Remember when I brainstormed ideas for the hallway? I contemplated wallpaper and wainscoting to deemphasize the linen closet at the end of hallway. Well, I decided I can’t commit to wallpaper. The hallway is fairly narrow and I just feel like the sight lines (or lack thereof) would make things feel even more cramped and busy. Likewise, I think any type of added woodwork would emphasize all the different doors riddling the small space.
One reader suggested a built-in base cabinet with open shelving and/or cabinetry above to replace the linen closet. I absolutely LOVE the idea. It would create a more appealing focal point while still providing storage. I’m still mulling it over…a year later. (How awesome would it be to incorporate laundry-sorting organization into the base cabinet?!) In the meantime, I’ve made the executive decision to hang some stuff on the walls. I have no real plan, no layout in mind. I just want to display stuff I like. And I like Kuba cloth!
I saved a pair of vintage Kuba textiles to my etsy favorites months ago. I couldn’t stop thinking about them. Thanks to some etsy gift cards from family last year and a Framebridge discount, I finally made them mine and had them custom framed. Once I received the textiles from the etsy seller, I simply went online to Framebridge, entered the approximate measurements of my textiles, chose the Mercer Slim frame sans mat along with the custom framing option and selected the mail-in option. I added special instructions to make the two frames the same size even though the textiles were slightly different in size so I would be able to display them together in a symmetrical layout. A few days later, a prepaid package arrived to send the textiles to Framebridge’s studio for framing. I sent them in and a few weeks later the framed Kuba cloth arrived. It was love at first sight.
They were the perfect scale for a sliver of wall just outside the main bathroom. For a split second, I tried talking myself into hanging them somewhere more prominent that would be easier to photograph for the blog but then I realized how ridiculous that was. In real life, I wanted them in that little hallway. It would be stupid to hang them elsewhere just for a better photo op. I’m so happy I went with my gut…even though that lil’ hallway is crazy difficult to photograph. This is one of those times I wish you could experience my house in vivo. The new artwork is so much better in person and somehow it makes the hallway feel bigger.
The other problem with photographing this area involves lighting. The main living area receives so much natural light that it’s almost impossible to capture the hallway art without completely blowing out the kitchen and living room. Again, I wish you could see them in person.
The new art looks amazing at night when the recessed lighting washes them in soft light. We purposefully installed offset lighting in the hallway to highlight the walls (not the floor). It’s a great trick we learned from our electrician.
I’m impressed with the framing job. The frames are indeed the exact same size, per my instructions. The textiles are seemingly invisibly mounted or “floating” on a linen-like paper backdrop with no mat. There are no big wrinkles in the fabric, but I love that the natural, imperfect texture of the raffia is still evident from behind the glass.
The frames came complete with picture-hanging hardware (i.e., picture wire) already attached. I hung them myself. Thanks to all those calculus classes I had to take for my pharmacy degree, my math skills allowed me to get the placement right on the first try. However, every time I hang something on an interior wall, I am reminded of our decision to not gut the interior plaster walls and replace them with drywall. I’m all ready to go with my drywall anchor when I realize I’m working with plaster, not drywall. Grrrr. Oh well. Masonry anchors to the rescue!
They’re really pretty to look at from the bathroom. Let’s be honest. 90% of the time I’m going to the bathroom with the door open, thanks to a very social three-year-old.
If you’d like to give Framebridge a try, you can use the promo code HOUSETWEAKING at checkout to score 10% off your first purchase. I’m going to use the custom framing service to have one of Everett’s art pieces framed. I’ve been saving it since he was in kindergarten and it’s about time I put it on display.
images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking
*THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.*
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.
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…
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.
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!