Entryway Plans

moulding inspirationabove photo by Joanna Lavén

I’ve always dreamed of having an entryway, and honestly never thought I’d have the luxury! Our old home’s front door opened to a narrow hallway that dumped you right onto our refrigerator on one side and the powder room on the other side. There was nowhere for guests to sit and remove their shoes, and not really much space to allow me to stand by as guests entered our home. Now that we have an entryway, of course I have had the trickiest time planning the space! It’s still an awkward area, albeit roomier than our old home. We now have a grand space with soaring ceilings, but the towering walls are painfully bare and dark without windows, and the space is too small for any furnishings. I’ve been at a loss as to what to do, until this week!

Of course, I’m chomping at the bit to get started on this space, but I’ve vowed to not begin work here until the living room and kitchen are officially 100% completed. But that doesn’t stop me from dreaming and planning!

floor plan

In the floor plan above you can see how cramped the entryway really is, though it feels more spacious because of the high ceilings and open view to the upstairs hallway. There isn’t a good wall to put a console table, because major walkways are supposed to have three feet of clearance for traffic, and this spot barely has three feet without adding furniture to the floor plan.

My first thought was to put a floating drawer on the narrow wall directly across from the front door, but I’m 99% sure we’d all bang into its corner as we navigate the entryway, which we do all day long, as it’s a required passage to get to the upstairs. Now I’m thinking I can fit a small floating console table behind the doorway, as long as it’s not too wide, and then mount hooks on the wall beside it for guests to hang their coats and scarves. That’s about all we’ll be able to fit in the space, furniture-wise, which means we’ll have to spice things up in other ways!

before images

The first image of this post features my major inspiration for our entryway, although I’d like to put my quirky/casual spin on it.  As you can see in the before/during photos above (sorry for the poor quality!), the entry wall recedes about 18″ above the doorway. Such a weird quirk of the space, but after seeing my inspiration image of the beautiful paneled entryway with the black and white checkered floor, I realized an expanse of painted moulding is the perfect way to break up the vertical space, working to disguise that change of plane above the doorway as well. Win/win!

So now I’ll be adding a chair rail to the walls at the point of the plane change above the entry, and painting that chair rail and the walls and moulding below it the same color of gray/green— Benjamin Moore’s Harbor Gray. (See mood board at the end of this post.)

I wish we could put a window above the doorway to bring some light into this space, but there is a large eave hanging out where the window would go, making this an impossibility. My plan is to eventually replace the door and sidelights, opting for full windows on the sidelights with some kind of privacy glass. But that’s an expensive change that we’ll have to do down the road.

doorway inspirationabove left: Pompeli; above right: unknown

Since we can’t replace our doors and sidelights just yet (because I have expensive taste… ugh!), I’ve considered how to help myself love the door we have. (You know what they say, “If you can’t be with the one you love…”) I’ll be adding one-inch moulding pieces around the boarder of each faux paneled section of our doors, including the main entry door and its sidelights, as inspired by the pink door in the above image. Then, I plan to paint all of the doors the same Harbor Gray color as the walls to help the doors become less of a prominent feature in the space until I can replace them with ones I love— wooden paneled ones I love, to be exact.

entryway flooringtop left to bottom right: unknown; Holly Mathis Interiors; British Ceramic Tile; Casa G+S by Grooppo

Now, for the flooring! Initially, I planned to use the same maple flooring in the entryway as I’ve used in the rest of the first floor (except for our technically sunken living room), but I got cold feet as I considered the moisture that will inevitably find its way into our entryway, particularly during our Ohio winters.

I decided tile is the smartest thing to do here, but not only is it smart, it can be so fun too! I considered a variety of interesting tile designs, like this tumbled block pattern I fell in love with years ago when I wrote for Apartment Therapy, or even a bold floral pattern created with a variety of hexagonal tiles. But in the end, we settled on a traditional checkered pattern in colors of tan and white which will segue nicely into the surrounding areas of maple flooring. It’s a pattern that will age well, but still feel bold and fun in its own way.

carpet runner inspirationImage by Nicole Balch

I always love to incorporate a fun and, ugh, dare I say, whimsical element into every room of our home. In the kitchen, it’s our pink sink. In the sunroom, obviously that channel-tufted wall. The dining area? That cat poster. Living room? A big ass yellow sectional.

The entryway is a fun space to work with, because you don’t actually hang out here, yet it is the first, and sometimes the only, space people see when they come to your home. So I’d like it to have some personality, but nothing too permanent, like patterned tile flooring, which was soooo tempting. I figured a carpet runner is the perfect application for a little funk, and I still haven’t been able to get this antelope runner out of my head since Nicole first installed hers last year. While I adore the antelope runner she has, my heart beat really got a little crazy when I saw this spotted carpet runner at Wayfair. I figured I could do a DIY installation to save some money, and it’s inexpensive enough that we can replace it in a few years if we get tired of the animal print look.

stairway gallery wallabove left: Dear Lilly Studio; above right: Alaina Kaczmarski via The Everygirl

Last but not least, I really want to add a gallery wall to this space. It’s my opinion that a stairway is the perfect application for a gallery wall, even if I did unforgettably tumble down the steps when I was a kid because of such a mesmerizing gallery wall in my family’s home. The stairs in our entryway segue into the private area of our home, which makes it the perfect spot for family photos, but also, this is a huge expanse of a wall that is begging for attention, as much as my family photos are begging to be printed. Another win/win.

I’m still bouncing back and forth between a more carefree gallery arrangement of white frames with black and white photos as seen above left, or the more restrained and formal feel of a minimal gallery wall as seen above right. Which do you prefer?

entryway moodboard

To tie it all together, I made this mood board with some elements I already have (like this huge globe light I have yet to instal), and other elements I’m still dreaming about (like these amazing doorknobs that I bought for our pantry and playroom doors). Nothing is set in stone just yet, but I’m finalizing my tile order next week, and will probably order that spotted carpet runner when it’s due back in stock at the new year. But like I said… must finish the living room and kitchen first! I pinky swear, they’ll be done by the end of the year.

PRODUCTS:

  1. Gallery wall frames – Target
  2. Oversized white globe pendant – All Modern
  3. Tumbled bronze and crystal door knob – Emtek
  4. Super White wall paint in eggshell finish – Benjamin Moore
  5. Horizon Gray paint in satin finish – Benjamin Moore
  6. Dalmatian print runner – Wayfair
  7. Floating drawer – Etsy
  8. Dot wall hooks – CB2
  9. Tan and white 8×8 floor tiles – Daltile

Plans for the Study

Hey guys! We’re still working on finishing up a few details in the kitchen and living rooms, but I wanted to share some plans I have for another room we’ll begin working on this month! We’re calling this room the study, though it will function primarily as Phil’s office and a library for our book collection.

This space is somewhat remote from the rest of the house, tucked away by the front door, and a hallway away from the kitchen and other main living space. It used to be open to the adjacent former dining room, and the dining area used to have an opening to the kitchen. But the passageway between the front living room and the dining room has now been sealed off with drywall, and the dining space now has a doorway between it and the kitchen and is being transformed into the playroom. (More on that later!)

Now that the opening between the rooms has been closed up (see floor plan below), we have a private room at the front of the house that Phil can use as he mentors other men and has small group Bible studies. This room was a major selling feature for us as a couple, as it was important for us to have a home that was equipped with an office/workroom for me, and a separate, private area for Phil and his mentoring work. In the past it was difficult for him to have private conversations, because our old home was small and had no doorways between rooms. So now he has a study to call his own (mostly his own!) that will also be a nice quiet place for the kiddos to study one day, or just for reading a book away from the noise of the kitchen and living room. Also, the newly closed up wall gives us a nice place to put a sofa in a small room which otherwise would be awkward to furnish.

floor plan

I don’t have any actual before pictures of this room, because we set to work ripping out the carpets the moment we moved into the house. (Literally— the first day we owned her!) But imagine a medium brown shag carpet. We replaced it with the same engineered maple flooring that we are using in the kitchen, dining, and playroom areas. Now we need to do some painting, and add moulding details! (Oh, and remove that electrical cord on the wall. UGH. WHY.) But here is our plan!

study mockup

We’re working on an IKEA Billy bookcase hack on the wall across from the desk, which will surround the window with what looks like built-in shelving, in one of the room’s accent colors. This will make the biggest statement in the space, and in order to help the other walls match up to the bold elegance of a wall of bookshelves, I’ll be adding some easy moulding details and color accents on them. Pretty excited about this! I know color and moulding can really elevate a space, but what good is that when you don’t have any furniture?

So, we’ll be getting rid of our old sofa (this was the first one Phil and I bought together before we were married 11 years ago!), and replacing it with a smaller scale Article sofa, and outfitting the space as seen above. The art is literally the only thing in this room that I already owned before beginning this project. And the desk is a great vintage find I got at a local favorite of mine, Main Street Modern.

Conant Ball vintage desk

In general, I feel really good about the direction this project is taking! But I’m a little up in the air about window treatments. Should I do curtain panels? Keep in mind, there will be about a half inch between the window and the edge of the bookshelves on the one wall. Or perhaps a roman shade? I’ve also tossed around the idea of incorporating a cornice board into the bookshelf design and having sheers hang down from it, so the light won’t be obstructed by something heavier. Any thoughts on that?

Here are all of the links to everything I’ve included in the plans for the space:

Mandi Makes a Podcast Playlist

I’ve been a podcast listener since the first time I owned an mp3 player. Stories that draw me in make it easy to forget how many miles I’ve walked (Oh look, the kids are asleep in the stroller!) or how many miles of trim I’ve painted in our new house (Wait, it’s 1AM already?!). So many people have asked me about my renovation playlist, and while I am the avid listener to very specific genres of music, it’s really my favorite podcasts that have gotten me this far in my quest to transform our 1980s house into my dream home.

I wanted to share some of my favorite podcasts with you, as well as specific favorite episodes from each one. Some of these may be a bit cliché (This America Life, what can I say— I love it!), and admittedly I don’t often try new tv shows and radio shows, because I really know what I like and don’t like wasting my time. So if you have any new suggestions, I promise I’ll give them a look!

RadioLab is the perfect podcast for those who enjoy exploring their curiosities, from the human mind to the human immune system, from social constructs to social injustice, from Cuban punk music to the American judiciary system— the way the RadioLab team researches and compiles each episode is thorough and engaging. This podcast perfectly combines entertainment with learning opportunities, and just might be my absolute favorite! It was impossible to narrow down my favorites! So I’ll share my top six. (And I would share more if I wasn’t afraid of overwhelming you.)

Worth / “This episode, we make three earnest, possibly foolhardy, attempts to put a price on the priceless. We figure out the dollar value for an accidental death, another day of life, and the work of bats and bees as we try to keep our careful calculations from falling apart in the face of the realities of life, and love, and loss.”

The Buried Bodies Case / “In 1973, a massive manhunt in New York’s Adirondack Mountains ended when police captured a man named Robert Garrow.  And that’s when this story really gets started. This episode we consider a string of barbaric crimes by a hated man, and the attorney who, when called to defend him, also wound up defending a core principle of our legal s

ystem.  When Frank Armani learned his client’s most gruesome secrets, he made a morally startling decision that stunned the world and goes to the heart of what it means to be a defense attorney – how far should lawyers go to provide the best defense to the worst people?”

Patient Zero / “The greatest mysteries have a shadowy figure at the center—someone who sets things in motion and holds the key to how the story unfolds. In epidemiology, this central character is known as Patient Zero—the case at the heart of an outbreak. This hour, Radiolab hunts for Patient Zeroes from all over the map. We start with the story of perhaps the most iconic Patient Zero of all time: Typhoid Mary. Then, we dive into a molecular detective story to pinpoint the beginning of the AIDS, and we re-imagine the moment the virus that caused the global pandemic sprang to life. After that, we’re left wondering if you can trace the spread of an idea the way you can trace the spread of a disease. In the end, we find ourselves faced with a choice between competing claims about the origin of the high five. And we come to a perfectly sensible, thoroughly disturbing conclusion about the nature of the universe … all by way of the cowboy hat.”

Remembering Oliver Sacks / “When Radiolab was just starting out, Robert asked Dr. Oliver Sacks if he could help us, maybe send us a few story ideas. Over the years he has shared with us stories of chemistry, music, neurology, hallucinations and more, so much more. Because Oliver notices the world and the people around him with scientific rigor, with insight, and most importantly, with deep empathy. ?When he announced a few months ago that he had terminal cancer and wasn’t going to do any more interviews, we asked him if he’d talk with us one last time. He said yes?. So Robert went, as he has done for 30 some years now, to his apartment with a microphone, this time to

 ask him about the forces that have driven him in his work, in his unique relationships with his patients, and in his own life.”

Nazi Summer Camp / “Reporter Karen Duffin and her father were talking one day when, just as an aside, he mentioned the Nazi prisoners of war that worked on his Idaho farm when he was a kid. Karen was shocked … and then immediately obsessed. So she spoke with historians, dug through the National Archives and oral histories, and uncovered the astonishing story of a small town in Alabama overwhelmed by thousands of German prisoners of war.  Along the way, she discovered that a very fundamental question  – one that we are struggling with today  –  was playing out seventy years ago in hundreds of towns across America: When your enemy is at your mercy, how should you treat them? Karen helps Jad and Robert try to figure out why we did what we did then, and why we are doing things so differently now.”

Playing God / “When people are dying and you can only save some, how do you choose? Maybe you save the youngest. Or the sickest. Maybe you even just put all the names in a hat and pick at random. Would your answer change if a sick person was standing right in front of you? In this episode, we follow New York Times reporter Sheri Fink as she searches for the answer. In a warzone, a hurricane, a church basement, and an earthquake, the question remains the same. What happens, what should happen, when humans are forced to play god?”

I feel like this podcast might be the “Parenthood” of podcasts, which makes me slightly hesitant to put it so far at the top of my list of favorites, but hey! I’m not here to be cutting edge, just to be honest about what I enjoy listening to. And while my friends would chat about how they laughed and cried during the most recent amazing “Parenthood” episode (may it rest in peace), I would be over here asking if they had caught the most recent “This American Life” episode. Yep, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and your heart and mind will be a bit more open after each show that Ira Glass hosts.

Tell Me I’m Fat / episode 589 / “The way people talk about being fat is shifting. With one-third of Americans classified as overweight, and another third as obese, and almost none of us losing weight and keeping it off, maybe it’s time to rethink the way we see being fat.”

It Says So Right Here / episode 509 / “Everyone knows you can’t always believe what you read, but sometimes even official documents aren’t a path to the truth. This week we have stories of people whose lives are altered when seemingly boring documents like birth certificates and petitions are used against them. And a family wrestles with a medical record that has a very clear, but complicated diagnosis.”

Prom / episode 186 / “While the seniors danced at Prom Night 2001 in Hoisington, Kansas—a town of about 3,000—a tornado hit the town, destroying about a third of it. When they emerged from the dance, they discovered what had happened, and in the weeks that followed, they tried to explain to themselves why the tornado hit where it did. Plus other stories that happen on Prom Night.”

My Pen Pal / episode 246 / “Stories of very unusual pen pals, including a ten-year-old girl from Michigan who befriends Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega.”

You may be seeing a theme, here. I love hearing peoples’ stories, and The Moth is such a fresh way to experience them! Story tellers stand up on stage and have a few minutes to tell their stories to a live audience. Sometimes it’s about a childhood experience, overcoming obstacles in life, or a fun story about adolescent phone calls with an actual rock star. Every podcast is such a fun, refreshing listen!

School Night / A teenager does a newspaper review of an Iggy Pop album and gets a surprising response.

The Pieties of Perspiration / Adam Gopnik battle liberal guilt with his son in a sauna.

I love listening to Fresh Air to get a glimpse into the hearts and minds of my favorite actors, musicians, and writers, but also to find out about interesting stories and people that are completely new to me. Giving people a space to tell their story and ask the questions we all have, or some that we haven’t considered, interviewer Terry Gross recently celebrated 30 years of on-air experience with Fresh Air. Here are some favorite episodes of mine that come to mind, but don’t neglect to scroll through the archives to see what jumps out at you! There’s a lot there to love.

Aziz Ansari– On “Master of None” and How His Parents Feel About Acting

Lynsey Addario– Twice kidnapped, photographer returns to war zone: “It’s What I Do”

Peggy Orenstein– “Girls & Sex” and the Importance of Talking to Young Women About Pleasure

Jeff Guinn– “The Road to Jonestown” Nearly 40 years later, Jonestown offers a lesson in demagoguery

If you’re interested in the human psyche and how it affects our personal lives and our society, or maybe you want to hear about some interesting true stories where differing personalities and ways of thinking dictated the plot, you must give Invisibilia a listen! It’s compelling, engaging, and kind of feels like a happy medium between RadioLab and This American Life.

Reality / “How is it that two neighbors can look out their window at the exact same thing, and see something completely different? This is a question many people in America are asking now. We explore it by visiting a small community in Minnesota, called Eagle’s Nest Township, that has a unique experience with the reality divide: some of the people in the town believe that wild black bears are gentle animals you can feed with your hands, and others think they are dangerous killers. This divide leads to conflict and, ultimately, a tragic death. So, is there a “real” truth about the bear, or is each side constructing its own reality? In part two we look at attempts to escape these self-made constructs. We follow one man’s epic experiment to break out of his reality bubble. And one woman’s epic-in-its-own-way experiment to break out of her species bubble!”

Flip the Script / “In this episode we look at situation where someone flips the script – does the opposite of what their natural instinct is, and in this way transforms a situation. Usually when someone is hostile to us, we are hostile right back. The psychological term is “complementarity.” But then in rare cases someone manages to be warm, and what happens as a result can be surprising. The episode starts with a story about a dinner party in DC, when an attempted robbery was foiled by… a glass of wine and some cheese. Then we travel across the pond, to Denmark, where police officers are attempting to combat the growing problem of Islamic radicalization with… love. And finally, we talk to a man who attempted to flip the script on one of our most basic animal functions: finding a mate.”



Do Listen Twice is a ten episode series created to promote the film Don’t Think Twice. This American Life Host Ira Glass teams up with comedian Mike Birbiglia to present his favorite stories that Birbiglia has told on the podcast over the years. This series had me laughing out loud while staining lumber for hours alone in my dining room.

Okay, so if you were on the internet at all in 2014, you’ve heard about this true-crime podcast. If you never listened to season one of Serial, what are you waiting for? The story explores the details of the murder of teenager Hae Min Lee and attempts to explore the possible innocence of the young man Adnan Syed who was convicted of murdering his ex girlfriend. I never got into season two of Serial, but season one consumed my podcast listening during the fall it was released!

From the creators of Serial comes the podcast series S-Town, which begins as a true-crime story about a possible murder cover up in a small Alabama town, but develops into an interesting look at the life of an eccentric recluse who befriended radio journalist Brian Reed and polarized the people in S*** Town, Alabama.

You Must Remember This is a podcast that explores the lives, scandals, and forgotten history of Hollywood’s golden age. Basically, this podcast was made for me!

I began listening to Snap Judgement last year, and was intrigued by the Halloween episodes. I also loved the recent one about the one-legged wrestler that I caught during a Saturday afternoon trip to the hardware store. It was definitely a parking lot moment. (All of you NPR listeners will appreciate that. Ha!) 

Malcom Gladwell explores history from angles other historians have forgotten or have left hidden through time in this podcast, Revisionist History

A friend recommended I listen to this podcast after we had been talking about myths and legends that we really hope were real. I loved listening in on the meandering conversations about The Mothman on Astonishing Legends, and my imagination is still running wild!

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