Avant ... Avant Apres

That’s French for “before … before the after” (the French sounds much more fun than the English, so I went crazy and threw it in).  Anyway,  that’s what this post is all about: all of the “before” pictures that will soon turn into swoon-worthy “afters” once I have the time to do them.   I have a big long “to do” list, and these little projects are atop the heap!
Kitchen Wall – this wall has baffled me since we bought our house.  It is the very first thing you see when you walk into the kitchen, so it needs to look nice.  And it needs to be functional, as the kitchen is on the small side … so I need to have something on the floor and on the wall for storing our pots, pans, dishes, etc.  And, it needs to have a pretty slim profile, as it also happens to be adjacent to the basement stairwell.  I’ve had about three pieces of furniture in this space and didn’t love any of them.   Here is how it looks today.

See what I mean? The cabinet is (admittedly) kind of cheap, the pot-rack doesn’t look quite right and it seems to give the impression that we sort of haphazardly just threw in a piece of furniture to fill the space.  So, what I’m thinking of doing is buying some slim kitchen cabinets and mounting those suckers to the wall on the floor to look a little more “built in” vs. thrown in.  Then, I’d love to do a wall of open shelving.  These pictures below give a good idea of what I’m thinking

{image courtesy of The Old Painted Cottage}

{image courtesy of The Lettered Cottage}

* Front Door: I really want to change out my mailbox and front porch light.  The mailbox we have now is too country and it's open to the elements, so on a rainy day, we get rain in the mailbox; on a snowy day, we get snow in there.  I won't mention the bugs.  And our front porch light just blends into the color of the brick. The lines of the light are perfect, but the color is not.  Here is my front door (with mailbox and light) now (please don't mind the curious cat and 2-year old):

Here's what I'm thinking for my new light and mailbox.  I painted my chandelier a glossy black, and I still have the paint left over from that project, so I'm going to paint over the bronze and make that ho-hum of a light, well, shine.  I want to get a classic black mailbox (with lid!) and one of those little magazine holders, since we get an ungodly amount of glossies in this household.  I'd like it to be plain black ... and then I will use a cool font to write "Mail" across it.  Here are my inspiration photos:

* Bedroom Lamp:  Next up is the little white lamp in my bedroom.  I found this bad boy on clearance for $8.99 at Target a few years ago.  I was so excited, because I had been looking for a simple white lamp for ages and could not find one in my budget.  While I love the base, the shade is just kind of meh.  Here's the way the lamp looks now:

I'd like to do something with fabric on the shade.  I love the white base, and that will stay.  But the shade needs some help, and rather than buy a new shade, I think covering the current one with a linen fabric like the first photo below or a fun patterned one  below it that coordinates (but doesn't "match") my bedding would be a nice change to complete the look.

{image courtesy of DecorPad}

* Jewelry Box: My grandparents gave me this jewelry box for my college graduation. I absolutely love the way it functions: it holds everything and I can find all my baubles quickly.  It is an incredibly well-made piece of furniture and made from solid wood.  The problem: the last few years I've fallen out of love with that deep dark wood.  I feel that it totally weighs down the room and looks oppressive on the corner of my dresser.  Sigh ...what's a girl to do?

Silver leaf the heck out of it, that's what!  Yes, I'm going to paint over and use a silver leaf technique on solid wood.  Yes, I know that this is irreversible.  But I think I will love the piece so much more when I lighten it up.  My one friend Madelyn is silver-leafing an entire dresser!  I think I can handle this small piece.  Here's what silver leaf looks like if you need a visual.

* Bedroom Armoire:  I bought these free-standing armoires from Ikea about 3 years ago.  Our modestly sized, shared master bedroom closet was not cutting it.  These were inexpensive and work perfectly!  I just switched out the hardware and put in these more modern pulls. What bugs me about them is the translucent panel right in front.  I hate that I can always see my yellow Anthropologie dress or my pink pants or my white skirt.  And I bet you can, too!

I'm not reinventing the wheel here: the folks over at Young House Love have the same exact armoire in their basement and used wrapping paper to cleverly remedy that very issue!  I have my wrapping paper and just need to find a few minutes to cut and tape it to size.  Here's the Young House Love armoires:

{image courtesy of Young House Love}

* Shower Doors: Finally, last but not least, the project that I am incredibly excited (and maybe a little teeny bit nervous) about ... ripping out my shower doors and replacing them with a curtain.  I hate my shower doors. I know hate is a strong word, but these things are so hard to keep clean.   They make giving the kids their baths much more difficult.   And frankly, they're just ugly.  The brass is dated and looks bizarre and out of place in our otherwise white-chrome bathroom.  Say good-bye to the brass ... 

It will be a glorious, happy day in my home when they are gone.  I will be sure to post a tutorial on how to do it.  Once they're history and I have danced my dance of joy, I'll buy a lovely patterned shower curtain to dress up the space.  Kind of like this one:

{image courtesy of Katy Elliott}

Whew! There you have it!  A sneak peek into my ever present "to do" list.  What's on your list? Got any projects you're itching to get started on? Share!

See you swoon,


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