Before & After: A Warm Welcome

Last week, we had our first house guests, one of my closest friends from college and her nine year old daughter.  While most of the boxes have been unpacked, the actual items are still in search where they are going to live in the house.  But, I didn’t want them to be greeted by chaos, I wanted them to receive a warm welcome.  So I made it a priority to get our entry organized so that it would set the right tone for their stay.

While I would love to have a grand foyer, that is not the space we have to work with.   The big focal point is the West Elm Rustic Storage Console. I measured the space while we were still in construction and was happy it would fit.  I wanted something with storage because we all need to have a place to stash stuff when we walk in, but I didn’t want something too obvious or traditional.  I love that the drawers on this piece are almost invisible and I love the slightly industrial, yet rustic feel.

Of course I needed to add something vintage to the space and my antique French mirror fit the bill.  I’ve had this mirror since I was a kid.  It’s the mirror that saw me put barrettes in my hair and the same mirror that later saw me discover my first gray hair.  I am super attached to this mirror and always look to find a place for it in every home I’ve lived in. The fact that the painted plaster has weathered along with me only adds to my attachment. But ultimately the mirror’s scale isn’t big, so I hung it off center and added a couple of art pieces to balance it out.  The smaller cut paper piece, is by Anna Bondoc, a talented friend in Los Angeles who does incredible things with paper and an Xacto knife.  The other is a painted canvas by Veerakeat, a local San Francisco artist.  The painting has an interesting story.  Ten years ago, when my mother was getting ready to leave San Francisco, my mother found some of my old school paintings.  I suggested that instead of throwing away the canvases, she give them to Veerakeat and he could use them for his work by painting over them. At the time he was working down the street from where my mother lived, in a studio adjacent to his aunt’s Thai restaurant. I had spied his studio once while having dinner out and loved his renderings of the city.  As a thank you for the canvases we gave him, he gaves us this painting, painted on one of my old canvases.  Really a case of, what goes around comes around.

I needed to add some softness to the space, so I included my French market basket and a potted fern.  The basket actually has purpose too; I’m using it to store about a half dozen umbrellas.  That way we always know where to find an umbrella if we are headed out the door and the weather doesn’t appear clement.

For the light fixture, I chose a handcrafted semi-flush fixture made from vintage pieces.  Originally I had wanted a pendant, something that made more of a statement, but  then I realized I only had 8 inches to work with in order for the front door to clear without problems.

Lastly, I also needed a place to hang coats, since the nearby coat closet is actually going to be used as a broom/vacuum closet.  I choose the Bjarnum hooks from Ikea.  I could have chosen any number of hooks, but I chose these because they fold up and become almost invisible when not in use.  Genius!

So, that’s it for now.  Hope you like this little space.

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