6.10.2010

*Entryway Project #1* -Light Fixture- (and entry prep!)

Our front entryway is not very big. Not tiny, but not huge. The ceiling is pretty low so that makes it feel smaller. Before we remodeled, the doors were dark brown with that amber colored textured glass that was popular in the 60's and 70's. Like this: The walls were covered in a country blue and mauve floral patterned wallpaper (that was applied DIRECTLY to the sheet rock...) and the floors were done in a sort of terracotta colored tile that was pretty badly cracked:
Prep work:
We started the project by trying to strip the wallpaper. I tried scoring, steaming, natural AND chemical strippers to no avail. In the process, I tore good portions of the drywall paper completely off. We realized this wallpaper was NOT coming off and moved on to plan b. After MUCH research, we decided to texture OVER the wallpaper (which continued all the way down the hallway, btw) and then we'd get to paint. I know that sounds crazy and exactly opposite of what all the "experts" tell you, but it was our only (well, cheapest) option. Albeit, time consuming. So we used tons of drywall compound to level out the part of the wall where the drywall had torn off to the rest of the wall, applied it over every seam, then sanded and reapplied...then sanded and reapplied again. My dad was a huge help with the process. Once all seams were covered well, not visible at all and the walls felt smooth, we primed the entire surface with an oil based primer to "seal" the paper and prevent it from lifting. We had some friends help with this part. (Sorry about the splattered arms for a few days. I hate oil based paint for the poor clean-up factor.) Then we rented a hopper gun and had another friend come spray the texture on the walls. (For those of you wondering why we didn't just do a smooth surface coat---thinking it would save us time and money, not to mention be a bit more modern---parts of the house, including the ceiling and a section of wall in the living room-soon-to-become playroom that ran into what was previously wallpapered, already had the orange peel texture. you follow that?? lol) We smoothed out the compound and made it match the previously textured surfaces as best we could. Primed again with a water based primer to 'seal' the texture AND THEN we were able to paint. We also sanded (and sanded...and SANDED) the front door and painted it a creamy white color and replaced the amber colored glass with a plain opaque glass. We replaced the tile with a dark hickory wide plank laminate wood floor (all the way down the hallway and into the master bedroom, as well as in the dining room, kitchen and family rooms.) Bad photo, but much improved:
Now for the first of many "projects" to complete this area:
-Light Fixture-
The light fixture that was up before, was a dated brass and glass thing, and I felt, was too tiny for the space, even though the space isn't very large. (see above photo. tiny!!)

I want the entry way to have a more glamorous and 'grand' feel to it. I want it to be welcoming and set the tone for the rest of the house. Since the ceiling is low, I knew I couldn't do a chandelier. Nothing says "welcome!" like a light fixture to the noggin, right? Yeah, not so much. But all of the "flush mount" fixtures I found were dated, too expensive, or too flashy. But mostly they were just UGLY. My budget is super small. I can't even tell you how small. But free would be reeeeaaaallly close. :) So I brainstormed. I had (what I thought was) a brilliant idea. I would use the existing fixture part, but remove the dated glass cover and replace it with the IKEA stockholm bowl for $29:However, the dimensions were a little off and after thinking it over (for nearly a year and one price drop later!!) I decided it was cool, but not for me. That, and there wasn't an opening in the dead center of the bowl and I thought it would be too thick for my puny drill to try and put a new hole through. Anyways, instead of wasting the money to buy it and have it not work, I had to come up with another solution because that money could be used elsewhere. So, I stuck with the same general idea and was on the lookout for more bowls! You know the kind----everyone and their dog has a version of one holding those decorative organic-covered sphere things (moss, boxwood leaves, pine cones, bark covered and etc.etc.) but they were always too expensive or not quite the right look; i.e. too rustic or too deep or shallow to fit my existing fixture, etc. I found one at Joanns (using a 50% off coupon AND the extra 20% off total purchase coupon that runs once in a blue moon) that was interesting. I could imagine spray painting it another color and dangling a few crystals from it to make a modern, but close to the ceiling chandelier. So I bought it and brought it home. I gave it a quick test run and I got it up there and fastened it with the little nut thing (descriptive, I know), it was really, really wobbly. So I put up a brass 'filler' piece from one of the other chandeliers I dismantled to make it more stable. But then it looked just like those ugly flush mount fixtures you see everywhere. I can't help but think they look like a certain female body part. Sorry, to be crass, but it's true. (I'm sure I don't need to tell you which one.) Not to mention the bowl wasn't directly flush to the ceiling and it just looked funny. I didn't take a pic of when it was up, but this is the general idea. It was worse attached to the light:

I lived with my $7 bowl light for a few weeks until I could come up with another solution. I decided that hand-making something would be my only option. I have several lampshades that were either given to me or the standard triangle shaped ones I'm trying to phase out in favor of modern round or square shaped ones. It took lots of trial and error, but after dismantling a couple and using the parts I came up with a frame for my new drum-shade! This was quite a mess:
I used scraps of foam core board for the supports (yes, that I saved....) and covered them with braids of a silver organza and silver gossamer combo, and then wrapped the frame with ivory colored tulle. (It's far enough away from the light source that fire isn't a concern). Originally, I wanted to do the braids all the way around the fixture for the shade part, but after doing just four, I realized that I wouldn't have enough scraps of fabric to do it. :( :( Plan b: I found the tulle and figure it would be light and airy and so I went with it. I would have done several layers more of tulle, but I ran out of that too!! Grr. Again, my spontaneous plans had been foiled. I would just have to 'Make it work!'
Then I carefully suspended the smaller ring in the center, and using a needle and metallic gold thread, attached the ring to the rest of the shade. It took two tries and FOR-EV-ERRRRRR to get it all done and centered. (Try 7+ hours!!) I then wrapped a few strands of a silver metallic ribbon in the center for extra effect. Not completely sold on it, but Tony really liked that part. I finished it off with a warm gold satin ribbon trim and I hung a few small crystals from the bottom and VOILA!

One flush-mount drum shade that cost me NOTHING extra. Not a dime! I made it all from materials that I already had around the house. Granted, I keep a lot of crap. It took me two days to complete (of course that's including stopping a million times to help the girls with one of a thousand pressing matters...like eating. Rude, right?) :)

I'm sorry this post is so long. I need an editor. Any offers??? Thanks for sticking around, anyway.

Also, I wouldn't mind if you left a comment/criticism. You can do so anonymously on this post, if you'd prefer. I would appreciate it greatly.

6 comments:

Aprillium said...

Okay you crafty crafty lady... some day when I'm rich and can pay you loads and loads of money will you come and be crafty on my house? :)

Katy said...

projects are in the air!! Looking forward to most posts from you on this site!
frostog

Matthew and Hillary said...

Sounds like a ton of work to get the entryway done, but I like the new looks of it! I definitely don't think I could even attempt to make my own light fixture! Way to go! I think the only thing I don't like about it is that you can see the light out of the bottom. But really, it looks awesome!

Dancing Branflake said...

You are so amazing! I love the difference and ew on that yellow window stuff. I love everything you did.

Kristin said...

WOW. I so wish I had the skills to do something like that. It turned out gorgeous!

Sandra said...

O.K...it's way amazing. I love the color of the entryway and the light fixture is too awesome. Where do you come up with this stuff!! love it love it love it! Also, I looked through the food blog and it was awesome!!! I'll let ya know what I decide to pick!
xoxox Sandra