May 6, 2012

Entryway: Move-In to Present

Our previous house did not have much of an entry.  Unless you count a laundry room to the immediate left of the front door as a design feature.  Because of the lack of space and very tight budget, we just plunked a small ladder-style bookshelf down, put some pictures on it, laid the cheapest rug we could find at Wal-Mart down in front of the door, and called it good.

When we moved into this home, we wanted to actually invest some thought and care into what it looked like.  I've never really had an eye for decorating, though.  I worked at a Hallmark for a few years in high school and was put in charge of creating a display with some new products one day.  I took my best shot at it, but it still seemed... off, somehow.  The next day someone else had rearranged the display, and it looked PERFECT.  Obviously, no one ever asked me to design a display again.  ;-)  So imagine my relief when I found Pinterest.  Seriously.  Other people come up with cool ideas, I just copy them.  That is my kind of decorating!!

The entryway kicked off my love affair with Pinterest.  But before I got going with that, there were a couple of fixes that needed to happen.

We immediately swapped out the basic brass door knob and deadbolt on the front door with the one from our previous house.  Not only was it a big style upgrade, but we didn't have to make any new keys.  And it was all for the low, low price of free.

I heart oil-rubbed bronze.

The next fix was to rip out the terrible industrial gray vinyl edging and replace it with the same base trim found in the rest of the house (Steve took a broken piece to Lowes so he could be sure to get trim that matched exactly).  Have you ever tried to remove that junk?  It's nearly impossible.  I started where the vinyl met the carpeting and tried using, in turn, a screwdriver, a putty knife, and a kitchen knife in an attempt to pull it away from the wall without damaging the wall.  It was laborious work.  What's worse, it only worked for about 3 inches before I ended up pulling a chunk of drywall away with it.  So I turned to my friend, the interwebs.  I found a youtube video suggesting that the application of heat would allow the vinyl to be removed from the wall with less damage.  So I grabbed my hair dryer and went to work.  It was amazing!!  I was able to remove the edging at three times the speed I was doing before, and I didn't pull up any more drywall.  The only real casualty was that the glue stripped a couple of layers of paint off the wall, so there was an obvious line where the top of the edging used to be.  I made an attempt to patch and smooth it with spackle after all the glue and edging had been removed (my first time working with spackle!).  When I thought the line was camoflagued enough, Steve put in the matching trim, and then we painted.  Our wall color here is Sherwin Williams' Kilim Beige, and the trim color is off-the-shelf semi-gloss from Lowes.

New trim, new paint.
Let's play a game of fortunately/unfortunately.  Fortunately, I learned how to use spackle.  Unfortunately, I learned that I did not do it well enough the first time because the places where the vinyl glue pulled up the paint are still visible.  Fortunately, our new trim matches the rest of the house and looks bomb when painted white.  Unfortunately, it's two inches lower than the vinyl edging had been, so my spackle un-handiwork is still visible.  Fortunately, you can barely see this when you're not looking for it.  Unfortunately, I know it's there and it still bugs me.

Someday I'll fix it.  Maybe.

Once those two fixes were taken care of, it was time for some privacy.  We love the little octagon window in the entry.  It's very charming.  It's also a pain in the *ahem* to find something that will cover it for privacy reasons.  And it may not have gotten covered at all if we didn't constantly have smokers sit on the stoop across the street and stare directly into it.  But since the smokers were there, and I didn't want them watching me go pull clothes out of the dryer in my underwear, we needed to cover it with something.  I wanted something pretty, that didn't hide the cool octagon shape of the window and still let light in.  Window film was the answer.  But a pretty boring answer.  Then came Pinterest to the rescue.  I found this post, which had a tutorial and template for using patterned window film.  It took me over a week to cut out all the tiles (usually while watching The Voice on Hulu), and putting them on the window itself took about an hour and lots of patience.  So then we had this:

Smell ya later, smokers!
We love it.  It lets the light in, it's fun and compliments the octagon shape, and it makes really cool patterns on the wall when the sun shines through.

Oooh... purty.
Since that foray into Pinterest-land had worked so well, I returned to get more ideas for the space.  I wanted to create some storage for gloves and scarves and have a place for people to sit while taking shoes off and putting them back on.  I also wanted it to look inviting- after all, it's the first thing guests would see in the house.  I pinned pictures like these:


 Notice a theme?  What can I say, I love the bench/cubby combo.  But the little wall I had to work with was verrrrry small.  So I scoured the internets for a bench that was less than 40" wide.  I found one, and my lovely husband and in-laws bought it for me as a birthday gift.  Then I found a shelf with matching proportions on Etsy and bought it for myself as a birthday gift.  I also wanted a large rug in that area that would be heavy-duty enough to withstand years of walking on (I was tired of throwing out the cheap-o ones from Wal-Mart that died after two washes).  I loved the striped rugs from Dash and Albert but they were too darn expensive.  So I found a cute purple, blue, and cream jute indoor/outdoor striped rug on Amazon with perfect dimensions that was under $50. 

Fancy shoe dirt-catcher.

I also wanted some decorative mirrors along the wall that you can see from the hallway, but everything I found would either compete with the window, cost an arm and a leg, or look too creepy (nobody wants to watch themselves every time they walk down the hallway).  So we improvised.  We bought a large black 4-photo frame at Hobby Lobby, and sprayed the glass with "mirror" spray paint.  I love that it's kind of a smoked-mirror effect.  It makes it look a little aged, and although you can tell they're mirrors, you don't see your disembodied parts when you walk down the hall.

Who needs mirrors when you  have spray paint?

When Steve hung the cubbies, he staged them with items we already had.  It's cool because it's very representative of us as a couple, right when you walk in the door.  The photos are from our wedding, and artichokes have a special significance to us (we celebrate our own made up holiday, Artichoke Day, every June).  And I love that he did without me knowing.  What a guy.

We need two small baskets to stick in those cubbies, stat.

A few silk hydrangeas and one embroidered pillow later, our entry actually looks kind of cute.

Welcome to our home.  Take off your shoes.  Do it.

We aren't quite done with this space.  The door to the coat closet is an unusual size, so instead of it being a six-panel door like every other door in our house, it's flat.  And the brass doorknob and hinges don't match anything else in the house.  We're still unsure what to do with it, but Pinterest has been giving me some ideas to ponder.  Then there are the minor things.  The cubbies need a couple of baskets.  I have plans in the works for making a "Please Remove Your Shoes" sign to hang on one of the coat hooks.  I want to add some lanterns near the ball jar that's holding the hydrangeas and our pocket change.  And I'd reeealllllyy like to DIY an oversized metallic letter "W" for  the ledge above the coat closet ala Anthropologie.

But for now, we're good.  And you're up to speed on the entryway!

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