Accessorizing your house with unlikely possessions isn’t anything new. This isn’t earth shattering, it’s just my mantle and a little piece of unexpected sumthin-sumthin.
It started as a small Christmas gift for a teenage girl with far too many rings from Claire’s and American Eagle Outfitters. And it has traveled with me from mom + dad’s to dorm to dorm to apartment to apartment (to apartment, and to another apartment), and finally, to house, unscathed (miraculously). I’ve kept it not so much because it has any highly significant value monetarily or emotionally, but because, well, I like it. I’m not even a cat person but think it’s an interesting design. I don’t see them often – correction, I never see this model anywhere – and I don’t see ring holders often displayed openly, like this kitty.
On my mantel, for instance, is where it’s stationed now:
Expected, yet not so expected.
Typically relegated to the bathroom or bedroom, I’ve kept Cat front and center. I think the natural wooden material, the polka-dotted pattern, and the long wavy tail are unexpectedly pretty; more pretty than the obligatory picture frames and home store decor that many people resort to (don’t get me wrong, I rotate my decor so the occasional photo and Sugar Cookie Yankee Candle get a week in the spotlight too, but this isn’t about the expected right now, yo.). Right now it’s partnered with a big old conch shell that Pete moved over here, and a cool rusted horseshoe that Dad surprised me with last time he dog-sat Codeman. I think they have dozens of old horse shoes in that barn of theirs that’s crumbling down, but that’s another adventure for another day. Beneath the new art and wreath, I’m liking Cat’s positioning even more.
And yeah, there are rings on it too just because they need to be stored somewhere, right?
I approached this whole paint-a-border-on-the-sunroom-floor thing with patience.
This is not common of me.
It took a while to select a floor stencil design to apply (unusually indecisive), and then I took my sweet time figuring out how to make a decent stencil; I was especially patient in waiting until springtime to start (considered bundling up and starting the job in the very cold 3-season room but talked myself out of sabotaging the job before it started). Instead of splurging on a spectrum of floor paint colors, knowing full well that this is just a trial in a room that doesn’t get loads of foot traffic anyways, I opted to use some paint that I had on hand (although, keep reading, I think it’s going to end up being pretty foot-friendly). In any case, I’m approaching this project for the purpose of being more for decor than function. Just trying it out and maybe I’ll find out that it works wonderfully and then you’ll know that you too, and you can save some dough.
I had originally been planning on using a grey-muted rainbow of colors (think: splash of assorted color that’s fun like an Orla Kiely pattern… oh, she’s so my favorite) but in the end, I changed my plan. I had been obsessing over this can of Behr 2-in-1 that I found in the Oops paint section a few months ago; I just want to squeeze the person who wasn’t happy with this quart of perfectly robin’s egg/sea foam green/Tiffany’s blue paint because it ended up only costing me $1. For reals. Squeeze. I’m that excited about this stranger’s unhappiness.
As I sat down with my new paint, I also reconsidered on the fly where the stencil is actually going to be applied. Instead of right on top of the light gray border like I had been planning all along, I shifted and decided to do the scalloped dots just inside the border. Here are the first few lines I did.
To correct some of the inevitable errors in my handmade stencil, I followed up on each circle by hand painting around the edge with a tiny brush. It didn’t take much, just needed a little extra touch-up to even the edges so they didn’t look jagged. I am happy to say that the 2-in-1 paint applied really well (read: no need for a second coat, whoop).
As I get started, I’m also realizing quickly that this is going to take a long time. Maybe weeks. Why? Come to find, I can only do one (maybe two) strips of scallops at once since the paint muddies up the cardboard stencil and I can’t wash it off as easily as I could if it was a plastic stencil model. Troubles, but I’ll stick with it. Learn from my woes, friends.
With that said, I haven’t even got along one full wall yet; although in the first corner that I worked on, I’ve spent some time evaluating how much I liked (or should I say, second-guessed) the robin’s egg blue color I chose. Maybe it’s a little too bright? It wasn’t setting with me well. Originally I was planning on a more muted gray-scale palette, and I might be reverting back to that plan in baby steps.
Before doing anything drastic, like completely eliminating my progress with a new coat of classic gray, I swooped in with a Light’n'Fit container of a new color blend (no, not Strawberry Banana; I just recycle yogurt containers into paint holders). The blend is a mix of the traditional gray floor paint (the darker color shown in the picture) and the robin’s egg blue oops paint, so it’s close, but a gently muted variation. I think it goes a nicely with the rest of the house palette. I painted in the centers of the existing dots – almost to the edge, but not quite, so that some of the original color shows itself. In this photo, the two dots on the right are edited with the new DIY paint color:
If I estimate my projections correctly, this entire floor border project is going going to cost me less than a diner breakfast (and actually include breakfast of strawberry banana Light’n'Fit) at a total $1.57:
This is good for me. I’m on a little bit of a savings kick. I’ll explain that soon.
Onward I proceed. Slowly.
I lived through 710 days of a house with an ugly storm door. It’s (in my possibly way-too-detail-oriented-brain) the one thing people notice as they’re approaching the house, ringing the bell, and patiently waiting/silently questioning my overall judgement. The storm door had some kind of hokey X detailing, which I might allow (to slide) on a country home’s side door if it matches the X detailing on the barn, but here, on the front of my house, I couldn’t deal. The faux mail slot? Why? Just why? And you know I like scalloped edges, but when you put them on a door like this that already has a whole lot going on, I don’t know how to say it nicely, but I hated it. All of it. I know it’s one of the most popular doors you see out there, even my parents had one until recently, but they never raved about the old, less-attractive model the same way they swoon over their new door technology. If they’re swooning, and now I’m swooning you deserve to upgrade too. Swoon, swoon, swoon. And, keep on reading for a real tip for my mom (your mom too) at the end.
That purple door you see through the scalloped window? It was something that I had installed a year after I moved in; it’s pretty – the leaded glass, the inset panels, the color, all reasonably tasteful, but it was lost through this old door. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I should have swapped the storm door out sooner but between the siding and waiting out the winter months (which may not have seemed quiet because I was finding stuff to blog about 5+ times a week, but the snow really prohibits outdoor home improvement activities and thus, this had to wait). As much as I would love to have a home with a sheltered enough overhang to protect the natural front door from the elements and eliminate the storm door all together, this house (and most homes in the gusty northeastern states) benefit greatly from extra barrier against the wind and snow, so, ugly as it may have been, that old door needed to stay put until I had it’s replacement in hand.
You might recall me making my storm door picks back in January. You can read about it here if you’d like.
Oh, P.S.: I did not paint these overhang details cranberry pink. It’s hard to notice a difference in color between these brackets and my front door in any of these photos, but take my word on it – the door and these overhang accents are different colors; the front door is much more eggplant purple. Point fingers and call names, I have no idea why I didn’t paint the overhang sooner sooner since a quick, low-cost fix.
So, first things first. Sweet talk a boy into helping, because those doors are heavy. Pete was willing to try this with me, but neither of us had ever done storm door installs before and we considered it a fun learning experience. To other couples: employ patience because this took (hours) longer than we expected. We relied heavily on the instructions from Andersen/EMCO.
Next step, boy in tow, remove the classy old door. It should come right off the frame in a swift hope-you-don’t-damage-it-so-you-can-resell-it-on-Craigslist move so that you can, in fact, put it on Craigslist for $50 and go out to a nice dinner to reward yourself.
When the old door was was removed, I noticed that we had been hiding some old yellow trim behind the door frame (the same stuff we realized existed when the siding came off and WHOA, all of a sudden the whole house was yellow). So, before the new door even went up, I took the time to power sand the chipping old paint and repaint with some heavy duty exterior white paint, that fortunately I had right in the basement since you never know when an awkward yellow paint will begin to interfere with a project.
Oh yeah, and I desperately need a new doorbell. Check out those screw holes in the plastic; even they’re rusty – sign of a very old doorbell. Recommendations for something fun always appreciated since it clearly looks like something I could swap out in all of 5 minutes if I can identify the correct circuit breaker.
I won’t give you the nitty gritty of the install because, like I mentioned, we relied heavily on the manufacturer’s play-by-play and still don’t consider ourselves expert door hangers. But we did it. My new front door is up! It’s an Andersen 3000 series full-view door (bought at Home Depot thanks to a sweet 10% discount) which comes with a nice screen insert, so I have the option of replacing the entire glass unit with something more breathable. Oh hey, and notice that the cranberry pink detailing is gone? Infinitely better. Something may happen with that light fixture, but that’s another project for another time.
Noteworthy post-install thoughts:
Hellllo, that picture really shows you the patchy driveway from a new vantage point. It’s on the list; I’m practically having to beg contractors to call me back so I can give them money (a problem I didn’t realize I’d ever have).
Keepin’ on and getting stuff done, we also updated the storm door that protects the door that leads to the basement. It looked BAD before:
Old aluminum that showed lots of dents, the “glass” was actually plexi, and had loads of scratches in it; oh, and no lock, no significant insulative properties, no hydraulic to help keep it closed, it was definitely older than I am.
For this entryway, I went for a less expensive model by Andersen but am still happy with the end result, although I didn’t paint around the frame the same strategic way I did around the front door; the door was framed with white aluminum and I want to make sure when I paint, I’m using the right product and not something that’ll peel off during the next windstorm. You can see a small line of yellow from the knob down to the ground.
And one last thing which, for me, was the most interesting thing about this whole process: How to make a door close at a reasonable speed.
Did your mom know that you can adjust the speed in which the door shuts by simply loosening or tightening the phillips head screw at the tip of the hydraulic?
I did not know this, and it would have probably saved my mom some gray hairs and the rest of us, really wild teen angst. Sorry Mom, I would have fixed it if I had known it was so easy.
Happy that spring is in full effect, since now that I’m looking at those photos I notice about 15 more things that need to be tackled ASAP. Fortunately, besides asphalting, it’s all DIY style maintenance so I’ll share more with you as it happens.