Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Impulsive Decorator's Room Redo #1: The Front Hallway

Dear friends,
So it started with a pile of shoes.  My younger five kids and I have a habit of taking our shoes off as soon as we come in the house -- which is a very good thing -- but they also have a habit of just throwing them on the floor in the front hallway -- which is not a good thing at all.
This being summer break, I'm sort of on a home organizing and decorating kick.  I tackled the master bedroom a few days ago (that will be my next post in the series) and then started to turn my mental energies to our front hallway when I passed the aforementioned messy shoe pile one too many times for my aesthetic comfort. 

Oh, we've tried throwing all the shoes in a big basket or two, but then they end up pulling them all out looking for the right pair.  I decided we each need our own labeled container.  But what kind?  I didn't want plastic bins or cardboard boxes, since this is the first room visitors see when they enter our home and I like to make a favorable impression.

Yesterday, I went to the household storage department at Target, looking for something pretty and practical.  They had some nice canvas bins, but they cost about $7 each.   For six bins, that would be $42 plus tax!  Yow!  Not in my budget, honey!  So then I stopped by Deals on the way home.  It's like a glorified dollar store.  First I spotted a stack of wicker baskets for $3 each, but they looked bulky, and not very well made.  Then, on my way back out of the store, I hit the jackpot.  I saw a rack that had packages of fold up canvas bins, 11 x 11 x 9, for only $1 each!  Yes!  Each one is just big enough for several pairs of kids' shoes.  And they have stayed neat since yesterday!

I made little initial labels, cut out with decorative-edge scissors, and attached them to the handles.  Then I lined them up in a row on the hallway floor and filled them up.  It all looks so much better!  

Red, white and blue is not my usual color scheme for the front hallway, but I decided to build around it using what we already have.  I wanted to stick with a vintage country theme, with stripes, checks, and hearts for patterns, and muted shades of red and blue. I noticed that there was already a red and blue wicker basket on the chair, holding library books waiting to be returned.  (The chair is a family heirloom, too fragile for sitting!)

Then I remembered a homey woven blanket with a similar color scheme on the back of my easy chair in my bedroom, so I folded it and placed it in the open bottom of an antique radio cabinet.  (We had to remove the damaged lower doors many years ago.  There were blue and white handmade quilts there before, but they are now on the chairs in my bedroom.)
For the top of this cabinet, I borrowed some vintage Harvard classic books and a small stuffed "Faith" heart from the living room, and a wedding picture (with similar color accents in the frame) from the master bedroom.

Across from the cabinet, there is the hall table which has the shoe bins lined up under it. I moved an antique book stand (from Thad's aunt) and my grandfather's Bible in from another room, then leaned a "Love Begins at Home" framed needlepoint across the front of it.  Above, I first hung a stained glass mirror that my mother had made for my college graduation 26 years ago.  Unfortunately, the colors were wrong for the new scheme.  After looking around the house for something more suitable, I chose a framed geranium poster from the living room.  The verse, translated from French, reads, "The joy of the Lord is my strength."  
Since many of my decorations have sayings related to faith, hope, and love, I opened the Bible to 1 Corinthians 13, part of which says, "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails," and "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

I hung a welcome sign with dangling hearts directly across from the front door; it came in from outside where it was hanging under our mailbox.  

The Faith-Hope-Love angel, a gift from my sister-in-law Dana, came from the living room.

After I had been twiddling around with decorations from other room, I started wishing I had a small rug to match the new color scheme.  I had an extra hour out while my teenage son was at Bible study tonight, so I visited Bed Bath & Beyond and JoAnn Crafts.  JoAnn had a whole aisle of patriotic country-style red, white, and blue decorations, all marked at 60% off, but I had enough of those kinds of things.  I didn't see a rug I liked, so I didn't buy anything at all.  It was tempting, but anything more would have just been clutter. 

My final piece?  I remembered that a couple of years ago, I had a lovely picture of a house with the saying, "God rest your hand upon this door and bless this house forevermore" hanging next to the front door. But when Thad repainted that one wall, he took it down, and I hadn't seen it since.  I had looked for it a while back, but hadn't found it.  God's hand was with me tonight, though, because after a quick prayer, I found it in the second place I looked -- wedged between my husband's desk and bookshelf.  Ha!

So there you have it.  I started with a messy pile of shoes, and ended up with a lovely entry way!  And since I was mainly using what I already had, I only spent $6.42 for the whole project!  Not only that, I was able to bring a bit of variety throughout the house by rotating artwork between rooms, such as swapping out the big waterfall painting from over the hall table for the geranium poster that was over the living room couch.

I should note that in addition to the shoes, I was also spurred on by reading the chapter on "Entrances" in Alexandra Stoddard's book Creating a Beautiful Home which I picked up at our library bookstore's bag-of-books-for-$2 sale.  Here are her introductory thoughts: "From the moment you open the front door to your house or apartment, you instinctively feel the emotional rush of being home.  The entrance hall is the face and character of the house.  Just as a writer must find his or her voice, your place of entry -- like the first paragraph of a book -- conveys the whole feel of the house, its atmosphere and integrity, the voice that hints of home.  Immediately, you reveal your story. So begin by asking, What are your major messages?  What do you want to express to yourself, your family, and friends when walking through the door?"

I want people to think about faith, hope, and love -- and to feel welcomed by our family into our home!  I also want my family to see a reminder to love each other!  Yes, indeedy, we do need that!

How about you?

Virginia Knowles

P.S. If you would like to see what the hallway and living room looked like during autumn decorating, you can read this post here: Easy Autumn Decorating on a Dime.  You will see a lot of the same objects, just in different places!

P.P.S. Next week, I hope to show you my master bedroom "redo" -- which started with trying to wipe a few smudges off the wall...

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