Orange Front Door!

It happened. I can pretty much retire from life because having an orange front door = I’ve made it. The ornate and scrolly front door that came with our house was obviously a more recent update from the wrong decade that didn’t fit in with the style of the house or its owners. We have been slowly bringing our porch back to where it belongs and replacing the door was a major piece of the puzzle. Sources below!A surprising amount of man and woman hours went into this very minimalist door:

The door is a cheap composite wood slab that’s been sitting in our garage for 3 YEARS. We considered hanging it ourselves but after watching videos, we got the feeling this is one of those rare jobs we should hire out. Thankfully, we had a family friend who was passing through town and was kind enough to do it for us. (Orange County friends: if you need a handy man/door hanger I am happy to pass along his info. He does excellent work!) It took him and my father in law a good 8 hours to hang with multiple specialty tools and years of experience. Our house is not even a little bit square, so this would have been a nightmare to DIY. Front doors aren’t one of those jobs you can walk away from and come back to in a few days/months, which is our coping mechanism when things go wrong. I planned on adding some kooky trim work once it was hung, thinking our house wasn’t modern enough to pull of the plain slab look, but after it was in place I loved it unadorned.

The hardware is part vintage, part new. As mentioned on my huge door hardware post from awhile back, this amazing brass escutcheon was a new-old-stock vintage find! Fear not: Rejuventation sells reproductions of the exact one. But I scrambled hard the night before the last-minute hanging to purchase a lockset locally and was thankful my top choice, this Schlage Bell lockset, was in stock at the third store I visited. While I wish the rosette was chunkier and I really dislike the ornateness of the deadbolt that came with mine, the knob has a good mid century shape, very similar to our interior knobs. The door color is orange perfection, Behr Fireglow, the same color we used on our master door and screen door and crazy backyard wall. With our old door, I took the opportunity to experiment with a few other colors (coral and turquoise), knowing orange would be the forever color when we upgraded. I surprisingly really liked the turquoise, a great compliment to our current exterior color and all our blue agaves, and was a little worried orange would clash in comparison. Of course, that shouldn’t stop you from painting your front door your favorite color right? Orange actually looks SO GREAT and I was dumb for even worrying about it.

One thing to consider when choosing front door paint colors, which I didn’t, is that darker colors combined with intense, direct sunlight make for greater heat. I would never think of orange as a dark color, but it is. This one in particular is a deep base paint, and you can feel the difference in thermal intake. By mid afternoon the door is hot to the touch. We’ve had trouble with our previously perfect fitting door starting to bow by the end of each day after prolonged Southern sun exposure with the unseasonably hot weather we’ve had in the past few weeks. By morning, it’s back to normal, telling me it’s not a water issue (I have never sealed a door so well!), but rather differences in temperature on each side of the door. I’m sure the slab, compared to our previous paneled door, is less able to roll with temperature changes, but I’m sure my dark color contributes too. Things to think about, and an issue we aren’t sure how we’ll address. I have a feeling that it will be fine for the half of the year it’s overcast and mild (which should be right now but whatever…)mid century front door porch turquoise bright blue aqua bullet planter cone light vintage mailboxAs far as actually painting the door, it should have been the simplest job ever right? WRONG. Painting this was a nightmare and I can’t remember a recent “easy” project that went so bad. I started with my normal preferred exterior paint, Behr Marquee, in a semi gloss. The same paint we used on our master/backyard door and screen door without issue. However, the front door is larger and has the sun directly hitting it for many hours of the day, showing every roller/brush mark imperfection in the sheen. I started with a 5″ foam roller and it was a disaster! I couldn’t get a smooth finish for the life of me, mostly because my paint was drying before I could get to adjacent areas, leaving differences in texture.

Before buying a sprayer or going with flat matte paint, I turned to IG for advice and got so many great ideas! Thanks to my friend Kimi (you must check out her AMAZING house and bow down to the queen), who coincidently got a new front door the same day as us and was kind enough to share what her professional painter did, I went with a different paint. An alkyd, similar in application to old school oil based paint, and what is often used nowadays for trim and doors in public spaces. It smells and takes awhile to dry, but I was easily able to brush it on and get an even finish over the whole door, though my roller texture from the first coats are still slightly showing through. Her painter took it a step further and rolled on, then brushed over for the ultimate in even coverage. I wish I would have known and done all this to begin with, but now I know for next time! Another great suggestion that also would have worked was adding Flood Floetrol to the latex paint to slow dry time (many thanks to the wonderful Melodrama for that tip – have you seen her adorable house???!!!). I bought some of that too for future use, especially on trim work!



knob – Schlage | escutcheon – similar | paint – Behr Semi Gloss Alkyd

mailbox – DIY | doorbell – Rejuvenation | address numbers – Home Depot (painted)

plant stand – vintage | planter – TJ Maxx | doormat – Target

sconce – vintage | entry mirror – Amazon | interior sputnik – Practical Props


Now that everything is mostly in place on our porch, and there is an abundance of brass, I totally have my eye on this mailbox. I quickly DIYed our mailbox with some bamboo and spray paint, but it’s time for something a little more durable. That white on white would be so cute, ya? Thanks for reading!! xoxo Jenny


One More Christmas Post

OK, one more Christmas post before the big day! This time, our entry. (Family room here and den here.) I loved walking down the hall to our simple entry Halloween decorations this year, so I basically copied that but in Christmas form. I swapped mirrors (this one is from Amazon and is one of my favorite purchases!), then added a little white tree and lights. Again, pretty low-key decorating this year. Festive but contained. Give me a few more years and I might be down to nothing! The older I get, the more stressed I get, and the less excess I can handle. Is this natural life progression…or should I talk to someone in 2018?  This special little vintage “KISS ME” mistletoe decoration was made by my kiddos great grandma. So sweet. Around the corner from the entry, in the dining room bookshelf, I tucked my favorite vintage reindeer along with our advent calendarSo if you are keeping score, I completely failed at a calm, simple, reflective December despite my best efforts. I’m a wreck. Does this just happen as kids get older and have more of a social life/homework/etc? While I’m not ready to pack up the decorations, I’m really looking forward to some quiet next week after all the celebrating, when we have nothing scheduled but some hardwood flooring install (in the kid bedrooms!). I desperately need a break, mostly from being my youngest’s teacher, ha! Christmas plus regular mom stuff plus homeschool has just pushed me over the edge this month. Like pass the pillow, I’m gonna scream. So sad, but true, and just life. Hope your December fared better! And if so, tell me your secrets to simplicity. If not, there’s always next Christmas! Merry Christmas from my crazy house to yours! xoxo

Flooring Updates and DIY Feelings

When it comes to this house, sometimes I feel like a super successful do-it-yourselfer and other times a complete failure. The flooring, the literal foundation for every room, falls into the failure category. But we are working on rectifying the situation, only 3.75 years into living here! Approximately half the house has had most of its wood floors installed for a least the last year or two, but lingering rows remained unfinished and abandoned under furniture. Preventing us from baseboards. Preventing us from any “finished” look anywhere in the house.

I’m so ready to move on with my life so I’ve pushed this project to priority status, though installing wonky boards is the last thing my husband wants to do in his free time. I’ve talked previously about our love/hate relationship with the hardwood floors we chose. They are so pretty, but have been THE WORST to install. Not like I’m doing any of the hard stuff. My husband has taken on that burden completely upon his shoulders (and knees, and wrists, and hands, and back…). But the installation has been so hard and so frustrating that the flooring is the #1 project that we avoid and ignore in our house. Which is unfortunate, because it’s not as is the flooring in your entire house can be hidden behind a closed door. I see it daily. It became that thing we were semi-blind to and forget how bad it actually is…or how much better it could be if we just put in a few days of work. This past weekend was dedicated to tying up some lose flooring ends and the few miserable days of work have paid dividends! Among other things, the flooring in the entry and adjacent coat closet is finally finished! hardwood floors diy install entry threshold bellawood maplesubfloor This part of our house was at one point an open hole to the earth below – we had to remove and replace subfloor because it so not level that floors couldn’t even be installed upon it. Only a few unfinished rows of floors remained, but it was hours of work that included refinishing the exterior wood threshold, custom fitting a new gasketed threshold under the door, and impossibly shimmying the puzzle pieces of the last row into place. You can’t see this, but the door even got some new hinges to help it hang a little better on our old crooked and shifting house (!). My husband does really great work and I’m so thankful for all the different kinds of hard works he puts in for our family.
hardwood floors diy install entry threshold For so long the first steps into our house were unfinished ones, a taste of what was to come. This seems to signify a great shift in our household! The entry is now leaving me with quite the good impression. I know why we pushed this project off for so long, but at the same time, why did we wait so long to do this??? coral pink front doormaple bellawood 3/4" hardwood floorsWe also checked off the den flooring, kitchen flooring, and dining room flooring this weekend, which means those rooms are now ready for baseboards. Which has brought us to another exciting but frustrating stop on our journey: picking out the baseboards! I am sick of making decisions and want someone to just tell me what to do. I’ve narrowed it down to something void of ornamentation, but I can’t land on a height. Really tall? 60’s short? In between? What is the answer internet? We could go with a super simple cove that is probably most like the original baseboards of the house, but it reads cheap to me compared with simple squared off options. NO MORE DECISIONS.maple bellawood 3/4" hardwood floorsThe next stop on this flooring journey is an irritating and unexpected one: the decision whether to continue as planned and hardwood the entire house (minus the sunken family room and the bathrooms) or to keep/replace carpet the bedrooms. I fully believe in cohesive flooring in a house so I’m against carpet in the bedrooms…but the pace, hours and scale of installing these stupid crooked boards ourselves is irrational, even for me. It would be perfectly reasonable to quit sinking money into floors that my husband swears he hates enough to never refinish (the only reason we bought the real stuff instead of the easier to install, incredibly straight engineered wood flooring). He would love to just pay someone to install new carpet in the bedrooms and never look back…and never give another dime to Bellawood. My kids would prefer carpet in their rooms too. And I’m sure my aging dog sides with all of them. It’s me and my choppy floor pet-peeve against them all, and I can’t argue with their rationalizations. I’ve conceded the final decision to my husband, so we’ll see what gets handed down. Choosing new carpet, something I never imagined myself doing, might be in my future…

I’m realizing that our renovation style is slow and unfocused. We jump from project to project as motivation strikes and disappears, rarely seeing things through to completion before moving on to the next thing, and then living amongst our half finished projects. (Evidence: the master bath project that went so bad and frustrating that we needed to take a breather, but now we’re living with an even dumpier space that we began with). I’m sure part of that is our personalities, but I think a majority of it is out of necessity because of our time/energy constraints. The massive undertaking of fixing up an entire house almost 100% yourselves while also juggling parenting and job responsibilities (add in homeschooling!) is crazy person business when you step back and think about it. I’m not complaining, because I’m the crazy person who again and again eagerly volunteers for this. But there are days when I step back and think why are we doing all this??? and it’s usually on hardwood floor install days. I also ignorantly assume that everybody else is spending their weekend plugging away at projects on their home, forgetting this isn’t normal. I can see why most people spend their weekends relaxing. Maybe one day I’ll be one of them – or maybe I’m not cut out for a life of leisure? High fives and pats on the backs to all you other DIYers out there! Keep up the good work and I get/like your kind of crazy!