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

Calvin Edward Balch

I joked on Wednesday evening that I had just bought some fancy flowers to photograph in my entryway for an upcoming post, thereby guaranteeing that I would go into labor before being able to take pictures the next day. Well?

Calvin Edward Balch

Calvin Edward Balch was born at 8:18 a.m. on Thursday, October 2, 2014. He weighed 8 pounds, 9 ounces (the smallest of our three), and measured 21 inches long. He has fuzzy brown hair with a polka dot of a blonde spot, right in the center on top, and very dark blue eyes that make it impossible to predict what color they will stay.

I’d given birth before without an epidural, so that part of the experience wasn’t new, but this delivery was the first that was free of complications (thank goodness). Calvin and I are happy and healthy, and our family of five is doing well!

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.

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