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The Entryway, Painted and Updated for Fall


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I nixed the teal idea for the entryway and went with a dusty blue/green/gray. Teal would have played beautifully with the wood, but I felt like it was going to be too much in the context of the rest of the house. Subtle is a bit better in this case.

Victorian Entryway and Staircase, Making it Lovely

The color is Sherwin-Williams’ Comfort Gray. It continues up the stairs and down the second floor hallway. It’s also in our bedroom, and when I chose the color, I wrote “before we moved into this house, I did tell Brandon to slap my hand away from the paint if I start trying to put gray on all the walls. But! This is more bluish!” I still stand by that because while gray is lovely, but I get tired of seeing it again and again. So then of course I used it, again. (Ha. But this is bluish!)

Making it Lovely's Entryway

I’ve had that lamp for almost a decade (here it is in our old apartment, just before I started blogging), and I picked up the sideboard shortly after moving in to store our shoes. I’ve since added a boot tray below for wet shoes and boots that we can pull out as needed. The rug is vintage, as are the Thonet chairs, and the painting is by Jenny Vorwaller.

Making it Lovely's Entryway

The lamp adds some much-needed light, and the bowl is a great drop spot for Brandon’s wallet and keys. We added a desk to the library, so our mail is being sorted there now instead of in the entryway, leaving most of the sideboard top to serve as a pretty display surface. So I prettied it up with a few new additions!

Fall Flowers and Candles

I love that gold polka dot vase. The house’s architecture is formal, so it’s nice to inject a little levity here and there. And please do forgive the flowers for not looking their best. They were much prettier four days prior to being photographed, but then, you know… I went into labor! By the time I was out of the hospital and able to set my camera up, the pink dahlia had just about had it, and I had to pitch most of the dusty miller entirely. (Blame baby.)

Making it Lovely's Entryway

The black vase is vintage, and the Charley Harper owl was a gift. I added a few art books and a few candle lanterns. Those are pretty now for fall, but they’ll be great for holiday decorating too.

Victorian Entryway and Staircase, Making it Lovely

This was super fun to play around with when I was going nuts with nesting energy. It’s also really nice to come home to.

Making it Lovely's Entryway

It’s Electric!

Our Victorian had been converted to multiple apartments decades ago (during the Depression, I believe), and was only converted back to a single-family home shortly before we bought it. There have been some quirks associated with that, one of which being that the house still had four electric meters.

Then something really fun happened one day, several months ago, which is that we lost power in half of the second floor. This was independent of having any work done in the house — one day the lights worked, and then they didn’t, and we hadn’t changed anything at that point. The electric company came out and tagged one of our meters with this delightful sign.

Abnormal Condition Exists

Abnormal Condition Exists. Nobody wants to touch that, by the way, because of the liability involved if something happens. The electric company doesn’t want that on their hands, and neither do electricians. See? Fun stuff!

We had a backfeed issue. I could have my numbers wrong, so forgive me if that’s the case (I’m going off of memory from what ComEd told me and I’m not an electrical expert by any means), but essentially there should have been two prongs in the meter reading at 120 volts for a combination of 240. We were reading at over 400 volts combined when touching the meter to the top right and bottom left prongs because the bottom left prong was live when it should have been completely dead. There was a jumper placed from the top right to the bottom right prongs to power the house until the problem could be identified and remedied, and that’s when we got our lovely tag.

Multiple Electric Meters

The live feed meant that somewhere in the house, power was spliced from one meter system into another. We don’t know why it suddenly decided to go on the fritz one day after seemingly working without problem, but the upside is that it pushed along the process of moving from four meters to one. Thankfully, it was much smoother than when we did the same for our commercial and residential natural gas accounts. The village issued a permit immediately (there had been a couple of bad electrical fires in town recently, so they look at these situations with a sense of urgency), and the electricians were able start on the work quickly.

So we went from this:

Old Electrical Panels

To this:

New Electrical Panel

Isn’t that just the most thrilling way to spend a few thousand dollars? This is much nicer though:

Single Electric Meter

We’ll have to paint the patched siding, but no more Abnormal Condition. Hooray!

Ah, but then we discovered some knob and tube wiring still in use, so we’re not exactly celebrating over here. In fact, we’ve been having the house rewired over the last couple of weeks. The third floor is nearly done, and then we’ll be taking a break from home renovation work to enjoy our soon-to-arrive baby before moving on to the second and first floors, and the basement too. Our home inspection revealed old, inactive knob and tube, so it was a bit of a surprise to find more that was still in use, but sometimes that just the way things go with these old houses. Until you open up a few walls or run into unexpected problems, you don’t know what hidden issues may need to be addressed.

Nesting, Waiting

Tomorrow is my due date, but I had my weekly checkup this morning and the baby doesn’t seem to be in any rush to get here. I am in full-on nesting mode for sure at this point, and focusing on little details. Stacking books just so. Rearranging the display on the fireplace mantel. Hanging art. It’s imperative that I find both a blue cachepot and a beautiful decorative tassel, and I’ve come to find that the cabinet doors in the library (which have been just fine until now) need knobs ASAP. I’ve also picked up two new houseplants to care for — perhaps because I’m feeling extra nurturing right now? It’s satisfying to walk around the house, tinkering and playing with the decor.

I snapped this picture yesterday when August got back from school. A few toys, a few pets, family… the house feels good. Comforting, colorful, and cozy.

Home #makingitlovely

The baby’s clothes have been washed, and the nursery got its coat of primer. I’ve given the cradle a good cleaning and had Brandon bring it up to our bedroom. We feel ready, and not ready. Excited and nervous all over again.

Eleanor was born fifteen days after her due date. Labor was induced at 42 weeks, and took nineteen hours. August arrived four days early. My water broke while Eleanor and I were napping, and he was born less than three hours later. (Ten pounds and an all-natural birth, which was an experience, to say the least.) I had some complications after the deliveries of both babies, so I’m nervous about it happening again, but I’m ready and trying to remain optimistic. I wonder how baby number three will make his appearance; we’re so looking forward to meeting him!

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