I took a leap of faith this weekend and finally dove into repainting the front door. Again. I posted about our original door ages ago. Here’s a quick recap:

When we bought the house the entry looked like the photo below. Nothing terrible. But nothing special either. It also happened to match all of the other front doors in the neighborhood (burgundy, navy, hunter green). We also weren’t feeling the black kickplate. It was cutting off the door and made everything feel sort of shorter.


About 6 months after we moved in (and 3 months after we had O) I got the wild hair to paint the door teal. I wanted something brighter, bolder, and unique. Teal is one of my favorite colors so why not? (Side note: I once lived in a purple Victorian with magenta trim and teal accents as a kid. I’m not afraid of color. My parents still had a purple front door until last summer. Color crazy is in the family.) I also removed the kick plate since I figured I’d be able to reattach it if we changed our mind. But then I realized it was a brass and had been spray painted black… removing the screws prompted it to begin to chip and peel. Happy accident? I think so. Below is the teal door sans kick plate.


For a while I just stood back and admired the door. I loved it but something was missing. A few weeks later Molly and I grabbed some black trim paint on a whim when we were out getting other things. It took two coats but it was the best decision ever because it really made the door pop and the house feel more cohesive with black shutters, light fixtures and trim. I posted about the trim here. PS- You can see the giant half dead tree that we just had removed in the pic below too.


Alas, I was ready for change again. Hubby insisted that the teal door had really grown on him and had urged me to reconsider. But he went out of town last week and so I had a little paint fun. Of course, I knew that I may have to paint it back to teal again if this blew up in my face. That’s where the leap of faith came in. I popped into Ace on my way home from work and chose a paint color on the spot. Perk: The guys there know me now and gathered around to help me chose a color to pop against the black trim. With their help, I chose Mill Springs Blue by Benjamin Moore. It has a sort of washed-out mint vibe. I had it color matched to a paint and primer combo quart of Clark+Kensington outdoor semigloss. I was looking at the lighter swatch “Covington”  right next to it but Molly gets the credit on selling me on a slightly darker tone (via text) and going with the Mills Springs Blue.


I did the project in stages over the next few days. After all, this was done after work, dinner, O’s bath and bed so I usually only had an hour before sunset. Basically, one day I did a new coat of black on the trim while Molly scraped and repainted the mailbox. Then the next night I wiped the door down with vinegar/water and then liquid deglosser that I had left over from the sofa table project and I did the first coat of my new grayed out minty green color. As you can tell below, the two colors are very different. At first I worried that this may be a disaster.


But after the first coat I was really loving the cooled down effect of a softer color. O liked it too.


The second coat stole my heart. Seriously perfect. Although the front stoop is a bit bare (planters are on my list), I’m really feeling our new mini-makeover.


Boom! Here’s a close up of the pop effect the black and mint have together. Yummy.


Yes, I still painted the inside of the door. Its just a tradition now! I think that the cool tone of the soft green really meshes with the rest of the inside decor which is mostly grays, creams, and some sea-glass tones with pops of white, wood and yellows/oranges.


Above is the view from the corner of the family room at the banister/half-wall and below is the view from the kitchen entry where it meets the hallway at the top of the steps. Now I think just need to get something for above the door but I’m blanking on ideas.  Thoughts?


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Paint can make some really amazing changes for a reasonable cost.


Gallery Wall Breakdown


As promised, a gallery wall breakdown. What we chose, how we chose, how we (mostly I) made it. I love love love gallery walls. In fact, this isn’t our first gallery wall. Its at least the third. And third time is a charm my friends. But it IS the first gallery wall (and probably only one for a while) in our own grown-up house. I’ll do my best to go left to right with some up and down in between… don’t get dizzy now!

First up:


The top left item is a small canvas I painted ages ago when I was dreaming of filling O’s wall with the alphabet. The idea for her room evolved (I guess I should post about her adorable room one day?) so I was left with a bunch of canvases of letters. I painted over most of them but I saved the A (for our last name) and waited for the right spot to hang it.

Below that is a Chinese paper art cut-out of an ox. I received a book full of paper art and cut outs from one of my father’s Chinese business associates. I framed this one because it had a great composition and the most bold colors of them all. It once lived on our hallway wall in our first apartment but it fits right in here.

The largest piece is a large print of our wedding announcement. We eloped in secret to Jamaica and had my mom send these out from “Loveland, Ohio” on the day we wed. Our good friend Erica made it. The entire thing is a water color treasure map depicting our engagement at the Cincinnati Zoo and our surprise Jamaican wedding. There is even a pirate ship and a treasure chest with our wedding rings. I think Erica and I came up with the rhyme together and she did all of that calligraphy by hand. Gorgeous work and one of my most prized possessions. Here is a closer look at it.


Seriously one of my favorite things in the world.


Closest to the door is a print of a photo I took of driftwood on one of our trips to the lake ages ago. The frame had a traumatic move but I plan on patching it with wood filler and giving it a fresh coat of paint. You can also see a little more of the Chinese ox in this picture.

20130312-114312.jpgOne of my favorite DIY wall art techniques is to take simple items and display them in an interesting way. Here I have done that with keys. I collect keys. I don’t know why but I have a shoe box full of them. So last time we did a gallery wall at our old place I grabbed our old car keys… Hubby had his beloved Volvo and I had my dream car Wanda the Wrangler. (Yes, I name my cars. My current ride is a 2012 charcoal Honda Pilot. She’s dark and boxy and looks like a Rhino so I named her Rhina). Enough about keys… The point is that all I did was paint a small canvas and hot glued my keys on. Then we each signed out names. The keys above are also on a canvas that I painted a coordinated chevron pattern on and glued some replica skeleton keys to it.


This is our old apartment key and you guessed it- I painted a canvas and glued on a key. Then I used a sharpie to label it “Our First Apartment” and the address. I like it because it is sentimental and it ties in with a few other items on the wall. I chose orange to add a little color and pick up some of the vibrant colors from the Chinese ox.


The next picture is of Hubby kissing O when she was just a day old. I especially love it in black and white with the silver frame.  It is a daily reminder for me of why I’m here doing what I’m doing each day.


Above that is a smaller picture of me with O on the same day. I can’t believe she was ever so small.

And next to that is another driftwood picture that I took at the lake. Hubby and I used to stare at this picture and talk about what we see. I see an old man’s face. What do you see?


Ah, and then there is a giant print of Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly. Hubby and I have agreed that she is only a placeholder for something else… should we ever find anything more fantastic than her.

The red frame holds corks. Its another free art piece I made with an everyday item for our old gallery wall. I even left the wire cage on the champagne cork in true Hilda style. Can you tell I like wine and corks? Because I posted about them here, here and here.


Next is a framed sepia row boat print purchased from The Market in Charleston.

And then there is an adorable little Baby O foot print in plaster and a copy of her Valentine’s Day themed birth announcement. The natural wood frame is nice but the rest of the frames on the wall are black, white or silver so I think it may eventually get painted to give it more cohesion with the rest of the wall.

The last piece is a typography print of an eye exam chart but it says “I love you past forever and longer than always” instead of the alphabet. I bought it on Etsy as a valentines day gift for Hubby years ago. I wish I could remember which shop it came from.

So I that’s the novel version of our gallery wall. It is actually the second time I’ve written it… apparently WordPress ate my last post so I did this all over again. That’s love people. I love you! I didn’t mean for it to be so long but each piece has a story. The stories are what is starting to make our house a home. What makes your home?

Foyer Progress

When we bought our house it was the victim of “neutralization” in order to sell. Obviously a real estate professional advised our previous owners to paint things neutral and de-clutter in order to attract buyers. I’m not against this. I hate clutter too. I believe in neutral. What I don’t believe in is buying 5 gallons of flat tan paint and sloppily painting the entire house (minus the blue room- more on that later). No lie, the entire house was the same flat tan paint. It was a cave. A neutral cave.

I first attacked our family room and painted it gray with stripes. The family room is open to our bi-level foyer over the half wall. The gray was begging me to continue into the foyer. That’s the thing about open-concept homes: you never know where to start and stop painting. But I felt the gray was a natural progression into the foyer. I knew it would have enough light and add a little balance. So we did it…. with a really awesome ladder.


{View from the family room}

IMG_2312 {View from top of the steps}






{From the half wall}

IMG_2313{From the landing}

So tan, Right?!?!? I somehow lost the paint-in-progress pictures when I switched around some computer stuff. But trust me- I painted the foyer gray twice. On a really tall ladder. Really.

Next came hanging pictures. I have always wanted an asymmetrical gallery wall. Now was the chance. I used the tried and true newspaper layout trick and it saved a tone of headache. I also marked each cut-out with the spots to nail holes for each picture. Boom- NO MEASURING whatsoever. My kind of project.


I spent a few days looking at the newpaper layout and rearranged a few things on it before I settled on the current layout. The best part is that its a work in progress. I can add, move and change things as time goes on. Note the teal door behind me. so cheery! Although I’m seriously considering painting it black to give a more chic/laid back vibe.


{Work in progress}

I’m still waiting to find the right inspiration for something to go on the big blank wall above the door. And We’d like to add more frames above the current collection. But for now this is just what the foyer needed. Stay tuned for another update and a breakdown of all of the art/photos up on this wall.