KIDDO CRAFT | Abstract Art!

kids make abstract art

When planning out the decor of our living room, I knew I wanted a large, minimal, mostly white abstract art piece to go above the credenza, sort of to anchor the space, since the wall is just a large mass of whiteness. Realizing how expensive original art can be, and how difficult finding the perfect oversize print can be, I decided to make my own! Well, sort of. I commissioned my children to paint an abstract piece for me.

Of course, when you commission your children to make art, you never know what you’re going to get. I was a little nervous, but I figured, hey, if we hate it, we can let them paint over it until we like it! Which is sort of what I did anyway. Here’s my experience…

kids make abstract art

I purchased large canvas stretchers from a local craft/art supply shop, and a piece of canvas by the yard. I used my staple gun and clamps to stretch the canvas across the wood frame, then rolled over top of it with some wall primer, because we always have plenty of it around, and I didn’t want to have to buy a ton of gesso to prep the canvas.

kids make abstract art

I bought some large bottles of acrylic paint, and mixed a variety of neutral hues and shades into disposable bowls. Then I grabbed a couple of roller sizes, a paint tray, big paint brushes, little paint brushes, and put out two shades of paint to get the kids started. After Lucy became bored with the paint and brushes she started with, I brought out different brushes and different shades of paint.

Now, you might wonder how much guidance I gave as the kiddos painted. Really, this was more a sensory exercise than it was an unguided art experiment, so yeah, I was definitely involved with art directing this piece! Ha! I obviously selected all of the colors (or lack thereof) involved, but I was pretty surprised with how much I liked what Lucy created with it. I would suggest things from time to time, like, “What about working in that corner over there?” Or, “Have you tried to make blotches with the tip of the brush?” I suggested blending more, splotching, long brush strokes, and whatever else came to mind, but she did with those directions what she wanted. And honestly, the reason I had the kids make the art instead of me, is because I love how open-ended their minds are, without any preconceived notion of what they want their creation to look like. At least at this age, they can just paint abstractly in a way that I never can.

kids make abstract art

Juniper was newly two years old at the time of this art project, so I gave her sections to work on, and she just enjoyed painting with a small brush. She definitely smeared the paint around a bit with her body at times, but it all adds to the freeform charm of the thing!

I do plan to frame the canvas soon, and try some more canvases of medium and smaller sizes with the kids. I’ll share more about different guidance techniques and more of letting Lucy do whatever she wants on the canvas. I’m really excited to see how her creations come together!

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:

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