...because home doesn't happen overnight.
11.11.13 / The Door is Gray!

painted door 2

WOW, you guys! I am so appreciative of all the feedback we got on painting the front door. HH and I read every. single. comment. and were blown away by the range of suggestions. In a good way. Here we were thinking that choosing a color for the *finally functioning* front door was a completely objective decision when, lo and behold, I think it’s much more subjective. What makes one person smile might make another cringe. Thank goodness we are free to paint our doors whatever color makes us happy, right?

At any rate, I could NOT make a decision. I left it up to HH and the kids. It was unanimous. They had no problem quickly choosing the inky gray. {Mabrey said “moon” and I took that to mean gray since gold is closer to the color of the sun. Obviously.}

painted door 1

So gray it is and we are all smitten with it. It’s a deep gray with a hint of navy – Behr evening hush. It feels cohesive {the french doors at the back of the house are painted the same color}, modern and masculine. Depending on the light, the trio of windows contrasts as black or a reflective gloss. I think we’ll live with them as is for a nice long while and if we feel they are getting lost, then I might try some window film.

Some of you asked if painting the red brick was an option. Sadly, it’s not an option for us. Due to how our house is constructed and the climate here, paint would likely result in mold or mildew. Staining or liming the brick are options. {This transformation is especially convincing!} In fact, lime washing / lime painting the brick has been on the table since day one of this renovation. But it’s a huge project that we’re happily placing on the back burner while we tackle more pressing ones. While we don’t love the red brick, we don’t completely hate it either.

painted door 3

The gray door picks up on the newly slatted window planter and looks handsome with the satin nickel hardware. Normally, when I paint doors I use a small angle brush to cut in and then switch to a foam roller for the larger sections. The end result is void of brush marks. This time, I was without my trusty foam roller. Long story short, I was stranded at home with no working vehicle {#lovehousesloathecars} and decided it was time to paint the door. After trimming in, I realized we were out of foam rollers but I was already in the “painting zone” and didn’t want to wait. I ended up brushing the entire door and it shows. It isn’t horrible but there are noticeable brush marks that I plan to roll over with a foam roller as soon as I get back to the hardware store. What’s that saying? Done is better than perfect? I’m down with that.

painted door 4

We’re currently on the hunt for modern house numbers. If you look closely, you can see where the previous house numbers were mounted on a teeny plaque just to the left of the door at the same height as the top square window. They were basically useless unless you tote around binoculars in your glovebox in which case, rock those binoculars. We’re looking for larger numbers but not too large. I think they could take on a “commercial” look if we aren’t careful. Also, we want a simple modern font. It’s barely noticeable above but there is a recessed can light in the eave above this stretch of brick that will illuminate the house numbers at night.

The hard part here is determining how exactly to share an after picture of the house numbers. You know, for safety and privacy reasons. Do we show our actual house number? We have a security system and I’m pretty sure that if someone really wanted to, they could find our house – house numbers on the blog or not. I’m always thankful and inspired when other people share images of their curb appeal online so I’d like to share ours, too.

painted door 5

I’m itching to add a planter under the not-there-yet house numbers. Something to add color and texture. But that will have to wait as the weatherman is calling for snow this week. I like winter and all but why does it have to last so long?

Bonus: spot the crazy kid making faces in the window.

P.S. – 10 DIY holiday wreath ideas!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

11.05.13 / The Final Two

What day is it? I’m in over my head this week with other blog-related and nonblog-related obligations but I am determined to finish the front door.

door color 5

I knocked out the interior side of the door today. {It’s Benjamin Moore white dove mixed in Clark + Kensington primer + paint, semigloss…the same as these doors.} It was pure chaos and it took me all day to apply three coats of primer + paint. Remind me never to paint with kids in the house again.

First, our power went out and I had a hard time seeing what I was doing. Then the neighbor’s cat mistook the open front door as a welcome sign to come in and rub up on the wet {!} paint. He’s such a nice kitty. He was so confused. My tone of voice didn’t match my words at all. “Go on, kitty. No, kitty.” But I was using my nice “Here, kitty kitty…” voice. I couldn’t be mad at him. After all, I’m pretty sure he was the sole reason we didn’t have mice squeeze in through the gap at the bottom of the door last winter. The three coats went on very slowly. I decided I’m over painting doors. When I was finished and washing out my brush, Mabrey grabbed my wet roller and tried her hand at painting the entry rug in 0.2 seconds flat. While I was trying to rinse the paint off the rug, Mabrey stuck her hand in the wet paint on the drying door. Ugh, babygirl keeps me on my toes and makes my head spin!

So the interior side of the door is done. I’m halfway there.

ig door

I posted that picture on instagram this past weekend. I was trying out a paint sample for the door. The minute I saw it I knew it wasn’t the one. The majority of IG commenters agreed. It was too bright, too primary yellow. It was not the mustard I had in mind. So back to the paint store I went. I was looking for something with a bit more green and gold in it – a color that on its own might be considered “ugly.” I found it by way of Sherwin-Williams alchemy.

door color 3

It’s a muddy gold that looks right at home with our midcentury ranch. I had my spicy mustard but was curious about a moodier blue-gray. I decided to paint the other side of my foam board in Behr’s evening hush, the same color I used on the french doors at the back of the house.

door color 4

The darker hue is a nice contrast against the red brick and ties into the metal roof even though it isn’t an exact match. It also picks up on the composite slats we added to the planter from this post. My only hesitation is that the trio of square windows might get lost in the dark color from a distance. The windows read black and we plan on painting the narrow trim around them the same color as the rest of the door. {White trim around windows on painted exterior doors looks very “builder” to me.} Maybe peel-and-stick frosted window film would help accentuate the windows?

At any rate, HH and I are torn between the two colors. We love them each for different reasons.

door color 2

The gold feels welcoming and highlights the door and its design. It’s also a nod to some of the bright green-yellow shrubs and yellow roses in the landscaping. The gray feels like a safe, cohesive choice and probably represents our style better. It definitely gives the house a more masculine look from the road.

door color 1

As is, the exterior of our house is very linear and one-dimensional. The gold breaks it up and wakes up the entrance. The gray is a bit more sophisticated, somber even.

I like when the color of a front door is a clue as to what is happening design-wise on the other side. Both colors hint at what we have going on indoors. There are traces of mustard and gold in our living room, dining room and bedroom. Dark moody walls make an appearance in the mudroom and nursery and I will always be a lover of high contrast.

Ah! I can’t decide. Which color would you pick and why? FYI – Painting the brick is not an option. Our inspector advised against it due to the construction and climate. The paint wouldn’t allow the brick to breathe and we would be at risk of developing mold and mildew. No, thank you, but I still love me some painted brick.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

My boys are back in school as of this week. Layne is in third grade and Everett goes to half-day kindergarten in the afternoon. When Mabrey takes her nap after lunch, I have two whole hours TO MYSELF. It is heavenly. I savor every minute but I always have something to do. Today, I took pictures of the boys’ room and I want to share them with you. Their room is really coming along! Just a few little things left to do but I’ll probably drag them out because as soon as I call a room “done”, I start thinking about changing it. It’s a disease.

So, the boys’ room…

close boys 1

It’s a difficult room to photograph because of the room’s orientation, the furniture layout and the bright southern sunlight but let’s take a tour around, shall we? The bedroom is roughly 11′x14′. Not teeny tiny but not huge. My older kids {boys, ages 8 & 5} share this room. The room doubles as a playroom for all three of our kids. Above is the view from the hallway looking straight into the room. The bookcases are “styled” now – as much as you can style bookcases in a children’s room. To the right, is the closet. During renovation, we removed all the bedroom closet doors and opted for fabric panels in their place. They are less cumbersome, quieter and safer for the kids {no smashed or pinched fingers}. I have a few things to add to the closet wall and I’ll share those in another post soon!

close look 2

This is another view from the hallway looking towards the far corner of the room. There is a second bookcase and a play table + chairs sits in between the bookcases, under the window. This is where you heard Mabrey playing blocks in the sensor switch video. I bought the table primarily for the boys’ use but Mabrey LOVES sitting at the table to stack blocks.

close look 3

Walking into the room and turning to the left, you get a nice view of the striped accent wall. It’s actually peel-and-stick wallpaper! Everyone who visits our house comments on the wall and then proceeds to smooth it over with their hands. The wallpaper has more depth than painted stripes and it draws people in. I like that it makes the rectangular room feel wider. Typically, I don’t shove all furniture up against the walls in a room but, in this case, it’s kinda necessary to leave as much floor space open for play.

close look 4

I let the boys pick out their bunk bed. It isn’t what I would have chosen myself but it was inexpensive and it gets the job done. The kids love it. I do like that it has a detached trundle for sleepovers and overnight guests. We’ve used it a ton already! And that’s another reason why the middle of this room is open – to pull out the trundle without having to move anything out of the way. I added floor-to-ceiling curtains to make the beds feel like a hideout per the boys’ request. Each boy has their own reading light and book ledge. We recently added a small clip-on fan to the top bunk’s book ledge. It can get pretty hot up there on warm nights.

close look 5

This is the view from the play table looking over to the beds, dresser and door. If you look closely, you’ll see that the bunk sits in a little bump out ~8″ deep. Placing the largest piece of furniture here helps keep it from crowding precious floor space.

That’s it! The boys’ room in a nutshell. With the kids back in school, I want to put together a room-by-room tour of this house. Right now, the only tour under the “see my house” tab is of our previous house. For those of you who want a video tour, it’ll come but I really want to finish up a few larger projects before I share that. I hope you will stick around to see it.

For more details on the styling of the boys’ bookcases and pictures of a certain babygirl playing in the room, you can read this post I wrote for Wayfair.

close look 6

Bookcase sources: Warner bookshelf // work lamp spray painted with Rust-Oleum’s metallic gold // rattan baskets // colored slabs geometric art No.1 //colored slabs geometric art No.2 // step stool painted in Behr citrus zest, semi-gloss // sweater weather carpet tiles // Valspar dry riverbed on the walls

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

08.13.13 / The Boys’ Dresser

boy dresser 6

I’ve been having fun tidying up the boys’ room bit by bit. We added a dresser to their room last year. Each boy gets two drawers for clothes: one for tops, one for bottoms. Warm and cold weather clothes are all in there. PJ’s, underwear and socks are stored in the closet. Obviously, my kids don’t have a ton of clothes. They couldn’t care less. They have their favorites and as long as those are an option, they’re happy. Having less clothing {HH, Mabrey and I are in the same boat as the boys when it comes to clothes} in our house makes it easier to stay on top of laundry, keep closets/drawers tidy and get everyone dressed quickly in the mornings.

boy dresser 2

So, the inside of the dresser has never really been an issue. It’s plenty of space for our needs. The top is another story. The dresser sits just inside the bedroom door and it became a convenient dumping ground for whatever toy/book/sock the boys were supposed to be putting away. {Because, you know, taking five more steps into the room is just too much to ask sometimes.} It was a mess. This past weekend I decided to do something about it.

boy dresser 3

I added a tray that not only ties into the pillows on the bunk but also corrals all the stuff that inevitably winds up on the dresser. Even when it’s full, it looks better than crap spread out all over the top of the dresser. There’s a metal basket in the mix that acts as a car catchall.

boy dresser 4

I purchased the lamp a few months ago. {It was only $30 but the price has skyrocketed since then. Yikes!} I love the midcentury style and petite size. It’s perfect for the dresser. The base is resin but looks like wood and has held up really well to bumps from the little people in our house.

boy dresser 5

Layne has been begging for a plant in this room. I kept *forgetting* to pick one up because all I could think about was spilled dirt everywhere. But with the new tray in place, I thought we could give a plant a try. My hope is the tray will help catch the planter’s contents should it get knocked over which, in reality, is totally going to happen. I found the eco-friendly pot {it’s made from corn husks and is biodegradable} at JoAnn’s last week, on sale. Layne and I made a special mother-son shopping trip to pick up the snake plant. All-in-all, the plant setup was ~$10 so if it doesn’t work out, I won’t be too upset.

boy dresser 1

On the wall above the dresser I hung a round mirror {I’m a sucker for circles} to break up all the rectangular lines in the room {dresser, bunk bed, rug, bookcases, the room itself…}. It’s purposefully off-center to allow access to the light switch. I love that it reflects a view of the window across the room and bounces light around. The cardboard deer head was an attic find. So glad he’s on display now!

If you like what you see…

boy dresser

Sources: Flor sweater weather carpet squares // modern grooved table lamp // MANDAL dresser // orange tray // cardboard deer head // GRUNDTAL mirror

What did you learn today? Decorating with toys in a child’s room is practical and inexpensive. Using trays and baskets for easy display keeps things looking neat and tidy. Adding kid-friendly lighting and wall decor kicks things up a notch. Now you try!

Tomorrow I’ll be sharing a little behind-the-scenes video of a less obvious addition to this dresser vignette. It’s House*Tweaking’s very first video and – WARNING! – it’s rough but you will learn something. Like, how we DIY with three kids around. If anything, you should tune in just for the laugh.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking