A Makeover for my Entryway

If you’re not new here you might be wondering just what’s going on with my previously blogged about home office space.

Well, between scrubbing breakfast cereal off my walls (no-one warned me that, once dry, milk and weetbix actually forms a NASA-grade adhesive) and all of life’s other rigmarole, the room has actually been slowly evolving and is finally nearly done!

I’m looking forward to sharing it soon, along with dedicated posts for a few of the remaining projects, though whilst I complete them, I thought I’d work simultaneously on a little revamp of my less-demanding entryway.

I don’t have a proper before before shot of my entryway (as it was when we first moved in) so just imagine a boring un-dressed space with dirty beige carpet, a dirty green wall and dirty brown trim. It’s teeny-tiny (as evidenced by the floor plan below, it’s virtually swallowed-up entirely once the front door is opened) though there is just enough room for a little vignette to help give the space its own welcoming identity.

Entryway Floor Plan

I first shared my entryway back in 2010 – not long after I began blogging, when I was still using a pocket point-n-shoot camera and had no idea what a digital SLR even was.

Entryway Before 2010

There was nothing wrong with it (you may even prefer it ‘before’) though as is the catalyst for most of my re-decorating, I just wanted a change, in this case – a move away from the rustic, coastal vibe to something a little more classic and refined.

We rarely use the front door as our main entrance so there’s little need for practical paraphernalia (such as coat hooks, hat stands, mail dumping drawers or key collecting dishes) which gave me free reign to focus purely on aesthetics. Because it’s such a small space it is awkward to photograph so please excuse the lack of perspective. Anyhoo, here it is now…

Vintage Style Entryway Makeover

After a long search I found the sweet antique barley twist table on eBay and it was just what I’d been looking for. As can be seen in the above floor plan, the front door swings open to leave a petite gap between the adjacent wall so I needed something suitably narrow and the proportions and style of the barley twist table were just perfect.

I always get questions about my wallpaper. I put it up about five years ago, long before I started blogging, so sadly it never occurred to me to keep a record of the brand or design. All I can recall is that I purchased it from a Bristol Paint Centre and at the time it was around $45 a roll (at the low end of the price scale). I assume that by now it’s likely discontinued.

Jute Rug

I already owned the jute rug. It was initially intended for use in a different room though it never quite worked in there so I decided to try it in the entry where it is surprisingly perfect. When I originally bought the rug (for its intended room), I couldn’t find one with the dimensions I needed, and after contemplating – then dismissing – various methods of making my own, I decided to have one custom made (argh, I know, the term ‘custom made’ makes me flinch too, though in this case it’s not nearly as scary as it sounds). Because the rug is quite narrow I negotiated to have it made from an off-cut that was left-over after a carpet installation (rather than having it freshly cut from a new roll). I saved over $100!

Apple Blossom in Glass Canister

The mirrors are encased in cheap vintage frames I found at charity stores. I replaced the original artworks with mirrors I had cut by a local glazier. Don’t dismiss having mirrors cut because you think it might be too costly. My mirrors were only $5 each! Add that to the few measly dollars I spent on the second-hand frames and that’s two pretty thrifty pieces of wall decor!

Given it’s mid-Spring here down-under, I couldn’t resist filling my oversized glass canister with fresh apple blossom though once all the pretty blooms have succumbed to our hot summer, as a more permanent solution, I think I’ll try displaying a potted fern on the table instead.

Vintage Style Entryway Makeover

Although I’ve moved towards a more traditional, vintage look the space feels somehow new. I’m sure in the future I’ll be nudged once again by the inevitable desire for change though for now I’m loving my revitalised entryway.

AT A GLANCE
SOURCES
Jute Rug – International Floor Coverings ($80 custom made from an off-cut)
Barley Twist Table – eBay ($60)
Wallpaper – Bristol Paint Center ($45 per roll – brand and design unknown, may now be discontinued)
Glass Canister – Spotlight ($13 on clearance)
Wall Decor – Frames from Thrift Stores/New mirrors custom cut by a Glazier ($7 each)
Brass Rocking Horse – Gift ($unknown)
Vintage Books – Thrift Stores ($5 total)

 

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Baking Canister Labels Free PSD File!

Free PSD Baking Canister Labels

I never could have guessed the amount of interest my little canister labels project (posted back in February) would generate. I have been happily inundated with comments and questions ever since!

One stand-out request has been for me to share the original PSD (Photoshop Data File). For those of you who don’t know what the heck that is, you probably don’t have Photoshop, so unfortunately it won’t be much good to you anyways, though if, like me, your brain likes to know stuff, you can read more about PSD files here. Basically, it’s a freely editable version of my labels.

Well, I’m pleased to announce that you’ve all finally worn me down :-) So for everyone lucky enough to have Photoshop you can now download my baking canister labels in PSD format for FREE below! If you’re not fortunate enough to have Photoshop you can also download the printable PDF version below. Oh, and if you happened to miss my original tutorial for applying the labels you can view that here.

The downloadable zip file comprises two documents; one for CS users (which contains neat folders of grouped layers) and one for Elements users (which contains a gazillion layers though is folder free, thus compatible).

Because I’m a big computer nerd now, I decided to do some research on PSD’s for the purpose of this post, and aren’t all you Elements users glad I’m such a geek? Otherwise, I never would have discovered that Elements doesn’t support layers grouped in folders and I never would have created a special folder-free document just for you – you can hug me later :-)

To conserve my labels in their original form, ensure you have installed all three free fonts listed below.

Have fun!

AT A GLANCE
CREDITS – FONTS
Mrs Eaves Bold
Courier New
Another Typewriter
FREE DOWNLOAD!
Baking canister labels PSD. Click here to download.
Baking canister labels PDF. Click here to download.
PROJECTS
Original Canister Labels Post

Free for personal use only.
Republication, reproduction or redistribution in any form is forbidden.

 

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Client Consultation…Sitting Room Design

A little while back I was contacted by Corinne who was in the midst of planning a home renovation. She told me she lived in the country on seven acres (lucky thing!) with her husband and five kids and was keen to refresh her interior. Her goal was to create a more open-plan layout and up-to-date aesthetic. Part of her vision involved the proposed removal of a division wall currently in place between her main entrance and kitchen, though with that boundary wall gone, she was unsure how to make her front room work. She wanted a welcoming first impression for guests, though as the room would be directly off her kitchen, also a cozy gathering place for family and friends. She also needed to incorporate her existing piano. In terms of style, she was after a comfortable yet refined cottage feel with a touch of eclecticism.

Here’s her entrance room before…

Entry Room Makeover Before Entry Room Makeover Before Entry Room Makeover Before Entry Room Makeover Before

Through my renderings, I wanted to give Corinne an accurate ‘feel’ for the space so roughly incorporated her adjoining kitchen and dining room as well as snippets of her adjacent family room (as can be seen in the overhead doll’s house views). I also gave her three configuration options to demonstrate flexibility in terms of furniture layout.

A divisional half wall in the form of a bookcase helps create a sense of intimacy yet maintains an open link with the kitchen and dining space.

Entry Room Virtual Makeover After Entry Room Virtual Makeover AfterDolls House View

A low slung settee, positioned with its back toward the door, creates an entrance walkway of sorts. Open access to the kitchen and dining room is maintained.

Entry Room Virtual Makeover AfterEntry Room Virtual Makeover AfterDolls House View

A sofa table (or cabinet) placed behind a settee between the kitchen/dining space forms a subtle boundary.

Entry Room Virtual Makeover After Entry Room Virtual Makeover AfterDolls House View

Which is your favourite? I think I’m torn between concepts one and two.

If you’re interested in some design help for your own home please feel free to view this page for some further information and don’t hesitate to contact me at any time.

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Filling a Naked Picture Frame

Sorry if my post title lured you here in hopes of some gratuitous nudity :-)

I thought I’d ease back into the décor side of things with this easy project. It’s certainly not rocket science though for anyone scratching their head about an easy way to re-claim their glass-less, back-less picture frames here’s how I recently salvaged one of mine.

Supplies
1. A naked picture frame. I found mine in a charity store for just $15 (which isn’t bad for a large, ornate, gilt frame). Empty, glass-less, second-hand frames can usually be bought for bargain prices.
2. A piece of thin rigid board, cut to fit inside the frames recess. I used a scrap of melamine-backed particle board I found in the shed though you could use anything from thick cardstock to ply. I simply measured mine and cut it down with a jigsaw.
3. A lovely new picture, sized to fit inside the frame and printed onto standard (or high-quality) paper. I found my owl image on-line for free here. I increased the resolution and played with the dimensions a little in Photoshop to ensure it would fit nicely inside my frame (if you don’t have Photoshop you can do this with GIMP, Pixlr or Paint.net which are all free programs). Then, because the image was sized larger than standard paper, I had it printed professionally (by Officeworks) onto 180gsm satin paper for around $5. Taking into account the price of domestic printer ink the cost of professional printing is pretty comparable and the quality is awesome.
4. Spray adhesive. Or any paper-friendly bonding agent, such as Mod Podge etc.
5. Framing tape. Or, if like me you find that too proper, masking tape will do just fine.

How To Fill An Empty Picture Frame

Protect any surrounding surfaces and liberally spray your backing board with adhesive. Wait a few minutes for it to become tacky.

How To Fill An Empty Picture Frame

Position your print in place over the board then smooth it down firmly to ensure even adhesion.

How To Fill An Empty Picture Frame

Place your backed print inside your frame and secure it in place with a border of tape.

Stand back and admire your unique and thrifty new wall bling!

How To Fill An Empty Picture Frame

As mentioned above, I downloaded my owl image here for free from Vintage Printables. If you’re interested in discovering some other great sources for free printables, be sure to check out the Free Printables section in my Resource Directory. Just don’t blame me when you’re still in your pyjamas at mid-day ogling all the beautiful images available.

Oh, and by the way, remember that home office makeover I started back when flares were in fashion – for the first time? Well, the photo above may, or may not, be a little peek of my latest progress. Can’t wait to get the space done and share it already!

OWL PRINTABLE: CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

 

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Blogger v WordPress

I am not, nor do I claim to be, any sort of web development/design expert. Even after having spent the better part of a year building this new blog I still consider myself a reasonably clueless amateur equipped with just enough foolhardy stubbornness to avoid defeat. As such, although I did consider writing a detailed post about my experience, unfortunately I feel in no way qualified to offer in-depth advice to anyone on the intricacies of website crafting or blog migration. There are already numerous on-line articles about the subject written by much more competent folk than I. That said, I do feel somewhat obligated to share my acquired knowledge (scarce as it may be) with any of my readers seeking straight-forward information about DIY’ing a WordPress site from someone who has had the experience. So if you do have a specific question please feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to answer.

So although I may not have an expert opinion to offer on the matter, I do feel reasonably confident expressing a personal one…

When I first mentioned my proposed move from Blogger to WordPress, and since the launch of this new site, the most asked question by far has been “Why WordPress?”. Again, there are already numerous on-line articles about the subject, though if you’re keen to hear some points from the perspective of someone you can perhaps relate to then please read on.

Note that the following views expressed are based solely on my personal experience having used both WordPress self-hosted and Blogger blogs. If you are seriously considering changing or choosing a blog platform I recommend seeking information from various sources first.

:: I initially switched from Blogger to WordPress for cosmetic reasons (no, not the make-up kind). Don’t get me wrong though, I could have created an aesthetically lovely site in Blogger though for whatever reason I had quite a specific design in mind and whilst Blogger is customisable to some extent it just doesn’t offer the flexibility of WordPress. Blogger guards many of its files whereas WordPress grants almost unlimited access. This allows for total freedom in the modification and addition of content. If you’re planing to work with a designer then file access may be reasonably inconsequential to you, if you’re planning to self-design then some knowledge of coding is necessary (HTMLCSS and for WordPress, probably PHP also – note, even if you’re not planning to design your own site I believe some knowledge of HTML and CSS is still beneficial). If you’re not too fussed about a totally customised site then both platforms offer numerous ready-to-use, well-designed templates which can be personalised. There are just more options (in terms of features and functionality) with WordPress.

:: WordPress is supported by a vast community of generous and passionate volunteers who offer amazing free content, services and advice. Most noteably, Plugins. Plugins are software components which can be easily used to extend WordPress to do just about anything. There are thousands of awesome free Plugins though also some powerful paid ones. I use them mainly for cosmetic reasons, such as creating dynamic slideshows or galleries. My little Shop was also created using a fantastic free Plugin.

:: In most cases having a Blogger blog is completely free. Having a self-hosted WordPress site means paying for hosting. This can vary from as little as $10  to as much as $500 per month! Choosing the right host is one of the most crucial steps in establishing a new website – it took me a few weeks to make my decision. The cost involved in hosting is generally reflected by the amount of traffic you receive. Most hosts offer plans based on average daily page hits (for example, if you regularly have around 5,000 daily page hits then monthly hosting might cost you $20/if you’re closer to around 50,000 daily page hits hosting might cost $200). It’s a tricky balance – you don’t want to pay more than necessary though if you choose the wrong host/plan you risk having a slow-loading site and even crashes!

:: WordPress offers unlimited static pages (static pages are stand-alone pages such as that used for About, Contact, etc). When I  first looked into redesigning my blog on Blogger the amount of static pages you could have was limited to 20. For me this was frustrating. I’m not certain whether Blogger has now lifted this cap.

:: Maintaining a WordPress site comes with a greater level of personal responsibility. Blogger handles pretty much everything on your behalf – storage, backups, hosting, security, etc – so all you need do is concentrate on writing awesome posts. Because WordPress sites are self-hosted, you (or your trusted designer) are responsible for ensuring these finer details are properly managed.

:: There is more choice with WordPress though just remember that isn’t necessarily always a good thing! If you’re indecisive by nature or daunted by options WordPress can be overwhelming. In this instance the simplicity of Blogger is its strength.

In summary, the shuffle to WordPress was the right move for me. I’ve really enjoyed both the challenges and avenues it’s presented. Both platforms have their pros and cons. There is nothing definitive which makes one clearly better than the other. The right platform is the one which best suits you. Remember, you can always establish a trial blog to sample a platform before making a final decision. If I had to make recommendations; for casual or hobby bloggers – Blogger, for serious or fastidious bloggers (or those with an interested in web development/design) – WordPress.

I hope this little summary of Blogger v WordPress (in my humble opinion) has been somewhat helpful. Like I mentioned, if you’re seriously considering changing or choosing a platform do some research first. There are loads of really thorough on-line articles about the subject. If you’d like further clarification or information about anything I’ve mentioned please feel free to ask – I’m more than happy to try and help.

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