When we toured our home, we entered the front door on a gray, drizzly early-December day — and were greeted by an entryway flooded with light, in part because our realtor had turned on every possible lightbulb (well played, sir), but also because it is, literally, the center of the house (and has the doorways to prove it). It was love at first walk-through.
A year and a half later, and it’s finally decorated. While there are plenty of other projects lurking at me from rooms we use just as often (I see you, kitchen; you’re next), I knew it would be quick and easy to tackle this area and call it done. Save for painting the back of the front door white, the foyer is checked off the list.
First, I let us LIVE in the space. How did we use it? When? Why? Where there things we were always wishing we had here, or trying to place nearby? I want things to make me smile when I look at them, but I also need them to make life easier and be practical. For us, that meant having a space for three things:
1. A place to corral shoes.
2. Something to hold everyday dog supplies.
3. Somewhere to put wet coats, umbrellas and dog towels.
So, along the longer wall I put a Ballard Designs hutch that we bought for our first house’s kitchen. It’s held up well (far better than our Pottery Barn office furniture, but I digress), but in a new house we don’t need it for the same purpose, so I had no qualms about repurposing it (i.e., throwing paint all over that sucker). I removed the lower shelf and gave it a coat of primer, then added four coats of American Paint Company chalk paint in Uncle Sam. The hubs was kind enough to take over for me at this point and wax it (he used a basic Minwax in neutral) which gave it a nice creamy finish (both in look and feel). I replaced the solid wood drawer pulls with some clear crystal-look knobs from Home Depot. The verdict: It was worth parking my car in the pouring rain outside the garage for a week to get this baby done.
The table runner I whipped up in about 20 minutes. I measured how wide I wanted the fabric, then cut a strip of burlap to size and to both sides and the end, did a basic hem (fold edge over 1/4″, iron, fold again 1/4″, iron, sew straight stitch). Then, I cut strips of nylon lace (which is super soft and has stretch to it, so it lays flat nicely and doesn’t get wrinkly) for either side, and attached them with a straight stitch down the middle. I wanted the lace to overlap the burlap, and to help it stay in a straight line, I just picked a place in the lace design — in this case, the edge of the lower flower — and made sure that stayed lined up with the edge of the burlap as I ran it through the machine. No pinning, just throwing it together by hand. I had my son, who has a newfound love of scissors, help trim my thread :). I’m sure that tidbit will wind up on his resume someday. I love how it turned out, but I did make it way long and the edge nearest the corner is currently folded over twice because I’m too lazy to shorten it just yet. Maybe one day. (Probably the same day that I actually fix the different hems found in my son’s playroom curtains. Sigh.)
I found the lamp at a thrift sale last year, and spray painted it Krylon’s Slate Gray (seriously, in love with this paint). The old books I also spray painted, inspired by THIS post at A Cultivated Nest. Yes, spray painted. Books. And tied them up with the same Papertreyink ribbon I used for the Home Sweet Home chalkboard and in my son’s original nursery. The vintage service bell was a $6 World Market find. The photo frames were basic wooden frames from my stash (I’m pretty sure I’ve had these since high school), that I spray painted Krylon’s Jade. You can read more about my monogrammed milk pail HERE.
On the wall, I added a family rules subway art piece that I found on clearance in Meijer’s home decor section. I had thought about doing one myself, but the wording in this one was perfect. I actually found this piece before anything else, and it helped dictate the color scheme for the rest of the space — cream, white, sage green, golden yellow and gray. The tin barn stars were an $8 eBay find, and the mirror I picked up at an estate sale for $7. It was a dark oak initially, but thanks to my BFF’s at Krylon, it is now a respectable white. (And also, heavy. SO HEAVY.)
The chicken wire-and-burlap baskets I found for half-off at JoAnn Fabrics during a basket/container sale, and they’re holding our shoes. I’m happy because I don’t have to look at a pile of dirty footwear, my husband’s happy because he doesn’t have to hunt for his shoes. That, my friends, is marriage. (You can read about my DIY door mat HERE.)
Last, I added a coat rack to hold rainy day essentials. While the coat closet is in the foyer, having somewhere to put stuff to dry (including dog towels, since Murphy does most of his entering and exiting through the front door) was important, and it also fills out the space nicely. I found this one on Amazon — it was a lot harder than I expected to find a classic, white, wooden coat rack that didn’t resemble a bear or a piece of modern art.
You can read about my DIY chalkboard repurpose HERE and my Southern welcome sign HERE. The wall color — which we continued into the rest of the hallways — is Valspar’s Lyndhurst Gallery Beige. It’s a lovely putty color — not too dark, not too light, sorta greige but a smidge more tan.
There’s something about having the front door area finished that makes it feel really lived in. Or, maybe it’s all the shoes and dog treats and mail. Either way, it’s home.
See my other room reveals as we make our way through this new house, one wall at a time: