Sprucing up the Entry

So… our entryway / frontdoor has gotten a bit of a facelift.  
Actually, if we want to be more accurate in comparing hallway updates to plastic surgery, it’s more like our entryway got some botox.  Nothing radical.  Nothing over the top.  No nips and tucks… just a bit of an enhancement.  
Wait… would this update be more of a boob job then?  Ugh, whatever.  It’s looking better.  Let’s just say that.  
Here’s how the hallway looks now as you walk through the front door. 

Pretty wreath.  Some nice color in the runner.  My pretty bar cart.

And here is the hallway, staring back at the front door from the other end.  New mirror, new plant, and yes… a freshly painted door.

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I mean LOOK at that thing!  A work of art, pretty much.
I am so thrilled with how it came out – the grey is perfect, and it brings some much needed contrast to the entry.  It’s looking pretty good in here… not that it looked bad before.  It was just sort of blah beforehand… kind of empty and unfinished.  

Now that you’ve seen it’s current (aka gorgeous) state, let’s look at how it started.  Per usual, I took one before picture, and called it a day.  When will I learn?!

Here’s how the hallway / entrance looked beforehand:
It wasn’t BAD… it just was very white, and very empty.  The mirror had actually just been hung – literally MOMENTS before I took this picture.  It actually looked MUCH emptier in there beforehand, so this “before” is actually an improvement on the real “before”.  That wall to the left of the door has been completely empty since we moved in back in January.  
Really, this space started as just a blank slate – white walls, white door.  Plain, and calling out for some color.
Via Pinterest, I’d seen a few interior doors painted dark colors, and so decided to tackle our plain hollow core door.  The hardware on it is pretty ugly, with the exception of the peep hole.  The pretty brass peephole probably cost more than the entire door, knob, hinges, and lock, so I wanted to feature it prominently.  What color looks good with brass?  Grey.  And black… but grey is where it’s at.  I didn’t want to go too dark on the inside of this door, and honestly black looks better with a glossy finish, which on a lumpy, bumpy door equals bad paint job.
I wanted a quick and easy project, and feeling too lazy to head to the hardware store for a fresh can of grey paint, I improvised.  What I really did was mix a bunch of leftover paint together to make a color that suited my needs, but let’s just say I created a “custom paint for the door”.  

**Note: do not try to mix custom colors if you need a lot of paint otherwise you’ll run out, and never be able to match the color you started with**
I keep all the extra paint that is leftover from projects in a cabinet in the kitchen for easy access. I knew I wanted to paint the door a dark color since the rest of the hallway was all white.  I also knew that I didn’t want a glossy paint since it would show every. single. imperfection (which our front door has plenty of).  I also knew I didn’t want it to be completely black.  I was looking for a dark grey with blue undertones, so I brought out the remainders of my can of eggshell finish “Grey Owl” (a very light grey) from our dining room in our last apartment, along with some satin finish black paint that I used on our dresser and nightstands, and a can of blue outdoor paint I’d used on the deck chairs.  
Yes, all the paints had different finishes, and all of them are meant for different kinds of projects, but I knew that mixed together they’d be ok.  The outdoor paint is very matte and kind of rough, so the texture this added to the mixture meant no priming needed!  Score for me!  
It’s possible that the door would end up being hideous… streaky… peeling… or just a wierd splotchy color, but IT’S JUST PAINT.  This is the mantra I repeat to Kris whenever he think’s I’m having a bad idea… and it’s true!  It really is just paint.  If you mess up, you can re-do it. It’s not a huge commitment (coming from the girl who had to paint the living room twice), so when you want to tackle a project but feel like it’s a big change, or you’re worried you might mess it up… trust me when I say, paint is so easy to change, so don’t over-analyze it.  It works out 99% of the time.
Anyway, back to my “custom paint mixture”… I didn’t have a fancy bucket for mixing, but I did have an empty jar of tomato sauce from dinner the night before.  I cleaned it out REALLY well and made sure it was thoroughly dried before pouring paint in.
It turned out to be the perfect vessel for mixing paints, because you could screw the lid on and just shake it up.  Could not have been easier.  I mixed, and tested a few swatches on the door until I found a color I liked, and then I got to work.  I used a short handle brush for cutting in around the door knob, deadbolt, and peephole, and I rolled the rest with a flat foam roller.

 It took about 3 coats to really get an even color on the door, and while you can see the brush strokes of previous paint jobs, it doesn’t bother me.  This is the exact reason I wanted a more matte paint… glossy paint magnifies every single imperfection x1000, so can you imagine how prominent the imperfections would look with a glossy paint?

Isn’t that peephole just amazing?  I love it! It was hard to cut in on those little details, but what paint got on the brass, I just wiped off with a wet paper towel immediately and all was good.

See those little holes below the peep hole??  What ARE those?

The paint was still wet when I snapped these close-up pictures, so you can really see the brushstrokes of paint-jobs past.  Also… notice the hinges?  They now match the peephole thanks to a quick once over with my gold leaf pen.

Another really minor change that I appreciate every day when I head out the door??

The speaker.

See how old, and gross the old speaker was?  This is for the intercom system so that we don’t accidentally buzz and ax-murderer into the building, and it’s “harvest gold” as my mom calls it.  A super popular household appliance color of the 70’s and 80’s.  Why?????

 
I’m not sure this is harvest gold as much as it is “faded baby poop” – either way, it was ugly.
But not anymore!!  It got a coat of white paint to match the walls, and all is right with the world again…

Look how it blends in and just dissapears!  Such a small change, but I swear it makes a WORLD of difference.

This wreath on the door came from Smith and Hawkins for Target, and is made of live moss.  I’m not entirely sure how to care for it, but I’ve spritzed it a few times with water, and it seems happy so far.  I realize now that I need to fix the hanging mechanism, since you can see the hook very clearly in these pictures, but that’s an easy change.

Our bar cart got a few additions to glam it up… striped straws, a new, BEAUTIFUL live orchid with the largest, thickest petals you’ve ever seen, and a new (to me) ice bucket.

The ice bucket is actually of the Mad Men era, and belonged to Kris’ grandmother who passed away earlier this year.  She made it to 100 years old my friends!

I never did get to meet her, but love that we have something that was hers.  There are little nicks and scratches here and there, but when we use it, and see those imperfections, I’ll think of all the parties (and cocktails) they probably had over the years.

Come to think of it, with all the nicks, it seems they used it a lot… I think her and I would have had quite a bit in common 🙂

On the wall opposite the bar cart hangs one of my FAVORITE flea market finds from a few weeks back.  I am SO in love with this mirror.  Last week I posted about the mirror at the flea market that got away… it just seemed silly to get both this one and the octagonal mirror in the same day, but I am so glad that I came away with at least one of them. It’s one of my favorite things that I own.
There was no hesitation in purchasing this one, and thank god, because it is PERFECT for this space.  It’s the perfect size for this wall (narrow, but not too narrow), and it’s just so nice to have a spot to check your hair before running out the door.

The mirror is nice and light – physically, and visually… it doesn’t weigh that much, and the light wood is so pretty!  I just LOVE the carved details, and the little feet on the bottom kill me!  Mini pineapples!!

The final addition to this space was some fresh greenery – my newest fiddle leaf fig that I haven’t killed (yet).  It doesn’t stick out or block traffic flow between rooms (which I was worried about when I first moved it here), and it is just so fresh and lovely.

The rug was the first thing that went down in this hallway, and about 5 months later, we’re still in love (me and the rug).  The blue packs a punch… it’s navy, but still very vibrant, and it’s holding up SO WELL.  Very little shedding, which I’ve been happy about, although it is a magnet for lint like you wouldn’t believe.

So that’s it – a little paint, and some well placed accessories and we’re in business!  Very very happy that the hallway isn’t all bare, and empty and sad anymore.  One more side by side before and after??
Oh okkkkkk, since you asked!

Don’t you just love quick and easy fixes?  I think a coat of paint, and some well placed accessories really brought this space from plain, to pretty.

Happy Monday!!

I’m Back… Oh, and we Moved!

Thank you for all the sweet comments and emails over the past few weeks!  So touching, and it really means so much!  So much has been going on (and so much is STILL going on), but I’ve really missed my little blog and wanted to check in with you all!

In the last month since I checked in, the big update from my world is that we’ve moved!  It was a very tiring Saturday for me last weekend – especially after getting back from NY in the wee hours of the morning – but we survived! Even in the rain!

This is what the dining room in our new apartment looked like on Saturday morning before the movers started unloading…

And…. here’s what it looks like now…

This is my life.

Not to scare you, but this room is looking 100% better in the above picture than it did at the end of moving day!  We’ve probably unpacked half of the boxes that were in there before, so this is a HUGE improvement! Just use your imagination to picture what this looked like Saturday night.  You literally could not walk through it… this is progress my friends!

More exciting news… I finally unearthed the box where I packed my underwear… so that’s a plus.  I’ve been living out of the suitcase I’d packed for NY and was at the end of clean clothes, so it was vital that I found that box last night.  Mission accomplished.

I’ll post more “before” pictures of the apartment for you all before we do anything in regards to updates, but I wanted to talk about the entryway for a few minutes.

This apartment, unlike our last apartment, actually has a little entryway.

This is the view walking in the front door.

Immediately after walking in there are two archways leading to the formal dining room (on the left) and living room (on the right), so this little entryway is the bridge between these two very open spaces.

This picture (above) is taken standing in the middle of the living room, looking back through the hall to the dining room.

And this picture (above) is taken standing in the middle of the dining room facing back through the hall to the living room.

Bright, light, and airy – which we love – but because all the rooms are connected, this means that as we decorate, all the colors and patterns in each space need to speak to one another since you’ll easily be able to see them all.

The hardwood floor is also great, but there is a lot of it in a very open space which means that its EXTREMELY echo-y right now. The answer to this problem is rugs. The entry space is not necessarily wide enough for a 4×6 rug, and I’m not the hugest fan of the circular rug, so I think a runner in the entry is our best bet.

Right now, the walls are a creamy yellow color, and it’s not bad at all, but I really want to accentuate how bright and pretty this space is.  There are holes to be patched, and the place hasn’t been painted in at least 4 years, so it’s the perfect opportunity to freshen things up.

I’m thinking a fresh white paint in the entry will bounce around as much light as possible from the bay windows flanking each of the surrounding rooms, and it will serve as a neutral background between the living and dining rooms (for which I’m thinking a pale grey).

So now that I’ve got the color palette of the walls somewhat settled, I set out looking for a runner, and ended up finding one really quickly that I like.  Oh and did I mention that it’s extremely discounted?? It’s ~$50… With free shipping.

Does it get better??

Isn’t she pretty?

Navy in my mind is the softer, more preppy version of black.  I love it.

If you remember, we also had a somewhat similar grey trellis rug in our living room and in the last two years, it has served us well.  Not only has it held up, but we haven’t tired of it one bit.  In the new apartment it has moved from the living room to our bedroom.  There’s a new natural fiber rug in the living room which totally changes the look and feel of everything.

While the navy runner has a similar feel to the grey area rug we already own, it’s different enough (in both the pattern and colorway) to be distinct.  I’d originally been thinking of a rug with a more linear pattern… maybe black and white… but I think that the majority of this being navy, and that the accent color is creme (not white) will really help mask dirt from heavy foot traffic.

I unfortunately wasn’t able to sell Kris on the look of a worn rug… can’t win ’em all folks… and since he really likes the grey trellis we have, I think this is something we’ll both be really happy with in the end.

Now that I’ve picked out what runner I want… it’s time to think about coordinating rugs for the dining room (that will most likely end up as an office).

I found a few that I like, and threw together a quick inspiration board just to see how they’d mesh next to each other…

Option I: Creme Colored with Abstract Ikat

Pros:
I love that this feels a little masculine, and I love that the pattern is really distinctly different from that of the runner.  I also like that the colors are pretty much identical so in terms of coordinating, they match, and while the colors are identical, each rug has the inverse color-weight of the other (one has more cream, one has more navy)

Cons:
Is it too matchy matchy in terms of colors?  I don’t know.  I also just sold the off white rug that had been in our bedroom because I was never fond of how “off white” it was.  I always wished the colors had been inverse, with the cream color in the trellis print, and the background the richer taup-y color… will I feel the same about this?

Option II: Ikat Damask in muted blues 

Pros:
I love that this looks sort of aztec while also feeling somewhat traditional at the same time.  I love the tassles on the end, and the variation in the blues.  It’s just really pretty to me… and I also like that it’s not only VERY different from the runner which is really geographic, but that it’s different from any other rug we have in our house right now.
Cons:
It looks really flat.. which I like (visually) but I worry that it will move around too much on the hardwood floor because it’s lighter and has less structure.
Decisions, decisions…
Honestly I see the pros and cons to each, and I think I’d be happy with either, but I need input. I know which one I’m leaning towards more, but what do you think??
While I’m not 100% certain about which rug it will be, but I do know one thing for sure…  It feels good to be back!  I’ve missed you guys!
xo

DIY Embellished Picture Frames

I got my inspiration for this easy DIY from Courtney over at A Thoughtful Place, but she got her inspiration for this project from House Beautiful… it all trickles down folks!
I have jumped wholeheartedly on the “gold” bandwagon, but realize that it’s best used in moderation… it takes serious self restraint from taking a can of gold spray paint, gold leaf, and gold leaf pen (yes, they make a pen my friends) to everything in sight.  I’m in the process of revamping our currently gold framed gallery wall to something a bit more simple (I think)… but I digress…
Back to my little gold edged frames…

Our entryway has had an empty wall ever since I moved out the ornate Ikea mirror into our hallway… I’d been looking for a larger federal mirror, but having put myself back on a budget after a few shopping sprees, and a splurge on new bedding and the dresser DIY for our bedroom, I’ve decided to hold off on a pretty federal mirror for now.

The question of what to hang in this spot plagued me for a while, and then I spotted these frames in Courtney’s living room, and decided to give it a go…

Super cute right??

Courtney ended up spraying tape, cutting it down to size, and then CAREFULLY wrapping it around the corners of each frame.

I took the lazy approach and taped off the corners of the frame, eyeballing about an inch and a half on each side (nope, didn’t even measure), and then with a craft brush and a small pot of Martha Stewart’s gold leaf paint, just dabbed each corner until it was completely covered with gorgeous texture.

Voila!!

I took the tape off the frame after the second coat went on, and the paint was still wet – it just helped get clean lines on the frame.

So… this DIY is actually just a glorified painted frame!  It was so easy – I literally finished both of these in about 10 minutes, and the paint dries fast – maybe 5 minutes until it’s fully dry?

There are a few small mistakes where the paint bled under the tape, but it’s fine – really from a distance, you don’t notice it at all.

The entryway is really simple, but in such a small space, we figure simple is better than overdone.

Look at that crisp edge… I absolutely LOVE them!

The pretty photographs were from one of my all time favorite Etsy shops, Eye Poetry Photography.  The photographs are really dreamy and pretty, and they have a San Francisco series that I absolutely adore!

I’m not normally a HUGE fan of photographs of city landmarks (the Golden Gate Bridge or Eiffel Tower is SO overdone) but the Ferry Building is so classic, and less photographed, and I just loved the photo of the bridge at dusk – it’s not the in-your-face red towers we’re so used to seeing…

So that’s it – the entry way got a small face-lift this week, these old frames got re-purposed, and everyone wins!
Happy Thursday!!

My Peackock got Framed!

Yep – Mr. Peacock got matted and framed over the weekend, and he’s now hanging proudly in our entry way.  This frame started out with a cream colored crackle finish – it was all very shabby chic, and it did absolutely NOTHING for my pretty peacock.
Rustoleum spray paint to the rescue!  I picked up a can of Rustoleum in deep navy gloss, and it looks absolutely LUSCIOUS in person.  The frame now picks up the colors in the print, and brings some much needed color to this space.

As a side note, has anyone else tried to take a picture of something that is navy???

It is IMPOSSIBLE!

I tried it pretty much every which way possible – with all the shades open, all the lights on, lights off, flash on, flash off… it pretty much doesn’t matter – it will not photograph.  So sad, because our little hallway now has a little flair with my new peacock print!

You can KIND OF see the navy here… trust me – in person it’s awesome!
I’m also loving the linen inner frame with the touch of gold… a little rustic with the glam.
You’ll also notice that the doors and trim are now bright white – they are no longer the same color as the walls!  Holla!
I spent a few evenings over the last several weeks painting out the trim and doors.  Remember our entryway back in November?  Stripes galore??  Well, as you can see, the stripes are gone now, since it was all way too much, but one day I will have my striped hallway!

The peacock has some other complimentary prints being framed right now – we are going for a variation of blues that will coordinate with the living room… stay tuned for updates!

Stripes on Stripes on Stripes

So I started a project last night…

Stripes.

Lots of them.  In our entryway… what do you think?

To be honest, I’m not 100% sure about them.  I did about 75% of the walls before deciding to think about it some more.  Imagine Kris’ surprise when he came home to lots and LOTS of stripes.

He said he felt like he was in jail.

HA!  Little does he know…

Can you guess how I got these stripes up??  Tape!!  I used 3″ black painters tape (easily ordered from Amazon), and it took me only an hour or so to get all of these stripes up.  Measure… tape… measure… tape.  Tedious, but simple, and best of all, very temporary, so if I change my mind, it won’t be a huge task.  I’m going to live with it for a few days before making up my mind.

The pros:
  – These stripes make the space feel larger
  – The visual impact is really stunning, and the lines are perfectly crisp
  – It doesn’t look like tape in person… it actually looks like paint or wallpaper

The cons:
  – The HUGE contrast between the entry and the living room feels disjointed
  – The narrow stripes make it a very busy pattern… too busy perhaps?

Here the view from the living room… even with the unfinished wall, you still get an idea of how it will look. Sorry for the low light, and crappy iPhone pic.  It was late, and I was very into Real Housewives…

So… what do I do??
The entry is connected to our kitchen, and living room, and without any windows it’s dark, and without the stripes, it is VERY blah.
See this before:
Blah.  So… what to do?  Keep the stripes or ditch them for something else??