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.





changes in the foyer

Slow decorating is alive and well around here.  Like a sloth’s pace.  In part because I don’t want to impulsively make decisions I’ll probably regret and because furnishing a house is redunk expensive.  Our old house was half the size of the new one so we didn’t have a lot of furniture.  Living here a year, its taken time to figure out what we need, based on functionality and layout.  But I recently pulled the trigger on a few items that are flexible enough to move from room to room, so the thrifty worry-wart grandma that lives inside me isn’t twitching too much.

Our foyer is loaded with doors and doorways – it has eight, which is insane – so there are only two spots where furniture can go.

To the right of the front door.



And under the stairs.  Yeah, I still haven’t finished painting the stairwell.  Let’s not talk about it.



Right now the black console table is under the stairs, which is opposite the foyer closet.  So many doorways here.  The one on the left is the foyer closet.  The one on the right is the powder room.


Even with our glorious mudroom, we still use the crap out of this closet for extra coats, shoes, 400 hooded sweatshirts and paper towels, among other things.


The hideous snake skin wallpaper is…baffling.  If it was up to me, I’d be ORC-ing the snot of the closet right now but our tore-up screen porch (*cough* husband) won’t let me.  That little hobbit door is one entrance to our laundry chute.  Why they stopped putting these in houses, I’ll never know.  The other entrance is upstairs in the linen closet.

Given its proximity to the closet, the spot under the stairs is probably better served by a bench.  As it is, I just plop down at the bottom of the stairs to put my Converse on.  Uncombed hair, Chuck Taylors, an affinity for mozzarella sticks….apparently I’m still 12 years old.


IMG_5775bench  // garden stool  //   rug

Much better.  It needs a second pillow though.  Possibly this one from Spark Modern.





For the spot next to the door, I’ve been debating a lucite console table for a loooong time but was gun shy about being too trendy (I’m not cool, we know this) and besides the one from CB2 costs a lot of clams.  I can’t spend $400 on something that’s basically invisible.  But this spot needed light and airy so when I spotted this version on sale from Urban Outfitters, I jumped.



And it does not disappoint – it’s super heavy, sturdy and the quality is top notch.  This is not Lee Press-On Nails acrylic.  This is Lee Radziwill’s lucite vanity with a Cavalier King Charles spaniel chilling at her feet.  Or some other classy shit.


Now I’m hunting for a 3×5 antique rug for in front of it, to soften things a bit.


A big piece of art would be great here but I like the mirror – it brightens up this dark nook and acts like a window, reflecting the view of the office and screen porch.  The mirror is vintage faux bamboo from a junk store in Peabody, Mass that I painted Aurora Borealis BM.



I’m loving the change, both functionally and form-wise.  It still needs warmth and personality though, to look lived in and worn in.  Loved.  Slowly we’re getting there.  It’s starting to feel like home.  Not the 1950’s nightmare, a strangers home, we moved into 16 months ago.

What do you guys think?  Good changes?



re-painting the foyer with my tears

Alternative title – Why I’m an idiot.  So….I thought I was almost done painting the foyer.  It only took me 6 months.  At the time I picked Benjamin Moore’s Edgecomb Gray and had it color matched in Olympic One paint from Lowes.  But I only bought one gallon because in our old house we never needed more than one gallon per room and I figured I could always get more if I needed and it would perfectly match what I’d already slapped up there.  Right?  WRONG!  So so wrong.

Yesterday I grabbed another gallon of the foyer color at Lowes so I could finally finish painting.  My cousins are staying with us this weekend and I wanted to close the book on this project before they arrive.  Pat myself on the back.  Reward myself with 3 lobster rolls.  So I start finishing up with the allegedly-same paint and….what the french toast is this?!?!?  Different colors.  Only slightly but it’s noticeable.


And I like the new color better (#2) than the old one (#1).  Argggg.  So I head back to Lowes and grab two more gallons of the paint, mixed the three gallons together and will now begin painting the entire thing.  Again.  I officially give zero f**ks what color the foyer is.  Lesson learned – always buy more paint than you need.  Don’t be like me, kids.




striped vs seagrass stair runner

I’m this close to ripping up our heinous stair runner.  It makes my eyes bleed.  But before we can put down something of the non-gross variety, there’s a boatload of work ahead of me.  I need to sand and refinish the stair treads, paint the banister and spindles, and deal with the trim which still has remnant carpet fibers stuck to it.  Clearly I’m chomping at the bit to do all this.


That’s not nearly as much fun as fantasizing about stair runners.  I’ve narrowed it down to either black-bound seagrass (possibly THIS one) or stripes.

Rachel’s staircase has been my main inspiration for the whole shebang.  I love the neutral texture of the seagrass and the way the black binding looks against the white stair risers.  Our banister is almost identical to this one and will definitely be painted black.

southern exposuresouthern exposure

Here Carol uses the same Safavieh runner I’m thinking of using.  I love the subtle chevron pattern.


But maybe a striped runner?  To match the almost-exclusively striped wardrobe my kids and I rock.  (It’s a sickness).  Our foyer rug is an antique from ecarpet gallery which I love, and while I can’t promise another persian won’t hop in our car someday, I’m pretty sure the foyer rug will never be striped….so it’s okay for the stair runner to be.


But of course all the striped runners I love are super expensive wool or jute.  And spending $600-plus on this item isn’t gonna happen.

But aren’t they lovely?

tom sheerer house beautifulhouse beautiful


This staircase from an ancient issue of Domino has always been a favorite.

download (2)

We could go the more affordable striped route with something from Dash and Albert.  This blue awning is pretty.

charming doodlecharming doodle

Or this black and white striped one…

Staris-23-After-Straight-Up1young house love

But in the end I’m leaning towards the seagrass for durability, texture and the pop of black on the border.  I worry that the white parts of a striped runner will get show dirt too much and plus stripes will favor pretty heavily in the other fabrics I have planned for the house (i.e. pillows, ottoman).  What do you guys think?  Stick with the classic seagrass?



removing oodles of wallpaper

Hi guys!  I hope you had a relaxing, cozy, food-and-wine-filled holiday!  I’m sooo ready for 2015.  We capped off 2014 with the move to the new house, which needs every update you can think of, and after going through the usual mourning/fear/paralysis phase, I’ve emerged on the other side, ready to face things head-on.  This house is now my bitch.

We spent a lot of time over the Christmas holiday removing wallpaper, in part because my aunt (who’s visiting) is an insane worker bee.

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foyer reveal

The foyer is finally done!  February was long and brutal for many reasons but it didn’t help that our entry was in disarray due to the knob-and-tube removal and work on the stencil.  Now it’s functioning again….and looking pretty snazzy too.  Since this blog is super new, I thought I’d share this project with the Best of the Nest link party.  And speaking of foyer makeoevers, THIS transformation by Simple Details is killer!

Here is the BEFORE:

foyer before

And the AFTER:

IMG_3289Read More