Make an Entrance!

When you walk into a building, first impressions are everything. Whether it be through the posh double-doors of The Nines hotel, the arched wooden doors of an old chapel, or the industrial garage-doors that serve as the “grand” entry into your local wholesale warehouse, Costco; Either way, these doors speak volumes to your senses, giving you a slight glimpse of what’s yet to come BEFORE you’ve seen what’s on the other side.

Welcome to the NINES!

(Click to enlarge)

Fun Historical Fact:

The Nines is located in downtown Portland, within the fifteen-story landmark Meier & Frank Building. Built in 1909, this was once the flagship store and main headquarters of Meier & Frank, and served as one of the largest retailers of the West! Not only was this the home of the FIRST escalator in Portland, but it was also where Clark Gable worked before becoming a famous actor in the ’30s! Knowing these little details just makes your stay that much more enjoyable! If you’re looking for a fun date-night idea, my hubby and I LOVE to dine at Departure… a glamorous Asian-fusion cuisine atop the 15th floor! 

Talk about an ENTRANCE! When you walk through ^this^ terminal, you suddenly have an epiphany…. “Oh, I get it! Departurrrrre!” (I couldn’t find any information confirming that architect Jeff Kovel’s initial inspiration was indeed an airport/spaceport, but the dramatic design speaks for itself!)

More entries that speak for themselves…

 Residential                         Cathedral                        Commercial


Why do doors matter so much to me? I’ve always been drawn to the details; the tiny little differences that can either set something apart, or categorize it as “typical”. Doors can do just that! So where are my FAVORITE “fancy” doors located? Ironically, in the dressing rooms of a “cheap-o” store we all love to shop, FOREVER 21If only center-knobs were actually functional!

If center-knobs weren’t so impractical, I would install them in a heartbeat! Every intricate detail of these doors is absolute perfection in my book – from the contrasting curved moulding pieces to the high-gloss finish – I have NO complaints! One of these days I may just have to smuggle a screwdriver in with me and loosen those hinges! KIDDING 😉 I’ve never stolen a single thing in my entire life, but seriously, have you ever seen a shoplifter leaving a store carrying an entire DOOR in their purse? If we were living in a cartoon, we’d easily fit the whole store + more in our “bottomless” handbags!!!

OK – back from that useless bunny trail…

This is the condition in which we adopted the doors of our colonial home:

Dinged. Drab. Dated.

Dinged. Drab. Dated.

Old Doors

Way darker than the floors!

Old door

If you look in the pic ^above^ you will see a trifecta of colors: red oak floors (left), walnut stairs (right), and an even darker walnut on the doors and moulding. Oh and FYI, all the upper floors are, again, ANOTHER color – darker than the oak seen here, but not as dark as the staircase!

Upstairs Compared to Downstairs

Up-Close Comparison 

Uncovering Wood Floors

Notice the floor variations in this old photo: That is NOT a shadow you are seeing! That is the floor suddenly stained darker about 8 inches from the railing, then stained even darker on the other side of the spindles. Maybe they thought as long as the floor matched the staircase along the edges that nobody would notice it gradually getting lighter?

Someone either had MDPD (multiple design personality disorder), or they attempted to refinish the woodwork but gave up before the job was done… resulting in the easier decision to simply cover it with carpet! Can someone say BAND-AID!? I’m sure that at the time it seemed like the right thing to do, but it’s left me puzzled.

Now that we have the new white moulding, the dark doors don’t seem as daunting, but is it ME ??? Not even close. 

Den Door

THIS, however, IS me…………

THIS WAS MY INSPIRATION that led to the painting of our 4-panel doors!

THIS WAS MY INSPIRATION PHOTO that led me to paint our 6-panel doors BLACK

When I found this black door wrapped in creamy white, it was love at first sight… so I considered it done! This is the perfect way to take an average 6-panel door, like mine, and make it STAND OUT. Some say framing doors in a contrasting color is a bad idea because it will draw too much attention to itself; but if you’re unconventional like me, you go against the grain! (Imagine this door painted the same color as the trim – It would look great, but it would also blend in with the surrounding wainscot. Painting it black created an eye-catching contrast that really made an entrance!)

Bye-Bye, Brown…

Evergreen Custom Painting

Owen Tanner of Evergreen Custom Painting
Taking them down wasn’t a fast process.

We had to mark all the doors so that we would remember which one went where!

Evergreen Custom Painting

Removing all the knobs and hinges…

Peeww! Stinky and unsightly bathroom remodel no longer has a door to hide behind!

Our stinky, unsightly bathroom remodel no longer has a door to hide behind!
Plastic to the rescue.

We could have tried refinishing these doors DIY style, but I was worried about ruining something VIP status (Very Important Project)! These are solid, heavy pieces of wood that make the doors at our condo seem like cardboard… I wasn’t gonna be the one to mess with them! We hired family friend and amazing painter, Owen Tanner, of Evergreen Custom Painting. He did an AMAZING job and I will recommend him a hundred times over! These doors left here that day covered with dings, dents, and gouges but came back without a scratch! He didn’t just paint them, he sanded and perfected them first, then returned them to us looking like NEW!


A Thing of Beauty! Look at those clean-crisp lines and that high contrast of black on white! Gasp.

A Thing of Beauty!
Look at those clean-crisp lines and that high contrast of black on white! Gasp.




I can’t believe I’m telling you this, but in the next picture Ezekiel actually pulled one of these loose-leaning doors away from the wall… thankfully I was close enough to dive towards the falling object, saving my child from what could have been a very ugly accident!

Both child and door went unharmed in the taking of this photo

Doors + Babies + Shoes = Not such a good situation!

Doors + Babies + Shoes = Not a good situation!

Painted Doors

Office Entry (Left), Kitchen Entry (Right)

Before & After!

Before & After (Office)
I’m in love with the transformation!

All in all, 7 interior doors were painted, but we still have to paint all the doors on the 2nd level, and all exterior doors. Owen did such a fantastic job of refinishing these banged-up babies that we’re planning on hiring him again when we start on the upstairs remodel, which will hopefully be sooner than later! Of course, painting is just the first step of many that will conclude my colonial door makeovers… I have plans that involve push-plates, false lock n’ keys, and beautiful crystal knobs!

Now about that front door…

Not such an entrance

Inside of front door

Front Door (Left), Guest Bathroom Entry (Right)

Old Door

Old Lock

Oh gosh. The front door. We couldn’t go a week without security, so we chose to wait on the front door – the MAIN entrance – go figure. In the mean time, I think I’ve mustered up enough confidence to tackle this one on my own! I have a sander, I have a sprayer, I have motivation (simply sick of looking at it every time I come home)…. the only thing I don’t have much of is time. Once the FRONT door comes off its hinges, there’s no keeping baby boy in and strangers out for dayyys at a time!

If I want to do this and do it right, I’ve got to do it all in 2 days: (weather permitting)

Day 1: Sand & Strip (then re-hang)
Day 2: Spray & Spray again (then re-hang)

I’m hoping some painter’s plastic will help hold in the heat and keep the pesky bugs out… But I have the most anxiety over the dry time and the idea of hanging the door before it’s had a full 24 hours to cure. I would hate to damage my precious paint job by hastily rushing things along!

I won’t divulge any more details about the front door makeover; I want you to be surprised on the day of the grand reveal! (That is if all goes well… Oh Lord, what haveth I gotten myselfeth into!??)


Are you starting to pickup on my unhealthy, insomniac blogging habits?


Spice It Up!

It’s the little things…

Like sorting tangled utensils, cleaning out the crumbs, and establishing some sense of organization in those cluttered kitchen drawers that makes one feel accomplished.

I grew tired of feasting my eyes on this mess, so with my spring cleaning must-haves in hand (malted eggs & Method spray) I got to work!

Messy Drawer


Step 1: CLEAN IT UP!

Spring Cleaning


Drawer Liners

Give your drawers a cheap facelift by lining them with contact paper!

Contact Paper

I chose scissors to make my seam along the edges, because the box-cutter kept tearing the plastic-like contact paper. Applying Contact Paper

Contact Paper

Once I had created this seam, it was SUPER easy to cut!
Contact Paper

Cutting Contact Paper

Start the application by removing only  2 – 3 inches of backing, then stick the contact paper to the FRONT end of the drawer. (This way, if there are any alignment issues they will be in the back of your drawer). Applying Contact Paper

Slowly pull away the backing, fixing lumps/creases as you go…Applying Contact PaperApplying Contact Paper

Once the backing is fully removed, use a ruler or spatula to smooth out any bubbles.Smoothing Contact Paper

Drawer Liners

This scrub-brush worked great for those little air pockets that the spatula missed!Drawer Liners

A final go-over with the scissors helped with any unclean edges…Applying Contact Paper

Step 3: SPICE IT UP!

Container Store Spice Rack

with a Container Store spice rack

Wash n' Dry

Wash n’ Dry

Fun with Funnels

Fun with Funnels

Put a Label on it

Put a Label on it

I love how many labels came with this Container Store spice rack! The only one that was missing was a specialty Asian pepper we bought from Uwajimaya!

Container Store Spice Jars

Now we’re ready to put the drawers back in!

Spice Drawer

Completed Spice Drawer


But the organization spree doesn’t stop here……… I thought my other drawers needed some “spice” as well! (Please Click on Photos)

Step 4: KEEP IT UP! (<note to self)

A few more projects to cross off my spring cleaning “to-do” list, hundreds to go….  So tell me how all of YOU are doing on your seasonal chores? Good, bad, UGLY!??

Goodnight! I hope your Wednesday was full of sugar, spice, and everything nice!

*** Out of Order ***

Out of Service

Logic would tell you, “Don’t demo your main guest-bath until you have the proper means to finish it”, but if I were to label our approach with this remodel as a whole, “logical” wouldn’t be the descriptive word I’d use! I have said things like, “overly ambitious”, “crazy”, perhaps even “biting off more than we can chew”… and rightfully so, because these expressions provide a very accurate portrayal of how we do things around here!

The reason for our lack-of-logic is simple: you take two personalities (like mine and my hubby’s) that are borderline OCD, then throw them in an environment where everything is either broken or dirty………….. and the natural response is not going to be a calm, cool, collected one!

In our defense however, we have never been foolish or reckless! My thought is, if it’s functional we may never get around to fixing it; if it’s completely dysfunctional (aka destroyed), we force our hand and wallet to buck up and GIT’R DONE! It’s this mentality that has officially deemed our downstairs guest bathroom “Out of Order”.

So where’s the guest bath? (See Below)

Demolition Site

Main Level


Bathroom: Pre-Demo
The toilet was full of sludge that left the bowl stained #BEYONDrecovery

bathroom sink

Do I even need to mention the puke-pink tile? The sink was rusty, the hot water wasn’t working…

Light Switch

This cracked, yellowing light switch is a fair representation of EVERY switch/outlet
throughout the house!

Towel Rack

Even the towel holder is broken and incapable of fulfilling its one & only duty!

Fire Hazard

!!! Fire Hazard !!!

Light fixtures should be seen, not heard… or smelled… this lovely contraption does all three! I wish the picture made a zapping/buzzing sound and allowed you take a whiff of its HOTness! You can sort-of imagine what I’m talking about by giving some attention to that burnt brown area on the one working lightbulb!

Bathroom Demo

Removing the Flooring

At first we were just going to remove the linoleum and wallpaper… but one thing led to another! (Do you see that perma-poop-ring in the toilet? Yuck!)

Bathoom Remodel


Just a little bit of wallpaper left and we’re almost done!

Tool for removing wall paper

Wallpaper Scraper

Bathroom Remodel

Wallpaper Removal

Bathroom Remodel

Post Bathroom Remodel

DEMOLITION DAMAGE (subfloors, countertops, coffees…)

Sterling Toilet

Sterling by KOHLER

We made a trip to the ol’ home improvement store and found this pretty porcelain throne for only $93 after the mail-in-rebate! Its slim design is tall and narrow to save floor space, a much-needed upgrade for this dinky space.

(Limit 3 per household… so we bought 3!)

Bathroom Remodel

Bathroom Demo

Ready for Stage 2: Remodel!

Now – if I told you HOW LONG it’s been sitting in this exact condition (doors closed to isolate the smell of sewer), you would probably say we were better off leaving the bathroom in its original condition rather than jumping the gun on this one! Believe it or not, the only time I ever notice this ugly skeleton-of-a-bathroom is when I have company over and I have to direct them upstairs… then I panic and hope I didn’t just send my guests up to a kid-zone littered with wet towels and bath toys!

Like I said before, because the bathroom is now in this disastrous state, it has pushed itself to the top of our priority list, and as soon as our “project fund” has reached its necessary goal, we will start phase 2: REMODEL!

Enjoy the rest of this wonderful Wednesday!