Let’s start at the beginning…

…walking through the front door. Formerly, you’d enter a white door into a narrow hallway that was covered in wallpaper. A brass lantern shaped fixture hung from the ceiling and the wobbly bannister was a sad shade of brown wood. The house is sideways facing, but instead of being stacked, it still has a center hall set up, with multiple entrances to every room. This openness and flow was one of the first things to draw me to the house despite it’s condition.

The only semblance of “decor” in the entrance hall was a full length mirror that took up the wall that led from the entrance to either the kitchen or dining room. There was nothing horribly offensive, but also nothing warm, inviting or chic about this first impression.

Before:

So this is how it looked.

The entrance hallway is a space I continue to work on almost daily. But my first task before moving in was simply painting. The wallpaper was stripped and replaced with Benjamin Moore White Dove. The front door and bannister handrail were painted in Benjamin Moore Black which worked to offset one another and the spindles and all of the trim were painted in bright Benjamin Moore Decorator’s White. My obsession with paint colors is another post for another day, but the Benjamin Moore store became my mecca and my paint chips (which I carried around with me during this time last year) my security blanket.

And now for the after. You can click on each of the images to see them in their full size.

front door

I swapped out the old brass light fixture for a crystal chandelier I found on Ebay. My house is a blend of different design styles, from modern to transitional and even some traditional antique pieces, and the entrance way is no exception. It is also a blend of High/Low. I have had to be as economical as possible in my design endeavors, but with a few special and more expensive pieces peppered in. On either side of the door on the windowsills sit antique cherub and crystal candle holders that were hand-me-overs from my parents.

right side

On the Living Room side of the Entrance is a set up that is a good example of decorating on a limited budget; I knew I wanted something tall and eye catching, and I achieved what I was going for with a really interesting ceramic vase and black mirrored accent table in a cool architectural shape, both from Home Goods. Let’s get this out of the way now. Home Goods may be my favorite store ever. In fact, the day before going into labor with my son, I went to one Home Goods looking for some accents for his room and literally checked out with my wares, got on the high way and went directly to another home goods in another town. All while contracting every 5 minutes. The black sticks in the vase were no more than $5 from Ikea. The framed wall hanging is an example of something that I like to do a lot: I find an image that appeals to me and have it printed and put it in a reasonably priced frame and it becomes makeshift wall art. In this case, I framed a print of Freddy Mercury’s handwritten lyrics to “Fat Bottomed Girls”. Only now as I type this do I realize that it’s an interesting word choice, but my husband and I are Queen fans so it fits us.

radiatorOn the other side of the door I have a vase of dried lavender and two beautiful gold pieces that were gifts (I have a thing for feathers). I had a piece of art that had belonged to my grandparents reframed at Michaels, which is a great way to do custom framing on a specific budget.

One aspect of our home that we were able to keep was the runner that goes up our stairs and through our upstairs hallway. Though the oriental style is more traditional, I think it not only works, but also serves to enhance. It gives the house a finished look (when it is still quite the work in progress). I love mirrors as a way to open up small spaces, and this mirrored piece serves that purpose, as well as highlights one of my favorite pieces in my home. I have an inherited love of antiquing from my parents, and am fortunate that my husband and I both enjoy this pastime. (As an aside, last weekend my parents called us late at night, which for some people might be cause for alarm. Instead, my dad was just letting us know that the Rago Discovery Auction preview for this year had been released.) This particular piece of art my parents found for us in Adamstown, and it is not only interesting in it’s cubist subject matter, but that it is made from metal and wood.

photo (2)

As I mentioned before, our house is sideways facing, which means that our entrance hallway is narrow. I went on an online quest for weeks searching for the perfect, sleek console table that would not be too deep or obtrusive. I had no luck. I should have figured that I would have success at my store bestie, Home Goods, where I decided to change things up a little.

photo 5_3

Instead of one long table, I decided to use a black bench and small black table, which turned out to be an aesthetically pleasing and also functional choice. I added a few accents like the silver tray, white ceramic vase with dried flowers, candle and photo of my kids.

photo 4_2The art in my entry way is the perfect reflection of the blend that reflects my design style. The painting perched on the table used to belong to my other grandparents. On the top is a framed photo of Keith Richards, taken by my dad when my parents saw the Rolling Stones play in Hyde Park last summer. Keith’s green shirt and the red background were the perfect compliment to the piece below which is what I would call my one true piece of real art: A signed Ray Bradbury poem in the exact same color scheme. A Stones photo may seem an odd choice for a relatively formal space but my husband and I both love the band, saw them together in concert and our wedding song is “Sweethearts Together”, so it may not be conventional but it is certainly us.

photo 1_4A while back, during the aforementioned console table search, a came across an image on Houzz that showed what looked like tall, dried purple flowers in a vase. I loved the purple/black accent and was able to incorporate it in my own home with this set up. The moss balls were courtesy of my mama, who is my Home Goods (and home decorating. and life) partner in crime.

photo 2_4The last major change to our entry way was this little hall, opposite our basement, that leads to both the kitchen and dining room. I had the painters remove the horrible wall length mirror and replaced it with this one to add depth (which I should mention was my bedroom mirror from my old house, purchased on clearance at (where else?) HG.) I took down another boring brass fixture and replaced it with this one that I found at Pottery Barn Teen.

And there you have it. The way in to our new home.

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