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


Halloween Out

It’s been a rough few weeks for being the most wonderful time of year, huh? I’m a thinking person, like thinking is one of my favorite things to do, but after all my thinking I can’t come up with the right way to live in this world. Even when your life isn’t directly affected by natural disasters, shootings, fires, war, famine, racists, death, etc. should you saturate in the news and the communal human loss? Or do you stick your head in the sand and live happily in a bubble because your children deserve better than a melancholic mother? That option can’t be acceptable when other mothers aren’t afforded that luxury. I find it impossible to live in the middle, though that’s probably the healthy place to be, so I continually loop through those two extremes, often overstaying my welcome in melancholy…where you could probably guess from this paragraph that I am deep in right now. Why, humans?

Anyways, this has very little to do with my Halloween decorations. Or everything. Who knows at this point. Life is absurd and hard and ugly and straight up wrong, and when world events flare up (OR TOM PETTY DIES), I cynically look at creative pursuits and celebrations as a cheap cover up for all the wrong. So maybe here’s me doing my best to cover up our shared ugly human existence by making a pretty house. Or pretty weird house, depending on taste. Wow, what an intro. Sorry to ramble so off. Though this almost turned into an entire post about the impact TP has made on my life, so I actually think I’m letting you off easy :)

Let me bring it back in. Despite my doom and gloom feelings, I had a lot of fun decorating our house for Halloween this year. I usually go pretty minimal (last year’s inside and out) but was surprisingly over-enthusiastic this year. Probably because the front yard is semi-presentable for the first time ever and the possibilities are wide open. It’s really great, I’ll share soon, I just need to plant a few more things. Our outside Halloween decorations are still quite minimal, but in a large scale way that is working for our yard and for me.
We have a simple spider web theme going on. I almost passed on these Mega Spider Webs from Target because they looked like a dumpy hammock in the bag that would blow down in the wind, but I decided to give one a try and liked it so much I bought another. Easy, cheap, fun, big impact (they are 25′ long!) but in a minimal way. They fit my requirements for compact storage and have, so far, withstood some major wind.I painted the wonderfully weird screen white and we’re planning on adding a second! I’m basically in love.I’ll share Halloween inside later this week. And keep the feelings to a minimum. For today, sending love and prayers to my beloved, burning California. xoxo

DIY Mid Century Screen / Divider

Things are moving along in the front yard slow and steady. Our most recent project is an exterior decorative wood screen inspired by the pages of a 1961 Sunset book, Entryways and Front Gardens, a photo that has haunted me for years! Obviously adding non structural architectural details can completely change the feel of a facade, but the ease and impact surpassed all my expectations. The front of our house has a long, boring expanse that needed to be visually broken up. Plants are usually an easy answer, but a narrow plant bed sits below, preventing any substantial plant from successfully or safely growing here. While discussing ways to hide our poorly located breaker box, I suddenly remembered the Sunset book project – the perfect match to our issues.We followed the basics of the original frame design, but used 2×6 instead of 2×4 for the inside square blocks to expand the size and open it up a bit. I liked the original mix of squares and bars, but wanted more overall pattern consistency, so the whole family played around with the design for a while until we got something we liked. We used redwood for outdoor durability, but since we will be painting it, pine probably would have been fine and cheaper (we spent around $150 for everything). I’m tempted to paint it a crazy accent color, orange or turquoise being the obvious contenders, but I think a slightly darker shade of the house color will do the trick for now.The completed screen is really top-heavy so we made sure to dig deep. Digging was by far the worst part of the project, but this set-up really helped break up our clay: a 1.5″ drill bit with a 12″ extender. Our 9′ posts were sunk about 2′ deep. Forty minutes of leveling, three braces, and two bags of Quikrete later, our screen stands tall, straight and strong.The original plan was to use the screen to hide a poorly located breaker box. However, once we put it together it became clear that everything looked so much more balanced and better if we placed it one space over. This project doesn’t exactly lend itself to experimentation (once it’s in the ground), so I was a little nervous to switch up our plans on the fly, but I’m so glad I went with it. I’m (mostly) confident that everything will pull together once I paint the screen and get the landscaping done up here. I’m left looking for other solutions to hide that box, but I’m sure I’ll come up with something. My best idea so far has been build a second screen – duh. Husband is not really feeling that one, so time will tell where this story goes. Here’s the two locations we considered: Lessons learned: Never underestimate the power of a (comparatively) tiny screen, or it’s bonus shadows! Next time I go down this road, I’m taking this idea and going HUGE, like cover my whole house huge because it is that good and that transformative:(A fun bonus to this project is that we are planning to build a wood divider in-between our family room and dining room so I took the opportunity to get a spacial feel of size and dimension with this screen inside before we fully assembled it. IN LOVE. All my fears about a divider being too busy, blocking too much light, making the dining room feel too cramped were shot down completely. Can’t even wait for this!)We took a break from the front yard this weekend to clean up our garage, repair a busted backyard fence, and to also address the MOUSE THAT I FOUND IN OUR HOUSE!!! Talk about feeling violated and consumed and conflicted because you love animals but also hate the plague, etc. Let’s just say we drove in our car with a trapped mouse in my lap to an open field and let it go because I’m that person. Until next time friends unless I’ve contracted a rodent borne disease or stress shingles from worrying about rodent borne diseases! xoxo

Border Wall

Hi everybody! It’s been insane here lately so sorry for my absence on my own blog! School started back up abruptly and I’ve been scrambling to switch gears, gather supplies, and make sure everyone is emotionally stable through all the newness. All of that means that summer is officially over for us and our front yard, our ONE summer goal, didn’t quite get done. But we have come a long way and are close! I’d say it’s about 95% cleared of weeds, 75% landscaped, 40% graded/leveled and truck loads of mulch and rock are on the way tomorrow! But it took a lot of boring/ugly/not exciting tasks to get here, the most important one being what we have affectionately named our BORDER WALL!I’ll explain. We live on a corner and a hill, and our front yard is big L-shaped plot that consists of two parts: a flat upper area at house level and a massive slope that goes from upper level to sidewalk level. The slope has a very old/crumbling/needs-to-be-replaced railroad tie retaining wall at its base (that we are ignoring for now). Up around the corner, the slope eventually meets house level and the yard forms a fun curve around our driveway in back (fun fact: we’ve never owned or even lived in a house with a normal garage in front. What is it like?!). Allow these google maps screen shots from when we bought our house to further illustrate:I’ll talk more about plants next time, but we have basically ripped out all existing plants, including the large lawn on the top level. We are going for the same desert modern vibe of our backyard, but maybe not as colorful, so the grass will be replaced with rocks. In order to do that however, it was necessary to build some sort of low-grade retaining wall at the top of the slope to reclaim feet of previously uneven grass area that dangerously dropped off around the edges and to keep the rocks from spilling over. It’s not so much structural as it is a literal border line (previous owner had a rickety piece of wood, as seen above). And that’s how the border wall was born and an endless stream of jokes and joy have followed…the most obvious one being that we are going to get Mexico to pay for it.

My husband used pressure treated 4×4’s for the wall, 4×6’s for the posts, and 6″ specialty screws to hold it all together. After much debate, we cut across the corner of our lot at 45 degrees, angle the wall at one end of our yard, and literally run it into the ground on the driveway side. It has really classed up the joint and given our yard some much needed structure. We now have two defined areas, top and bottom.
We’re beginning to lay down rock up top this weekend on the areas that we have leveled, the same rock we used in our backyard and sideyard, 1/2″ float rock. We have been super happy with it. We’d like to pour a concrete patio outside our front door, where we have the best views. Only a giant circle seems right to me, but we lack experience to give us the guts to try to DIY it, so that may need to happen at a later date. We also hope to build a decorative wood screen to hide our very poorly placed breaker box:As for the slope, I’ve mostly finished landscaping (after taking these photos), so I’ll save the plant talk for next time. It feels so good not be the dump of all dumps in the neighborhood! I’ll leave you with some before/after action of our progress. I think we may still be in the “it looks worse before it looks better” stage, but I can see where we are going and I can’t wait to get there.Thanks for stopping by!

Porch Freshess

mid century turquoise front door entry cone light exteriorHeeey! Here with some porch freshness today: a new door color (same old door), a new doorbell button, a fresh coat of exterior paint on the wood and eaves, and the removal of a handrail. It all adds up to a much cleaner look!

Why am I painting the same weird scrolly old door again when there is a new door taking up space in the garage waiting to be hung? Umm, mostly because I’m crazy. Secondarily, because I have a hunch the new door is gonna be a long time coming. Hanging doors is one of our most dreaded house jobs and I foresee it continually dropping to the bottom of the list. Considering that, I was ready to move past the coral, which was only supposed to be short lived. The color was fun and all, but certainly wasn’t doing the exterior paint color any favors. I tried out a bright turquoise this time around, a color that seriously brings out the best in the tan exterior. It’s the same color I used on our backyard mosaic wall: Behr water park.mid century front door porch turquoise bright blue aqua bullet planter cone light vintage mailbox

mid century turquoise front door sputnik entry light behr water park

mid century bullet planter porch Behr Water Park waterpark

mid century double cone exterior light brass

rejuvenation starburst doorbell mid century vintage star

mid century letterbox mail box bamboo brass

mid century front door porch turquoise bright blue aqua bullet planter cone light vintage mailbox

mid century turquoise aqua blue front door entry

mid century turquoise front door entry cone light exterior

mid century rittenhouse long chime doorbell door bell emersonWe finally switched out the old doorbell button for this starburst repro from Rejuvenation and rewired our long chime doorbell so that it actually works again! (Read more about them here.) How cute! How loud! It was disconnected for so long to address some electrical iffies that we all forgot how boisterous and wonderful our chimes are. The back porch doorbell only warrants one ding, but ringing the front door button produces an entire song! This massive beast, made by Rittenhouse, is 4.5 feet tall and is one my favorite original fixtures in the house, even though kids constantly crash into it when barreling down the hall (…or intentionally slam it when they are pissed to get a rise out of me…totally works). mid century rittenhouse long chime door bell

mid century rittenhouse long chime door bell Losing the rail (which you can see more of here) along the wall has been a huge but subtle improvement. So subtle that I think I’m the only person in the world who actually notices. But trust me, when you do notice, the streamline hits you hard. I’m hoping to remove the other side sometime down the line, but I need to verify handrail codes and patch concrete and all so, not now. The rail’s last hurrah:

mid century front door porch turquoise bright blue aqua bullet planter cone light vintage mailboxI have almost given up like 20 times on the paint-your-house-yourself fool’s errand that I’m on. I joked that it would take a year, and it’s almost been that long. Granted, I rarely work on it. But when I do, it’s full days of backbreaking, exhausting misery. Looks good, though!

As for this plant, it’s not gonna make it, is it? This south facing corner spot is a certified killer. It’s in shade for most of the day but then is pummeled with the strongest sunlight for the last few hours of the day. The heat radiates off the walls, killing all life. Everything sunburns. Any ideas internet? I’m going to try a full-on spiky cactus next, but I fear even that will burn in these conditions and, as a bonus, also possibly impale someone???mid century bullet planter porch

I think changing door colors might be my thing. It’s like a quick and cheap outfit change for your house. Better, right? (Though side by side this looks like a gross baby shower.)

    mid century front door porch turquoise bright blue aqua bullet planter cone light vintage mailbox

    mid century turquoise front door entry cone light exterior

    mid century turquoise front door sputnik entry light

The end. Thanks for reading! (Itching for more, more, more door talk?…go here for a mega-post on vintage door hardware. xoxo)