Our living room is slowly chugging along, and with every new addition, we find ourselves saying, now this makes a big difference! The blue sofa and rug were game changers, and hanging our over-sized art helped to keep the room from feeling too bottom heavy. And most recently (and better yet!) – curtains!
A few months ago, we began the process of installing all new solid interior doors, and at the same time, we dove into the living room baseboards. We ripped out the teeny, tiny existing boards and continued with our taller choice, and while we were at it, we gave the first floor picture window substantial trim and an 8″ sill, too:
To be honest, it took us a while to really knock it all out, as we were also shuffling around outdoor projects. Rather than try to push all the trim at once, we’d cut and install on a work night, spackle the next day, caulk the night after that, and paint another. It felt as though we were moving at a snail’s pace, but it made the task much less monstrous and got us where we wanted to be eventually. Slow and steady, slow and steady. (We’ve already discussed doing the studio baseboards the same way; we just have to start!)
Before starting on the sill for the living room, we knew we’d eventually be adding curtains, and we wanted to emphasize the height of our tall ceilings (they come in around 10′) by hanging them as close to the ceiling as the panel lengths would allow. With that in mind, we added the same chunky header to the window that we’d been doing for our doors, simply so the gap between the top of the trim and the rod wasn’t too large.
But! As for the curtains themselves, we teamed up with the super awesome, super friendly crew at West Elm (hang tight, they love you, too!). We initially thought we’d want curtains that brought in a small touch of pattern, and we were leaning towards these panels, but after seeing them in person, we realized that the undertones were too warm for our tastes. After discussing everything from pattern to blue to gray, we landed on tried and true clean, white panels. White panels never disappoint! They play so nicely with that trim we worked on (and worked on – we will never undermine the effort that goes into an entire room of trim ever again!), and to keep things interesting, we paired them with this over-sized rod in brass. We had hoped for brass clips as well but took a chance on glossy black, and we are loving it!
After washing and drying the curtains, we hung the rod as high as it would go while allowing the curtains to almost touch the floor. And rather than clip the rings to the top of the panels, we stuck with this old trick of faking a pinch pleat by attaching them behind the panel. We also chose to hang two panels per side (so we actually have four curtains up there!) to keep things looking extra full.
Scott has been on the brass train with me for a while now (love that guy), but at first he was worried it might be too shiny/not shiny enough and actually – could it? – clash with our entryway light. Luckily, the rod is a perfect match (hooray!), and as we’ve begun pulling colors and elements from other connecting rooms the flow in our house is feeling right. (Now to get those chairs upholstered in non-scratchy fabric!)
The best part? Not only did West Elm team up with us, but they said, let’s team up with a reader, too! And so together with West Elm, we’ll be giving away a $300 store gift card! Using the Rafflecopter widget below, enter as many ways as you’d like. The giveaway is eligible for residents of the US and Canada and runs through Monday, August 11th until 5pm CST, and the winner will be announced within this post. Good luck and happy entering!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
This post is in partnership with West Elm. We were gifted the cotton canvas panels, oversized rod in antique brass and metal curtain rings. Thank you for supporting those that support us! xx.
This is the story of a painted front door, yes, but it’s so much more than that!
It’s sort of silly to keep reminiscing on how far certain areas of our house have come in the last year (while others have remained completely stagnant), but as we check off another to-do on the list, we can’t help but stand back and say, remember when?
Remember when our front door (and patio, for that matter!) looked like this? And remember when we had our contractors install the new door and transom window, only to find rotted wood, asphalt siding and long forgotten side lights? All of that was almost a year ago, and it’s so easy (and better, probably) to forget that sloppy curb appeal we once had. But the biggest perk of documenting this home’s journey is digging up those old photos, looking up past posts and seeing those long forgotten befores. When it’s easier to see piles of mess around the house, it’s so nice to be reminded of how far you’ve come!
Cheers to that, right?
All that to say, let’s skip the deep archives of the front door’s past and fast forward to where we were at the start of the summer. Raw wood! Broken lights! And now? Blue! A stained patio, working lights, a clean door mat and color!
What you can’t see above is that our transom window does display our address, but I smudged that out because, you know, internet. However, for those wondering, we did move forward with House Number Lab and chose the Americana in matte gold. The numbers are stunning – worth every penny! Many of you suggested we do it this way (thank you!), and since so many old Chicago homes display their address this way, we were sold! Our results didn’t disappoint.
As for the door color, we’ve mentioned a few times that we were leaning towards Farrow & Ball’s Hague Blue, which is the same color we used on our interior closet door. We got it color matched to Sherwin William’s paint, and although we think it reads a bit more blue than the Farrow & Ball swatch, it’s no matter! It’s a navy that we’re loving.
Last fall, we actually painted our garden unit’s door this same color, so now we finally have a matching pair of doors! This was before the worst winter ever, and we used PrimeRx Peel Bonding Primer tinted to a medium gray (an adhesion promoter) and DTM Acrylic for the color. The primer is extremely thick, which was unexpected the first time I used it, but it really does the job! Since this combination lasted through the never ending cold without any flaking or peeling (there were several days in a row of double digits below zero), we felt confident using the same on our front door, too.
With the door finally painted, it’s extra (extra!) nice to sit on our porch swing – the best seat in the house! Our potted plants are growing like weeds (good weeds?), and so far, our porch stain has been completely scratch resistant to the pups. The only downside is that the lighter color gray does show footprints more than we’d like (we feared it would), but honestly, it’s the outdoors! It’s to be expected.
You might remember when we debated painting the interior of our door the same navy blue as the closet (although, I believe we were between a few different colors at the time), and we decided to just go for it! It adds a much needed dose of contrast in the entryway, and we especially love how all the navy blues tie together – from the doors to the couch and back again. (Too much navy? Never!)
While painting, I made the decision to not tape off the mullions from the glass, and you know what? I’m not convinced that was the best choice. It was a nightmare scraping the paint from the windows without needing to do a bit of touch-up after the fact, but I think in the end, you just can’t win with a handful of teeny windows. Even though a headache ensued and there was more foul language than I’d care to admit, it turned out alright in the end! (As it typically does; just breathe!)
And now that this to-do has been officially crossed off, this leaves just one more item for the outdoors – the pee pit!
Paint/Stain the porch floor
Finish the staircase hand rail
Top the downstairs cinder blocks with caps
Install a path from the pavement to the side of our home, alongside the garden (NOPE)
Paint the front door
• Paint the staircase – that is, once the pressure treated wood has dried (next year?)
• Make a “pee pit” for Jack + CC
Scott has already made me slightly nervous by suggesting that I’m underestimating the amount of gravel and strength needed even for our small pit plans (me? Underestimate? Ha!), so we’ll see. If all goes well, we’ll get it completed this coming weekend and really check off the exterior list – that is, for this year!
So far, summer has been knocking it out of the park with yard sales! Most recently, we’ve been on a very serious, very daily hunt for a pair of chairs. I’ll absolutely admit that we have a chair problem (I believe I need to use two hands just to make note of all chairs we have stashed in each room!), but the bigger problem is that while some of them will make a great side chair in, say, a bedroom, we’ve yet to find the perfect duo for the living room. Or studio for that matter!
I’ve been on a mission to find an affordable set of chairs for both spaces, especially with fall fast approaching – meaning, more family visits, more friends in town and holiday fiestas. Affordable is the key word, as our project list is forever growing, but at the same time, we refuse to settle. Never!
For a handful of months, we’ve been making the rounds on Craigslist, Krrb, Chairish and various Facebook groups. I’ve been trying to remain patient (ha!), and then two weeks ago, I received a text from Scott: There’s an estate sale in the ‘hood today! Go on your lunch break! I did, and I found chairs! Fast forward to this past weekend, and Scott came in from a coffee run to say: There’s a yard sale in the ‘hood today! Let’s go! (That Scott, always full of good news). And then? We found another pair of chairs for the studio. Hooray!
Want to see?
ONE. Our intentions for the living room are to have chairs that are comfortable and movie-watching-worthy, but not overstuffed or large. With the bold patterns already taking center stage (we’re looking at you, rug!), we preferred to keep the chairs the same (as opposed to mis-matched styles), and ideally, they’ll be in a soft, neutral color. I picked these up from the estate sale and stuffed them in our wagon:
The current nubby fabric has got to go, but we have samples on the way! (We’re leaning towards a super soft gray, if only to liven them up with a pillow or two.) They’re not too small, definitely not large, but truly, just right. The Goldilocks of chairs! We put them in place for now (ugh, the overwhelming color palette is making me all sorts of itchy!), and they’re a great fit for the space and exactly what we had in mind (well, minus the scratchy mustard upholstery). They weren’t a steal, but at $240 for the pair (this is the part where we sigh and say, oh, Chicago!), even with new fabric and foam, they still give new chairs a run for their money. We love, love, love them.
TWO. The more recent yard sale turned up these two, initially spotted by Scott who shot me his glance – you know the kind? Look! To your left! We took a seat, and while I’m not convinced the wire seats are the most comfortable (although Scott thinks so), that’s an easy fix with a soft cushion or pillow.
They’re not real brass, but the imperfect condition was too cute to pass up! While I initially argued that the last thing we needed was more chairs, I imagined them in the studio and then shot Scott my glance. You know, the one that says, yes! He was on board from the get go, and we brought them home for $10. (Only later did I realize why they looked slightly familiar; they’re the curvy cousins to these guys!)
Of course, the studio has a long, long way to go (um, baseboards? A rug? Door trim!), but we’re really enjoying the more lighthearted and fun vibe we have going on upstairs. And on a somewhat related side note, while we’re thinking the guest and first floor work rooms will be the next bigger projects we’ll tackle, I’m really looking forward to bringing the studio up to snuff. Perhaps we’ll squeeze in a few updates as they happen; I’m determined to make this space shine.
Our recent finds have officially forced us to begin combing through our furniture inventory, fine tuning what can go and what can stay. We’re being quite aggressive with it, too! What may have worked in our condo might not be the right choice for this house, and we’re finally letting go of some items that no longer make sense for us.
Clutter be damned!
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