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The better entryway

mistletoe cactus macrame

There is now one space in our house that I’m tentatively calling ‘nice’ right now, and it’s our entryway. It’s functional, which was the primary, obvious goal, but it still feels reflective of our house and ourselves.

The entryway is the threshold to our home. It’s what visitors and posties see. It’s also a tiny, weird, cramped space that’s difficult to work with.

This is what we started with. Blue carpet and cream on cream on cream, the very same peachy-cream paint that was on the rest of the walls and ceilings in the house. I had a look at the can and the tint was named ‘Fair Complexion’. You couldn’t make up something that good.

In addition to the small floor area and three doorways, the ceiling is only 7’4” high and the whole thing is covered in a pea-sized pebble render. Someone with a larger budget than me would raise the ceiling and install a skylight, if they didn’t just demo and rebuild the vestibule altogether. Jamie and I may very well make substantial changes later on, but it’s a serviceable space and we’re going to work with it for the time being. Yay challenges! Yay not hemorrhaging money!

The last time I posted about this space, I’d painted it slate grey after disastrously painting it all black. I created a ‘mistakes’ tag just for that very post. And now I get to break out that tag once again!

I was okay with the blue-grey paint in the little entry. But as the weeks passed, it started bothering me. Although the blue-grey was an improvement upon the previous coat in black, it was still awfully dark, and it sure wasn’t neutral. The rest of the hallway, along with the kitchen and bathrooms, have light neutral walls, and the dark blue-grey was too jarring against those. My whole plan of making the entryway stand in contrast to the rest of the hallway wasn’t working out. I needed cohesion among the non-living spaces.

So the entire entryway got repainted, trims and all. White and grey, with a black door. It might be the safe option, but it’s a solid base to work with.

The walls are Dulux ‘Beige Royal’ half, and the ceiling is Dulux ‘Grand Piano’ quarter. They’re the same colours I used in the hallway and kitchen. The trim is Taubmans ‘Winter Mood’ satin enamel, the same paint I used on the kitchen cabinets.  I picked these three because their matching undertone – warm, greenish-beige – ensures they won’t clash.

The black paint on the door is an off-the-shelf White Knight semi-gloss enamel. I used Zinsser BIN primer over the existing old glossy enamel and I definitely can’t go past that stuff. It sticks to glossy surfaces just like that, sparing me an afternoon of sanding. That stuff is legit.

The timber-framed mirror was originally in our apartment, and it came with us to the new place. Lucky secondhand find, that one. It’s nice to have something that can bounce light around this dark little room. After marking where the studs were, I used a newspaper template (seen above, in the blue-wall photos) to determine exactly where I wanted it on the wall. Eye level (roughly 5′) is a good general guideline for hanging things, it’s what they use in galleries, but I hung the mirror a little bit higher to suit the space better.

The hooks are IKEA something-or-other. There’s five total, two out of sight on the adjacent wall. They’re anchored in, yay overkill. They’re alright, they’re maybe a bit more rustic than I’d like, but they work with the older details in this house like the light switches. I think a walnut Hang-It-All would be dope, but I’d hate for our place to start looking like a Milan Direct catalogue.

The shoe racks are just a couple of cheap ones that serve their purpose. Since this entryway is connected to the master bedroom, Jamie uses them for all his shoes. I’ve got another shoe rack in my closet, but my regular pairs tend to hang out here too. They’re convenient.

The landing shelf is blackheart sassafras. I cut and finished it exactly the same way I did my small kitchen shelves. Blackheart sassafras always has that dramatic colouring; it’s one of the loveliest Tasmanian timbers, if you ask me. It totally makes this room.

The brackets are IKEA LERBERG ones. I like the modern, geometric shape of the brackets, but I do wish they were smaller. Most brackets either look cheap or old-fashioned, though, so these ones will keep. (They’re also shallow enough for the shelf, which is only 20cm deep so that people won’t bang into it from the doorway.)

Tassie may have a limited market for a lot of things, but it’s tip top for antiques and secondhand finds. I immediately liked this handmade turquoise-splashed ceramic bowl (which I’m using to hold keys) and the small ink sketch of gum trees. It’s good to have a sense of place in your home, I think, whether it’s the one you live in or the one you’re from.

I made the macrame plant holder myself, and it took a lot longer than I thought it would, so I’m that much more proud of it. They’re having a moment lately – do a search for ‘macrame plant hanger’, you’ll see a bajillion neon ones – but I wanted mine to be more 1974 than 2014.

Isn’t the plant cool? It’s a mistletoe cactus, a type of epiphytic cacti that comes from cool-jungle understorey environments. I recall reading that they like having only 30-50% sunlight, so this room’s environment will make it pretty happy. The pot is a pretty champagne-gold one from Bunnings. I like it when I find nice plant pots.

I’m guessing this lightswitch is one of the originals for this house. It has that 40s deco detailing that is common on buildings around Hobart.

Now, I’m feeling pretty good about the entryway, but there’s still a few minor changes I have in mind:

It serves all the functions it needs to, though, and I hope that visitors like it too!

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