Category Archives: Entry

A Tale of Three Lights


We’re baaack.  I know we have a lot of catching up to do.  So, let’s see… what have you missed?

Oh yeah, that.  That would be from Chris falling through the attic floor.

As we were putting our Halloween decorations back, (Chris in the attic, me passing up boxes from the ground), I suddenly heard a yell and looked up to find a leg protruding through the ceiling.

Oh boy… looks like we’ll be brushing up on our patch-work skills soon.

So, what else have we been up to besides reinventing our ceiling?

Well, we set our sights on sprucing up our entryway from this sad little outdated pot light to something a little lot grander.

Remember these $5 lanterns I picked up from the ReStore awhile back (read up on that project here)?  Before they became my latest table accessories, I thought one of them would be the perfect entryway light.

And here starts our journey of the three entry way lights… aka the story of how I succeeded in convincing Chris to install three different lights and survived to tell the tale.

Light Attempt #1

Our first light attempt used the shorter, hexagon-shaped ReStore light which we cleaned and sprayed with an oil rubbed bronze spray paint.  It wasn’t terrible but I wasn’t convinced that it was the right solution.  It just looked too small in the space.

Chris promised that he would replace it if I still didn’t like it after a week.

Big shocker, I still didn’t like it after a week so up went one of the other ReStore lights.

Light Attempt #2

This one was more of a rounded hexagon shape so I thought it would have a larger presence in the space without the risk of head butting unsuspecting visitors.

Meh.  It was okay but really underwhelming.  I wanted a statement piece and this guy was still too small and plain.  I think these guys work better as table lanterns than functional entryway lights.  So how was I going to break the news to Chris?  A six pack of beer and a big “look how cute I am” smile should do the trick.

Well, it did work, but my punishment was living through it for months as Chris vowed he would only replace it one more time so the next light better be the one or else I better enroll in Electricity 101 classes.

Talk about pressure.  But I like a good challenge.  Unfortunately, the perfect light took a few months to stumble across.

But first, I scoured Pinterest narrowing down the look I wanted and decided that I still liked the lantern look but I needed to go bigger, like way bigger.

Source: Inspired Design

Source: A Life’s Design 

Source: Wisteria

Now, where’s a girl to find one of these massive beauts?

Source: Bellacor, $109.90

Source: Ballard Designs, $229

Source: Wisteria, $279

Source: Wayfair, $520.20

Source: Amazon, $729

Source: Lamps Plus, $750.91

Source: Horchow, $1,385

Can you guess which one’s my favorite?  Hint: Chris would have an aneurism if I bought this light… actually, that’s a terrible hint because any price over $0 gives Chris an aneurism.  Anyways, I just died over the Horchow light but not even I could justify spending over a grand for our entryway light.

I was excited to have the look narrowed down but a little disheartened by the cost of my options.  At this point, Chris had a strict rein on our home improvement budget (he can be such a DIY scrooge!) so I needed a miracle.

*insert months of impatient scouring here… until…

We made a pit stop in the ReStore one Sunday looking for… well, probably something completely different… when I stuck my head into the “Last Chance Room,” a room of the broken, ugly, and outdated (you know it’s bad when even the ReStore calls it outdated).

I found this little guy wedged under a mountain of brass lights who are still hoping for the day that 1991 comes back in style.

It was PERFECT!  It was the best combination of all the lights I loved.  And then I looked at the price tag and felt like I had won the lottery.  $60!  But, wait, it was in the “Last Chance Room” and that meant *gasp could it be* another 50% off!  Um, yes, $30!!

Uh-oh… that meant something was wrong with it and then I found it.  One pane of glass was broken so they marked it down.  All I needed to do was pop the glass out of the other sides and voilah, all fixed.  No need for the glass anyways.

So, here’s the part of the story where I tell you I gleefully raced home to have Chris install it, right?


The DIY scrooge struck again.  “That light is way too big.  It’ll never work in our entryway.  Our ceiling just isn’t that tall.”

Wah wah wah waaaaaaah.

Wives, I let our people down in that moment.  I gave in to this ridiculous argument of “we should go home and measure before we purchase something that may not even work.”

Oh, but you know I gathered a dozen or so of those brass lights and heaped them on top of the light, hiding it from sight.  No one was going to grab my perfect light while I was out on my fool’s errand.

We raced home, me lamenting all the way that someone was surely going to snatch the light up and Chris muttering to himself how illogical women are.

I raced through the door, grabbed the measuring tape, held it up in the entryway, showed Chris that it could be installed without people fearing for their heads, shoved him back in the car, and we were back on our way to the ReStore in under 10 minutes.

I took off like a mad woman through the store, shimming through old stoves, leaping over paint cans, and dodging racks of shovels.  Okay, maybe it wasn’t as epic as that sounds, but I’m sure I, at least, looked like a mad woman.

Folks, you can breathe easy.  Chris lived to see another day.  The light was still there, in my same hiding place, untouched.  You lucked out this time, hubby.  I wasted no time from there.  This sucker was mine and there’d be no more convincing me otherwise.

Ah, there’s nothing more that I love than a great bargain (except you, honey, of course…) and this was the bargain to top all bargains.  This will be the tale my great grandchildren will gather around me to hear every holiday season.  It was THAT epic.  And Chris was pleased to find out that I had finally settled on a light so we could move on to another project.

What can I say, third time’s the charm!


First of all, I didn’t fall through the ceiling. I exited the attic in the manliest way possible.

I don’t know what it is about women, but they seem to have some sort of obsession with lights. This strikes me as very odd, though, because this is the same gender that believes the quality of their looks fluctuates with the placement, intensity, and spectral range of light. Julie, of course, is no different: it’s not enough that the lights light, they also have to look good and put out said light in a very specific manner. So it was time to experiment.

Initially, I thought we had the light picked out. We had chosen the smallest of the three lanterns from the ReStore that we had refinished as it was short enough to hang from a decent length of chain. It was also a single bulb socket and I thought the light output was perfect for our very small entryway. I don’t know if Julie agreed or if she just likes making me mad, but this is the light we chose. So it’s the light I set out to install.

The first order of business was removing the old light. Most ceiling boxes are a 4″ diameter circle, but this light was a 10″x10″ square:

This meant I’d have some drywall work to do, and I despise drywall work. I cut a piece of cardboard to size to use as a template:

Once I had it cut to the size of the hole, I traced out where the ceiling box opening would be:

I nailed the ceiling box to the beam that ran alongside the light, and used the cardboard template to trace and cut a piece of drywall. First try fit like a glove! Tip: See my drywall screws? I glued a scrap piece of 2×4 to the top side of the ceiling so I’d have something to really hold the drywall patch.

Putty and paint makes a boat what it ain’t!

Here’s the light I installed. I guess the coloring is off because it’s supposed to look bronze or something.

All done! I used a ceiling medallion to help the light stand out a little more.

Well, it turns out that all good things really do come to an end, and Julie demanded a different light. I made her sleep on it for a week but she really stuck to her guns and threw a hissy fit over it, so I installed what she had now decided was the ideal light, which just so happened to be the ugliest light we own.

Look how terrible that is! It’s so bright in there I was afraid to turn on the light for fear the paint might burn off the walls!

I think Julie agreed, because she never turned on the light and finally admitted it looked horrible. Again, she demanded a new light, only this time I got wise- I was tired of her chronic indecision, so I agreed to install one more light, meaning whatever light she chose would be permanent. At first she objected, but I think she realized no amount of pouting was going to make me want to change that stupid light again. Every so often, she’d complain about the light and beg to change it, but I just reminded her of our deal, and that was that.

Well, she finally found it. THE light, she proclaimed. And let me tell you, this thing is huge. It’s so big that I was convinced it was going to be a skull-cracker and/or rip the ceiling box out (still not convinced that won’t happen). Before we bought it, I actually made her go home and measure the entryway to make sure I wouldn’t hit my head on it.

Alas, we came home with our new light. It came with like 8′ of chain but our ceiling is so low I could literally only use one link. It also had some weird scroll thing on the bottom which I also had to remove for liability purposes. But hey, you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.

Ignore the socks. All of them.

Julie threatened my life if I didn’t include this picture:




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Make an Entrance


One of my biggest challenges upon moving from an apartment to a house was being the proud owner of a legit entry.  In our apartment days, our door opened directly into the kitchen/dining combo hence the months it took me to figure out what the heck to do with this space.  It’s not the largest of entries but looked cavernous and frankly not very welcoming in all of its emptiness.

Here’s a shot of the entry when we initially viewed the house, before purchasing it.  The entertainment value of screaming our names like 8 year olds to hear it echo back quickly passed as we realized this only made our house seem emptier… and thus sadder.

Hm, so what’s a girl to do?  Go shopping of course.  I didn’t want to break the bank on filling the entry so I jumped to what seems to be my go-to furniture source lately: Craigslist.  I lucked out on my first try.  Someone was selling a rustic wooden table that they found at the Round Top antique festival for $75 which had a rich walnut color to it.  Nothing piques my interest more than the words rustic, antique, under $100, and, of course, Round Top.  Bingo.  (Never heard of Round Top?  Never fear.  We happened to create three different guides to conquering the festival which can be read in part one, two, and three.)

I immediately dragged Chris out the door and into the car while he muttered something about “you know, this won’t fit in our car, right.”  Psh, minor details.  We pulled up to the seller’s house and not only discovered this table was quite the gem but also found that we were the second party to view the table.  The first viewer was discouraged by the wobble in one of the legs and turned it down.  I immediately assumed it was something Chris could fix, agreed on a price drop to $60, and only then remembered Chris’ comment about the table not fitting in our car.  As we pondered solutions, the sellers graciously offered to deliver it for us.  Yes please!

So, I had a piece of furniture but now needed to figure out how to fill it.  I assembled the following group of accessories to complete the look:

  • Brushed nickel lamp with white shade from Christmas Tree Shops for around $15
  • Iron crown from eBay seller Arbed Floral for $15.95
  • Glass milk bottle from Christmas Tree Shops for a whopping $2
  • A small sunburst mirror from Michael’s for $20
  • Candles and silver candle stands from Michael’s for about $20
  • White silk peony flowers from Michael’s for $5
  • Silver decorative frames from Garden Ridge for $10 each
  • White books from Half Price Books for $0.25 to $1 each… which sort of killed the inner-reader in me to think that I was purchasing books I would likely never read but just use to decorate.  I justified the purchase to myself knowing that at least these books (from the clearance section at a half price book store) would end up in a good home, rather than just going recycled and the guilty feelings passed.
We lightened the walls from the darker tan color to a lighter tan.  The paint color is called Raffia Cream by Behr.
Now, the entry is warm and inviting and I couldn’t ask for anything more.  Oh wait, there is that old pot light that needs to be replaced with something more glamorous… but more on that later.  Some time may be needed to convince Chris to convert a candle-burning chandelier into an electric one…
There’s not much I have a real opinion on, and the entryway into our house is really no exception. There’s no “grand foyer” per se, so as far as I was concerned the functionality of the entryway had met all expectations… or so I thought. And apparently I was wrong. Again.
According to Julie, our entryway was “blah” and needed “something.”  I wasn’t sure what the specifics would be, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I wasn’t going to like it.
We started simply enough by painting the walls to match the other hallways in the house, and hung up some of our wedding pictures on the wall (because we love looking at ourselves).  I assumed we were done, but Julie announced that we needed a table. I couldn’t think of a single use for a table next to the front door, so I foolishly asked “what for?”
“Oh, Chris,” she replied, “it’s an entryway. We need an entryway table, silly!”
This may have been the worst argument in history, but I’ve learned to pick my battles, and I decided to let this one go.  I put a cap on how much we could spend on an “entryway table” and Julie embarked on a Craigslist search.  She eventually found one close by, but I insisted it wouldn’t fit in the car. “Nevermind that!” she says, “it’s perfect!”  So away we go to look at what we would soon discover is the wiggliest table ever made.  The sellers claimed it was an antique but I’m convinced it was someone’s wood shop project.  Anyway, Julie committed to buy it and then decided to worry about whether or not it would fit in the car, but, fortunately, the sellers were planning to have dinner at a restaurant down the street from us and were kind enough to deliver it.  Thanks!
The next order of business was to add a little rigidity to something that appeared to be constructed from rubber.  I flipped it upside down and determined the critical points of instability.  Apparently, our wood shop student disliked fasteners, so I ran a few drywall screws in the backs and undersides of a few joints and bingo- stability.
What happened next was something I wasn’t prepared for- Julie announced that she wanted to decorate with books.  This didn’t strike me as too odd, nor did the fact that she specifically wanted white books.  What shocked me was that we went to a second hand bookstore and asked for “books by the yard”… and they had them!  I don’t read much, but I understood books to be something for reading, not decoration.  What’s even weirder is that I think my mom reads them when she visits.
A few more frivolous decor items and we were done, except for the square recessed light I swapped out for a hanging light to be revealed later.  It was a small and confusing task, but at least our guests can feel welcome now!
And now for the after pictures!


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