Our Second House

Falling It Up

We spent yesterday painting the outside of the new doors (along with caulking and painting some peeling siding, because I’m kind of a maniac once I get going) but I thought it would be fun to go from sharing something kinda big that happened around the house (Jean-Luc the french door) to something smaller and totally free. Sometimes it’s the little things – and you guys have been asking for some fall-decor-related posts for a while now. So remember our old kinda minimalist mantel in the kitchen? Well, I decided to slap some fall into it and spend zero bucks. Call it a Use Whatcha Got Challenge if you will.

And why not do it on video, just for kicks? Nothing about this video is set up (I didn’t have the arrangement figured out before I hit record or anything) – I just put a bunch of potentially fall-ish items on the counter and moved things around until I liked them. So I thought it might be fun for folks to see the magic. And by magic I mean “me walking back and forth fifty times with different things and stepping back to see what stuck. Really, that’s my method.

Oh but the video cuts off a little bit at the end (the camera goes to sleep after 20 minutes of filming, and it took about 22 to finish) so it missed the last-minute addition of a bunch of corks to the tops of those topiary pots, which I thought were cute and fall-ish. So random, right? I swear the put-things-everywhere-and-see-what-you-like method can lead to the weirdest things, like corks on faux topiaries (aka fauxpiaries) but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Warning: the music in this video might make you want to dance.

You’ll see from the video that after starting out by putting a bunch of stuff on the mantel I stepped back and realized it was all really cluttered and small scale (aka: ugly without an alibi) so I just course corrected as I went and brought in some larger scale items (like the topiaries) to help with the balance. So it’s nice to just piddle and switch things up and see where you end up.

And now for some detail shots. Along with the corks in the fauxpiaries, I also liked the little fake pumpkins and gourds in a hurricane (found in my Halloween tupperware bin in the attic from last year) and the sweater vase that always hangs out on our dining room built-ins along with a bronze paperweight to top it off (both of those guys are from HomeGoods a while back).

In the middle I added my 50 cent (not the rapper) thrift store leaf plate that I mentioned here along with some super old printing block letters from this flea market adventure back in 2008.

The other side has more subtly fall-ish items like gold boxes, a Thanksgiving-ish wishbone (from Marshall’s last year), a white painted pumkin that I DIYed back here, and more corks in the topiary for that cozy fall texture.

In the end I love that I used things we had and only spent around twenty minutes on it, but I get to enjoy it for a good month or two as the temps cool and it starts to actually feel like fall around here. Three cheers for sweater weather.

What has happened for the past day since I did it is that I forget that I did it and every time I walk into the kitchen I smile a little when I see it. Like the fireplace is saying “Surprise! It’s fall!” and I’m all “What? It is?! Sweet. I like the tableau.” Yes, sometimes I use fancy words like tableau when I’m fake-talking to my mantel.

And just because I was still in the fall mood, I decided to turn my attention to the nearby console table in the hall and continue my makeshift “Use Whatcha Got Challenge” over there. So here’s what it looked like before I got my fall-hyper mitts on it.

And here it is now:

Nothing too crazy, but it definitely feels more fall-ish to me. Here were my ingredients:

I actually bought him to use in some book styling shots that we took back in Jan/Feb, so you’ll see his cute face in the book too (feel free to play a little game of Where’s Waldo – yes, I have just named the bird Waldo so that makes sense).

The new fall console + the new french doors = happy momma. And happy Waldo. And happy Clara (she loves looking at Waldo – and so far there is no desire to Hulk-smash him, which is awesome).

What have you guys been up to in the vein of seasonal switcheroos? Anyone else trying to use what you already have around (both in terms of weeds from outside and items you’ve collected over time like corks and ceramic birds?). Do tell.

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And Now For A French Door Photo-fest…

Yesterday we shared a little ditty on DIYing vs. hiring things out with our busted old sliders as the star. They got stuck, had a broken screen, wouldn’t lock, and were rotting (you can read more about that right here).

Then we decided it was high time that we finally sprung for a set of pretty new french doors that were the same style as the door in our laundry room to keep the house from feeling too hodge-podge. Here’s a process pic during the whole switcheroo…

You can read more about the how and the why on the new french doors here. This post is all about the pictures (especially now that we’re done painting them – well at least one side of them, but more on that in a minute). First here’s a shot of the door after it was all installed. We just needed to paint the trim and both sides of the doors, which came primed but not painted.

So we taped off the trim and the hardware and John used a small foam roller to apply some Benjamin Moore Advance Paint in Decorators White (the same gallon leftover from this project and Granny’s bathroom cabinet) while I manned the short handled paint brush to get into all the grooves and around all the edges & trim that the roller couldn’t handle. In one afternoon we got one side of them done (the inside) since they only needed three thin and even coats, but we still have to do the outside. Maybe tomorrow…

In the words of Heather from the NY Housewives: Holla!

Isn’t she pretty? Don’t mind the hardware above that purty door, that’s just from the curtains that used to hang there (back when we were trying to hide the rotten parts of our old slider). We did try putting them back on for a hot second, but after seeing it both ways it was a lot better naked, if you know what I mean. But you can see the curtains in this pic that I took to demonstrate the coolest thing ever: when the doors are open, they don’t block traffic in the hallway. Thank goodness. It was hard to picture them before we got them installed, and we assured ourselves that we’d probably only have one door open most of the time (the one on the right) but it’s so nice to know now that they’re in that if we ever want to throw both doors open, the left door doesn’t block the whole hallway or anything. Whew.

And speaking of the little things that make ya happy, take a look at the sexy ORBed hardware. Me-ow.

But back to how we’ll use them. Most of the time we’ll just open this right door to slip in and out…

… but I have to admit that there’s something oddly thrilling about opening them both. It’s just so much openness that we didn’t have with the slider. And thanks to the screen being broken on the old doors, we don’t know what we’re missing (in other words, we don’t yearn for a screen yet since we haven’t used one in the almost-two-years that we’ve lived here, but there’s an add-on screen option for this door that we can later spring for from Home Depot if we change our minds).

Dear Old Slider, you had your day, but man, I won’t miss the front view…

… or the rear view.

New guy’s much better. Let’s call him Frenchie.

And thus ends the french door replacement picture-fest. Isn’t it crazy how a deck that takes months to come together can almost be trumped by a quick door upgrade? And once we stain/seal the deck, hide that ugly-riffic electric meter, and string some big bulb string lights overhead… well, I think this old alley will be straight up unrecognizable.

What have you guys upgraded that somehow made everything around it feel a little more swanky? You know how sometimes when you fix something up it makes the rest of the room just look bad by comparison? For some reason now I’m convinced that new doors have the opposite effect. Even our old scratched parquet floors look better when they’re next to Frenchie…

Psst- Clara + goats = love. More here.

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