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Friday, September 16, 2011

Entry way update

I hinted before my blogcation that I was making an update or two in the entryway to my apartment. I believe I posted this pic as a teaser:

The entrance to my apartment has been the subject of many posts, including all of the many steps of my still-evolving sidewalk-find dresser turned entryway table. But while that side of the foyer has been shown on this blog over and over the other side of the same space never has.

Why? Because it was weird looking and never really lived up to what I wanted.  I found a media shelf in the trash of a building near my own two years ago. This was really my first DIY furniture hack. I took it, removed a few shelves, painted it, removed the casters to add feet, and sewed a simple cushion for the top. Voila! Entrance bench!

Except.... Well except I never quite liked it.

Why? I guess there were a few reasons.

1. I luckily happened upon 4 unfinished wooden legs at goodwill right after deciding I wanted to change out the casters for real legs.  But even from the start their style was too traditional and even "country-ish" for what I wanted.

These were a pretty close match to the legs I found, but mine were shorter:

2. The color I chose, a sage green, was a paint I had on hand which had a similar tone to the tablecloth that sat on the old entryway table, which was a pretty sad folding table I had gotten from my parents. I later decided that the color made the bench look sort of heavy and dated instead of fresh and light like a coat of white paint might have.

3.The cushion, which took me forever to sew, since I didn't have a sewing machine at the time, looked sort of lumpy and sad  instead of cushy and welcoming.

See? You can't see the legs from that angle, but you can see my sage color choice, the still existing pegs where the shelves used to be, and my hours and hours of hard work on that lumpy sad cushion. Sigh.

***Also, a quick apology- I took not one but several before pictures of this project. Sadly they are all sleeping with the fishes so to speak, in the depths of my sadly departed laptop. Shall we have a moment of silence?***

Later I found a large bead-board mirror at a local thrift store, and placed it above the bench, after painting it with same sage green paint. I thought the matching color would tie it all together to look a bit like the built in entry way benches I had seen occasionally online.

Unfortunately, I was working with something sort of weird to begin with. Our entrance way came with a shelf and coat hooks already on the wall, which we probably weren't supposed to mess with, since it was a rental. Nice, right? Except...the shelf was hung too high for much good use, and had a curvy country-home style that I was not a huge fan of. AND the coat hooks on the wall? Make that actually a crooked chunk of 1x3 lumber with a few 30 cent cup hooks.

In my most recent redo, I decided to work with the shelf, and use it as a display space instead of anything too functional given it's height  (I can only reach it if I stand on the bench to do so).

But the 1x3 wood scrap complete with brass cup hooks? I took that baby down. And threw it in the trash. And no one will miss it.

Due to my sad story of long lost before pictures, the only thing I have to satiate your curiosity about just how awkward that 1x3 "coat rack" looked, is this picture from after I took it down.  Even in its absence you can see how crooked it was, right?

Luckily a little primer and paint hid every hint that this was ever there.

I ended up buying some nicer brushed nickle coat hooks and drilling them into the base of the shelf. You know the kind that look like an octopus ready for a fight? Surely you all saw this make its rounds earlier this year- I first caught it on Laughing Squid, but am not entirely sure where it first appeared.

Next I replaced the bead-board mirror with a framed print I happened upon at the same local thrift store mentioned earlier. And, get this: the print isn't just a drawing of buildings from a cute new england town, it's pictures of buildings from the cute New England town I went camping in with my family nearly every year of my childhood. Lots of nostalgia. The frame it came in was pink plastic...I painted it with a bit of charcoal gray paint and I love it. Isn't it a cute little print?

I also rethought the cushion on the entry way bench, and made one by upolstering a piece of plywood with a few layers of foam, and the same fabric from the previous cushion.

I thought it looked a lot better, but still something wasn't quite right. I wanted the bench to look...fresher.

For your amusement I have put my mad-editing skills (ok, try my hillariously ametuerish editing skills..) into this info-graphic to better explain the situation in the picture above:

So I made a few updates... I used Dwell Studio's Indoor/outdoor fabric in Maze Work Brindle to recover the cushion. I chose an indoor/outdoor fabric since I figured there would be lots of wet rain coats and such making contact with this cushion. A bit of water resistance would be great!

I replaced the legs with some nice mid-century inspired ones which I special ordered from Home Depot and gave a quick coat of dark walnut stain, finally removed the pegs that used to hold to removed shelves, puttied, sanded, primed, and painted the whole thing white. Then I placed my white owl umbrella holder next to it...to rally up any big umbrellas.

Ah, so much better!

As seen above I added a few decorative items on top of that high up shelf, including a vintage globe from Etsy (I love looking at all the old country names like Anglo-Egyptian Sudan and  Baluchistan. By the way, if you have a vintage globe and want to figure out how old it is based on the outdated names for countries, this page is great.), a decorative vase that used to sit on my desk, and a jar candle I very nearly got rid of in my recent goodwill donation.

So that's it! My new entry way area, opposite the much-pictured foyer corner. Finally that area is worthy of a pic on the old blog. Now if only I could find a way to take a picture of that area without flash that isn't dismally dark...man I wish this area had some natural light!

PS- if you like that update, check back soon to see the updates I am making in my bedroom, one of them is eerily similar to the update that bench got....

So- do you guys have any projects you just keep revisiting? Sometimes it takes a few tries to get something right!

Linking up to Remodelholic and Miss Mustard Seed's  Friday Parties! If you stopped by here from one of those link parties, I'd love to hear from you!

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