Adding Old World Character to a New House
So, most of you might know we moved to this brand new Craftsman style house in Washington three years ago (MY how time flies) from a charming old English Tudor in Portland Oregon. The reason we bought a new house is because we knew we would be too busy and frazzled to deal with things like messy time consuming remodels, pipes rusting out or rodents under our sink. Been there, done that.
We definitely made the right choice for this season in our life. But, we really miss the character of an old house. We don’t miss the rodents, though. So, we are just starting to try and build more old world character or at least some more personality into our home in small, manageable ways. Last year we changed our dining room light fixture, from the builder’s flying saucer light to our more charming lantern.
This year we are continuing to replace the basic builder lights, one by one. We changed this entry light to a little coastal lantern recently (we got it at Home Depot, I think) because we wanted something small that would complement the painting and our style, but not dominate the wall. It does the trick!
By the way, we found that gorgeous painting in a CLOSET at our old house before we moved in. We paid the owner $100 for it and when we had it cleaned, appraised and framed, it turned out to be the work a painter (who was a friend of Monet!) in the Impressionist era! SCORE!
But don’t worry, we won’t light the mason jar candles and catch it all on fire.
Anyway, so here is what we started out with on this wall just before Thanksgiving. Yeah. I know it is sometimes hard to tell paint colors, but before they were kind of dusty pinkish beige and now they are brownish gray. In case you didn’t know, I call them swine walls, because they just remind me of the color of the under belly of a big.
For those of you who like pink walls, trust me, I’m not judging pink walls anywhere but at my own house. I just don’t like them personally for MY house, but they are certainly fabulous at yours. I like pink just fine.
DISCLAIMER: For the record, I like pigs too, especially Wilbur. I just don’t like my walls to oink at me.
So we had the entry (or foyer, if that is what you fancy folk call it) walls painted (Studio Taupe) the week of Thanksgiving (I didn’t post pictures of that since it was too close to Christmas, so I’m catching you all up now!). We also painted the striped wall, which I also need to post about. It is over to the left of the fireplace wall, under our stairs.
I decided that I wanted to use the mantel on this wall, in spite of the air vent, because I thought it would give the entry a little more old world character. New house entry ways can feel kind of tall and cold so I wanted to really give it a lot of warmth and personality. Most new houses probably don’t have a fireplace in the entry so this seemed like it would really warm the room up visually.
But the dilemma is that crazy return air vent.
What should I do about that? I cannot cover it up fully, the air still needs to be able to circulate. I could paint it the same as the wall color, but I think it will still look like a little off and like its missing something. I need to fill the whole area with something, but what could beef it up without blocking the air vent? I can’t set things on the floor in front of it or it will be too crowded.
Ideas? Creative suggestions?
I have a fireplace screen, so maybe that would help in some way?
There is a little bit of space behind the opening of the mantel so I could possible attach some sort of wire mesh or screen or something to it, as long as there air can still flow. I was going to put a chalkboard painted board there until we decided on this wall with the air vent, then it was not possible to use it.
I kind of want the fireplace to look classic, maybe not so crafty or tacky, but obviously it is not a real working fireplace so I am not opposed to a little creative license there to give it more creative personality.
Thoughts on how to solve my dilemma?
CREATIVE MINDS – ACTIVATE.
Update: Lessons from A Failed DIY Project (this one, ha!)