15 November 2016

Black French Doors: Before and After

The french doors in our kitchen were definitely one of the selling points for us when buying our house. I love natural sunlight and the thought of pulling both of those doors wide open on a warm day and letting the sun stream into our kitchen with a view of our backyard was just so dreamy to me. 

Since moving in, we definitely get a ton of use out of these doors. They lead to our deck so during the summer they're usually wide open with the kids running in and out of the house. It's pretty common to see our storm doors covered in holiday themed decals or window marker drawings. Plus our pup spends a good amount of time watching the squirrels and bunnies hopping about our yard. (Don't worry, our old girl can't catch them.)

We certainly get a ton of sunlight, especially in the morning. After two years of draping towels over the doors during breakfast to block the sun I finally invested in some window treatments. I searched for some time before deciding on these curtains from DaniDesignsCo on Etsy. I wanted something that wouldn't permanently block the light, that I could fully open during the days, but would provide privacy at night as well as when the sun was just a little too bright to sit at the table. These curtains are so easy to install (velcro!), within 20 minutes of opening the package they were on the doors. 

You can see from photos in her shop that the curtains fully extend down to cover the entire window, while keeping the doors themselves uncovered. 

I had been talking about repainting the doors since we moved in. The white side didn't look bad, but could use a fresh coat. What bothered me most on that side was the yellowed plastic dividers. At first I wanted to remove them completely (think Dana's kitchen doors). We would need to do some repair work and figure out a replacement trim for the edges. I honestly wasn't even thinking black doors to begin with, just wanted white and bright. 

One thing that we either didn't notice or didn't really care about at the time of house hunting was the condition of the OUTSIDE of the doors, which faces our deck. When we were looking at the house it was the middle of a snowy winter so we weren't thinking about how the outside of the doors would look when open in the kitchen. Well, here is how they look....

Yikes, right? Yellowed, cracking plastic and a very hastily done red paint job. Definitely not the fresh clean look I had been dreaming about. I've been giving dirty looks to this side of the doors since we moved in almost two and a half years ago. 

Now before you get excited about a dramatic before and after of the red doors, I have to admit I haven't tackled this side of the doors - yet! They are going to need a little more TLC before I can paint and since the weather has turned chilly we don't really see them as much. I wanted to tackle the inside first since that's the side we see all day long. But they will be done soon and you will definitely see after photos. 

A few weeks ago I stumbled up this photo on Pinterest, and immediately my mind was made up. Keeping the dividers and going black on the doors. I didn't so much ask Jordan for his opinion, but just warned him that he just may come home one day to black doors. He was down. I'm lucky that there isn't much he doesn't trust me with when it comes to the house, and our tastes and pretty similar for the most part.

Once more time, here's an old picture from a previous kitchen post:

So while the doors don't look bad on this side, I feel like they didn't do anything for the kitchen. A lot of the kitchen has changed since this photo, most noticeably the cabinet colors (more on that before and after in another post).  What you don't notice at first from the before photos was just how bad the hinges were. We replaced the door handles and deadbolts on all doors as soon as we moved in for both aesthetic and safety purposes since the house was a rental property and we didn't know how many keys were floating around.

We also bought new hinges but never got around to changing them. Once I started painting I was glad we had that hardware already on hand because leaving the paint covered old hinges was not going to work. Once of my biggest frustrations when moving into a house is when you being to discover all the little shortcuts previous homeowners took that you now need to fix. 

After a few days (let's face it projects take a bit longer when you have kids), we had fresh beautiful black french doors in our kitchen.

:) :) :) :) :)
Am I right?

It's been about two weeks and each time I look at them I think how much I really love the change. Not only do they look nice, but they make the kitchen FEEL different. It's so important to me how a room FEELS because I'm spending so much time in our house as a work from home mom. If something doesn't feel cozy to me, it doesn't feel like home.

Another before: 

And after:

The new hinges look so much better, too, right? 

Purchasing a new kitchen table is going to be next on our list of things to tackle in the kitchen (and hopefully we will be doing so within a few months). This set is probably a decade old and we are slowly losing sturdy chairs and we've resorted to placemats to cover the condition of the top of the table.

Since the table, floors, and top of our fauxdenza are all the same shade of wood, I am leaning towards a lighter, possibly gray toned wood. I love the look of this one from Target with a bench replacing the metal stools and some upholstered or metal white chairs on the other side. We also may hit up a local farmer's market and see what options they have.

But until then, these pretty doors are a nice distraction from the old table, right?

I just love them.

Since taking the after photos, I put the curtains back on the doors. While I really love how they look without window treatments, the sun comes in so bright in the mornings that we can't even sit at the table to eat breakfast. I searched for a while looking for window treatments that I liked and these are honestly the only ones I came upon that fit what I wanted, so back they went.

They don't look bad at all, although I'm considering swapping the grey and white stripes for a solid black pair to blend more into the door.  

What do you all think?

04 November 2016

Living Room Tour

Anyone out there? Ok, I've been MIA from here for quite a bit, but the projects at home have not stopped. I have a lot to share with you including a recent project repainting our french doors in the kitchen. I also completely transformed our utility room into an office/craft room/mudroom after we converted our heat to gas and removed the oil tank. Over a year ago I painted our kitchen cabinets and just realized I never shared photos! I'm hoping to do some catch up and share some fun projects with you all again. 

The house is clean and the girls are playing nicely together in the other room so I found this the perfect opportunity to snap some photos of our living room space to share how it currently looks.

My biggest struggle in here has always been styling the fireplace. With all the shelves and nooks it can be overwhelming and cluttered.  I'm not 100% satisfied but I am pretty pleased with how it currently looks. Clearly I'm a fan of vases... It's probably too much, but I've tried mixing up the finishes and they don't bother me. I'm sure next time you see photos this will look different anyway, it always does. 

This is definitely my favorite room in the house. I cannot wait to start snuggling up to some fires this winter. I recently bought that plaid fleece blanket from Target and it has been used a LOT already. It's so soft and warm.

The light that we get in this room from both the windows and french doors is so pretty. These photos don't even do it justice.  

Here is the view towards the front door and stairs. The white closet door is where we hide all the toys you can't see. It's actually a pretty deep closet and stores a lot since it extends under the slant of the steps.

View from the front door.

This table from CB2 is still one of my favorite additions to the room. I bought the wicker mirror a few months ago from Target. I was on the fence about it at first, but now I love it.  The rectangle mirror we had before just didn't fit the space right. The roundness of this one fills the space perfectly.

The only thing planned next for this room is painting the window frames (currently brown wood) a black color (similar to this) to mirror the french doors. If you look closely in these photos you'll see the bottom right window has already been done as a test. 

This is the most commonly used space in the house. The girls usually set up camp with their toys or coloring books. They play while I cook, clean or even do some work at the kitchen table. The chairs are usually pulled out and Barbies are usually scattered all over the rug (with Barbie shoes IN the rug). You can't see but the coffee table is covered in water spots and crayon scribbles. It used to bother me, but that's just how it goes with kids.

The bookshelves serve as storage for board games, books and puzzles. The rest of the toys are hidden away in the toy closet. We have baskets tucked in the fireplace and under the bench that hold art supplies, blocks, and other small toys. The bookshelves are from Ikea and we mounted them to the wall for safety. I love that the girls can access their own toys in there.  Between the bookshelves and closet they know where everything belongs and cleanup is usually pretty quick at the end of the day.

There you have it. Our cozy, family friendly living room.

Oh, and to be real. This tent is usually smack dab in the middle of the living room. :)

Thanks to anyone still out there reading!

19 March 2016


Hi there! Life has been way too busy to keep up with this blog. I still try to snap pretty photos of our house here and there. Here is a recent one of our living room. I've been struggling with the fireplace/mantle lately, but for the moment I'm happy with this view. 

19 October 2015

Living Room Changes

We've made some significant changes in the living room since I last shared any photos. You can see previous posts here, here and here for comparison. 

The first change we made was adding two bookshelves as you can see above. Since everything in the room was low (couch, coffee table, console sale, bench, etc.), we needed to bring some height into the room. While I honestly really liked the collage of white frames we had on that wall, there was no furniture under them and I felt like we were wasting a huge piece of space in that room that could be better used. 

We purchased two Ikea Billy bookcases, built them and mounted them side by side to the wall. Now we have a nice balance in the room and a ton more storage. I also feel like it gave the room some purpose and a much cozier feel by having some books and personal photos. Since we don't have a television in this room, we tend to use it more for socializing when we host parties/dinners or to relax with a good book or magazine.


Of course I have to add the staging photos for comparison to really show how much the space has changed. Above is how the room looked when we purchased our house. We initially stuck with the layout that the stagers used, having the couch facing the fireplace. It made sense at first, but after a few cramped birthday parties and a year with that layout, I felt like we were wasting all the space behind the couch. 

I decided to purchase a larger rug (taking advantage of a great deal from RugsUSA) and pull the furniture out to fill more of the space. Now we have a more open layout where people in the living room can socialize with those in the kitchen at the table. Also, there is a ton of floor space for the kids to play in my eyesight when I do things like cook dinner or clean up. You may remember this room is where we have our toy closet so having them play here is convenient and makes for easy cleanup. 

I was very hesitant to put the couch under the window because of how close the window is to the fireplace. I thought the room would be unbalanced and heavy towards that side and the corner would be crammed. Once we added the bookshelves to the room, moving the couch under the window suddenly looked totally different other than times I had tried before. Things were much more balanced and I was surprised how much I really liked how it looked. I also took that opportunity to raise the curtains to the ceiling. I don't know why I didn't originally do that, but floor to ceiling curtains really open up a space. 

I love these bookshelves. It took me some time to get them arranged in a way I was happy with, but the storage below is a huge upgrade. Plus the chair in front creates a cozy little reading nook in an otherwise open floor plan.

One part of the room where I still feel stumped is the fireplace. First, a before photo.


The fireplace is beautiful and I really do love it, although we have yet to make our first fire! Soon after moving in I put some fresh white paint over the cream that was there before. The wood shelves are gorgeous and the built in nooks provide a ton of storage. Still I struggle with ways to functionally use and style the fireplace without junking up the space. I'm wondering if a more neutral staple piece like a mirror in place of the napkin artwork might do the trick, even though this is one of my favorite DIY projects. So much that the other one is currently hanging above our bed. 

The small black square next to the fireplace is actually a door to a wood storage nook. We had all our wood stored on the bottom brick shelf until we used it all in our fire pit outside. It's an odd space to fill that I haven't quite figured out. I thought about putting a plant there like the stagers did, but I love the snake plant where it is and don't want the living room to feel like a jungle with a ton of greens everywhere. We use the top brick shelf in the fire place for our record player. Now that the wood is gone I'd like to find a clean, safe way to store our records on the bottom shelf. The girls and I listen to music in that room every day so having a good space to store our collection would be beneficial. The two wooden shelves up near the ceiling are kind of pointless and I've tried candles or knick knacks there but don't really like how it looks. 

Any suggestions for our fireplace are welcome!

I love, love this console table we received for Christas from my parents last year. It's from CB2 and I chose it after seeing it in Sarah Sherman Samuel's living room.  It's almost like it was made for this tiny wall because it's super narrow (10") and hardly takes up any space. I'd like to find a larger, round or similar silhouette mirror to replace the rectangle one above the table. I'm currently digging the Parsons mirror (herringbone and bone) from West Elm.

If you look closely you can see I haven't filled two of the pictures frames, but secretly I love the pretty paper Anthropologie uses to display them and sometimes just keep them that way for a while.


I still need to purchase a matching pillow for the other white chair.  My go-to shops for great, vintage pillow covers are Boho Pillow and The Mod Boho. This particular cover is from The Mod Boho and I love the subtle pop of color it provides. 

Another small change I made was swapping out the bench from the mud room. I like the idea of having a place large enough for the kids to sit and put their shoes on or drop my purse when we walk in the door. I always really liked this bench and keeping it hidden in a mudroom that no one sees felt like a waste, so it moved here. The bench that was here before now resides in our bedroom. The narrow space between this bench and rug creates a faux entryway so people don't necessarily feel like they are walking right into our living room.  

And of course another shot of our beautiful front door.

Certainly not completely where I hope to be in this room, but it's definitely quite an improvement from where we started when we moved. In the end, this room just feels comfortable to hang out in and the girls love being able to dump toys all over the rug and play.