Entryway Planning Update

entryway progress

Being able to fix up this house over the past year and a half has been a dream come true! But it’s a bit of a letdown when people enter through the front door and see this lackluster first impression of our home. Needless to say, I’m so excited to finally be moving forward with finishing up this space! It will be the last major project we work on for a while, because Phil and I need a break… like yesterday.

Over the past couple of months I’ve been working on making final decisions with flooring, stair finishes, and front door options. There is so much to consider, so I’ve been making a concerted effort not to rush the design process! Check out the before pictures below, and read on to see the finalists for each finish option.

entryway before

THE ENTRYWAY BEFORE

When we moved in, there was thin wood flooring in the entryway— all various widths with fake nail holes. The flooring was nowhere to be found in the rest of the home, so while I actually liked the look of it, we decided to rip it out. I had planned to install the same maple flooring here that I have done throughout most of the first floor, but the more I thought about it, the more I worried about excess moisture at our front door because of rainy and snowy Ohio weather.

In addition to the moisture issue, I began to get excited about the prospect of doing a fun patterned floor in here. It would be a great opportunity to do something interesting, especially since this floor would only be seen from behind the island of the kitchen as well as the study. I wouldn’t have to worry about a pattern in here visually affecting any other major areas of the house.

entryway progress

THE STAIRWAY

One thing I knew for sure about the stairway was that the shag carpet had to go! Phil ripped it out last weekend, and we’ll be working on those staples next.

At first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to have the stairs carpeted at all, but we talked about it as a family and decided it would be cozier and safer to go for carpet. So then I was left with two choices: What kind of finish to do on the stairs, and what kind of carpet.

flooring inspo

I love the idea of a natural wood tread, and white risers. The combination of wood and white adds interest and warmth. But the more I thought about doing a fun patterned tile on the floor, the more I thought a simple and low-contrast situation on the stairs would be best. So I decided to paint the treads, risers, and spindles white, and choose a berber carpet for the runner. The handrail will stay its original stained wood finish.

Bedrosians Tile Options

TILE OPTIONS

As far as the tile goes, I narrowed it down to either this tumbling block tile using the Costa Allegra diamond tiles from Bedrosians, or doing a tone-on-tone checkered tile using 6″ square tiles from Bedrosians. While it is indeed having a moment right now, the tumbling block pattern is a classic look and something I’ve loved for over a decade. I don’t think I need to worry about its longevity. But if I wanted something a little less busy, and perhaps more classic and easy to work with, a checker pattern on a diagonal is a great choice too. Decisions, decisions!

Stainmaster carpet options

CARPET OPTIONS

I love the look of natural jute rugs, but let’s be real— jute doesn’t feel so good underfoot. In addition to finding something comfortable for bare feet, I also need a carpet that will be very durable. That excludes using a vintage runner, which had previously appealed to me. I have children and dogs, and I worry about staining and snagging. Because of their great reputation in the field, I began looking into Stainmaster carpet options. I was really happy to see some styles and textures that mimic the look of natural jute, but with the durability expected from Stainmaster.

After looking at carpet options at the National Design Mart showroom in Medina, Ohio, I narrowed down my choices to three Stainmaster Active Family options from the Anderson Tuftex line: “Only Natural;” “Abbey’s Road;” and “St. Lucia.” After a week with the samples, I decided to go with the St. Lucia carpet (seen below) because the texture reminds me most of a natural jute rug.

Originally I thought I’d choose the Wheat color (on the bottom left of the sample board below), but after considering how it would look on a stark white stairway, I decided to go for Macadamia (on the top left of the sample board). I have a steam cleaner for carpets, and since the Stainmaster carpet is stain resistant, I feel pretty good about choosing a light color, even on our stairs. I’m also considering taking this carpet into our hallway and bedrooms upstairs, and I like the idea of a lighter carpet in there, rather than the darker options.

Stainmaster carpet options

front door before

FRONT DOOR

I’ve been dreaming of replacing our front door ever since we first moved in! For one thing, the door that’s currently in place is your basic run-of-the-mill door that most people buy straight from the hardware store. I thought about fixing it up by applying moulding details and paint, but when it came down to it, our entryway feels like a cave. A little more light would be so nice! (I had to do a lot of brightening on the photos that I took of the entryway!)

front door inspo

After looking over my inspiration images, I realized that I love a bold, contrasting door with sidelites that match the surrounding wall color. The question is, what color or finish do I choose for the door? And how much glass do I want in here?

ThermaTru Door Options

DOOR OPTIONS

I decided to go with Therma-Tru for our front door set because I loved all of the options for the door and sidelite combinations, as well as the ease of designing a set online using their Design Your Door tool. I went to check out the doors in person at the showroom at Hartville Hardware (my favorite local hardware store!), and was able to see the beautiful the wood-look finish of Therma-Tru fiberglass doors.

I love the look of a natural wood door, but a wood exterior door is simply not practical for the climate in Ohio. Wood expands across the grain during more humid times of year, and contracts in the winter, not only causing doors to stick, but also causing warping over time. Fiberglass is the best option for the look of wood, with superior insulation and durability.

Therma-Tru has a several collections, but I personally settled on two favorites.

The Classic-Craft Collection offers a wide variety of panel styles, configurations, glass options and five different wood grains to choose from. If I decided to go for a painted finish rather than the grained wood-look, Therma-Tru has some appealing pre-finish color options, or I could always choose to paint the doors myself with the color of my choice. The idea of doing a muted pink door really appeals to me!

The other collection I love is the Fiber-Classic Mahogany Collection. These doors look like real wood doors, but with all of the weather-resistant benefits of fiberglass construction. The Fiber-Classic Mahogany Collection also has several stain options aside from the traditional reddish mahogany look. As with all of the Therma-Tru collections, the Fiber-Classic Mahogany Collection offers lots of paneling styles, configurations and glass options, including decorative and privacy glass.

ThermaTru Door Options

I used the Therma-Tru Design Your Door Tool to create eight door configurations I really love. I think I’d be happy with a solid color door, but my heart is telling me to go for the wood-look. It will tie in with the stair rail that I plan to leave its stained color, the wood shelving wall in the kitchen, plus the other wood glass-paneled doors I have elsewhere in my home (like in my nearby office as well as the sunroom doors pictured here.)

In the end I decided to definitely go with a wood-look door from the Fiber-Classic Mahogany Collection. I figure, if one day I wish for a solid-color door, I can always strip the finish and paint it!

Which configuration do you like best from the set above? I’m leaning towards #4.

black front door

I’d love to hear all of your opinions of my finish options! If you want to check out my first round of entryway planning, read this post here! I have changed a few things since then, but the paint, door knob, and other accessories have stayed the same. So excited to begin work on this space!

My Top Five Tips for Shopping on eBay

pink master bedroom

Whenever I’m searching for inspiration for a new room makeover, I’m always drawn to spaces that have an eclectic mix of furnishings. I love seeing homes with a mix of new and old pieces from a variety of eras with lots of great textures and finishes. The look of a home that feels collected is so much more special to me than a home that looks like it jumped straight from the pages of a catalogue. Of course, it can be difficult to achieve that kind of mix when you’re starting from scratch! I’ve been known to spend hours online searching for the perfect new pieces for my home, plus a great mix of vintage items to go alongside what I already have. My favorite place to find that perfect mix? Ebay!

I’ve partnered with eBay on this post to talk about my five best tips for creating a great mix in your home, plus how to find and take advantage of deals. At any point in time, eBay has over 1.1 billion listings available to shop, so it really is an unrivaled source for a wide variety of home goods and vintage treasures. I actually have over a decade of experience shopping for my home on eBay— fond memories of the thrill that comes in the last minutes of an auction where I hope to snag the perfect mid century floor lamp or lounge chair. These days, though, 81% of items on eBay have a Buy-It-Now feature so you can skip the adrenaline rush and cut to the chase.

pink master bedroom

Tip #1: Use Specific Search Terms to Narrow Down Your Search

If you’re searching for a mid century coffee table, searching for a broad term like, “Mid Century Coffee Table,” will bring up so many items to sift through. Try narrowing down your search by using specific materials or shapes such as “Pedestal Coffee Table,” “Chrome Coffee Table,” “Rattan Coffee Table,” or use designer names like “Karl Springer Coffee Table” or”Baughman Coffee Table.”

When using a designer name in your search criteria, you may find more expensive items, but you may also find items that are similar to the style of the designer, though not as expensive as an actual designer piece. I find that you’ll stumble on less expensive pieces if you search using material and shape in your criteria, rather than designer names. Though sometimes, if you find a listing that you love, but the price is too high, you can borrow words from the listing’s title in order to search for similar listings. Ebay is also great because within the listing’s page, they’ll show you similar items from other sellers, increasing your odds of finding the perfect piece.

Sometimes I’ll use specific search terms when I’m just browsing eBay and not really looking for a specific piece. My favorite terms are: “Studio Pottery Vase”; “Bargello Pillow”; “70s Modern”; “Ikebana Vase”; “Bentwood Chair,” and “Vintage Chrome.”

Tip #2: Use Generic Search Terms to Find Diamonds in the Rough

If you’re searching for a specific style or item, such as a burl wood coffee table, not every seller will actually include this detail in the listing’s title. Often you’ll only stumble on an affordable version of what you want after searching through pages of and pages of listings brought up by a broad search term. For instance, I found this really cool burl veneer coffee table as a related item featured in the listing for a pedestal table I was looking at. The title “MCM LOW RISE COFFEE TABLE,” isn’t very descriptive if you’re looking for a 1970s modern burl veneer coffee table. This is why searching more generic terms like “low coffee table,” or even just “coffee table” within the “mid century modernism” category of the antiques page on eBay may help you find the diamonds in the rough.

The idea of searching using broad terms sort of goes against the previous tip of using specific terms, but it’s great for those of you who have the time and inclination to sift through lots of listings. In any case, searching through listings on eBay takes much less time that traveling around to antique shops and resale stores to find the perfect piece.

pink master bedroom

Tip #3. Utilize Specific Category Searches

When I was looking for nightstands for my bedroom makeover, I knew I wanted a pair of elegant tables with a bit of a rough patina. I didn’t know exactly what style would strike my fancy, so rather than searching by specific search terms, I searched using specific style categories on eBay’s antiques section.

In the antiques section on eBay, you can search by antique period, style, and material. I searched the term “nightstand” and selected the Art Deco style as a category. From there, I was able to find a pair of simple two-toned Italian nightstands with burl wood doors and a curved shape that felt incredibly elegant. These nightstands also had the perfect touch of patina I had been looking for! The set ended up costing me $500 for the pair, including shipping to my front door from Italy.

Specific search terms didn’t help me out in this instance, but looking through pages of art deco nightstands turned up the perfect set right away! Sometimes it does take a few weeks of searching in the category of choice, or broadening the category a bit, but persistence always pays off when searching for treasures on eBay.

Tip#4 Take Advantage of Recommended Items

I always head to eBay first when I’m looking for a specific kind of item, or just browsing around my favorite search terms that I mentioned at the end of tip #1. Because I’m looking around on eBay relatively often, the recommended items on eBay’s homepage are so well tailored to my tastes! I often scroll through the recommendations and find something I really love, and probably never would’ve searched for. That’s how I’ve accumulated a beautiful and personal collection of home goods that work together to give my home that perfect eclectic mix I love.

Tip #5 Look Out For Special Deals

Did you know you can head to a specific eBay deals page to look for savings on items you already need to buy? I’ll occasionally look on the deals page when I’m ready to check an item off my house shopping list, like a carpet cleaner to keep up with pet messes, a veggie spiralizer for low carb meals, and a cool air humidifier for cold and flu season. I also head to the deals page when I need to buy new power tools for a project I’m working on. You never know what you’ll find!

pink master bedroom

My bedroom project was a labor of love— a mix of old and new. I brought some items from our old home, combined them with new elements like lighting and bedding, then added in a mix of vintage furnishings and accessories. Together, everything I used in here creates the warm feeling of a collected home, but it didn’t take years of collecting to make it happen!

If you’re interested in a similar mix of items, check out these pieces I found on eBay that can recreate the same look!

shop my roomshop my room

 

  1. Double Cone Sconces
  2. Linen Sheets
  3. Basket Globe Light
  4. Art Deco Nightstands
  5. White Pottery Vase
  6. Bruno Alarm Clock
  7. Rattan Serving Tray
  8. Pink Jute Shag Rug
  9. Campaign Dresser

pink master bedroom
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My Little Pony Birthday Party

my little pony party

Lucy is now a six year old, you guys! I can’t believe it. She had her first friends-only birthday party last weekend, which made me feel completely justified to go all out with decorations to make the day super special for Lucy and her little friends! And, who am I kidding— I’ve been dying to plan fun parties for my kiddos, every since I was a little girl myself!

I haven’t blogged the girls’ parties in a while because I’ve been pretty busy with home renovations and honestly haven’t done much besides themed sticker cups and grocery store cakes. Nothing wrong with that, but honestly I enjoy doing more! I put more effort into Juniper’s puppy party this summer, which you can see here at A Beautiful Mess.

Lucy requested a My Little Pony party this year, which was a little bit of a challenge for me personally, because of the style. The new version of the My Little Pony characters are pretty wild with bright colors and anime eyes, unlike the more pastel and cute versions of my own youth. Everything I could find in line with the My Little Pony theme felt sooo tacky to me. Lucy wouldn’t have cared a bit, but I wanted to see how much I could elevate the theme to something Martha Stewart might be inclined to publish her her magazine. :)



my little pony party

My Little Pony Paper Cups

I made my own version of My Little Pony paper cups by purchasing plain white paper cups and decorating them with simple My Little Pony character stickers. I had purchased a pack of stickers to use as party favors, so I didn’t end up needing to purchase anything extra here. It was also helpful for each girl to keep her cup separate without needing to write her name.

Rainbow Paper Plates

I found these rainbow cake plates at Target, and snatched them up immediately! They felt like they fit the mood of My Little Pony, without having characters on it, which would overdo the place setting in my opinion.

Simple Table Decor

I used a sequined tablecloth to create a magical base for the table and topped it with a crepe paper runner. Then I laid out some silver glitter stars I had made with a star punch and filled in around them with silver star confetti. For table decorations, the combo was simple, but effective!

my little pony party

Rainbow Streamer Wall

I made a rainbow backdrop for the party by taping up 5 colors of crepe streamers that matched the rainbow cake plates. I couldn’t find a muted orange or yellow from a party store, so I ended up ordering them online on Amazon instead. The colors ended up making the perfect muted rainbow wall! Here are links to the streamers I used: yellow; peach; baby pink; lavender; teal

My Little Pony Food Table

I purchased a very long sequined tablecloth from Amazon (which I plan to use for lots of future parties!) to add a magical feeling to the table. Across the table I arranged gift bags, popcorn, Lucy’s birthday cake, candy pretzels and pops that we made, and cups of Chex Mix. I also filled a three-tier plate with PB&J sandwiches and made a rainbow platter of fruits and vegetables. I ended up moving the food table to our kitchen island and used the sequin table for the girls. I had planned for them to eat on the patio, but it ended up being a bit too chilly for that.

The purple gift bags and snack cups were purchased at Target, and the paper popcorn containers were from a party store. I used a piece of floral arranging foam to display the pops, and added batting around them to look like clouds. I also added batting around the cake stand.



DIY hanging clouds

DIY Floating Clouds

Definitely the best part of the decorations were the floating clouds! They were so simple to make, though it did take a bit of time. I took it as a nice excuse to sit down and watch some television. :)

To make the floating clouds, I put together this set of paper globe lanterns in various sizes. Then I used a hot glue gun to attach lumps of batting. I didn’t focus too much on the shape of the batting, just making an effort to attach it to the paper lanterns.

Then I used fishing line to hang the clouds from the ceiling, attaching them into the plaster with white thumbtacks. I also took off the glass globes over my ceilings lights and slipped the paper globes in their place. Once all of the clouds were hung, I used a chopstick to tease out the batting and connect the various sizes of clouds together.

To make the clouds realistic, I grouped different sizes near each other and teased them together. Hanging them individually wouldn’t have looked as good, in my opinion.

my little pony cake

DIY My Little Pony Cake

So, I’m a pretty decent baker, but with everything else I had going on, I figured I should leave the birthday cake up to a professional bakery. However, I wanted to decorate it myself! So I ordered a plain white cake, picked it up early in the morning on the day of the party, and decorated it when I got home.

To decorate it, I did a white chocolate ganache drip-glaze. This was my first time attempting a drip glaze, and I thought it went pretty well! I used 4 parts melting chocolate (they were already this color) with 1 part heavy cream. I melted it slowly in the microwave (you can also use a double boiler), stirring in between 30-second increments. Then I let the ganache cool for a couple of minutes and poured about 1/3 of the ganache into an icing bottle with a medium size tip. The other 2/3 of the ganache I poured on the top of the chilled cake and smoothed it out towards the edges with an offset spatula. Once it neared the edges it began to drip down the sides. At this point. I added extra drips with the icing bottle. It sets up super fast, so this part has to be done quickly, or perhaps you may want to make your ganache a bit thinner than I made mine.

The buttercream icing held up well against the ganache because it had been chilled. Pouring the ganache on the chilled cake also aided the hardening of the ganache, so keep that in mind as well.

As soon as I poured the ganache, I began decorating the top of the cake, to take advantage of it as an adhesive element. I used macarons (from a bakery) , one lollipop, and sixlets and gumballs I had purchased from a party store. Around the edges I used some royal icing to glue the decorative candies, lest they fall off the side of the softened buttercream.

Decorating a grocery store cake was a lot of fun, and I plan to do it again for various themed parties!

my little pony party

My Little Pony Gift Bags

I didn’t feel the need to buy pony gift bags or craft any special gift bags, but I did keep the contents on theme. I filled the bags with My Little Pony stickers, My Little Pony rings, My Little Pony tattoos (from a party store for $.99), one 4″ My Little Pony doll (found at the checkout line at Target for less than $3 each!), and these clip-in fake hair clips that I also used to decorate the outside of each bag.

After Lucy opened her gifts, I had each of the little guests select a party bag and open them together. I think the girls really loved their gifts!

DIY hanging clouds

Here’s what the food table looked like when I was setting up, before I decided 64 degrees was probably too chilly for the girls to eat out on the patio dining table. Then I moved the food over to our kitchen island and set up this area for the girls to eat and craft.

my little pony party

After eating, I brought out ice cube trays full of beads for the girls to make their own necklaces. Then we served cake and sang to Lucy. After cake, we moved the party to the living room where we did presents and then the girls played a favorite school game, Four Corners.

my little pony party

my little pony party

It was honestly a lot of fun having the house overrun by girls! I suppose I am cut out for this parenting job after all. :) I’m sure the girls had a lot of fun, and I’m glad I survived and managed to have some fun as well!

Let me know if you have any questions about any elements of the party, and I’ll be happy to answer it in the comments below.



my little pony party

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