entry progress

Hello and happy Thursday to you! Our girls finished up with their school year before the long weekend, so we decided to take the opportunity to get away. Last night we returned from a 6-day, 2000-mile road trip to the west coast! I would love to have all my photos downloaded to share, but before I spend the time to do that I need to get caught up on the unpacking and piles of laundry that await. I prepared this post before we left, so I will leave you with this for now and will be back next week with more. 

Remember what our entry way used to look like? It featured this slate planter. The dirt didn't exactly smell fresh and I was always afraid the cat would use it as a catbox. We were glad to get it out of there as there were a couple of rotten floor boards underneath. (We saved the rocks to use for a future outdoor project). 

The hallway looked like this:

And now it looks like this:

I've have been spending some time painting doors and trim recently, so it is nice to finally be able to show you the changes in this area! The biggest thing we did in the entry hall (besides replacing all the doors and windows) was to remove the closets and cupboards that were there before. Now we have a "landing strip" for our gear as we go in and out. Admittedly having this all out in the open isn't always fantastic. It does get stacked pretty deep with coats, backpacks, and shoes, but it sure beats the piles of stuff on the floor. Kids just won't take the time to put everything away in closets.

This is where I did the rest of the stenciling that I mentioned in my previous post. For shelving we actually purchased an IKEA Expedit unit. Everyone in the family has a basket to hold their sunglasses, gloves, etc. My dad built a shelf to go across the top. Then we simply added a strip of baseboard molding to attach the hooks to. We have purchased oak boards to build a bench, which I will stain to match our kitchen cabinets and shelves. The bench here isn't quite tall enough or wide enough, but it works as a place holder until we can build one. 

It is so nice to have freshly painted trim and doors and new windows. The fridge is a bit of an eye sore, but we love having an extra fridge and this is a pretty convenient place to have it. 

We replaced the front door quite awhile ago. This is what it looked like before, after we had started demo.

The old door wasn't in very good shape and didn't seal well. The side windows were even worse- they weren't even double-pane insulated glass. They were basically very scratched-up plexi glass held in place with wood stops, and had lots of dirt and condensation between the panes. We couldn't find a stock door/window unit to fit the space, so we ended up buying the door and glass separately. It meant we had to do quite a bit of trimming around them to make them look nice, but it is finally done. And painted!

I wanted the front door to have weight and presence, even though it is mostly glass, so I painted it Behr Black Bean. It is an off-black with green undertone. A glass door like this certainly isn't for everyone, and it wouldn't be for me either if we lived in town, but out here we don't have to be too concerned about privacy. I like to have the light stream in and it is great to have the view out to where the guys are working. If I ever feel like I need more privacy I might explore the options of frosted window film.

While the inside looks finished, the outside—not so much. I have a lots of scraping and sanding to do before I paint it (and ALL the exterior trim) dark brown. 

Now if I can just keep this little guy from jumping up and smearing all my glass.... :)

I have lived with my new entry rugs for awhile now, and I must say that I love them.

They are indoor/outdoor rugs from Dash & Albert (purchased from Wayfair, but they don't seem to have this pattern right now). They have a huge selection of patterns to choose from, and they are fantastic for an entry because they clean so easily. I usually just vacuum over them, but when I'm mopping I often run my mop over them as well. You can even take them outside and hose them off. 

Little by little... progress is made! It is so gratifying to look at before/after pictures like this and see how many things we have transformed! It's like playing the game "How many differences can you count?"


measuring up

I've seen various versions of Growth Chart rulers floating around Pinterest, including this cute one in the photo above from here. Most of them are done on a piece of wood that can be taken down and moved with you. Smart. 

But I had a built-in piece of wood that seemed perfect for the job, and after all, we don't plan to move. It needed a make-over anyway. The wood end cap on our fireplace was stained a lighter color and didn't match our new cabinet color.

A perfect spot for a growth chart!

I didn't take any in-process photos because I wasn't completely sure it would work out. And it certainly isn't perfect. I decided to do a reverse effect and let the wood show through where the numbers are. To do this I printed the numbers out on a full sheet of label stock and cut them out with an X-acto knife. I cut strips out of the same label sheet with a paper cutter, and then cut them to length. First I sanded the board really well, then I then carefully measured and stuck the labels to the board.

In case you are wondering, yes, it is accurate—at least to about 1/8", which is close enough for measuring height. I measured very carefully! :)

After my labels were in place, I painted 3 or 4 coats of chalkboard paint. This is where I erred. I should have primed in addition to the sanding. I had bubbles in my paint. This may or may not have happened anyway, I'm not sure, but it was very apparent afterwards when I rubbed chalk over it to season it. By then it was too late to sand and recoat because I had removed all of the stickers.

The other problem is that the stickers didn't come off very easily and paint bled under them in places. If you look closely my lines aren't perfect. But life is too short to worry about perfection. Good enough. 

After taking these photos I decided to clean all the chalk off, which makes the bubbles much less apparent. I still like the matte black finish, even if it doesn't function as a chalkboard. I mark the heights in pencil anyway because I don't want them to rub off. The pencil marks are a little hard to see on the dark color, but that's okay with me too because it stays looking clean.

I only wish I'd done this sooner! Abby is already 5'2" at 10 years old. Crazy. It will be interesting to see if the other two are even close. So far the tallest mark is at 6'3" (my brother). Any taller and my little dinner bell interferes with the measuring... but oh well, the dinner bell has been here forever and it will stay for nostalgia sake!

Beyond the growth chart is a little niche leading into the living room. It used to look like this:

Crazy, huh? We still plan to put a desk/command center here for me to use for cookbooks, my laptop, and school paraphernalia. I'd like to have my dad help custom build it to look something like this with little niches and closed storage, but he is a busy man and I might get impatient and find a solution I can piece together with stuff I can buy. Depends on which comes first—time or money. 

In the meantime, the wall was in rough shape from removing the mirror that was glued to the sheetrock, so I decided to stencil it using this stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils. The process was quite easy and it was less expensive than the Woods wallpaper I love. The main reason I bought the stencil was for an area in my entry that I will show you in an upcoming post. That area I painted with dark over light, but since I already had this spot painted dark gray, I stenciled light over dark and it turned out just fine. I used regular latex wall paint and a foam roller. I would definitely try this technique again—much easier than hanging wallpaper!