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Welcome to the entryway

entry 1

This is our small, awkward entryway, and it was due for an update. Not kidding on the small part. Dimensions are 1.6 x 1.8m, or 5’3″ x 6′. Here’s what it looked like after we got the keys. (AKA: studies in not having a wide-angle lens.)

hallway all

Technically, this space is a vestibule. There’s the front door, then a very short passage to an open doorway that leads into the hallway. When you enter the front door, the door to the master bedroom is on your left. So that’s three doorways in this little space and no windows, save for the panes in the front door. It’s a distinct room in itself, not part of the hall.

I call it the entry, or entryway, regardless. Saying “vestibule” out loud makes me feel like I’m hosting an elegant dinner party, for the most elegant people in New York.

elegant dinner party

Anyhow, this goofy little entryway really doesn’t relate to the main hallway well. It was slapped on there at some point, when the main entrance was reconfigured. The front door and hallway opening don’t line up, the entryway has a 7’4” ceiling instead of a 9′ one, and of course the whole thing is coated in a pebble render, including the ceiling. It’s a pebble-rendered cube that feels like it’s closing in on you. Not exactly a space loaded with architectural interest.

extry exterior

See, you can see how stupid it looks from the outside. The patio is fine, but the roofline and walls leave something to be desired.

cream paint and floorboards

Removing the carpet was a major improvement, of course, but I was still stuck on what to do about this room. I thought about skimming over the render with plaster to try smoothing it out, but I could see that being an expensive failure. I’d begin, figure out it wasn’t working after it’s too late, spend weeks working it over and still get sub-par results. Pass.

The entryway is one of the more insignificant spaces in our house, and certainly not the most pressing. But I get stuck thinking it over because it is SO BAD. I’m not sure I can make this look good, without tearing it all down and starting over. The bones of it are just too awful. But I’ll try to make it less ugly.

navy render

I found that when we painted the bedroom navy, the weird render in there became a decorative point of interest, rather than looking sad and dated. A modern colour helped make the texture modern as well. So hey, maybe with furnishings and dark paint we could make the entryway look less hideous.

I also knew that I wanted to visually separate the entryway and the hallway, rather than trying to make them feel connected and failing. They don’t match in any way, except for the flooring. It makes sense to roll with it. So after we painted the hallway in a light, two-tone warm gray, I chose a different tone in that little space.

black paint entry

And.. dark paint! Yeah! I was thinking charcoal, and this colour – Colorbond Monument – fit the bill. Dark entry. Light hallway. Contrast! Drama!

black hole hallway

Yeah, or, no.

I like dark spaces, and I was confident it would help disguise the heavy pebble render that felt so sad and dated on a warm white wall. But this was too dark. The charcoal grey that I’d been so happy with turned BLACK once it was up on the wall. It sucked all the light out of the space. From the other end of the hall, it was like staring into a black hole. What’s at the end of the hallway? Who the hell knows!

We’d painted the ceiling black as well, which was a no-win move. Paint it, and intensify the black hole feeling. Don’t paint it, and draw attention to the tiny dimensions of the space. Aughhh.

Due to the pea-sized render, I really didn’t want a brown-toned grey on these walls, because then it would look like you were literally burrowing into the earth. So of course I chose a colour that made it look like asphalt on a hot day. I painted the trims a closely matching shade of grey, to see it would look less terrible, but no. Not really.

entry ceiling angles

A couple weeks passed, until I brainsnapped and mixed a bunch of barely-used sample pots into one large tin. All of the paints were blues, greys and blue-greys, so I knew it’d be somewhere in that ballpark. I just wanted the walls to be a midtone of some kind, somewhere in the 40-70% range, either not white or not black.

Mixing your own colour is obviously not very pro, but I didn’t relish the thought of coughing up another $65 on paint for this room which I’d already painted once. It was my screw-up and I had to fix it. Luckily I had enough paint to go up on the walls and ceiling. It’s not bad!

This angle is a bit weird, and I took it to point out how low this ceiling is, compared to the main hallway (and every other ceiling in the house). I did paint the ceiling a lighter shade than the walls, and I’d read that not painting the ceiling colour all the way to the edges can make the room feel taller. Huh.

The front door and master bedroom door have lighter grey-blue trim. The open doorway to the hall has its trim in the same Beige Royal as the hallway walls. It made sense to me? I don’t know.

gray painted render

Have I shared enough complaints about this g.d. render yet? Oh, good, because I’ve got one more.

Final note on the heavy render: that stuff just eats paint! It takes forever to apply paint over it, even with a high-nap roller, and it uses up way more paint than you think it will. There. Don’t coat your walls in thick pebble render, ever, just don’t do it.

entry painted

Painted, for real.

It took me a day or so to warm up to this, but I really like it! It’s a mid-toned blue-grey. Dark enough to shift the focus off the heavy render, but light enough to keep it from feeling like a tomb.

Jamie likes having all his shoes out where he can easily access them, so I’m happy to use a couple of little pine racks for shoe storage. Mudrooms are meant for dirty boots anyhow.

entry jute rug

As with the other spaces that we’ve painted in blue or grey, I love how the cool tones work with timber and natural materials. It contrasts and amplifies their warmth.

I got this jute rug last year, on the cheap. Hot tip on where to look for rugs: eBay. I keep finding heaps of kilims and various oriental rugs that I have to talk myself out of buying. Maybe when I’m rolling in the dollars, I’ll hit up places like The Rug Studio, but for now I’m happy to trawl through the pages and pages of rubbish listings to find something good.

I originally got this rug to go in the master bedroom back in the apartment, but it was too small and the thick jute seemed off in there, so I rolled it up and stashed it in my closet until we moved here. I’m glad I hung onto it, because it fits here perfectly – as in, it literally matches the floor dimensions lengthwise, which is six feet – and the thick nubby texture works with the textured walls. It’s also excellent for an entryway, seeing as jute is so hard-wearing. It’s not precious or anything.

entry gray paint progress

So that’s where I’m at now. I’ve got a few more changes in mind:

  • Big mirror to catch and reflect light
  • Catch-all shelf for keys, junk mail etc
  • Coat hanging device (hooks, or rack, or stand)
  • Replace light fixture with something less prominent
  • One day: stripped-back timber door

Making this dog less of a dog.

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