Continuing with the “Our House” welcome tour, in Chapter 1 you were left inside this French Door entrance in the dining room next to the antique coat tree. (You can see the edge of the French door just to the right in this picture.) When you come in from the outside, your feet immediately step onto the red rug you can see at the bottom corner of this pic. Then to your right, (or the left side of this picture)
just to the left of the coat tree you see a door with shutters and oversized keys. Let me tell you about that. It’s actually a seldom used door that goes into a little vestibule connecting to the back entry and mudroom.
When we initially turned the garage into heated living space for my studio, I purchased the steel door on clearance from a local door and window outlet place. It was ugly, but served its purpose functionally. Now that it’s a dining room though, that door needed to have more style. I couldn’t justify changing out the whole door as it totally was in perfect condition and functioned well. It was just those windows. Eww. L
So I drew up a simple sketch and gave it to my ‘favorite’ carpenter, telling him I wanted them to look really old and distressed. He promptly made, and hand distressed the wood, banging dents and scrapes into the planks, then installed the working shutters for me. The shutters are held onto the door with hinges attached to a frame he built. I painted the frame the cream color of the door, so it would blend in and only the shutters would stand out.
I primed the shutters and painted one coat of black paint and let that dry. Then my little granddaughter (5 yrs. old at the time) and I went to work. With a drop cloth on the floor to catch spills and drips, she on her pink ‘Dora’ stool, paint brush in hand and me next to her with multiple colors of craft paint and paint cans open, dabbed, scrubbed and rubbed several different colors on the shutters layering over one another, blending it all with both dark brown and black. It was a great project for her to help me with. She always wants to help paint with me, but typically it’s not very feasible, this was just the right project for her. She still fondly talks about that painting project.
I attached a simple old hook and eye latch along with 2 square knobs I had in a bin out in the shed. (I love those bins of misc. hardware you get at auctions! I’ve used stuff from it on so many projects.)
To give the shutters a ‘believable’ aged look, I lightly sanded areas that would have naturally gotten worn over the years, like the edges. Also I took the hook part of the latch and scraped and rubbed it around to put ‘wear’ marks on the shutter, as if the wind had blown it back and forth over and over again.
I had mentioned that the style I was going for in this dining room area was more of an outdoor ‘al fresco’ dining area.
I wanted it to have elements that would subtly trigger your senses telling you that you were in an alley of an old European café, with the surrounding shop doors and brick walls as your backdrop. Hence the ‘brick’ wallpaper I hung up on two of the walls in this seating and shuttered door corner. That’s also the cause for the door to be designed to look as if it’s facing the outside of a building, with the oversized keys I hung on them with a tasseled drapery tie-back, overstating antique shop owner keys. Then to really play up the door, I hung iron and glass lanterns on either side of the door, in a style of an old European door front.
Whenever you place a pair of items symmetrically on either side of a main object, like I did with this door, it causes you to take notice of the thing they’re flanking, the door in this case. It’s like the lanterns are jointly saying “ta-da! look at the door”.
This is also why I used the heavy iron pieces hanging over the settee. They add one of the ‘elements’ in the whole ‘al fresco’ theme, not necessarily exactly how it would be, but an interpretation of it, along with the water fountain, I purchased from Ballard Designs, (the hooked leopard patterned rug came from them too).
And for the framed print over the sideboard, it’s of a European garden with the manor in the background. All leading your mind to hint the theme of taking place outside.
I repeated the ‘ta-da’ symmetry with faux evergreen topiaries on either side of the sideboard, stating that it’s a main piece in this area. I have several live plants in this room so to add in a couple faux ones to the mix works well.
We still have a lot to talk about in this room, and I know you’re peeking into the kitchen, we’ll get there too.
I appreciate you stopping by.