MAKEOVER: livingroom edition (aka: faking an entryway!)

We recently welcomed a brand new bouncing baby…. couch into our home! And Baby Girl Couch told Big Ugly Brother Couch, “You gotta go. Mom and Dad don’t have enough love for the both of us.”And she’s right.

Here’s our little bundle of joy:
Cute Lil Couch

Not being enough love around for the both of them- that is true. I hate the old couch and my husband hates the new one. Long story slightly shorter, my mom and I have these three hour long marathon phone calls in which we talk about everything under the sun. I mentioned how I’m trying to scrape together enough bones for this couch and she starts “mmmcmmm”-ing along with me.

“What’s it called?”
“Something city related. Like, the Soho, or something.”
“What’s it look like?”
“Clean lines, with arms that slightly angle out at the top.”
“Any buttons or tufting?”
“Mom! Never.”
I had one of those Charlie Brown moments. “THAT’S IT!”


When she asked me for my address, that’s when it dawned on me that she was buying the couch! I. Flipped. Out. Turns out it’s my late birthday present. Thank you so much, mom! I LURRRRRRRRVE it. Good things are in store for her, too: her home is French Country, and after a new upholstery job with some blue velvet or burgundy red, or even just a nice smooth chocolate, that couch is going to go perfectly in her home. But, we live two hours apart and her schedule is a little wonky, so there’s no telling when we’ll be able to transport Big Brother Couch to my mom’s place.

So, that brings us to, how in the heck am I going to have these  two couches -one of which is a mac daddy – in my prius-sized living room? I debated moving furniture around in the bedrooms to accommodate it, even  mulling over the idea of temporarily turning our master bedroom into a game room with the couch and TV and the storage room stuff and putting our bedroom stuff in the tiny room, but A. That’s a ton of work and B. I wasn’t even sure it could happen – the couch was too wide and too long to  make the turn in the hallway. It’s even too “tall” when flipped on it’s end to fit through the doorway, so the living room was the only option.

What. To. Do.

I just assembled without considering. I wanted my new couch!
couch helper

And then a little re-arrangeroo came to mind… that totally transformed the place and I absolutely love the results. By turning the orientation of the room and moving Big Ugly Brother Couch to the wall with the window and placing Cute Little Sister Loveseat kind of in the middle of the room, we create a seating area more intended for grownups and their conversations as well as a real live entryway.


Oh, Hey Lunar! I had to move Colossal Cousin Deskington to the little room – no pictures, I have just the tiniest bit of dignity left – and that meant moving the computer to….

Our room.

I am one of those “No TV in the Bedroom!” kinda gals. This hurts my heart. But THIS MAKES MY HOME IMPROVEMENT LOVING HEART SWELL:
A real, live, entryway. A real, live, fake-it-till-ya-make-it, entryway!

How did we do it? To recap:

The desk was moved into our storage room soon to be office and swapped places with the little bookshelves. The couches did a 90 degree turn, and the tree trunk “coffee table/bench” got turned into a  low side table with my peace lily I received as a gift for the birth of my Handsome Son, two years ago. What, you didn’t notice the mad scientist in coverall PJs in the earlier picture? He’s the insane one, with the crazy red hair. <3.


I moved the lamps around so the cords would be hidden behind the furniture, and so far we do not mind continuing to live without a coffee table. Unless we got one of those acrylic ones, I think most anything would be too heavy visually.

One final set of befores and afters:




The function is so much better. And I seem to take better pictures nowadays. The form is obviously a major improvement. And Cute Little Sister Couch is a nice modern foil to Big Ugly Brother Couch, making him not-so-ugly in the process. And all I needed to do was move some furniture around. Duh!!!!

One more time so you don’t have to scroll: 🙂

What are you up to? Any furniture re-arranging? Did you notice I simplified my grid of prints? Sneaky, I know. 😉


Making an “eh”‘ door “THE” door

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?

This boring door, that’s who.

Oh, hey, I didn’t even notice you.

This was my front door when we bought our house: (we painted the address numbers on recently). You can tell it wasn’t my favorite thing on the house.

A solid door with nothing fancy the same color as the siding. Nothing wrong with that, but nothing that makes you want to do the shimmy, either. 🙂 This part of the wall that juts out to the right is our utility closet, so there is no window on this side of the house, making this corner of my living room really dark. I was hoping for a door that allowed light in somehow.

Well one of my close amigas commissioned a special, unique door, and she was getting rid of one with window panes (!), so I was glad to recycle it for her. 🙂
img_0942 img_0945

Poor boys  worked late into the night trying to get the door to fit!img_0958

And here she is on my nice, real life front porch (notice the carport junk that needs to be put away!)

My only thought was that the door wasn’t really me. Was I going to be trading out a door that was made for this doorway and house but let no light through for a door that had windows, (for free) and I wasn’t even going to like it because of the style? If you’ve seen my house, it’s  a pretty simple 1960s midcentury tract home. It has no extra fluff, there’s no scroll work, there’s no chunky crown or country french details or farmyard chic going on here – it’s all about clean lines and simple detailing.

I thought to myself, “don’t get the door – it’s going to look odd on the house and you’ll want the door that goes with it once it’s gone. Better to get a window kit and cut out places for the windows to go on the old door, instead.”

I wasn’t sure how to do that and I wasn’t sure I wanted to risk ruining my front door due to my limited skill set! So I thought a little more about the type and shape of doors that really do speak to me. I like these a lot:


But there was no way I was going to pay nearly $400 at Home Depot for this one or $450 for this one! Holy moly, that’s a third of what I have left on one of my (28) student loans. No. Way.

So I thought about my friend’s offer a little harder and I realized I could improve the door. A coat of paint, maybe some plywood paneling?

I hauled the kids to Home Depot (there’s one on the way home from church – it’s not even out of my way!!!) to pick up paint and wood paneling. (And have them cut everything to size there – Hollah!) img_1200

I measured the space under my window panes because that was going to be the width of my sheet of plywood paneling. It had to be thin – just a quarter inch – to look more a part of the door. One sheet of plywood was enough for two 28 x 48 panels plus the leftover for who knows what project :-). I had them cut to size the sheet of plywood, and I grabbed five paint swatches and their samples that I thought I’d like. Then I went to town with a staple gun, a level, and wood glue to attach the panels and cheap foam brushes and my paint samples.


Sample number three won out(Parakeet colormatched by Behr I believe) but number two was a close second. It was crazy how samples in the store that were so green came out sunny yellow on the door. A lesson for me when I’m trying to be cheap cheap cheap: get the samples anyway!!! They’re only $3.48 each!

The first layer got me excited. But also nervous. Did I just paint my door baby poop green?

And yes that is my bathrobe and an old toothbrush on the bench. I wanted to get a coat on the door before going to work with only a half hour to spare but I didn’t want to  change clothes, so I just put my bathrobe on backwards (wearing it like a hospital gown) to keep any flying paint off of my clothes. The toothbrush was to clean the corners and little edges of the panes. (I thoroughly cleaned and liquid deglosser first.)

The second layer looked even better and then a third did the trick. Bye bye baby poop. I might do just one more because it can’t hurt! img_1261

Oh I LOVE IT SO MUCH. Here’s our little transformation.

doorsThat happy color makes me do a happy dance. So what was my budget breakdown?

5 paint samples @ $3.48 each $17.40
5 Foam brushes @ $0.79 each $3.95
1 Panel of plywood @ $11.97
1 Quart of Behr exterior semigloss @ $12.98
Door: Free!
(Deglosser, staple gun, staples, and wood glue already had)

= $46.30

Less than $50 bones! Not bad for a door update- especially considering I still have a huge plywood panel left (I’m thinking functional bedroom art… more on that later) and tons of paint. And oh boy do I have plans for that paint! I’d still love to swap out the handle for something more streamlined, I need to weatherstrip it, and I need to finish cleaning the panes – then this project will be done!


What are you up to lately? Any affordable updates?