Archive for the ‘guest appearances’ Category

I Love The 80s!


Posted by Michael, July 22nd, 2011

By the title of this entry, I clearly got a kick out of Leslie telling us that special parts of her first home screams, “I was designed in the 80s!”  However, I cannot believe the 80s are actually coming back into style.  Damn you Justin Bieber, damn you!

Anyways, today’s guest poster is Leslie from Frugal Nashville.  When I was very little, we vacationed in Tennessee and I believe we spent some time in Memphis as well as Nashville.  I remember LOVING, and OBSESSING OVER, Tennessee. Sadly, that’s all I remember about our trip — besides doing the Elvis thing and getting a tour of the Jack Daniels distillery.  Why I remember the JD part, I have no idea.  Perhaps it explains why I’m always shot-happy when we have people over.

Enough with the rambling (see what happens when Rebecca allows me to run this ship for a night?).  Frugal Nashville is here to tell us about everyone’s favorite standard builder-grade lighting!


Many thanks to Rebecca for the opportunity to guest post!  I’m a big fan of this blog and am super excited to be sharing with you.

My hubs and I closed on our first home nearly three months ago.  Now that we’re homeowners, it seems like most of my free time is devoted to working on, thinking about, and planning for house projects. Our home was built in 1990, so there are some special touches that really scream “I was designed in the 80s!” still hanging around.  Like these:

Brass blobby builder lights!

Wow, are they ugly.  (And so was that original paint color).  Thanks to the vaulted ceiling in the foyer, we even have one of these lights installed at a bizarre angle over the staircase.  Changing this light bulb is a challenge involving monkey-like climbing skills.

Ugly and impractical, for the win!  While eventually I’d love to have recessed lighting in these spots, for now I just wanted a simple, budget-friendly improvement.  So I went for my trusty old pal, spray paint.

A couple of weeks ago, I used Rustoleum paint in Satin Nickel to paint a gold mirror frame and was pretty impressed with the results. After that success, I decided to go the same route with these cheapo light fixtures.  The hubs disassembled and disconnected the lights, and after covering and taping off the sockets, I applied three thin coats of the silver paint.

A couple of hours later, here’s what we had:

Much better, right?  And all for about $9.00.  It’s not the perfect long-term solution, but I’m perfectly happy with it for now.  And just in time for our housewarming party in a couple of weeks, too.  Can’t wait to show off the progress to our friends!

How awesome is that entryway? So grand looking! Spray paint is a great inexpensive way to fix those brassy fixtures we’ve all be cursed with at one time or another. Special thanks to Leslie for sharing her space with us and helping us out this week!

Today marks guest post number two in the whole history of The Lil House That Could! Cait did a fabulous job yesterday and today we have :::drumroll::: Tabatha from Turn Right At Lake Michigan!

I could not be more thankful for this post today. If any of you follow me on Twitter, you probably saw my frantic tweets about how we struggled to give Darwin his fluids and pills last night. Quite possibly the hardest night of my life, in terms of frustration and helplessness. It ended with a trip to the vet after midnight to have them give him his pills. But! I am very happy to report that our second night as nurses was a grand success, we got him to take his pills and administered his fluids with ease tonight. There was clearly a learning curve no one told us about.

Anyway, back to Tabatha and how I should be fanning her with palm leaves for posting for me. I first found Tabatha when I saw her glorious bold purple nursery on A Brooklyn Limestone. And the nursery started as a room for her cats. Cats? Sold! Loved her immediately. She will also be sharing her entryway plans with us today!


Hello Lil House readers, I’m Tabatha from Turn Right At Lake Michigan, and I’m here today to help out Rebecca this week. A little about me – I’m 27, and I have five cats, two kids under three, a super-sized Chihuahua, and a husband all crammed into a 113 year old Folk Victorian home (with a whopping 1250 square feet) in Dayton, Ohio, that we’ve been renovating for the past four years. Yes, while we live in it. Yes, I take donations for therapy. 🙂

Anyway, as I understand it, we’re talking entryways this week since Rebecca has been working hard on hers, so let’s talk about my itty bitty foyer, yes?

A little background on my home – it survived the 1913 Great Flood of Dayton and was moved further up the hill afterwards (along with several other houses in our neighborhood) to create a flood plain (which later became a parking lot) to where it now resides. Somewhere in the 1960s, it was bought by a Korean war veteran and his Korean wife, and they raised four(!) daughters here, spending over 40 years in the house we now call ours. So our house had seen a whole lot of the same people for a long time.

Now our foyer is a grand 7.5 feet by 5.5 feet, and is not only the first place you enter once you come through our front door, but it’s also the gateway to the living room, the dining room, and the stairs that lead, well, upstairs, to the two bedrooms and full bath that chill up there. It’s also our shoe repository, mail sorting area, leash and key wrangler, purse/baby bag drop-off, and open-plan coat closet. This tiny space does a lot for us. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s start back at the beginning to show what we started with:

This was the front door when we moved in:

front door before
And this was the entryway “tile” put down for a yet really discernable reason:

tile in foyer before
I can be a bit of a perfectionist, so what first bothered me about the tile was that it didn’t match up with the door properly. That, and it was ugly. So the easy solution was to remove all signs of the previous occupants, paint, and cover that tile up with a rug:

foyer redux one
Which, admittedly, I was less than thrilled about. The wall color was supposed to be more grey than green, but once that happened we committed to it (even though I HATED it) and found accessories, like that indoor/outdoor mat on clearance at TJMaxx for $10, that at least coordinated.

But as time passed on, the foyer bugged me more and more. We had an unfinished wood bench I never got around to painting. The walls made me angsty. (They continued up the stairs and throughout the upstairs hall area, for reference. That’s a lot of space to hate the color of, especially in our little house.) The coat hooks we installed started to fall out of the plaster walls. The cats climbed the curtains on the door. It was all just too much.

So one day, fed up with it all (and nesting while pregnant with my now 2 ½ year old son) I unloaded the space, got out a crowbar, and tore up the tile and terrible cheap parquet flooring – to find HARDWOODS underneath:

hardwoods underneath
You cannot imagine my excitement. They were under the parquet throughout the dining room and under some vinyl tile in the downstairs bedroom as well. When we refinished those floors we did the foyer too, a nice dark chocolate almost black color, but that’s temporary – and we’ll get to that.

I ended up selling the bench on Craigslist as it was more of a dumping grounds than somewhere to put on your shoes, and I purged a great deal of our coats to keep the clutter to a minimum – or at least make more room for the baby-related clutter. The curtains have moved to the scrap pile of fabric in the basement and have been replaced with this:

front door window decal
A window decal that lets far more light in than the curtains ever did, while still allowing us some privacy. It almost looks like it should be there, right? I also frosted the windows on our tiny decorative dormer window, seen here:

foyer wall and frosted dormer
After our next door neighbor informed us he could see into our house from his upstairs window. Not awesome. But now we have a ton more natural light for such a small space, which helps it feel less cramped.

However, obviously we’re nowhere near what I hope the space can become. So I whipped this little inspiration board up for you:

foyer inspiration board
Let’s go over it, shall we?

#1: This is my inspiration photo, found on Pinterest. All of the components are Ikea, which I’m a huge fan of. However, I think I would want to add doors on the shelving units (or switch them out with shallow wardrobe units) so I could hide the mess that will inevitably form. I’m not so fond of the colors, but I can work that out later. Basically this sort of system would wrap around my dormer window, utilizing the height of our ceiling to maximize storage.
#2: I have this thing where I try to work stars into each of my rooms, however subtly. I also have a thing for mirrored surfaces. I’ve long since wanted a Moravian pendant for the foyer, and this one just takes my breath away. So does the price, for the record.
#3: Wherever the cases don’t cover, I really want to use paintable wallpaper to give more texture to the greater foyer/stairs/upstairs hall space. I also plan on adding decorative wainscoting, but that’s for another time. I’m still leaning towards a really great grey color, but I still haven’t really made up my mind. I love this damask pattern though – just the right mixture of traditional and fun, especially if I pick the right paint for it.
#4: I was shopping for tile for my bathroom (which we’re currently building) when I stumbled upon this beauty. I was considering a white-and-black combo similar to this for the foyer – the wood there isn’t in the best shape, and I think tile would not only be more practical, but more beautiful in such a small space. I love that it’s black on black.
#5: I actually own this! We picked it up at Ikea when the old mat had worn out its welcome, and I love it. Even if we did tile, we’d need something at the front door to catch all the gross that comes in on shoes. Again, love the black on black, and the pattern is subtle yet fun in a modern way.
#6: Lastly, I don’t remember how I came across this piece of carved wooden art, but it made me crack up. We’re lacking in art around here (I’ve been kind of busy making babies since 2008) and I think this would just be hilarious by the front door. Double entendres and all that. I’m not sure on the yellow (or the price) but I’m pretty sure I could make something similar in whatever shade would coordinate with what the walls end up.


Of course, I would love any feedback you have – the foyer’s a little low on the priority list these days (have I mentioned we’re building a bathroom?) but it’s something I hope to tackle soon.

I’d like to thank Rebecca for letting me guest post for her, and my family and I send out our deepest heartfelt good vibes to her family, especially Darwin. Tell him Bailey, Max, Roxy, Nubbs, Antonia and Cheech give him all cuddles and licks and purrs (well, Cheech doesn’t purr, but you catch my drift …) and we all hope he gets better soon. And thanks to you Lil House Readers for hanging out with me today!


Okay seriously, my guest posters are killing me with the inspiration boards. I have never done one of those. Teach me your tricks please? My readers are getting used to this 🙂

I love the shut the front door sign (it obviously inspired this post title) and that wonderful star fixture. I’m also happy to hear that I don’t have the only cat that climbs curtains, as Macky recently pulled our dining room rod out of the wall (that’s what happens when you’re 20 lbs of cat…)

Thank you again Tabatha, isn’t it amazing how she managed to write a guest post with 2 kids and 5 cats AND a dog? I haven’t even found the time to put on makeup this week! Stop by her blog for some more from her!

A Welcome Entry from Hernando House


Posted by Rebecca, July 20th, 2011

My first guest poster this week is ::drum roll:: Cait from Hernando House! Cait is one of my very loyal blog friends who always takes the time to say something nice around here. We started blogging around the same time, so she holds a special place in my heart as a part of the class of 2010. Maybe someday we’ll have a 25 year class reunion and meet up at the punch bowl…

Anyway, here’s Cait with her entryway plans! (You like what I did with that title? Taking a break has made me witty… or delirious… it is questionable at this point) 🙂

Hey y’all, I’m Cait and my husband and I blog over at Hernando House. I’m so happy to guest post for Rebecca & Mike today, their blog is one of my daily must-reads! I’ve enjoyed watching their house evolve. I thought since Rebecca & Mike have recently been tackling their entryway, I’d show you my entryway.

this is actually a nightstand

Our house was built in 1955, and it doesn’t have a true entryway, at least not in the same sense as a lot of newer houses. Our front door opens directly into our library, which was the living room when the house was built. To make a “landing spot” for things we placed a nightstand next to the door and added a hook for keys, a small metal basket for outgoing mail (which was once mistaken for holy water by a friend’s toddler), a bin for shoes, a small bowl for spare change, and a rug to help define the area. To the right of the door we hung a HomeGoods mirror that I painted (Valspar’s La Fonda Grassy Knoll), and we started a gallery wall of door pictures (most of those are from Katie Bower).

I should add that the late afternoon sun made the yellow a lot more “gold”.

This worked for us for about a year and a half, but there was never really a good place for my purse or our reusable bags, we needed some more shoe storage, and during the winter our dining room chairs were constantly draped with jackets. We decided to put a console along the wall opposite the front door, and add a coat rack to the right of the door. Ever since we moved our hutch back into the dining area (which was longer ago that I like to admit to) we’ve used a couple of stools as a placeholder for our console.

one day a DIY version of the West Elm Chunky Console will go here

This is what we’ve come up with so far:

We’re planning to remove the tile and paint the wall it its own color to help define the space. I’ve been coveting this Frameless Arch Mirror from Lowe’s ever since I saw it on their website, and I’ve been thinking about putting it over the console table we build. The inspiration for our coat rack is from Kara Paslay Designs, her husband Tim made it for her, and the inspiration for the console is the West Elm Chunky console, which is no longer available. Something like this Pottery Barn Beachcomber Basket would be great beneath the console for shoes, our current bin is too small. We also need a new door chime for our doorbell, and this one from Amazon looks nice. We hope to put a wall sconce above the over the console, but we haven’t decided exactly what style yet (the one show is from West Elm).

Thanks again to Rebecca and Mike, and I hope those of you who don’t know me will stop by my blog!

Yes, go stop by her blog… now 🙂 Mike and I considered making our own version of that West Elm chunky constole when it was still around. And you know I love a good shoe basket and I’m trying to work out a solution for our own entryway. Doesn’t Cait make great moodboards? She has more… at her blog 🙂

And no, THANK YOU Cait, for giving me a few spare hours to breathe tonight!

Copyright 2010 - 2011. The Lil House That Could. All rights reserved.