Learning and Teaching Sustainability

Entry Wall “Slow Design” Makeover

The final result

Last year I wrote this post about my decision to leave the interior design industry and embrace "slow design". That means taking time to let things come together organically instead of rushing around trying to get all-new-everything to create the perfect space. It also means that our home is a work in progress, and I'm not always in love with how it looks. A lot of our stuff right now is a hodgepodge of hand-me down furniture, thrift store stuff, and a few new items. In the grand scheme of things, it's all totally fine, but I must confess the interior designer in me gets a little twitchy about the randomness of it all. I've always got a few "mini-makeover" ideas brewing in my head, and some days I'm tempted to just go out and buy all the pretty things.

Today I wanted to share with you the progress we've made in our front entry over the past two years. The entry has undergone a few evolutions since we moved in, and it's finally reached a place where I'm kind of ok with it. Let's take a look, shall we?

The original entry
The original entry
Getting ready for painting
Getting ready for painting

The Beginning
In the beginning it was very basic - white walls with a few functional pieces: mirror, small table, and a coat rack on the side. The mirror came from Loveseat Vintage, one of my favorite used furniture stores that I discovered shortly after moving to San Diego, and is definitely the highlight of this basic entryway. The coat rack was another thrifted item that Adam had bought years ago. The little side table was a new purchase from discount store Ross Dress for Less.

A few months in, we decided to brighten things up by painting a yellow accent wall behind the mirror. I don't remember the exact paint color we used, but the goal was to make the entryway feel cheerful and sunny. We started by taping off all the edges, and finished the job within a few hours. It was a relatively inexpensive change that made a big impact.

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3a
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Tada! Our newly yellow entry wall
Tada! Our newly yellow entry wall

Shoe Shelf Upgrade
Originally, we used a thrifted shelf for shoe storage on the side wall. I was trying to be scrappy and creative, but ultimately I really grew to hate this set-up. Junk mail would pile up on the top shelf, and honestly it just wasn't big enough to hold that many shoes. It always looked cluttered and sloppy.

Eventually I decided to buy this new shoe rack from Wayfair. I tried to keep sustainability in mind, but I also just wanted a shoe rack that would be practical, functional, and a good fit for our space. It's made of 100% sustainable bamboo, and came flat packed with minimal plastic packaging. I like it much better than the original shelf, and I think it makes the space feel a lot cleaner and less cluttered.

Before
Before
After
After
New shoe shelf, who dis?
New shoe shelf, who dis?
15a

Time to Repaint
After a year with the yellow entry wall, I decided it was time for a change. The yellow color was ok, but I wasn't crazy about it. After some time in our new home, I'd developed more of an idea of how I would like our space to look. I wanted to do something with more Justina Blakeney-inspired Jungalow vibes. Jungalow style is characterized by color, pattern, and plants, and has a West Coast bohemian feel. You can check out this Pinterest board I put together to inspire the look in our home.

I decided a pretty emerald green would evoke plants and nature, and make a bold statement when you enter our home. I narrowed down the color choices to a few options: (Counter-clockwise from top left) 1. Steamed Spinach 643 by Benjamin Moore 2. Palm Frond 30D-5 by Clark and Kensington 3. Breathe Deeply VR050A by Valspar 4. Gondola Ride 602 by Benjamin Moore 5. Pine Green 2051-20 by Benjamin Moore. Ultimately I decided on Pine Green (the square swatch on the right) because it was a nice medium tone - not too green and not too dark. I also decided to paint both sides of the entry wall to make a bigger impact.

Paint Color Inspiration
Paint Color Inspiration
Emeral green color options
Emeral green color options

I'm really happy with how the new green color turned out. What do you think? On an informal Instagram poll, about 70% of people liked the green wall better.

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The Big Reveal
Are you ready to see how the entry wall looks now? Tada - here it is! I switched out the original coat rack for something a little sleeker, and pared down some of the items hanging on the coat rack. We have a coat closet on the other side of this wall, so the coat rack is only for the favorite items that we use regularly. We change it up every season and it takes a little curating and conscientiousness to keep it looking tidy. But overall I'm happy with how it looks. I love the color, and I think it looks pretty neat for an entry area that needs to be functional and hold a bunch of stuff.

The final result

Let's talk about that gorgeous entry table shall we? This is another purchase from my beloved Loveseat Vintage. I think it originally came from India. The salesperson told me the previous owner was sad to part with it, but couldn't take it with her as she was moving overseas. I had a piece of glass custom cut for the top to protect the pretty decorations. The original entry table didn't have any storage and wasn't very functional. I'm not sure if this piece was originally a medicine cabinet or what, but all the little drawers are great for storage. There's a place for all your entryway essentials - keys, wallet, chapstick, sunglasses, etc. I like that it's really unique and special, and goes great with the emerald green wall.

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Here's another view of the entry from the living area. I still want to do more with the stair wall - maybe add some artwork or more coat hooks for guests, but I'm in no rush. I'd love to hear your suggestions if you have any great ideas.

15d

I also wanted to give a shout out to one of our favorite sustainable sunscreen companies, Badger Balm. Badger Balm is a family-run company that makes organic, mineral sunscreens that don't damage the environment. Here in California, it's important to stay protected from all that sunshine, so we keep these on the entry table for frequent use before heading out on sunny days. I use a special sunscreen specifically for my face because I'll never forget the summer I got major pizza face from applying greasy sunscreen on my sensitive facial skin. This has a lovely rose scent, and is non-comedogenic so it won't clog your pores.

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The Slow Design Progression
Ok so here's a look at how our entry way progressed over the past two years. It started out pretty simple and basic, and developed a little more personality over time. We painted a yellow accent wall, and added a few accent pieces to spruce it up. Finally, the green color really ties everything together and gives our home the bohemian, nature-inspired vibe that feels right for Live to Sustain headquarters. What do you think? Tell us your thoughts on this "slow design" progression.

The original entry
The original entry
In the middle
In the middle
The final result
The final result
About the author: Laura Weatherbee
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