Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tour of My Front Entry Hall

I have had great fun this morning writing a REALLY LONG blog about my front hall. Consider yourself warned!

Alas, I didn't take before pictures again.  I didn't really plan on making such a big difference when I started cleaning up the front hall the other day.  I love it when a little tidying snowballs into a big overhaul -- or at least something big enough in the change department that I want to get out of bed to go gaze at it periodically!

Picture a black highboy dresser that's missing the top two drawers, a little white 1940's dressing table, the foot board from a queen size sleigh bed, four red legs off a kitchen table, and a box of Christmas decorations.  Then sprinkle in some more miscellaneous junk, some muddy footprints, a pile of school supplies, a few stray shoes, and a rambunctious kitten batting a pen cap around the floor.  There!  Now you have a semi-complete "before" shot!  Then add some more junk to your image.  Ok, now you've got it.

All of the above is what happens when it starts to rain on my projects and I have to stash them someplace safe.  Safe = the front hall.  Then things tend to stagnate there.  Then we end up having to climb over them to get into the house.  I know.  I hope a bit of a problem.  But not anymore!

Here are a few "after" shots and WAY too much commentary!

View from the front door into the kitchen.
This is the view from the front door into the kitchen.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my blue toile curtain  that hides the hall closet and replaced those infernal hollow-core, bi-fold closet doors.  I just adore this luscious fabric! 

Here's a kinda blurry shot of my little blue ceiling.  One morning about 12 years ago, I looked up at this little ceiling section and got a brainstorm.  I pulled up a stepladder and painted it with paint I had on hand while still in my nightgown!  Then I put gold cardboard stars and brass tacks on it to represent the stars around the "sun" of the light.  It still makes me happy!

In another little example of my instantaneous brainstorms, I noticed one day that three door headers converged in this space and realized that, if I had a board the right length, I could use the door headers as shelf supports.  I wandered into the garage, found an old chippy gray shutter, cut a couple of inches off of it so it would fit, and made a shelf in about three minutes.  Look around your house for these fortuitous convergences and made a quick display shelf!  In a bathroom, this would be a great place to stash a stack of crisp white towels to have handy (but safe from everyday use) for guests!

From this vantage point, you can see four of the five collections I have stashed in this space (I am only mildly ashamed to admit that I have 125+ collections):  the stars above the closet, the white matte vases above the doorway, a few of my crosses to the right of the doorway, and a collection of framed kids' art depictions of the world to the left of the stairs. 

Earth as depicted by my daughters.

There are a couple of other collections around the space as well.  Some of my blue plate collection:

French doors to the TV room on the left.  Plate collection in the middle.  Curtained coat closet on the right.
Here's a more concentrated shot of the blue plates -- plus a couple of iron stone platters in a hymnal rack.  What I'd really love is to put a couple more hymnal racks on this wall but I'm going to have to find them first.  That should be fun!

Blue Plate Collection

Also present:  a gathering of my ancestors.  On the wall going up the stairs (see below) are antique photos of my maternal grandparents and their parents and grandparents.   I can't tell you how many times one of these frames has been knocked off the wall and gone rolling down the stairs!  This is how I've learned to cut and replace glass in frames!  Luckily, none of the ancestors are any worse for wear from their wild rides!  And I don't panic when it happens anymore but it sure freaks out guests who have wayward elbows.  

The view of the stairs.  

Below the ancestors is an old church pew that I still love after many years of having it around the house.  I whipped up a blue and white striped ticking seat cushion for it and a blue toile pillow so it would match the curtain on the closet.  Under the bench is an old yellow drawer and three baskets that hold shoes.  

Above the bench on the wall is a bird-themed set of hooks for keys.  It is a high offense to NOT put the keys on the hooks (right, Mark?)! 

 If you're wondering about the baby gate to the right, that's how we keep our vicious dogs from eating visitors -- we pen them on the stairs.  It was originally installed to keep little Tessa and the little Sara-Grace from climbing upstairs and plunging to their deaths but now we just use it to protect visitors from the dogs.  I must admit I kinda like having an excuse to keep the gate up -- it's kinda nostalgic for this mom of teens to live in the past a little now and then!

Sometimes I look at the view of the stairs while I'm sitting on the sofa in the TV room and I think to myself "That almost looks good enough to be in a magazine!" -- the "magazine-worthy" thing always being my goal.  Then I remember that I am blind to the missing spindles in the stair rail.  There's a story about that:  more years ago than I care to admit, my ex-husband was moving a heavy item of furniture (I no longer remember what) down the stairs.  It got away from him and took out the spindles.  Well, it turns out that they no longer make that style of spindle so they have to be custom-turned on a lathe by a furniture-grade carpenter.  $25-$30 each.  Times FIVE!  $150 for stair rails is a lot on my budget.  It just hasn't made it to the top of the list yet.  That and I completely forget about it because I am basically blind to their absence.  At least it makes room for the "stair basket"!

I am so blessed that I am also frequently blind to my 90's white tile floor which I HATE!  Just picture slate tiles instead.  Please.

Halfway up the stair is Juliet's lair.  She frequently sleeps on the stairs and jumps up anytime someone goes up or down the stairs (which is a LOT in our house) so we put her bed in the corner where she can safely snooze no matter how busy the stairs are!

Juliet on her pink puff.

Above Juliet on the wall is an old hymnal rack that I fill with book suggestions for my girls who are voracious readers.  This works better than leaving books on the kitchen counter and forgetting to mention them to the girls.

I never realized what a church my front hall is with all the crosses and hymnal racks and the church pew!  Perhaps we should start holding services!

Juliet's Lair.

Above the front door is more of my cross collection.  I love having them en masse!  To the right is a vintage jelly cabinet that holds things like sunscreen and sunglasses and jump ropes, the "lost and found' box, and anything else I want to stash out of sight.  On the floor is a very old wire wastebasket that I just adore.  It just feels like it once lived in an old newspaper office and was "the round file" for early drafts of the next day's hot news!

The front door.

You might have noticed (but I hope you didn't!) that he front door is only partially painted with black chalkboard paint.  I started out planning to just paint the inset panels in the door and then, when that looked stupid, I decided to paint the whole door.  Then I ran out of paint.  This will be remedied soon, I hope!  It's been interesting to have the door go from white to black.  At first, we would all glance at the door and panic thinking the door was standing open.  It even faked out the dogs a couple of times!  They really thought they were free to go explore the neighborhood!  Everyone wants me to paint the door back to white but I'm determined to see the project through because I think they'll like it in the end.  If not, I'll paint it back to white -- or some other color if I get a better idea!  Any suggestions?

And, one last unfinished corner:

I love drawers!

I spotted this little set of "closet drawers" while driving 50 mph past a yard sale on a rural highway.  I knew they were mine before I even got out of the car!  Good thing the price tag complied with my budget -- $11.
They hold scarves and mittens and hats and umbrellas and socks and stuff like that.  Apparently, we have way too much "stuff like that"!  They are about to be painted with black chalkboard paint like the door.  I think they will be fun like that and that the silver knobs (that I added) will look good against the black!

Here's one last hall photo that I just had to add because the kitten wandered in and wanted to be in the photo (and on the blog)!  This is Topaz.  She is a wild thing.  She is wondering where that really fun pen cap went!

Find the kitty!

Now that the hall is clean, I can let people in the house!  Come on over!

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