"If a home's entry is an indication of its owner's personality, then I would have been mistaken as a complete bore," says homeowner Beaty Coleman. The two hand-me-down chairs with faded fabric and a wimpy mirror flanked by discolored prints were anything but inviting. Plus, there was no place to drop keys or hang a coat.
The bell jar light fixture was the only thing that Beaty and Cottage Living Decorating Editor Fran Keenan decided to keep. The armchairs got slipcovers and were moved to the dining room, the chest now makes a great bedside table with plenty of storage, and the mirror and prints went to the attic to be reincarnated later.
A stylish, comfortable settee replaced the ordinary chest. The bamboo side table was pulled in from another room and accented with a double gourd lamp and shade that coordinates with the wallpaper and trim colors.
Rich chocolate brown trim, similar to the trim color throughout the house, allows for better room-to-room flow.
The search for wallpaper ended with five swatches. Four of the contenders were ruled out because of scale, color, or the liklihood of wearing out over time in such a high-traffic space.
In the end, the large geometric print was chosen to give the illusion of more space. "The pattern was big enough to stand out and make a statement," says Fran, "and its colors complemented the rest of the cottage."
Easy-to-clean faux-ostrich vinyl gives a modern look to an old settee. The silver nailheads are a nod to the tones of the new silver and blue wallpaper.
The extra seating allows the space to double as a living area where Beaty and her husband can have quiet conversation away from children's cartoons and toys.
Hooks with name plates beside the front door add a practical touch to a formal space: Everyone from Beaty to baby Ann gets designated a spot for coats and other items. "I call it my mudroom moment," Beaty says.
The stylish new entry is functional for everyone, including little Evelyn. The wallpaper's cool, silvery tones prompted the framed mirror, the nailheads on the settee, and vases and candy bowls on the table, which is just the right height for even the smallest fingers.
"Now guests walk into a space that reflects the rest of my house," says Beaty.