Saturday, August 16, 2014

It's All In How You Mix The Two

A dear friend of mine and I decided long ago that a person should have more than one theme song that covers different aspects of their lives.  There's nothing better than just hanging out with your good friend, not doing anything in particular-- wasting the best kind of time together.  One of our mutual theme songs is Blue and Yellow by The Used.  I thought it appropriate for the styling of the desk in the entry.

Speaking of themes, notice a recurring one?


Since my tuition bill is looming, I have to style the entry on the cheap.  The least expensive way to decorate? Shop in your own house!  I snagged the yellow painting I made ages ago, took the Mae Chevrette print from the front porch, the green glass teardrop vase from my office, and an adorable photo of Lily.  

The whole setup still needed a bit of something.  I thought I had a sparkly silver photo frame tucked away, but it is no where to be found.  I needed a bowl for my keys or pocket change, since I didn't want to tuck it in the drawer.  I like knowing they're where I can see them and one of the kids (Emily!) hasn't wandered off with them.  

Off to the local Goodwill store to see what treasures I could dig up.  Sadly, there wasn't much by way of vases or decorative bits.  I did find a small, pressed glass bowl for a very reasonable 99 cents, so I snagged it.  Later in the week, I had to go to Walmart for garden stakes (the grapes need to be trained on wire) and they were in clearance for $1.50 each.  Right beside them was a glass cylinder vase for 97 cents and a mango-scented candle for $1.50.  Mine!  The last thing I picked up was a bouquet of flowers for $3.97.  

I had enamel craft paint, Frog Tape, and some Krylon Looking Glass (mirror) spray paint already, so it was just a matter of taping off the new vase, painting the outside with the enamel paint, and the inside with the spray paint.  

The hardest part is making sure the tape is even!
I would highly recommend spray painting before putting the enamel on.  I did it in the reverse and needed to wipe it from the outside.  Spray the paint in, and allow the excess to run out onto a drop cloth or (in this case) scrap paper.  I only did one coat of paint, but I think two might be necessary.  I brushed the enamel on, and I really love the texture it gives the finished vase.  

So, putting it all together, the desk looks like this now

I still think I'm far from finished, but this is definitely far more pleasant to look at than the naked "before" photo:

There is still a ton of work to be done in here.  I'm compiling a wish list of things I'd like to get and a to-do list of what needs to be done (like ripping out carpet sometime in the next year).  For now, I'll just have to baby-step it until I can save enough pennies to accomplish what I'd like to do.

I'm going to leave you with a gratuitous pic of Lily, because she has snored through the writing of this entire blog post.  

Friday, August 8, 2014

Naked and Afraid

Remember that side-of-the-road find from last year?  That gorgeous desk whose veneer had definitely seen better days?  It has been finished for quite some time and just hibernating in the dining room.  Today, I finally put it in the entry, where it shall store keys, sunglasses, gloves, winter scarves, mittens, and hats (hey, we have a ton of blustery days here).

The mirror that I revamped when I still lived in Florida has been hung above the desk.  Now the entry area looks like this

It is so... blank.  And beige.  And boring.

The diamond-weave wool rug is there to cover up an ancient floor heating grate.  Without it, the entry is freezing, since there's nothing to stop the cold basement air from chilling the room in the winter, not to mention adding a fortune to my heating bills.  It also evens up the floor surface since the grate is an inch below the carpet.  There is hardwood under the carpet, and exposing and refinishing it is definitely on the to-do list... just not until maybe next year.

For scale, that's a 7-inch tall flower pot, with a 4-inch base.  Yes, that's authentic 1960s paneling on the wall.  I know it is hideous.  The worst part of it is that the ceiling is taller than the original panel, so there's a panel seam that runs around the top of the wall, roughly 6 inches from the ceiling, as if it is trying to masquerade as crown molding.  The same paneling was in the entry closet and one day after moving in, I decided to see what was underneath.  You may want to sit down for this:

Doesn't it just take your breath away?

I simply cannot deal with this visual nightmare all over the room.  Just say no.  I'm thinking this is another gem from the 30s or 40s.  It has also been lined up so that each vignette is roughly a foot away from another one exactly like it.  If the entry walls are anything like the closet, the paneling was applied directly to the plaster.  So, the paneling stays until the entire mess (paneling, wallpaper, plaster, lath) can all be removed and remodeled.  I considered painting the paneling, but that seam drives me crazy... paint would just highlight the seam.

The entry light is a more modern addition to the room.  When I first moved in, the current light replaced a gothic, red stained glass hanging light that was far too small for the room and had a long chain draped from hooks on the ceiling.  The dark switchplate on the wall above the desk echoes the coppery metal of the light, but the design lends itself to the more traditional aspect of the house.  The closet door knob and plate are gorgeous Arts and Crafts pieces that were installed upside down.  Flipping it around doesn't work because the mortise lock is installed in that part of the door.

All of this leaves me to the current issue I'm having with styling this desk.  I need it to be functional and beautiful.  I know there is a lot going on here.  I definitely need color.  The room gets very little natural light, so a shade-loving plant that likes to occasionally be chilly?  A bowl for keys or should I stash them in one of the drawers?  Photos on the desk?  On the wall?  I considered a stack of books, but that would work better if the surface were entirely flat, I think.  There is no electrical outlet here, so a lamp won't work.  Perhaps something that plays up the silver leaf mirror?

HELP!  How would you style this?

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