Friday, November 21, 2014

Pre-Thanksgiving Foyer Revamp

You know how sometimes you get it into your head that you'll do "just one quick project" before a major holiday, because you want the house to look nice and you think an arbitrary deadline will help you get it done?

Yeah. About that.

I did that. With my foyer. Now, honestly, it was easy to make the mental leap here. I don't have any grand entrance, no two-story lofted ceiling, no chandelier, no staircase. My foyer is barely 4 feet by 5.5 feet, and a small closet is exactly opposite the front door. On either side it opens into the living room, or into our front room (the office). This is no place for square-dancing.

Just like people are glib about bathrooms, I was glib about this foyer. That was two weekends ago. And I'm not even technically "done," I just completed a list of short-term goals.

The woodwork and doors were tired and scuffed, the paint was fleshy beige on both the walls and the trim, and there were even faint drippy stains leftover from a catastrophic coffee travel mug bomb that got dropped on the floor last winter. The whole thing was getting me down. I didn't even take before pictures. So just imagine something in your mind of that sort of tired, scuffed and grubby state that highly trafficked areas get, and sigh heavily. I did.

I decided that the color going on my front door outside could come inside, too. I like how it's setting off all the apple greens and browns in my living room. It's a Valspar paint color called Cinnamon Cake, but done in Sherwin Williams exterior grade satin gloss. It's a bit more subdued and spicy looking in person than is showing in the photo.

The paint on the walls is Valspar's Oatbran, which is a beige that is taupey-gray enough to avoid any pinkish overtones. Super important when you're going with an orange door.

You can also see my vintage foyer light, original to the house, in the upper corner of the photo. You know what also revamps a foyer? Cleaning about 18 billion dead gnats out of the light shade. Who knew?

After having the paint and woodwork painted the exact same color (and a color I didn't like) it's been a pleasure to see the contrast of freshly painted white woodwork with the burnt orange and oatbran colors. And I hung a wreath from Target on the door. Just a wee tiny bit of early holiday decorating. I'm usually pretty strict about that sort of thing, but this seemed more "winter" than "Christmas" to me.

It doesn't solve all the obvious problems in this tiny room. The hardware on both doors needs either refinishing (closet door) or replacing (front door). The torn vinyl is still there, though it's under a new and bigger (though still not big enough) rug.

I'm glad I decided to go bold with the front door, instead of just going with white. I find myself sitting on my sofa with my mug of coffee, staring at my pumpkin pie door. It's just the right color for entertaining guests over Thanksgiving, and they'll be here soon--my sister and her family.

They'll be just in time for my other company's-coming crazy-in-the-head behavior, which is trying a recipe I've never tried before. When will I learn? Probably never. But in the meantime, here's to fresh paint on the walls!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Battlefield and Homestead: October Trip

In my last blog post I mentioned that instead of confronting the end of the outdoor/exterior house work season head-on, I put my paintbrushes down and left town.

That I did. Twice. I was feeling restless and burnt out, and even though my time was running out, I knew things weren't going to go well if I kept plugging away at it without a break. The book festival weekend wasn't quite enough for me, so I also headed south to my Dad's house in Missouri to get some fall hiking in, and to honor an anniversary of sorts. My sister Dyan met us there so we could all get some family time in.

Last year, we'd run an inaugural 5-mile race hosted by Wilson's Creek National Battlefield, in Republic, Missouri. We were so proud to do it together. And finish!

On the one-year anniversary we returned, to do some hiking and appreciate the history of this place. It saw the first Civil War fighting west of the Mississippi, and the death during combat of the first Union general, Brigadier General Nathaniel Lyon. I even wore the same shoes:

Dyan, Dad and I have developed the tradition of always bringing my Grandad's (my Dad's father, who passed away in 1996) favorite candies on our hiking expeditions. These are the Official Walter Millsaps Memorial Chick O' Sticks: 

The battlefield is a quiet place, beautiful in autumn. It's hard to believe that 535 men gave their lives here over 150 years ago. And that the Ray family, whose farm is pictured below, turned their home into a field hospital to tend to the wounded and dying.

Another day, we visited the Nathan Boone Homestead, a Missouri State Historic Site. Nathaniel was the youngest son of Daniel Boone, and the cabin and barn are preserved in an attempt to give visitors an idea what life was like when Missouri was a frontier state in the 1830s. Every year, they have a festival encampment, which includes 19th century re-enactors dressed as frontiersman, tradesmen, and soldiers, and craft demonstrations.

For some reason I've always been fascinated by stone chimneys, and Nathan Boone Homestead's are beautiful. 

I loved the underside of the porch awning, as well. 

The beautiful frontier garden was wrapped up for the year: 

The long weekend also featured a fish-fry with okra and hush puppies, large mugs of coffee, reclining deep into the cushions of my dad's big leather sofa, and watching a John Wayne movie. In other words, it was nearly perfect.

Both trips were mental health imperatives. Now that my soul's been fed and my travel itch scratched, I'm beginning to take up some small indoor projects in advance of the holidays. I'll be back with a few of them soon!