The interior design world has been swimming in a tranquil sea of soft greys and neutrals for several years now. I, too, have swooned over and embraced the trend of a less fussy, achromatic interior. But who says you can’t have the best of both worlds!? Both calming and colorful! Continue reading →
I see it all the time in my interior design work. Homes with these quirky little wall insets in halls, foyers or transition spaces. I’m guessing it’s the builder’s attempt to add “character” to the house but, inevitably, the homeowner is left scratching their head as to what to do with the dang things! In most cases, the easy “go-to” is to lean family photos or artwork or place a floral arrangement inside but, many times, those choices leave the homeowner feeling underwhelmed and bored. I, too, was faced with this problem in my own home. However, my problem was two-fold. (A)… I didn’t enjoy the look of the inset and (B)…I needed more storage space. In my case, the inset was placed on an angled wall and angled walls usually house unused space behind them. Now…those of you that know my work know that I am never opposed to busting through walls if I think there is hidden storage behind and that’s exactly what I did! Check it out! See the pretty antique door? That used to be an unimaginative wall inset! How’s that for “turning it up a notch?”
Maybe it’s because I’m headed to New York City this weekend and have Broadway on the brain…or because the boys and I attended a stellar performance of The Phantom of the Opera last night and, again, I have Broadway on the brain! Nonetheless, as I was entitling this post about an entryway makeover which included a salvaged 100 year old wood door with beveled glass panes, all I heard repeatedly playing in my mind was 5th Dimension’s hit version from the musical Hair, Let the Sunshine In! Why? Because when this new/old door was installed, that is exactly what happened!!! The sun now floods in the house in the most luxurious way!!! And the view from the curb is nothing short of a sunshiny day…even in gloomy weather. Press here and experience the sound of a generation…and the musical backdrop to this post. It’s a medley that starts with Aquarius but Let the Sunshine In will kick in at the end and you’ll love it!!!!
Let me start by saying we didn’t NEED a new front door. Our builder grade metal door painted lipstick red was just fine and absolutely doing the trick for keeping us safe and air-conditioned. But as little renovations began happening around the house, I found myself coming back again and again to the possibility of a glass paned front door…one where light pours in the foyer and dining room and adds pretty curb appeal to the front porch. In my mind, the door had to be wooden and the glass windows must be clear bevel. Otherwise, the project could wait. I started pricing new wooden doors to these specs and OUCH! Cha Ching, Cha Ching, Cha Ching!…That’s when my visions of front door fairy land were put on hold…that is, until I walked into an amazing architectural salvage store on 8th Avenue and my “Do It Yourself” brain kicked in…
Now, I’ve long enjoyed turning old salvaged architectural relics into reborn, reimagined things of beauty. I’ve lived in and renovated a house circa 1894, for goodness sakes! So it stands to reason that purchasing a decrepit, misshapen old door would be right up my alley and not too difficult! I enlisted my husband’s help on this project, stating that we would spend a ton less money on refurbishing an old door, that I was an old pro at refinishing furniture and old stuff…and besides all that, it would be a fun weekend project for us in the dead of winter! When we purchased our crusty, old artifact, Steven and I were both super stoked and had our best, most positive DIY attitude in place as we began. We could knock it out in a weekend, right!!?? Here’s what really happened…
We purchased our door on February 4th…
Unloading the new/old door. What have we done???!!!
That very day we donned masks (lead paint, after all) and started sanding and gently scraping. I took on the refinishing of the bottom of the door where every bit of the crackled and chipped painted had to be removed. Can you say time consuming? Steven took on the mullions and sanding duties in those tight places. We scraped, sanded and puttied that entire weekend…
Great shape, huh? Gently scraping…
More gentle scraping
Tools of the trade
Bare Wood Before
Bare Wood Puttied and Sanded
Before: Bare Wood Grain After: Bare Wood with Putty and Sanding
The following weekend we started priming…in frigid, below freezing temps…in the garage…at night…with small portable heaters and bad lighting. Can you say impatient??? But we were proud of our refinishing job and anxious to hang the new/old door!!!
So now we’re two weekends in from the date of purchase. (Remember…we were going to complete the project in one weekend.) An across country trip to a wedding kept us from working on the door the third weekend, but when we returned, we felt we were far enough along with the project that a carpenter could be called to hang the door. You see…we knew that our antique jewel was not square. In fact, when we took proper measurements somewhere between the last sanding and the first coat of primer (go figure), we realized that this door must have previously been hung on a “fun house”. It was WAY out of whack! The top was 1/2″ smaller than the middle measurement and the bottom was worse than that! It was so bad that we feared we would have to scrap the entire project.
That’s when I called a pro by the name of Chance Ricketts who specializes in refurbing old architecture. He arrived and I showed him to the garage where our door “lay in waiting”. I was very proud of the painstaking work we had done to this point. Chance quietly circled the door…measured…then circled again…and in a very gentle voice said (and I paraphrase), “we’re gonna need to take over from here.” I had been hoping to handle ALL of the painting duties for this door because I’m a pretty darn good painter (patting back) but seems this job was going to be above my pay grade. He explained that his carpenter would have to square the door, add new wood back to the door and a pro painter would finish the job making the seam invisible to the naked eye using technique, putty and, of course, paint. They begin their work on February 29…
Carpenter squaring door
New Wood Added
Priming and Painting
Thick paint on panes assures a tight seal
On March 4th, our new/old door gets installed! Hello Beautiful! Ca-pow! Can you detect the added wood? Nope. One word…PROS.
I gotta tell ya. This lipstick red door makes me giddy with delight! I love it from the outside and even more from the inside! Let the Sunshine In! The entryway now mimics the windows on the front of the house…a design plus.
And the night view is fantastic. The beveled glass creates beautiful prisms of light and an inner glow that I love!
ENTRYWAY BEFORE and AFTER…
Moral of the story? Sometimes the best DIY’ers have to call in the Pros!…even when the DIY’ers are pros themselves! Who cares that a weekend project turned into a month? The result is so pretty and at HALF THE PRICE of a new door!!! And the stories an old door can tell…or ones you can imagine! Last but not least. “Let the Sunshine In” is always a great soundtrack to any project…and a great motto for life. Cheers!… and go refurbish something!!!!
I remember the moment I started seriously paying attention to salmon and adding it to my diet. No…it wasn’t because I heard it was loaded with Omega-3s and super charged proteins that fight off disease and increase brain power. It was because I read that salmon was a serious part of J Lo’s beauty regimen (listen to Jenny From the Blockhere..oh yeah!) and how she achieved flawless, glowy skin (sigh). Yep…vanity got the best of me! And every time I would eat salmon I thought, “Bam! Take that epidermis! Bam! Take that pesky crow’s feet! Take that plain ol’ yucky wrinkles!” Hmmm…I eat plenty of Salmon but alas, the skin is, shall we say, “doing it’s thang” and father time stops for no one, not even salmon. But I digress…
I now eat Salmon, not for it’s beauty attributes, but because it’s just down right delicious and am thankful that something I love to eat so much is so stinkin’ good for me! Another bonus…my son and hubs love it more than I!…so it’s a simple and tasty “go-to” menu for a weeknight supper. In fact, I created this recipe last week while perusing my frig and cupboards for what I had on hand (this is pretty much the way I roll, cooking wise). The first thing I spied was a lone butternut squash…and what was to follow turned into Glazed Salmon with Brown Rice Salad of Roasted Butternut Squash, Kale and Pecans. Guys…this Salmon dish is ridiculously good and your family will not realize that they are eating Super Food Champions. Salmon? Kale? Wholesome grains? What’s even better? My twelve year old son gobbled it up!!!! Score!
Winter will soon be over and we’ll be enjoying more grilled meets and salads with juicy, vine-ripe tomatoes, so enjoy the winter vegetables like this Butternut Squash and be glad they’re still readily available. And the next day…when you have some salad leftovers and you want to eat them for lunch…add some edamame to the dish and you’ll be even happier!
You’ll start by making the dressing which also doubles as the salmon marinade. I use this simple dressing for a ton of applications and therefore I keep it around a great deal. It’s a sweet dressing that rocks out this salmon and gives it a beautiful, sweet, brown glaze. Also works well with ribs, pork tenderloin and chicken…
Sweet and Sour Dressing
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 Tbs soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Blend all ingredients. I personally like to shake it in a bottle. This will yield about 2 cups dressing, so you’ll have some left over for other applications.
Glazed Salmon with Brown Rice Salad of Butternut Squash, Kale and Pecans
2 – 4 Salmon Filets (1 – 2 lbs)
1 cup uncooked Brown Rice (cook according to package)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup Butternut Squash; cut into 1″ dice
1/2 cup sweet onion; diced
1 clove garlic; minced
4 – 5 large Kale leaves; remove ribs and coarsely chop
1/2 cup pecans; chopped
1/2 cup cranberries; chopped
2 stalks celery; chopped
2 Tbs Butter
Marinade Salmon in about 1/2 cup Sweet and Sour Dressing while preparing the salad
Prepare brown rice according to package and cool
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and add Butternut Squash, Onion and Garlic. Mix together with a dousing of EVOO (2 -3 Tbs) and remember…do not overcrowd the veggies or you will steam instead of roast them
Roast in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes
Meanwhile, saute’ the chopped kale and olive oil in a hot saute’ pan for about one minute. Salt and pepper Kale to taste. The Kale will break down fast and you want to maintain the beautiful green color. Set aside to cool.
When the roasted Butternut Squash, Onion and Garlic have cooked for thirty minutes, add the pecans and cranberries to the baking sheet and toss slightly. Cook for 5 – 7 minutes longer, being careful to watch the cranberries as you do not want them to char. Set aside to cool slightly.
Prepare frying pan with 2 Tbs butter and place on medium high heat. Once the butter is melted and bubbly, place salmon filets in hot pan, pouring marinade into the pan with the salmon. Salt and pepper.
Watch your salmon for doneness…about two minutes per side for a gorgeous salmon that is not overcooked but velvety soft in the middle and brown on the outside. Continue to baste with marinade from the pan as you cook. Place into a 175 degree oven (if frying pan is oven safe), to keep warm while you combine salad
In a large bowl, combine rice, roasted vegetables, nuts and fruit and chopped celery.
Dress with Sweet and Sour Dressing to taste…start with about 1/4 cup…toss…taste…salt and pepper if needed…
My mouth waters just looking at this “killer salad!” The crunch of the pecans and celery, the sweetness of the squash and cranberries and the slight salty bitterness of the kale make this a delectable salad…and the color is SO pretty! Feel free to interchange the rice with quinoa or wild rice…any grain, really. I serve it room temperature, alongside fish, pork and chicken. Would pack well for a picnic or potluck! Serve the Glazed Salmon over a bed of the rice salad.
GLAZED SALMON WITH BROWN RICE SALAD OF BUTTERNUT SQUASH, KALE AND PECANS
And please tell me what you think of this dish! I love your feedback!!! xo
Recently, a friend approached me about my home staging and styling services. She was ready to put her vacant condo on the market but knew it needed some TLC to garner top dollar and sell quickly. Like most homeowners, she wanted quick, affordable solutions. With my home staging services and a modest budget to buy accessories (that she could later use in her next home), the condo was quickly transformed into a space that was more efficient, attractive and inviting. Remember…the goal is to use as many existing items and furnishings found throughout the home as possible and then placing and styling them in fresh ways. The outcome was very pleasing to my friend who joked, “you’ve made it so pretty…maybe I won’t sell it after all!” News flash…it sold quickly!