before and after

before & after: entryway + old door display

by Kate Pruitt

I must admit that I’m a little jealous of this project; I’d love to have an entryway for storing shoes, coats and all the random objects that otherwise pile up in our living room, especially one as pleasant and lovely as this. The darker, larger tiles are much more appropriate for the space and complement the earthy color palette that Jennifer has chosen. I also love the robin’s egg blue door (!) and the sunny graphic pillow on the bench— wonderful little details that make the space. Great work, Jennifer! — Kate

Time: We worked on this project with a couple friends each Saturday for eight weeks. This project — including board and batten, tile and painting — easily could have been done in two to three weekends.

Cost: For everything — tile, plywood, wood, paint, etc.: $350

Basic Steps: We started with a basic idea, a mood board I had created and a couple pictures I’d see around the Internet. Our house is quite old, and this room was incredibly dingy and dark. It’s not our main entrance, but it opens up to our kitchen, so everyone who comes in the house sees it. Once we had a solid plan, my husband tackled reinforcing the stairs, tiling and the board and batten. Board and batten is relatively straightforward, but this was our longest step. Not only are there a lot of angles in the room, but we also quickly discovered that the room wasn’t exactly square. Once that was up, I tackled the remainder of the walls. It’s always amazing to me what a little scrubbing, filler and paint will do for a room. The blue door was a last minute addition that ended up being our favorite part!

My advice, especially for people who own older homes, is that there are many solutions to home-improvement problems. Using a little creativity and breaking the projects into easy-to-accomplish tasks makes a project seem less big and daunting. I hope seeing this renovation encourages others to tackle projects that might seem too huge and impossible, because there really are budget-friendly and beautiful solutions everywhere. — Jennifer

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)

CLICK HERE to see Alisha’s door display after the jump!

As a former display artist, I have a soft spot in my heart for projects that are purely for decorative or artistic purposes, like this beautiful houndstooth door backdrop by Alisha. Functional? Perhaps not, unless you consider “being fun to look at” a function (which I do). She brilliantly chose to taper off the pattern at the top, and the result is a unique display that turns an old door in a corner into a lovely art installation. Great work, Alisha!

Time: The whole project took about a week.

  • 1 day (8 hrs) to scrape, clean, transport and prime
  • 1 day (8 hrs) to paint white (3 coats)
  • 1 day (8 hrs) to draw the stencil pattern
  • 3 days (24 hrs) to paint the stencil pattern

Cost: $20 (door was free from a friend’s remodel; $20 for paint from Home Depot; all other supplies on hand)

Basic Steps: To prep the door for painting, I used a scraper to remove any excessively peeling paint. Since I wanted to keep the door’s aged look, I avoided areas of only slightly peeling paint that I thought might add to the texture of the door. Using a soft, damp cloth, I cleaned the door and then applied 2 to 3 coats of primer.

Decorator’s White is my favorite white and the perfect backdrop for a more intricate pattern (or anything really . . .). After 2 to 3 coats of clean white paint and letting it set for a couple days, I started on the stencil. Using a pencil, I lightly traced the stencil pattern onto the door, omitting only the uneven planes around the door’s inset panels.

Using several different-sized paintbrushes, I painted in the pattern starting from the bottom. I knew I wanted the pattern to break apart toward the top, so at about half way, I stopped and marked which units would be filled in and which wouldn’t. After completing my pattern, I went back in with white paint to correct some stray gray paint and go over the pattern units I had not used.

My advice to others trying to tackle a similar project would be to always keep your eyes open! Items considered garbage to others could take on a second life given the right home (this door was a day away from the spring cleaning dumpster when I rescued it). In fact, the opportunity for a project like this may already exist in your home! Take a moment to walk around your living space and notice any areas or items that, while serving a necessary function, could use a face-lift. — Alisha

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