better view by perching himself a little higher while sitting on his chair.