...because home doesn't happen overnight.

interior door 2

Inquiring minds want to know, “Where did you get the black hinges and doorknobs?” I could’ve sworn I shared the source years ago, but after some digging I realized I hadn’t. Better late than never!

interior doorknob 1

We replaced the interior doors and hardware after we moved in. One caveat: We had already removed the original doors, so we lived without any interior doors for quite a while. With a newborn. And two other rugrats. It sucked. I wouldn’t recommend it.

You can read more about the doors we selected here and here. (Eek! Mabrey looks so little.) We wanted a simple design that didn’t stray too far from our home’s midcentury roots, but we were hoping for something slightly less boring than a flush door slab. We were stoked to discover the Berkley from Masonite’s West End collection with its subtle inset detailing. Steve saved us >$2,000 by hanging the doors himself. Eventually, I painted them to match the trim. (It took me a year to get around to it!)

interior doorknobs 3

We liked the idea of matte black hinges and doorknobs to contrast against the white doors. We went with these hinges. For the bathrooms and bedrooms, we used these privacy doorknobs. For the linen closets, we used these passage doorknobs. For the man door to the garage, we used this keyed entry doorknob along with this deadbolt.

interior doorknobs 2

Four years later, the doors and hardware are holding up extremely well. (My kids should work at a door/doorknob testing facility.)

interior doors 1

The Safe ‘n Sound solid core doors have been a worthy investment. They provide great acoustical insulation in our smallish house (i.e., I lock myself in the bathroom from time to time for a quick, quiet recharge). The doors get a lot of compliments from visitors. They’re unique yet understated. I absolutely LOVE the matte black hardware.

In summary, living with interior doors trumps living without interior doors any day. I hope I never have to do that again.

P.S. – Create your own attic access.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

studio matsalla fireplace 1

I receive emails from readers all the time asking for advice on particularly troublesome areas in their homes. Unfortunately, I’m not able to respond to each one, but a problematic area that keeps popping up is the pesky angled fireplace. I would never suggest an angled fireplace in a new build, but sometimes they’re inevitable in homes bought by successive owners. The good news is I don’t think an angled fireplace should be a deal breaker if other attributes of the home are desirable: location, layout, size, price, potential, etc. In fact, they can really amp up the cozy factor in a space. Personally, I’ve never lived in a home with an angled fireplace, but I thought it might be helpful to share my thoughts on working around one. If I ever end up with an angled fireplace, there are a few general guidelines (no hard and fast rules) I would follow.

amber lewis fireplace 2

clj fireplace

Update an angled fireplace, but don’t make it the star of the room. If an outdated surround is cramping your style, feel free to give it a fresh coat of paint, add trim, upgrade the mantel and/or install new tile on the surround or hearth to better suit your aesthetic. Keep the updates simple so that the fireplace melds with the rest of the space without creating a distracting focal point in a corner. If you opt for a mantel, keep it shallow. Amber Lewis painted the stone fireplace in her previous living room, while Julia and Chris Marcum added basic trim and paint to a contemporary version in their basement family room. In spaces where you don’t want the corner of a room taking center stage, allow the fireplace to become part of the background.

amber fireplace 3

rafterhouse fireplace

Don’t arrange main furniture pieces parallel to an angled fireplace. It’s so tempting to orient a sofa facing the fireplace. However, when dealing with an angled fireplace, it’s better to place the sofa on OR facing another wall in the room to establish a conversation area. This creates a more practical and appealing layout.

makerista angled fireplace

makerista fireplace 1

amber lewis fireplace 1

Balance an angled fireplace with adjacent built-ins, shelving, a large window, french/sliding doors or furniture items similar in scale to the fireplace. In other words, place something of similar size on a wall at 135° in relation to the fireplace. This keeps your eye traveling around the room instead of dead-ending in a corner. In essence, you are creating a new focal point while still benefitting from the coziness a fireplace can provide. Gwen Hefner designed built-ins using IKEA bookcases for a client’s living room. If desired, you could bring in a media cabinet and TV instead. I wouldn’t recommend placing a TV above an angled fireplace!

studio matsalla fireplace 2

Keep fireplace accessories to a minimum. Placing a small accent chair, ottoman, planter or basket near the fireplace can help soften awkward angles. Just make sure you aren’t drawing unnecessary attention to the corner. Hang a simple mirror or piece of artwork above the mantel, or just leave it bare. This is one time you don’t want to layer a bunch of accessories on the mantel. Studio Matsalla added patterned cement tile to an angled fireplace but opted out of a mantel. A modern planter and round mirror are subtle decorative accents. (You can see how this fireplace fits into the bigger picture in the very first image of this post.)

I hope this gives those of you struggling with angled fireplaces some ideas! No need to sell your house ;)

images: 1,9) Studio Matsalla 2,4,8) design by Amber Interiors; photography by Bryce Covey for Style Me Pretty 3) Chris Loves Julia 5) Rafterhouse 6,7) The Makerista