...because home doesn't happen overnight.


Congrats to Taylor who has the perfect spot for the “Torched” print!

Myra contacted me about adding function and style to her family’s foyer. Even though the entry is spacious, the family is having a difficult time making it work for their lifestyle. With two young boys in the mix, the entry needs to provide organization for shoes, outerwear, a diaper bag, pumpkin seat, mail, keys and other miscellaneous.

myra foyer 1

myra foyer 2

myra foyer 3

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myra foyer 5

As is, the walls are only primed and the space is broken up by french doors that lead to a living room, an open staircase, a doorway and a coat closet. There isn’t enough storage near the front door so discarded shoes and hats turn into tripping hazards. A clunky bench blocks the french doors. The dresser was originally meant to hold small outerwear items but instead it has become a catchall for odds and ends, like board games and items left behind by guests. Myra isn’t sure it’s the best fit for the space. She and her husband recently spruced up the stairs with new paint and stain. They would love for the open staircase to be more of a focal point as it’s one of their favorite things about their home. And Myra wants the foyer to feel more inviting – both for her family and for guests – as it’s the main point of entrance. She leans towards neutrals, natural textures and hits of black and gold.

Here are my ideas for Myra’s foyer…

inviting + family-friendly entry

1 – First up, I would keep the wall color light. Benjamin Moore super white would look bright and clean. If white walls aren’t practical for Myra’s family, a light gray (i.e., Benjamin Moore gray owl or stonington gray) could be great. I think the front door would look more substantial with a few coats of black paint. Try Benjamin Moore onyx. Hanging two rows of hooks (one at kid height, one at adult height) on the sliver of wall just to the left of the front door as you enter would provide immediate storage for everything from jackets to backpacks to the diaper bag. These leather and peg hook racks are so handsome. A more affordable option would be to DIY similar racks using stained wood boards and black hooks from a local home improvement store.

2 – Since the staircase wall is the view that greets the homeowners and guests upon entrance, it should feel welcoming and act as a focal point. This is the place to hang art and add a few accessories. I would repurpose or sell the current dresser and bring in a narrower one with straighter lines so as not to compete with the staircase. A small teardrop lamp on top of the dresser lends warm ambience and makes the large space feel more intimate. The “Torched” art print has an organic vibe that helps to soften all the sharp angles in the entry. I would frame it and hang it a few inches above the dresser then lean the bird art (currently near the front door) in front of it for a casual, layered effect. A gold leaf-like bowl can corral everything from Hot Wheels to keys to the baby’s pacifier. Because it’s metal, it’s virtually indestructible. Greenery is always a good thing! Keep a large floor basket next to the dresser for miscellaneous items such as random toys, stray socks or a bike helmet.

3 – Textured rug squares in putty or taupe are perfect for high traffic areas. They’re so good at upping the cozy factor while simultaneously hiding dirt. The antique bench is too bulky and completely crowds another great feature of the foyer – those glass doors! I would like to see a simpler bench used elsewhere in the space. (More on that in a minute.) For immediate hidden storage near the front door, I would hang a slim shoe cabinet on the wall where the bird art currently resides. The cabinet is meant to hold shoes but it’s also great for smaller items like gloves and hats that don’t always make it into the closet or dresser. The plastic material is family-friendly (just wipe it down!) and inexpensive but could be dressed up by wrapping the sides and top in plywood. The top horizontal surface is a great spot for dropping keys or mail. Hanging a small round mirror above the shoe cabinet allows for quick once-overs. I love the leather detail on this one!

4 – Between the coat closet and staircase (on the window wall) I would provide seating with a bench. I like the simple design and natural materials of this one. The cork looks really organic and should be crazy durable, not to mention a little more forgiving to lil’ ones than the hard corners and arms on the current bench. A sturdy basket, shoes and/or the infant pumpkin seat can be slid underneath the bench and out of the way. I always think it’s a good idea to have a basket at the bottom of a staircase to corral items that need to be taken upstairs. Just grab the basket on your way up and go! A kilim pillow lends color and pattern. (Every room needs a pillow. Duh.)

5 – To finish off the space, I’d switch out the traditional chandelier with something more modern. I absolutely LOVE the lines and black finish of this blacksmith chandelier. The finish ties in to the metal legs on the bench, the black ink in the artwork and the leather loops on the hook rack.

Lastly, I would also encourage Myra and her family to utilize the backside of the closet door. A clear hanging organizer can keep extra pairs of shoes in check along with other small items like scarves, hats, gloves, etc. I know keeping an entryway (no matter how large or small) tidy with kids present can feel like a losing battle most days, but I’ve found that having a system in place is essential. It doesn’t take much to quickly throw hats in baskets and shoes in cabinets and hang bags and coats on hooks before walking away. When there’s a place for everything, it’s a cinch. I hope this gives Myra and her family – and maybe even you – some ideas for injecting function and style into one of the busiest spaces of a home.

After making it through all that, I’m excited to announce today’s giveaway! Minted is offering up some art for the taking. (I seriously can’t stop thinking about that dreamy print above.) See entry details below.

PRIZE: one $200 credit to Minted

RULES: You must be at least 18 years old and have a physical shipping address. (No P.O. boxes please.) One entry per email address. This giveaway is open to international readers!

TO ENTER: Leave a comment on this post proclaiming “MINT ME!”

DEADLINE: Enter before 9:00 p.m. EST on Sunday, November 15th. One random winner will be announced Monday, November 16th.

*BONUS* I’m throwing in a signed copy of Lovable Livable Home to the winner! John & Sherry were nice enough to send me an early copy but I had already preordered one. I met up with them when they were in town last month and asked if they wouldn’t mind signing my preordered copy for a giveaway. They were game so it’s up for grabs! Shipping is on me.

Good luck!

Do you have a space in need of help? You can email me at housetweaking (at) gmail (dot) com with photos and a description of your space for consideration for a complimentary mood board and blog feature. I’m not able to help everyone but I will do my best to select spaces with the best potential. Thanks for reading!

For those not-so-serious families who play just as hard as they work…

family fun


1 – remote control helicopter – Finally! A remote copter that is easy to maneuver (i.e., kid-friendly) and robust. My boys LOVE these and Steve and I have been known to “borrow” them from time to time.

2 – playchute – Do you remember making parachute tents in gym class when you were little? A smaller version makes a fun family gift and is easily stored in a closet or under a bed. Great for indoor or outdoor play.

3 – Hape coffee maker – I’m a huge fan of the Hape brand. The kids love the fun, pretend play toys and I love the quality and affordability. I have my eye on this coffee maker for Mabrey. She can make hers while I make mine.

4 – Bounce-Off game – Perfect for family game night! Simple instructions and a fast pace keep everyone’s attention.

5 – sport stacking – Our fireplace and this game are the two things that got us through last winter. Sport stacking requires hand-eye coordination, speed and concentration. Many schools have implemented the sport. There are even world stacking tournaments! Beware: IT’S ADDICTIVE.

6 – SingStand karaoke system – After scoring a speaking part in a recent school performance, Everett asked for a microphone. This one looks promising.

7 – Blokus – For quiet play. Steve and I even sneak in games after the kids are in bed. (It reminds me of moving furniture around on floor plans.)

8 – doctor set – Um, any game that requires me to lie down and be still is fun. Funny story: The first time I pretended to take Mabrey’s temperature, I told her she had a fever and was burning up. She heard “burning” and immediately stopped, dropped, rolled and pretended to cry. Now, when anyone plays doctor with her and she takes their temperature, the diagnosis is always the same. YOU’RE BURNING! …as in, on fire.

9 – The Book with No Pictures – It’s the one book you will read to your kids without wanting to skip pages. Hilarious.

Work hard, play hard, folks.

image: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

A few ideas for the homebodies in your life who enjoy nothing more than an evening spent at home surrounded by creature comforts…

cozy home


1 – Mongolian faux fur pillow / vintage kilim pillow cover – Pillows = cozy. Mix tactile textures with playful patterns for maximum effect.

2 – Smell My Nuts mason jar candle – A candle with a scents of humor. (Sorry, had to.)

3 – plaid flannel sheets – Because cold sheets are the worst.

4 – square photo holder – Display photos of favorite people, furry friends and dreamy places.

5 – wood & white ceramic planter – Just add a succulent and call it a day.

6 – vegetable-dyed Baluch rug – Happy feet, happy home.

7 – peshtemal towel – We made the switch from terrycloth to peshtemal two years ago and haven’t looked back. They have so many uses!

8 – teardrop lamp – You’re going to need some mood lighting.

9 – macrame wall hanging – Walls need love too.

Keep it cozy, folks.

Pssst…If you haven’t had a chance to check out the #HolidayHostess sale over on Joss & Main, there are some larger pieces to cozy up your home, too.

image: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking