7th House on the Left


posted by Greg & Ashley  /  20 Comments

After Ash and I got back from vacation a little over a month ago, we got sucked into a major “let’s-do-take-out rut”. Outback and Cracker Barrel being our go-to dinner of choice, we were so busy with work and everyday things that we didn’t really take time out to plan a menu every week, do “serious” grocery shopping or cook. After a few weeks of this, we realized it was high time to put away the take-out menus and get out the pots and pans. Not only is cooking at home a lot cheaper and healthier, it’s also a fun thing to do together.

Since we’ve been spending more time in the kitchen over the last few weeks, we thought it would be fun to bring a “kitchen edition” to the table. So, without further ado, here’s a round up of our personal favorite kitchen tools we love and use…

His Favorite Things: Kitchen EditionONE // Cuisinart CrockPot – Being that our schedules are still really busy, we’ve been trying to find easier, faster ways to cook. The crockpot is a great way to do it, and some seriously awesome stuff happens in there (Taco Soup FTW). TWO // Commercial Salt / Pepper Shakers – Ashley’s mom has a set of these, and I absolutely love to use them, so we had to buy some ourselves. They’re great for seasoning large dishes. THREE // Pancake Spatula – I’m the Pancake King in our house. In other words, I make the pancakes. I like to make plate-sized pancakes, but normal spatulas just don’t cut it. Fortunately, this one gives your huge pancakes the side support they need for proper flipping. FOUR // Cuisinart Coffee Maker – This is one of the most essential items in our kitchen. With the hot water dispenser on the right, it’s a great multi-tasker, too. FIVE // PalmPeeler – Ash bought one of these when we were prepping for Thanksgiving dinner (there were a lot of potatoes to peel), and it has been a staple in our kitchen toolbox ever since. The ergonomic shape makes the peeling process just seem faster and easier. SIX // Rubbermaid Premier Food Storage – Of course, with cooking comes leftovers. These stackable containers are great for the fridge, but they also snap together for easy transport to the office. (I love leftovers for lunch!)

Her Favorite Things: Kitchen Edition

ONE // Amaryllis Spoon Rest – I never realized how useful a spoon rest was until I started using one. Like my grandma pointed out, you could just use a plate instead of buying one… but this ons is a lot cuter. TWO // KitchenAid Hand Mixer – This mixer is great for times when I don’t want to use the big stand mixer – like last night when I mixed up the mashed cauliflower. And, obviously, I love the color. THREE // Batter Bowl – This is easily one of my favorite things to use in the kitchen. It’s super light, has a handy rubber bottom, durable and dishwasher safe. I love it so much, I want to buy a backup just in case something happens to this one. FOUR // Mini Ramekins –  We don’t just use these for baking. They’re perfect for single servings of snacks like salsa and humus. FIVE //  Rachel Ray Stainless Steel Cookware – We’ve had a cookware set like this since we’ve been married (they don’t carry it anymore, but the link it to something similar) and we absolutely love it. I love the comfy red silicone handles, and every piece still looks as new as the day we bought it. SIX // Utensil Holder – Like the spoon rest, I didn’t think a utensil holder would be as useful as it is. It’s so helpful to be able to pull out a spoon when you need one. It also frees up valuable drawer space around the stove.

So, how about you guys… Any favorite kitchen gadgets we need to know about?

Are you getting geared up for Easter weekend?! As for our plans, we’re hosting Easter lunch here this year (and yes, cooking every bit of it, haha!). Time sort of got away from me, so I’m going to be trying to come up with a cute Easter table on the cuff. Here’s hoping!

Oh, one more thing! I don’t know if any of you guys get the MeTV channel, but it’s one of our favorite channels around here. They air classic TV shows 24/7, including our favorites, The Dick Van Dyke Show, I Love Lucy and Donna Reed (with the exception of Saturday mornings, when they air the oddest children’s programs ever). On Sunday starting at 3:00 EST, they’re doing an entire marathon of classic TV episodes about decorating – including the Mary Tyler Moore Show episode when Rhoda redecorates Lou’s living room. Hilarious! Last night, I saw a commercial for the marathon and thought it might be something our classic-tv-home-design-loving readers would want to jump in on. We’ll be busy with Easter festivities, but the TiVo will get getting a workout!

Okay, so we didn’t necessarily paint the town red. Just the front door. Our current mission is to spruce up the foyer and turn it into a real, bonifide, cozy, inviting entry. As we mentioned on Monday (in this post), we were given the chance to pick the brain of one of our favorite designers, Sabrina Soto (Ashley is still having random fangirl fits). During our Q+A session, she mentioned that painting the front door would add some needed visual interest and certainly make a statement – which is something we really need in this space. Our original plan was to paint the door black, just like we did in the laundry room, but after realizing we really liked the pop of color when the front door was open into the foyer, we decided to ditch the black and go with red.

Exterior Red Door / 7th House on the Left

The red we picked out is the same color as the other side of the door, Posh Red by Valspar (10114). We really like this particular shade of red because, as Ash says, it has a classic vintage vibe along with some deep black undertones. The black undertones make it not so “bam in your face candy apple red” and more “hey, I’m red and you know you like me”. All in all, it’s a great shade of red for us.

To refresh your memory, here’s what the door looked like before…

Foyer Progress / 7th House on the Left

After five, yes five, coats of paint, here’s the crazy-cool after…

Red Front Door / 7th House on the Left

Bam! Every time we walk through the foyer, we think to ourselves, “Why didn’t we paint it sooner?!”. The door looks like it was meant to be red. Once we get a rug down and something like a ceramic umbrella stand to the right of the door, this area will look much more finished and will help the red door look even better.

We really like how the oil rubbed bronze hardware really stand out now…

Red Front Door / 7th House on the Left

Rather than going through a long and drawn out post about how to do something that’s pretty self-explanatory, I put together a few bullet points that you may (or may not) find helpful if painting a door is in your near future:

  • If you’re painting over a door that you didn’t previously paint (ie: the previous owners did), you need to determine which type of paint was previously used. Dab some denatured alcohol on a rag and rub it on the paint. If the paint comes off, it’s latex-based paint. If not, it’s oil-based. Word on the street is you can put oil-based paint on anything, but latex won’t adhere well to an oil-based painted surface. If you find out the paint is oil-based, you should lightly sand the door (just to scuff the surface) with high-grit sandpaper, clean it off, then proceed to the next step using a latex-based primer (which will adhere to an oil-based undercoat).
  • You should definitely prime the door. If you’re painting a white door red, it’s probably a good idea to prime the door even if you’re using a paint that has primer built in. On top of that, you can get a tinted primer that will make your job even easier. You’ll get much better coverage and it won’t take five coats (like ours did!).
  • Don’t be hasty in applying a second (or third… or fourth…) coat. If the paint on the door isn’t quite dry yet, don’t try to slap a second coat on–you’ll leave nasty-looking brush strokes in your door’s brand new paint job. As far as I know, the only way to fix that is to sand the surface flat and try again.
  • Don’t let your paint dry out. If it’s looking a little soupier than normal, get some fresh paint. If you use paint that’s a little too thick, you could risk leaving brush strokes, just like in the previous tip.
  • Try to put on a few thin coats rather than one thick coat. This is a good general painting tip, but it goes doubly for doors. If your door has some inset details like ours, paint tends to well up in all the little crevices. You don’t notice it at first, but 5 minutes later, you’ll notice little drips forming at the corners if you’re using too much paint. If you don’t catch them in time, more sanding is in your future!

Instagram: 7thhouseblog

  • Oh, and last but not least… as this Instagram picture shows, if you run out of paint pans, an extra plastic storage box seems to work out just fine in a pinch, haha.

Hopefully those tips will help someone out. We’re really excited about our newly-painted door and the effect it has on the rest of the foyer area. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll continue to update you on our foyer progress, leading up to the final product. We’ve got some really fun things in store, so stay tuned!

PS: Don’t forget to enter the Bluelounge giveaway!

Up until we recently installed the new pendent light fixture, it’s safe to say that our foyer is the the most neglected area of the house. We’ve done pretty much nothing to this space and since day one; it has simply acted as a passage way between the bedrooms and the rest of the house. Because of this, it hasn’t ever really felt like an honest-to-goodness foyer, but that’s about to change!

Foyer / 7th House on the Left

In the back of my head, I keep asking myself why we haven’t done anything in here until now. I think it comes down to being scared to make decisions, which is funny because you wouldn’t think the smallest area in the house would be that scary. On the other hand, this is the first thing people see when they come into the house. The excuse, “We’re just getting things settled,” expired a long time ago. To help light a fire under us, the ultra-awesome folks at Target hooked us up with a Q+A session with one of our favorite designers and Home Style Expert for Target, Sabrina Soto! More on our partnership with Target and the Target Inner Circle here. Wait, let me add a few more of these … !!!!!!!!!!!

Foyer Talk with Sabrina Soto / 7th House on the Left

I’ve been a huge Sabrina Soto fan for a while – I mean, come on, The High Low Project is genius! The fact that they paired us up with her had me on cloud nine. On top of that, we were extremely excited to tackle the foyer once and for all. To get the ball rolling, Greg and I sat down and put our heads together and came up with a list of questions to ask Sabrina. We also sent her a few photos of the foyer (as empty as it may be) and a photo of our kitchen (since it’s the only room “done” in the house that could give her a since of our style), and a floor plan of the foyer. Here are our questions, along with her responses…

Our foyer is so small and, right now, just acts as a “passage way” between the bedrooms and the rest of the house. What are some easy ways to define the area as a true foyer?

Sabrina: Consider repainting the foyer a different color. Perhaps a shade lighter. This will allow it to stand out a bit from the surrounding paint colors. Warmer colors are considered more inviting and pleasing for guests upon entry. Purchase an exciting lighting fixture. Something that both catches the eye and defines your personality! Hang a mirror for some depth; mirrors also reflect light for a brighter space!

What would be some fun and unexpected ways to throw in our individual personalities in a small space like a foyer?

Sabrina: Artwork is great for visual interest; this is the first space guests see when entering, why not show them a little bit of your personality!? Add some color. This can be accomplished through paint, accessories, or even plants. Choose three colors and work with those. Wall decals are great! Find a favorite quote or image, remove and replace with a new one for a quick change when you want a new look!

This has been one of our big questions around here… does a foyer have to have a mirror?

Sabrina: It isn’t necessary to have a mirror in a foyer, however I would recommend it. Mirrors help reflect light, foyers can often be lacking a full light source. Mirrors in the foyer also allow for those last minute checks before you leave your house. They can also act as a beautiful design element, especially if they have a stunning frame or detail.

What type of rugs hold up well to a lot of traffic, but still look good a few years from now?

Sabrina: Braided rugs and carpet tiles are very durable and hold up very well. There is no pile and therefore great for places with a lot of traffic. Synthetic blends or polyester. Their stain resistant nature is better used for areas with heavy foot traffic than under furniture. Easy to clean and maintain, making them a very durable choice.

An idea that we’ve played around with since we moved into the house is adding clean-lined wainscoting to the hallway and into the foyer and maybe adding wallpaper to the wall on the top. But we keep dragging our heels because we’re wondering if it would make the hallway look smaller or too traditional. Or, with the wainscoting being white, it may make the hallway look larger. What do you think?

Sabrina: Wainscoting is a more traditional look. Consider your design preferences. If you decide to go with the idea, I would paint the upper walls with a neutral paint color. The combination of wallpaper and wainscoting may overpower the hallway slightly. In many cases, less is definitely more. Keep small areas like hallways simple, yet stylish.

If you think the wainscoting would be a good idea, any tips for installing? How high should it go? How would we (or should we) hang art on a “wainscoted” wall? Is “wainscoted” a word? haha!

Sabrina: Typical wainscoting is approximately 36” high off the floor, however there is no specific rule to follow. If your art piece is large, center it between the ceiling and the top of the wainscoting. There should be a minimum of 3-4” between the art and top of the wainscoting.

We’re thinking about painting the interior of the front door black. We thought it would add some interest and make it stand out since it’s so close to the closet doors. We painted the interior side of the exterior door in the laundry room back and we really like it. But, is it a good move for the foyer or should we pass?

Sabrina: Painting the door any color definitely does add visual interest. Darker doors do add a heavier element to the space and certainly stand out to make a statement. If you want your front door to be defined, I think it’s definitely an idea to consider!

If you had the chance to do a total makeover of the space, what do you see? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Sabrina: Incorporate pops of unexpected color through accessories and art. Hang an oversized art piece adjacent to the door or something that defines you and your personality! As there are no windows in the foyer, I would definitely consider incorporating a decorative mirror for some light reflection. Play with your elements and textures. Natural woods look great paired with some glass or reflective surfaces or accessories. Consider a console table for key storage, etc.

To be able to pick her brain was seriously like a dream come true!!!!! I just had to add a few more exclamation points! After our chat with Sabrina, we had a brand new outlook on the foyer and what we wanted to bring to it. For starters, we’ve decided to nix the wainscoting. Sabrina was totally right: even though we love the idea of it, it’s a more traditional look, and since we’re going for “fun rustic modern”, it would probably end up being a step backward for us. If for some reason we decide later down the road to go a more traditional route, we can always add it to the mix.

After a little list-making session, Greg and I have come up with a game plan:

  • Paint the inside of the front door red to match the outside. After loving the look of the foyer door open, we ditched the black and with went red. Photos coming on Wednesday!
  • Repaint the walls a lighter shade to brighten up the space.
  • Shop for and hang a fun light fixture. Check out that here.
  • Find the perfect low-pile rug.
  • Find a foyer table that will fit the space well. More on what we got soon!
  • Hang a mirror over the table.
  • Pair natural wood tones with some glass / reflective surfaces.
  • Add personality with art, photos, books and color.

Now that we have a solid plan in action, this space should come together in no time flat. Over the weekend, we tackled painting the front door (more on that on Wednesday!). and we’re excited to get the ball rolling. Oh, and two more things to add to the to-do list: Stop thinking so hard, and don’t be afraid to make decisions! ; )

PS: Be sure to enter our latest giveaway, hot off the press!