October 16, 2011

Tackling the Entryway

Now that the front door is looking better, I thought it was about time to tackle the front entryway. I started working on it last year, but the bedroom and bathroom projects took over my life. I had gotten as far as stripping the wallpaper, but that just revealed big cracks and lumpy half-plastered holes in the walls that have been welcoming our guests ever since! The trim was (once again) painted brown. Yuck. Sadly, I don't have a great photo of the space from before, but you can get an idea from this.

Notice the blue and maroon striped wallpaper above the closet doors? That's what I was dealing with. Perhaps this photo of the hallway with the same wallpaper/color scheme does it better justice?

*Shudder* (For anyone who's concerned, this is what the hallway looks like now.)

Anyway, back to the front entryway. Here's where I was on Saturday morning.

I started on the trim with a coat of primer, followed by caulking gaps and puttying nail holes - I work in that order because the primer makes it a lot easier to see where the problem spots are. It took three coats of paint on the trim and two coats on the textured wallpaper, but here's where I am as of Sunday night.

Ahh! So much brighter, and becoming much more welcoming. Next weekend, on to the inner front door, the coat closet, and patching wall cracks!

October 10, 2011

Creepy Front Steps

Yes, Halloween is right around the corner, but our front steps were starting to look actually creepy, not fun/holiday creepy. From the peeling paint around the door, to the massive cobwebs, to the dead plant detritus accumulating in the corners, it was well past time for action. So, over this long weekend, I gathered our painting accoutrements and a broom (the sweeping kind, not the flying kind) and got to righting things.

Our front door posed the biggest problem. Large areas of paint around the door trim were flaking off - it needed to be repainted. But what color? I wasn't willing to re-faux finish the trim to look like wood, so that pretty much left the option of matching it to the rest of the house trim, which is dark green. Here are the scary before photos.

I scraped off all of the flaking paint with a putty knife, and then I smoothed the surface down with sandpaper. A few spots were scraped down to bare wood, so I touched them up with primer. After filling in old nail holes with wood putty, I was ready to paint. We already had the paint color on hand since we'd used it for another touch-up project. Here's a sneak peak of the progress.

Once the front door area was painted, I started to wonder about our inner front door, which is also visible from the outside. I'd always planned on painting it white (Benjamin Moore Mayonnaise) to match the rest of the inside trim... but would that look weird from the outside? That question opened up a whole other train of thought - privacy. Because the outside door is mostly glass, and half of the inner door is glass, anyone on the street can see clear through our entryway, past the stairs, into the kitchen, and out to the back yard. That's a little too much sharing for us - no one wandering by our house should have to witness Ryan and me dancing while we cook!

We pondered our options. Frosting the glass seemed like a good way to go, but we weren't sure those spray on formulas were going to give us a nice even finish over the whole length of the door, and we worried that the stick-on film wouldn't hold up in direct sunlight. We definitely weren't committed enough to have real frosted glass installed. The previous owners had lace over the inside door, but that was a no go for us. Likewise, gathered sheer curtains seemed a bit too formal.

Then came my stroke of brilliance. Ikea sheer panels! We took a look at their website and came up with these contenders.
Ryan preferred the Anno Inez (the one on the left), so I made a quick drive to our Ikea and picked up a panel for $9.99. I also bought two curtain rods ($7) at the fabulous Frager's hardware store just down the street. We love a thrifty solution! The rods will be mounted in place - we want the panel to be fixed, not swinging about every time we open the door. The width of the panel is the same as the door's glass, so I didn't have to make any adjustments there. I did have to hem the length and add a loop at either end for the curtain rod. Et voila!

I'm quite pleased to have come up with a solution that lets in light, gives a bit of privacy, and still allows us (and the cats) to see who/what is on our doorstep.

The last part of my de-creepify was to sweep away all of the cobwebs and dead leaves. I finished up by wiping down the door and window bars. Easy peasy.

And the final before/after reveal!

Door painted, privacy instituted, steps cleaned. As soon as we get pumpkins, our stoop will be Halloween ready!