Sprucing up the entryway with new storage and a splash of bright color

Our entryway has been largely unchanged since we moved in. We bought a nice old piece of furniture (um, a cabinet??) from the former owner (along with the kitchen table, chairs and sideboard) for a great price, and it’s sat in the front entryway as our entry table and storage piece unchanged for the last four years.

After we moved the old chandelier from the dining room to the foyer pretty early on and hung pictures on the wall up the stairway (uh, yeah, that only took me 2 years), this is generally how the entryway looked for the last few years. (Note the green mirror there below…also something that changed in a good way.)

Entryway cabinet 2012

It was ok, but it used to be a lot worse:

Pre-closing: front entry west

Whoa! Yep. Always fun to go back and look at the pictures of the house from before we bought it and started working.

I had been toying for a long time with the space over the radiator there behind the front door, and the best way to use it. There was some promising space to use because of the way the door opens and the radiator creates space that the door can’t bump into.  When I was building the built-in bookshelf/radiator cover for the guest room upstairs, I briefly stuck it on this front radiator to see how something similar would look there.

entryway testing out bookshelf radiator cover

Eh. It was ok, but Rachel wanted to do something that didn’t dominate the space quite so much, and I agreed. Closed shelves would waste some of that space up against the wall. (Or create some terrific tall pole storage!)

Instead, we opted to do open shelves. So one weekend back in August, I churned out three new shelves…

Entryway entry shelves installation

and then mounted them on the wall.

Entryway entry shelves installation

I stuck with the same design for the shelves that I built in the dining room (as well as the nursery) to help keep things feeling unified throughout the house as much as possible. Same corbels, and the same 1×2 attached to the front edge of a one-by shelf to make them feel a little more substantial.

Entryway entry shelves installation

I added a shelf on top of the radiator, attached to the wall in the back so it doesn’t slide around, leaving a space to one side so we can store the umbrella stroller (or again, tall poles!) there in the nook.

I added a little door stop to keep the door from banging into the shelves, and a little hook in the wall for our umbrellas.

Entryway shelves umbrella hook

With the shelves done, attention turned to that old piece of furniture in the entry. It was and is a really nice piece, but it was so old that any polyurethane or other protective coating had long since worn off, which resulted in nicks and dings with the slightest contact. In a house that’s largely pretty vanilla as far as colors go (neutral browns, greys, blue-greys, and white), Rachel really wanted to bring some color into the entryway. We may still end up totally repainting the entire entry, but we decided to start with this piece of furniture.

After a few hours in the backyard with the orbital sander and some sanding sponges for the nooks and crannies (mercifully not too many) I had this old thing…

Old entry cabinet before painting

Looking like this

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Suffice it to say, we do not have anything else in our house that remotely resembles this color. But man, do I love how it turned out. Went with a high-gloss finish for that really shiny, candy-looking finish. Wow.

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Before almost any of this took place, we picked up a gorgeous mirror from our family for free, which replaced that dinky little green oval mirror I noted in the first picture at the top, which also had the effect making the room feel much, much bigger!

Rachel found some baskets for the shelves to help keep things from looking cluttered, and after I spray painted all of them white a few weekends ago, we checked off “finish entryway” from the pre-baby to-do list.

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And the before/after. Somehow managed to miss getting that ‘after’ angle in any of our photo archives — probably because we didn’t think there was anything worth noting in that corner!

Entryway cabinet 20122014-10-28 20.02.14

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