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Reader Decorating Dilemma: Carrie's Entry

Carrie likes this photo of RON MARVIN's place. So do I.

Carrie H recently wrote in with photos of her place, asking for help from you all:

Decorno -

Pictures of my entry in need of help. I have other problem areas but I'd love to start here. The owl is from my husbands parents and can be placed elsewhere in our house, the accessories/are ordinary/nothing special. I do like the lamp but would like something with more punch like the yellow lamps in the Ron Marvin photo. The tile/carpet will be replaced by wood (hopefully in '08).

Thank you, thank you, thank you!


Carrie - first, you're going to paint the walls. I am terrible with color, so someone else will get to boss you around and tell you what color exactly you should paint the entry. You look like you have some kind of sponge-painted business going on in there and we are going to liberate you from that.

Ron Marvin is probably the reason I am so excited about decor. He was a finalist in Met Home's reader contest years ago and I remembered thinking, "Wow... you can really live with vintge/flea finds in an elegant way?" I grew up with Levitz. It was a revelation. He has great taste, yet it's still accessible. You've picked a great role model here.

Deconophiles - - what say you? Help this woman out. You did a great job with Linds, I know you will be so kind and helpful to Carrie.

Gratuitous entry porn.


Paloma said...

I love the inspiration photos. I definitely think a new light fixture is in order. Something a bit smaller with a more classic look.

Anonymous said...

I would try to cover up a lot of that floor. The rug would get a lot of wear and tear, so how about something not very expensive, that could be replaced without much heartache once it got too ratty?

A dark binding would not show too much dirt and could help turn it into a graphic statement.

Heather S.

Porcelain said...

Love the inspiration photo as well!!! The current entry is all the same shade (yellows, browns, bronzes), what is great about the inspiration photo is the balance of color. It is mostly neutral (black, white, chrome) and then you have the bold burst of yellow in the lamps with bold bursts of color. The objects are also balanced. You have the big mirror and vase with smaller pieces of art and other knick knacks. I always find spaces that can play with different sizes the most successful.

My vote would be to paint the walls white and have the accessories be the bold pop of color!

I like the entry way table. I'd replace the owl art and steal the mirror idea from the inspiration photo (nice to have a mirror so you can take a quick look at yourself on your way out the door), mix in some smaller art, nice container for keys, vase, lamps, etc. Keep these items rather classic and neutral and find one super bold fabulous thing that just POPS out against all the neutrals.

I'm with paloma, change out the light fixture with something smaller, more streamlined and classic shaped.

Habitually Chic said...

I think the entry looks great but just needs a punch of color and a few tweaks. I agree with Porcelain about switching out the owl, which is beautiful, with a mirror. It's so nice to check how you look before you leave the house. I would also add a little chair next to the table so you have a place for your bag.

I see that the sponge painted walls also extend into the living room. If you really wanted to change things up, I would repaint them. I really love Benjamin Moore's French Quarter Gold now. Or you could maybe wallpaper the little entry to make it pop more. I would also add an inexpensive rug. It would be welcoming. Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I don't think you've got too much to worry about. I'd replace those two metal thingies on the left side of the table with maybe a pretty bowl or two--one big, one small, something low and light in color (white maybe). Just to get a variety of heights and colors.

I might go for a squatter, rounder lamp, but the one you have there isn't urgently wrong. Maybe a drum-shaped shade would be a little better too.

But overall, it's pretty decent as is, I think.

Anonymous said...

If you're going to hire painters for the walls (which would make a huge difference) may I suggest a glossy black door? You've got great space and light, I think you'll be amazed what a few tweaks can do!

Anonymous said...

A new light fixture will make a huge difference! Also paiting that door as another has commented. Artwork in the entry makes an impact but a mirror can be an inexpensive option.

Anonymous said...

Good point about painting the door, either black or white. It'll make the nice old wood of that table really stand out, as it should. said...

Okay-tuff love. Paint the walls (and door) a color you really love. Use carpet floor tiles in a groovy color, easy to install and clean and take out (saw them at Target). Get new accesories-drum lamp shade for sure on your lamp-if you can afford it, get two new lamps you like, ala Ron (though the shades on his lamps could be larger). If you can, part with the two tall resin looking thingees. Keep the table, maybe paint it, or silver leaf it. And now for the hardest thing - a different light fixture - capiz shell, or girly chandelier, or drum shade with sunburst ceiling medallion (see Myles of Style 1st show on HGTV), or UFO shape paper shade (saw this on HGTV Design On a Dime). Your entry is not horrible, but you want better, so have fun and go for it :-)

Anonymous said...

Why carpet tiles in the front hall? I like to be able to come in from a snow storm or a rain storm and drip all over the front hall and drop my sopping-wet stuff on the floor and not worry about it. I wouldn't feel comfortable doing that on carpet tiles.

The tiles there now don't seem like a problem that needs solving.

Maybe an easy-maintenance area rug of some kind would give you some contrast, but that's about all you'd need, if that.

anonSF said...

Looks like Carrie's got an eye for nice things.

I agree with anon 2:21--this interior seems too traditional for carpet tiles.

The table looks really beautiful. I think it's overhwelmed by the giant light fixture, the heavy-looking framed artwork, and the dark accessories.

Painting the wall and the door are great ideas. Look for some smaller, white accessories for the table. Maybe look for a brighter ceramic table--white or golden yellow? (Perhaps your nice brown lamp would work in another room?)

And--I can't quite tell if there's enough room--can you move the table toward the door a bit? Maybe move the umbrella stand to the other side?

Good luck!

Jean said...

Nooooo! Don't paint your beautiful wood door. Carpet tiles: ewwwww! Even sisal would be better than that!

The walls look like they might be okay. Colors look sour in the pic, but maybe not in reality. But hold off on repainting til you get your new floor down, since that will utterly change the light and color of the space.

Yes on a mirror instead of that nice print and changing the pleated lampshade. Those wierd things on the table are kind of cool looking but way out of proportion to your good-looking table. They might even be okay as sculptures on the floor; I dunno. On the table, try colorful porcelain dishes (as porcelain suggested) or a gorgeous pottery tray for keys and whatnot. The intro pic is pretty, but I wouldn't use a vase or anything like that; an entry table shouldn't have stuff you can knock over when you throw your keys in a dish.

Are the tiles ceramic or vinyl? If ceramic, I would leave them. Then you really would need to repaint the walls, which don't go with them at all. Put a nice, big rug in there--if you can find one that the door can open over. (I hate those damned logistics!)

Maybe recessed lights for overhead, instead of a dangler.

Anonymous said...

Some of my relatives are in the door business; believe me, the wood in that door is not "beautiful," even if the color looks good in that photo. If you had some architectural gem of a walnut slab you got from a neglected mansion or a salvage yard, I'd say leave it, but that is NOT fine wood. And it's stealing the thunder from the genuinely pretty vintage wood of the table.

Judge the floor by how well it works and looks, not by being snobby about the material. There's some gorgeous vinyl tile out there. Tommi Parzinger himself was a spokesman for a brand of vinyl flooring. Whatever you've got there looks handsome. If the finish is good and it's easy to maintain and clean, leave it. (Anyway, if you decide to cover the floor with an area rug anyway, who cares what the tiles beneath it are made of? ) said...

Carrie, I agree about the carpet tiles - I lost my mind! They do come in great colors, and the floor could use a nice pop of color, and you can take them outside and hose them off, so they are good for wet dirty feet. But when I thought about it, I said eeeww too. Throw rugs by the door are always a love hate, but needed thing. Don't laugh, but the cow hide rug is the best rug for never showing dirt, dog hair, nothing...might be too rad, but maybe not, if all else is changing. Also disregard what I said about painting that nice piece of furniture. I must have been watching too much HGTV today. I am posting a photo of another entry hall on my site that might help inspire you. When I saw it I thought of your space.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everyone about repainting the paint which is distracting and changing light fixture. Italianate and Mission don't mix very well for me. Get a really special vintage fixture if you're a classic person, or a very clean modern one if you want to update the space. Definitely change the floor and bring it back to hardwood. The tile and the light look like contractors specials from Lowes, and kind of dull everything down. IF you're going to repaint the door black, a nice ebonized wood floor might work. And the point made earlier about scale of objects and color balance is important. If you've got all warm golds, then a few punchy cool accents, whether they're the spine of a few books or a celadon/glass lampbase give a little breathing space. Or if you go pale and cool in the paint, then you MIGHT keep your lamp, but I think another shade might work better. If everything is the same height, it's dull. Go get a vintage bowl that won't tip for emptying pockets and keys into. I also think that a really pretty side chair would be welcoming, useful and would help get rid of that empty feeling .

Anonymous said...

I like simple, under-stimulating entryways. I don't need "pops" of color when I've just entered someone's home and I'm preoccupied with greeting the hosts, taking off my jacket and handing it to them, walking toward the bar... Not every room and space in a home has to "pop" or be vibrant or dramatic or contrasty or texture-y. Sometimes it's a relief to have a few neutral, visually undemanding areas, especially in transition areas like hallways and entryways. I like the tiles for that feeling of quietness.

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Anonymous said...



jamie meares said...

both the first and last inspiration photo make me wonder, where do you put your stuff? do you maybe scoot the pile of books over so you have room for your keys? the mail? or no. no things.

don't get it.

Jessica Claire said...

where to start!

I'd paint over the walls in a nice bright neutral- i like warm welcoming entryways

I would get rid of the lamp and install elegant sconces to frame the lovely wooden console. That way you free up the surface for storage and display and don't have the ugly lamp plug hanging down.

I'd place a mirror with unique detailing between the sconces and add some personal yet functional pieces to the console for keys etc

I like how the inspiration photo from Wish magazine used a sterling toast divider for mail

I'd also ditch the hideous bronze fixture in favour of something less outdoorsy looking.

pve design said...

Say "ciao" to Tuscany and Hello to a smaller light fixture, a mirror hung - and put a black or white narrow table with a low bench under, sleek lamps a sisal rug. Re-paint the walls in a light, flat white or cream, lamps could be a vivid color. This would be very easy to do! Love the inspiration photo!

Cote de Texas said...

I'm late to the game but if you're still reading these comments:

I love the inspiration picture, but it doesn't seem to "go" with your house or what you have going on already. Unless everything is changing I would go in a more traditional direction.

I'd leave the paint if it ties in with what is going on elsewhere. Or I would do a grasscloth in a shade that picks up a color from the dining room across from the entry. I would probably add wainscot molding for interest and paint that a bolder shade than above it.

I would paint the door black asap. All my doors in my house are painted black and its a great way to make insignificant doors significant!

I would do sconces (of course I would) on each side of a tall mirror. If you can't or wont, then I would place pedastals with white porcelain on them on either side of the mirror. Def. do a tall mirror with a gold frame. If you want lamps - I would do tall skinny lamps - two, for balance.

I would paint the piece black for impact.

I would replace the ceiling fixture with a beautiful french lantern.

on the table, I would put a vase with spring branches.

Get a rattan or wicker umbrella holder to add texture.

Hope this helps!

decorno said...

Joni, the "of course I would" comment made me laugh out loud. And I like the black doors advice to make them "significant." Smart.

You suggest a french lantern... do you have a photo or link to give an idea of what you mean? I am very curious.

I love your suggestions.

Cote de Texas said...

ok - you asked!!! thanks for your sweet comment:"&h=28"&sh=-&l=-&de=15"&di=-&lbs=-&title=French%20Marquis&pid=MCL27507%20-%20Large"&h=22"&sh=-&l=-&de=9.5"&di=-&lbs=-&title=Period&pid=MCL25517"&h=28"&sh=-&l=-&de=14"&di=-&lbs=-&title=St.%20Petersburg&pid=MCL27523%20-%20Medium"&h=32"&sh=-&l=-&de=17"&di=-&lbs=-&title=London%20Street%20Light&pid=MCL27511%20-%20Large"&h=32"&sh=-&l=-&de=19"&di=-&lbs=-&title=Leichester%20Six&pid=MCL25528

mominaledo said...

Aaaah! I just came back from a spring break vacation with this all waiting for me! All of this feedback makes me giddy. I LOVE the idea of sconces but haven't had time to check out any of the links. Thanks Decorno!

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