photo Whaling-City-Cottage-8-2015_zpsoygeotsf.jpg

one room challenge – foyer closet {REVEAL}

This may be anti-climatic – after all it’s just a closet – but here we go….it’s One Room Challenge reveal day!

This is my third ORC and I still love it.  The pressure, the camaraderie, the inspiration from everyone’s projects.  For a bush league blogger like me, the community aspect of ORC is the best part.  The “point” of my blog is to write, share my perspective (smart ass though it may be) and connect with people.  ORC is a great way to do that.  So thank you, Linda!

Alright, let’s jump into the closet.  Recall this is the puke fest we started with.

Take your time pinning.  I’ll wait.

What the cripes were these people thinking with this wallpaper?  At what point in looking at samples are you like, oh yeah this is the one, my stomach hurts just looking at it.

We planked right over that madness.

Turns out, photographing a windowless closet that resides in a windowless foyer is very difficult.  It was beyond my skill set with the manual setting on my Canon.  Most of these shots are from my iPhone and I’ve come to grips with that.

That’s about all there is to see in this tiny space.  A huge thank you to my husband for all his hard work on the shiplap!  And a big thanks to you all for your support and kind words during this process.  Be sure to check out all the other amazing transformations over at Calling It Home.  The featured participants and the guests rocked it this round.

Paint color – Benjamin Moore Palace Green
Floor basket – World Market
Tote – LL Bean
Wall hooks – Lowe’s
Laundry chute cabinet latch – Martha Stewart for Home Depot
Bowl and tray – Marshalls
Rug – ecarpetgallery on Ebay





one room challenge – foyer closet {week 5}

I’m going to try to be more civilized this week.  While my husband was reading our last ORC post, I heard him guffaw in the other room and then make a surprisingly-accurate water bong sound effect and pretend to blow smoke.  Pretty sure he was mocking my sense of humor and the je ne sais Joliet, Illinois quality of my posts.  To which I reply –  sir, I pay the bills on this blog and will write what I please, get your own creative outlet (cue Destiny’s Child song Independent Woman).  Ps – I don’t smoke weed or own a water bong…..anymore.

Linda, my apologies for putting the words “water bong” and your logo together.

Okay, the final details of the closet….

I combed the internet hard for brass coat hooks.  But it’s difficult to get an accurate read on the finish from a computer screen and all the options I liked were kinda pricey.  Then I popped into Lowe’s to get microfiber rollers and found these affordable and sturdy beauties.

The cabinet latch for the laundry chute is from Martha Stewart Living for Home Depot, which obviously isn’t a perfect match for the brass hooks from Lowe’s but I’m cool with that.  You can barely tell.

We had to update the closet rod too – the old one was galvanized pipe covered in duct tape.  I would expect nothing less from Puking Snake Closet.  A big AHA moment was realizing I should rotate the orientation of the rod.

OMG, I cannot get the lighting right on these photos!!!  Panic.  Why did I choose this “room”?  Breath.  Breath.  Where’s my water bong?

Ignore the color problems and let’s focus on the coat rod.  Instead of having a wall-o-coats smack you in the face when you open the door, I tucked it over to the side.  Much better.  The rod is poplar wood from Lowe’s stained Minwax Special Walnut.

Since we have 12 square feet of space in here, I figured we needed a storage basket on the floor.  I  snagged the medium size basket in this series from World Market.  It has a touch of black in the weave which I love.

We also needed better storage on the shelf to corral items.  These grasscloth wrapped storage bins were on clearance at Home Goods – they’re sturdy, have a lid and the color and texture are great.

And finally….art.
To play up the room-like quality of the closet and make me smile when tossing socks down the chute.  One of my favorite vendors at Acushnet River Antiques is Carolann Burke.  (In her defense and due to the earlier water bong discussion, I should mention we’re not related).  These vintage British soldier watercolors are from her booth.

There are plenty of little bits to pull together and style before the reveal next week.  Fingers crossed I can get the lighting right for the reveal photos.  It’s finally dawning on me that this closet was a really bad choice for a photo-based event.  But I can’t turn back now!


one room challenge – foyer closet {week 4}

It’s Week 4 of the One Room Challenge!  From here on out, it’s all about the fun stuff – the DETAILS!

I know it’s just a closet but the choice of rug for this space has stressed me out.  In my mind, the rug should cover as much of the footprint as possible, to make it seem more like an actual room.

Lucky for me, Stark Carpet was very interested in partnering on this high-profile and dynamic project.  They reached out to me and will be sending us an antelope rug, custom-cut for our foyer closet #soblessed #itsahardknocklifebutsomebodysgottadoit.

Wait, sorry, that’s the paint fumes talking again.  Seriously though….how stunning would this antelope rug be with the green walls?  Meow.  Or whatever antelopes say.  (Consult your local terrestrial mammalogist for more information but antelopes are an ungulate so….moo?)

Okay, back to reality – I initially bought this vintage rug from Carpetsmall on Etsy to go in the closet.

In person, it was more orange than it looked online (not what I was going for) and plus I really like it in front of the console table, so I had to start over.

Not shocking to anyone – it is flipping hard to find a 3’x4’-ish vintage oushak rug in just the right color, pattern, patina and price.  Like, impossible.  I briefly considered a custom-cut bound seagrass rug from Pottery Barn but….snooze….and besides those jamokes charge out the yang for everything.  I refuse to give them money.

Given these issues and my completely one-sided relationship with Stark, I had to switch gears.  This wool kilim from Ecarpet Gallery was super affordable and I liked the colors – some green to tie in with the walls and red for warmth.  It’s not a deliciously faded oushak, obviously, but it’ll do.  It can always be placed down the line, if I find something stellar.

Watching the shiplap come to life this week has been fun though.

Green gorgeousness.  Come to mama.

And a real life, evening time shot.  Second coat just went on.  Moana soundtrack on constant repeat.  My kids can’t stop, won’t stop.

Hardware and art (yes, art in a closet) go in next week.  Fingers crossed for the sunniest week EVER to photograph.  A windowless closets is not a camera’s friend.  I think I need a clear incandescent bulb in here, not a frosted LED.  Maybe that will help things….it still seems so dim.

(From a sexy ORC/Pinterest-worthy image perspective, what was I thinking choosing this room?  No natural light?  Oh right….Bubonic Plague snakeskin…now I remember)

We’re closing in on the finish line!  Be sure to pop over to Calling It Home and check up on the ORC featured and guest participants.  There are over 200 guest participants this round!


one room challenge – foyer closet {week 3}

Nothing like the gentle hum of the air nailer to rattle your fillings out.

Welcome to Week 3 of the One Room Challenge!  This is the time to seriously crank on work…and thanks to my lovely contractor husband, we did.

The closet is full of corners and the area around the laundry chute was particularly tricky but my husband did an amazing job on the faux shiplap.  Though you should have seen his face when I kindly requested the corners be mitered super tight, caulked and look seamless #sorrybabe.

Last week, we narrowed our paint color options.  When it comes to choosing wall color, I’m like a hyper Pomeranian – very easily distracted by the next chew toy (i.e. color) – but I tried to ratchet down my level of crazy this time.

After testing a totally reasonably number of samples (7), I landed on Palace Green from Benjamin Moore.  It has a skosh of blue and yellow in it.

I didn’t want any white primer to show between the nickel-sized gaps in the boards (if that was even possible), so I impulsively started painting a stripe every 6″….with a 5″ roller….soon realizing that meant essentially putting a coat of paint under planks.  Oh well, that’s why I bought a gallon.  And it gave me a chance to really test out the color.  Heart eyes!  It’s not sage.  Not emerald green.  Not hunter green.  It’s perfect.

The crown molding is next on our to-do list.

Then installing and re-orientating the new closet rod and adding coat hooks.

Lowe’s.  $3.50 a pop.  Mic drop.

The paint was giving me animal print vibes so I put on my leopard flats for this shot.  Give *in* to the crazy….let it wash over you….

What do you guys think of the color?  My husband says it looks like an avocado (stone-face emoji).


one room challenge – foyer closet {week 2}

It’s so relaxing to do an ORC that doesn’t involve installing new floor joists.  (I’m looking at you, mudroom).

This is a cake walk in comparison, which probably means I punked out on the difficulty this round.  Or my general euphoria could be from all the primer fumes.  Oil based primer in a windowless closet = Lalapolooza 1994 level of getting high.  And not in a good way.

As you may recall – that is, if you haven’t been huffing Zissner like me – this is the situation in our 60’s snakeskin foyer closet.

Popping off scallop trim like it’s our job.

The old light fixture is in the garbage and we’re painting the ceiling and priming everything.

The wallpaper is in excellent shape, though ugly as sin, so I decided to leave it up and cover it with horizontal planks.  Now…before you roll your eyes and fall asleep in your chowder, I promise this won’t be a boring Fixer Upper white box.

Remember these luxurious bastards?

BM Forest Hills Green  //  BM Palace Green  //  BM Alligator Alley

Yep, these are totally different greens than my initial go at it.  Picking the right color for this windowless closet is hard!  I’m on round two of samples.

Before I decide on a color though, the wallpaper and trim had to be primed and the light fixture installed so the color decision wouldn’t be related at ALL to the old closet vibe.

My apologies for the crappy nighttime photos but….it’s Week 2.  Good lord, why does our trim look lime green?

The primer doesn’t have to be perfect because we’re just planking over it.  But I plan to paint the nickel-sized gaps between the boards so we just primed everything.

I’m not buying another round of samples though….the final color is somewhere on that wall.  It’s decision time.  I promise they look much better in person and when photographed during the day.

Our shiplap boards have been bought, cut in 6″ wide planks and primed, so we’re firing up the air nailer this weekend.  After that, we get down to the fun stuff – rug, hardware, art, and storage bins.

Hop over to Calling it Home and see how knee-deep in dust everybody else is.  Week 2 is always ugly.





one room challenge – foyer closet {week 1}

It’s ORC time!!! (Liz Lemon’s Oprah voice)

And despite residual stress-twitching from our mudroom renovation, we’re jumping back in.  Thank you, Linda, at Calling It Home for the kick in pants that is this mayhem!  Here’s a peek at my two other ORC rooms.

Mudroom, fall 2015 – this room saves our bacon on the daily.


Vintage boy’s room, spring 2015 – still super love this room, even with the scars on my feet from Legos.


This time we’re taking on a more manageable project – the foyer closet in our front hall.  No, it’s not a super sexy project….but it is super ugly.  According to the ORC code, I have 6 weeks to transform this disaster.  Get ready to be embarrassed for us.


So poorly lit, it can barely be photographed.

The ceiling is brown.

I believe the wallpaper is from the limited edition 1964 Snake with the Stomach Flu collection.  Very rare.  Ooooh…and matching (I use that word liberally) sponge-painted trim?

Please, humans – don’t do this to your walls.


The amount of scallop trim in this house is mind-boggling.

But it’s not all bad.  Here’s the upside.

  • It’s spacious (~12 square feet)
  • The wraparound shelf
  • The shoe nook
  • The laundry chute! (It has two entrances – one in the upstairs hallway and one here.  Word.)

*Here’s a cool article about the history of laundry chutes*

Obviously we use this space for coats and shoes but it’s also a storage closet.  Although right now it’s a disorganized dumping ground for crap and needs to be wa-aaay more functional.  And bear less resemblance to fungus.

Think… English library vibe.  I want to take this sucker from bad green to good green.

farrow and ball

The tricky part will be finding the right shade of green for this windowless nook.  I’m thinking a mid-tone mix of leafy green and sage-but-not-in-a-1990’s-kind-of-way.

country living

James F. Carter via Habitually Chic

Maybe army green instead?

kate marker interiors

Here’s the plan…..

Dreamy green everything
Vintage style light fixture
Antique rug
Woven baskets
Brass accents

Stay tuned for total annihilation of the funky snakeskin and be sure to check out what my other ORC peeps are cooking up, both the featured participants and the guests.  There’s never a shortage of talent and inspiration in this challenge!


A few of my One Room Challenge favorites

First, thank you all so much for your lovely comments on our mudroom.  You guys are the bomb.  We’re really happy with how the room turned out and now we get the joy of actually using it.  Function.  In this money pit.  Who knew, right?

A ton of crazy talented people participated in this round of the One Room Challenge and here are a few of my favorite transformations.

Simplified Bee.  I love that gorgeous light fixture with the wallpaper and everything that’s going on near that console.


Always Rad.  The awesome power of paint.

bottom right outlet

Design Manifest.  This whole condo renovation (!!!) is stunning but I can’t get over the entry.  I want to lick everything.


Kelly Rogers Interiors.  A cozy and unique office.

kelly rogers

Design Indulgence.  Sherry is an evil genius with neutrals.


Green Street Blog.  Such a sweet guest room.


Kate Collins Interiors.  This closet is beyond adorable.

kate collins

Claire Brody Designs.  The color combination in this room kill me.



Who knows, maybe once the shock wears off from this ORC and my husband and I stop twitching, I might be ready to tackle the little yellow bathroom this spring.




One Room Challenge – classic mudroom REVEAL

We made it!  One Room Challenge is doooone.  And this one was no joke – doing all the work ourselves while working full-time jobs and wrangling two crazy kids, who never stop eating or wrestling.  The majority of the work was new to us – laying floor tile, installing woodwork, building the bench and cubby, and let’s not forget entirely rebuilding the floor.  I owe my husband an enormous debt of gratitude for all he did and to our generous friends who loaned us tools and gave us advice and helped us along the way.

A big thank you to Linda from Calling It Home for opening up the ORC to linking participants and loads of thanks to all of you for lighting a fire under our butts with your support.

Let’s revisit the scary BEFORE, shall we?


Oh hi 1950’s, sure I’d love to store my….canned goods and clear plastic babushka here???

Then things got much worse…..


After re-building the floor joists, we started the One Room Challenge with this blank slate.  Notice the highly effective ceiling light.


And here’s the AFTER










Shiplap walls + herringbone floors + black doors.  Is there anything better?







I’m still painting the doors so don’t look too closely there and the styling is in flux as always…but I love it so much!  I can’t believe this is a room in our house.  This is also the curtain call on major house projects for us in 2015.  We’re fried.  Our 1 year anniversary of moving into the house is approaching and we tackled a lot in that time.  Now we’re ready to get our holidays on.  Eating, drinking, hiking, parties, Christmas music, general not working on the mudroom merriment.

Thanks for stopping by to check things out!  Be sure to pop over to Calling It Home and see the gorgeous transformations cooked up by the ORC featured participants and linking participants.  Super talent, everywhere.

Play catch up on our transformation here….

week 1 // week 2 // week 3 // week 4 // week 5





I’m always nosy about how much a project set somebody back so I’ll just tell you.  We added up all the receipts and the entire project – from floor joists to accessories – cost $2,500.

wall and trim color – Benjamin Moore White Dove
door color – Benjamin Moore Mopboard Black
ceiling color – Benjamin Moore Moonshine
floor tile – Ivetta black slate from Lowe’s
ceiling light – Bellacor
mirror and antler hook – Hobby Lobby
woven basket – Home Goods
gray bins and coat hooks – Lowe’s
plaid scarf – TJ Maxx
orange tray – West Elm
art – Cove Antiques
odds and ends – shopping our house


One Room Challenge – classic mudroom {week 5}

Putty, sand, dust, prime, paint….is my life.  It’s week 5 of Calling It Home’s One Room Challenge and since we cranked with a capital C this week, we might actually finish this shiz on time.

ORC Guest BlackHere’s a peek at our progress…..


My husband worked so hard to finish installing the faux shiplap (6″ wide strips of 1/4″ thick hardwood plywood from Lowe’s) and I’m obsessed with it!  I kinda like it better than real tongue and groove panels because the gap between the boards is more pronounced.


I painted all the woodwork with Benjamin Moore ADVANCE in White Dove (satin finish).  Between the awesome paint and the microfiber roller, this is by far the easiest and most fun part.  Catching up on This American Life, waving my magic roller around, watching the shiplap get all beautiful.

Painting the doors black has been less fun.  I loathe painting doors, it stresses me out.  But these babies must be black so….I need to buck up and start knocking that out.


We also built and installed the cubby for the open vertical shelving.  I like the space on the bottom that’s open to the floor.  The whole thing needs trim and paint of course.


The bench is almost finished too, which will go to the left of the cubby.  I’m just adding the final coats of satin polycrylic.


There’s still a ton to do before the reveal.  Finish painting…everything.  Add crown molding.  Install the bench.  Add the batten and hooks.  Accessorize.  It’s going to be another mudroom-centric weekend around here but it’s worth it.  We can’t wait to finish this project!




One Room Challenge – classic mudroom {week 4}

Okay now we’re cooking.  It’s past the halfway point in Calling It Home’s One Room Challenge and we’re starting to crank.  But we’re still gonna need every one of the 14 days left until the reveal.  Hopefully November 11 is sunny and gorgeous because that’s likely when I’ll be shooting.

The biggest news of the week is….the floor is tiled and grouted!  I’m in love.


This took WAY longer than we expected – lots of cuts, lots of waiting for mortar to dry in an unheated room in October – but thanks to my intrepid contractor husband, it looks amazing.  The medium gray grout (Driftwood color by Polyblend) does a great job of highlighting the herringbone pattern without being too pale.

We pulled the trim off the three doorways in the room.  The wood was totally shot and would end up being too short for the new floor anyways.  The stratum we unearthed was mind blowing.  Bright yellow and pink paint, naturally.   I honestly don’t understand the 1950’s.  But we’re still the chagrined owners of two pink toilets so who can blame me?


Today we start installing the new door trim and baseboards, which are clean-lined 1×4’s and 1×6’s.  I didn’t want anything too fancy to compete with the faux shiplap walls.  And we snagged a hopefully-sufficient-quantity of 1/4″ hardwood plywood that Lowe’s kindly ripped down to 6″ strips for us, with only a little bit of eyelash batting on my part.

On the mirror hunt – every Home Goods and TJ Maxx and Marshalls in Southern New England had squat, so on a whim I stopped into Hobby Lobby and scored this fella for 50% off.  And a gold antler hook to hang him from.



We also built the bench this week by biscuit-joining two 2″ x 9″ boards together, so it will look like one seamless wide plank.  Last night I sanded and stained it with Minwax Dark Walnut.  A few coats of satin polycrylic is next.

Some accessories shopping…..who knew braided wool storage baskets were so pricey? Damn, Gina.  Eventually I’ll pick up some big woven felt ones like these from Crate and Barrel but in a fit of general mudroom sticker shock, I grabbed two of these gray felt bins from Lowe’s.


Some other goodies I’ve gathered….



Okay, I’m off to paint trim.  And shiplap.  And crown molding.

Thanks for stopping by and checking on our progress!  I’m sending lots of good vibes through the interwebs to my other ORC cronies.

week 1 // week 2 // week 3