#FreshLookFriday: Organizing That Entryway!

#ICYMI this Friday on Evenings With Emmalyn , I tackled organizing that entryway! It’s the first place our guests see, and the last place we stop before running out the door. It should be able to be both welcoming and functional, right? Here are my tips on how to do just that, with a full blog post on how I did it below.

When we first come home from a long day, what do we do? We walk through the door, kick off our shoes, drop our bags or keys, and keep it moving. Yet that space, which quickly becomes the “drop zone” for all backpacks, shoes, packages, mail, grocery lists, things you want to remember to bring with you in the morning or just plain things you don’t know what to do with yet don’t exactly make for the cleanest and most relaxing entryway when you come home or welcome guests. It’s also the last place you’d think to check when doing those last minute cleanups before those guests DO show up, and nobody wants to be cringing at all the stuff on the side when they go to swing open that door to let in whoever is dropping by. There are two reasons for decorating: making a happy home, and a good impression on your guests. For each of these reasons, the first thing one sees when they walk in makes a bold statement about your home life. Is it family in the kitchen filling the home with delicious smells, ready for a warm embrace? Is it a cozy living room that invites all who enter to take a load off and relax? Maybe it’s an impressive staircase that makes for a bold, beautiful statement!

For our new home, it was a unique combination of a convenient coat closet and right-there stairs that lead to a beautiful landing. The landing, boasting a french door and a window that offers a sneak-peak into our beautiful sunroom, had SO. MUCH. ROOM! It certainly wasn’t what we expected when we first walked in, but I instantly saw its potential to be transformed into a charming, welcoming entryway with plenty of room for us to kick our shoes off and a deep breath at the end of the day. There was just one problem-the COLOR! To me, it felt…vanilla. This room had SO MUCH MORE potential than vanilla! So, hubby and I got to work painting in the beautiful shade of “Gray Owl” by Behr.

Have you ever painted with your significant other? Let me tell you…unless you like to paint, it can be a CHALLENGE! I learned very, very quickly that my husband is NOT a fan of painting. This, for me, was kind of a letdown as I was super excited about the project, but lucky for me he’s a good sport and seeing how happy it made me he stuck it through. We’re both so glad he did-now, the room looks ten times better! On first application, if you’ve never used this particular shade before, it can appear almost white in its first coat. Trust me, keep going..it’s not! Since we had such a light base to begin with, we wound up only needing that one coat to bring out the light grey I fell for in that hardware store.

For us, a recently married couple living in a seaside city, we’re not quite at the point yet where we need the backpack hooks and cubbies. All that means is that we need something simple for the moment: a place to put our shoes, our keys or a bag, some hand sanitizer (lest we forget for a second that we’re in a pandemic), and a way to keep track of what we both have planned to keep our communication game strong.

First, I started with this simple shoe rack from Wayfair. I loved the detail on the sides, and it fit perfectly with the black and white theme I’m going with against the light grey walls (see more about how we painted our entryway here). On the top level of the rack, I left the essentials: paper & pencil so we can leave each other notes if we need it, hand sanitizer, and a lint roller to get all that pesky dog hair. Some simple faux flowers in a glass vase brightened the space up quickly!

Above, I placed a dry-erase calendar so we can keep track of EVERYTHING: our dog’s medications & flea prevention, important dates & deadlines, when certain bills are due, etc. (When it’s the first thing you see when you come in, having a reminder every day makes it easier to stay on top of things!) To the side, a simple picture frame of some of our favorite memories accented the calendar perfectly.

My favorite part of this whole experience was, surprisingly..making our personalized mail holder! Guys..you have NO idea how long I’ve looked for a new mail holder. Shopping from home is really difficult when you just can’t find anything you like online, and know it’s probably sitting somewhere on a shelf at TJ Maxx, Homegoods, or Christmas Tree (aka my three FAVORITE places to shop!). More than restaurants and bars, I honestly think I’ve missed these three places the most through this pandemic. Yet, when you can’t find something you like, sometimes you just have to take matters into your own hands and get creative. Luckily, my neighbor happened to be getting rid of an old wall mailbox. From the moment I saw it, I KNEW it had potential to be exactly what I wanted. So, I got to work!

First, I had my husband cut it in half since we only needed one slot for each of us. Next, we sanded it down and added a coat of Benjamin Moore white paint before I began stenciling our names on. Yes, this did take a bit more time than just hitting “click & ship”, but it was SO worth the effort once we finally got it hung up and it matched perfectly!

We all by now have heard Marie Kondo’s rule, if it doesn’t make you happy, don’t bring it in. This echoes a theory by William Morris, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” It’s one of the quotes that first got me interested in interior decorating & design, and was a huge inspiration for me while I worked for a corporate home decor company in Boston. Yes, this means you’re going to have to look in many different places until you find all the right accents. The rug, chair and pillows were from Wayfair, but the picture the room was centered around came from T.J. Maxx, my beautiful whiteboard calendar from Homegoods, and the frame the bottom photo is on from Christmas Tree. It’s taken me YEARS of sourcing for these all to fit together in this way, in the right room, now- and I had many other old things I considered using but didn’t, as well as adding new things. The point is, it takes time and searching for a room to really look like a magazine. “I couldn’t find what I wanted so I just bought this even though it doesn’t match” is a frame of mind that can distract from the entire atmosphere of the room, without even meaning to. Instead, think outside the box: can you paint/spray paint something the right color to match? Can you ask your friends for stores or websites you maybe haven’t tried yet? If you REALLY love something that doesn’t fit, are you willing to change the room around to fit that specific piece? These are all questions that it’s okay to ask, and are common ones you should be asking in every room of your home you touch.

Evenings With Emmalyn: Episode 2

Featuring a local Cape Cod woman giving back to those who have been isolating for medical reasons with a fun outdoor activity, a Quincy Police Officer who surprised a local family with a very special pizza delivery, and of course your weekly motivation with JT’s Positive 5!

#FreshLookFriday: Style Your Own Beach Picnic!

With all of this gorgeous weather, it’s nearly impossible to fight the urge to get outside and enjoy the sunshine! Finding safe, fun summer activities is on all of our minds right now, and earlier this week I found one that I just HAD to share that is not only safe, it makes for some seriously awesome Instagram pictures, too. Grab your favorite beach blanket-we’re going to go have a picnic on the beach!

Step one is making sure you scope out an isolated area to adhere to social distancing rules. My mom and I wanted to have a mother-daughter picnic, so we went to a local private beach where we knew we’d have enough space to spread out without inconveniencing anyone else. Once you have your location, you can start thinking of how you’re going to style your picnic!

The theme we chose since our picnic would be seaside is..yup, you guessed it, nautical! We wanted to go with a very teal & beachy vibe, and luckily there are so many decor sales going on right now that this was easy and fairly inexpensive to accomplish. While everyone’s look can be completely different, here’s what we used to get that light and airy beachside vibe:

1- Classic White Blanket This one is on sale for $16 on Amazon!

2- Aqua Cotton Round Placemat Check out Pier1’s MASSIVE sale right now!

3- Starfish Plates Ours came from Christmas Tree Shop, which should be opening up soon, but you can find others like them if you prefer to shop from home in the link!

4- White Buffet Napkin Sale These are on a crazy sale right now at Pier 1 (and honestly, who doesn’t need a good set of white napkins on hand?!)

5- Coral Napkin Rings I can’t even tell you how obsessed with these I am, and they ALSO happen to be on a super sale!

6- Starfish Water Glasses I had originally found mine at Christmas Tree Shop, but there’s a nearly identical replica right now at Bed Bath & Beyond.

#FreshLookFriday: Pet Parent's Dream Corner

If you’re a pet parent, you probably say the following things all the time:

“Where’s the leash?”

“Did you give her the heart worm prevention?”

“I can’t find the poop bags!”

“Where did your treat box go?”

**Trips over squeaky ball and wakes up entire household.**

I’ve wanted to be a dog mom for YEARS, and finally having my very own fur-baby has been a true dream come true! My shepherd-collie-beagle rescue is seriously a girl’s best friend and I love every big stretch and yawn, and the way she stomps her paw with attitude or grabs my arm with her paw for pets. Let’s be honest though: in order to keep the cuteness in check and not in chaos, we need to be ORGANIZED as pet parents. If you could save those five minutes every day chasing down the treats for the treat ball or the water additive to keep that bad breath at bay, you would want to, right? That was my EXACT motivation behind her new puppy corner!

It all started when I noticed an old kitchen rack in the back of my husband’s car that he intended to get rid of before I noticed (God bless him- he knew it didn’t match our kitchen “theme”!). To his surprise, I yelled out, “NO! Don’t get rid of it. Can you pick up some white paint on your way home?” He looked at me as if I was crazy and he had NO idea where my little blonde head was going with this, but I saw the potential in that kitchen rack to come back to life.

The first step was to bust out an old shirt & sweatpants, a paintbrush & can of white paint, lie down an old blanket, and get to work painting every inch of that cart being careful not to miss a spot. Once it had dried, I dragged it into my kitchen and screwed in four hook screws: three placed about an inch and a half apart on one side, and one solo screw on the opposite side. This was for her leash, collar, harness, and on the opposite side her puppy towel for the days when she comes prancing in with those adorable but muddy paws.

Next, it was time to start stocking! In the drawer went all of her poop bags, heart worm & flea prevention medication, bandanas, adoption paperwork etc. ANYTHING having to do with Shandy goes in the drawer or on the rack of this cart. Above the table, I hung a calendar with pictures of Shandy (you can order these for your on pet on Shutterfly) so we can keep track of when she needs her heart worm prevention, flea prevention, etc. On top of the table, I placed her spare set of pink food bowls, her pink treat canister, and grey food bin with a little pink & grey scooper inside that measured out each cup. On the shelves, all of her treats (she loves Bocce’s Bakery), paw balm, toothbrush, and her pink go-bag for when she travels with us holds all of her sleepover essentials. Yep, all things Shandy are in this corner!

Next to her table, I put her food bowls with a mat underneath (she’s a water drooler) and a larger food bin that can fit a backup bag of food so we don’t run low. I was able to find all of these things between TJ Maxx & Homegoods. Bowls were $6.99 each, mat was $5.99 and her food bin was $16.99. In the corner, I placed a grey & white bin that I also found at Homegoods for $12 to hold all of her toys.

Let’s talk about why I specifically mentioned the pink & grey accent colors here: During my time working with interior designers at my former position at a homewares company, they instilled in me the best rule of thumb in decorating I’ve ever heard: pick two to three colors in every design. Since I LOVE pink- most of Shandy’s leashes and bowls are pink- and our kitchen is mostly white, I knew I was working with those two colors for sure. Grey has been a good neutral (and crazy popular) color lately, so I decided to pop that in as well so my hubby wasn’t completely overwhelmed with my feminine taste. This is a tip I highly recommend that all of you use in any room you want to decorate moving forward, and it’s one that you’ll see repeated in my theme in my future posts to come, as well 🙂

Have questions about creating your own pet parent’s corner? Email me at emmalyn@emmalynreid.com and I’ll answer them!