From Drab to Fab!

It was time to go from drab to fab.  When I moved in to this house, I was downsizing from 3500 square feet to 1400 square feet.  As a card carrying member of the walking wounded, I was juggling a divorce, children who were hurting, and a basement so chocked full of the mementos of a life I didn’t resonate with any more, I couldn’t move.  The front entrance was pretty low on the priority list. Now that life was settling down, I could no longer ignore the fact my drab entrance way was crying out for some fab!

In the past 4 years I have made a lot of this home my own, but it’s easy to wear blinders in this life.  I can ignore an ugly entrance way just like I can ignore an unhappy marriage or an unhappy heart…until I can’t any more! Happiness comes from within. We build an authentic joy filled life from the inside out, one change at a time. The same is true for our homes. A happy home is reflected from the inside out. The heart of my home is happy now and the entrance way was not a reflection of that reality.

Perhaps the ‘before’ was functional….but I want a life which is more than functional.  I want a life which is authentic and full of joy; a true reflection of who I am NOW.

Here are the transformational steps for an entrance way…a lot of it would work for a life too :)

  • 1. One day, I look at my entrance way and realize it’s not making me happy. That’s my cue. I need to make change. My heart is speaking to me.
  • 2. I clear out the area, and then measure so I have a realistic picture of just how much space I have to work with.
  • 3. I think about what I need this space to do for me. I need a place for keys, purse, mail, foot ware…and I want a welcoming feel to the space.
  • 4. I let it percolate in my heart and mind. I open myself to possibility and I begin a search on kijiji and local antique stores and thrift shops. I know I want a diy project, and I want something which is solid wood that I can re-purpose. I narrow my search on kijiji and check every morning to make sure if something is posted, I can get first dibs. Early one morning, I find this beauty ;)

I purchased an antique cabinet designed to hold dishes. It’s solid mahogany and in fairly good shape.  The only issue–there is some peeling veneer on the top left corner.  I can glue, nail, fill and sand the top–but that also means I will have to paint this cabinet.  I’m not adept enough at furniture repair to replace a veneer.

(Just as an aside….“veneers are thin layers of highly decorative woods which are placed over more stable species of wood.  Veneers have been used since Egyptian times and are not an indication of a poor quality piece. Higher density woods are very difficult to carve and intricate design was achieved by using less dense or softer wood veneers to achieve beautiful results.   In the construction of cheaper furniture we see today, the veneer is often made from a plastic laminate of some sort with the wood grain photographically imprinted on the veneers.  If the veneers are perfect, chances are it is a photograph and not reminiscent of the natural flaws we would see in a real wood veneer.  Even if the veneer is made from real wood, manufacturing parameters now allow veneers to be 1/128” thick as opposed to the 1/16” thickness of veneers found on older, good quality pieces of furniture.  The veneers are so thin now; the slightest bump or knock can dislodge them from the piece of furniture.  Solid wood veneers were sometimes nailed in place with very small nails.  If you can find evidence of this on an older piece, that may be a clue regarding the overall quality of the furniture.” ) There’s your design lesson for today ;) Excerpt from Divine Design on a Dime–Construction 101 section (email me if you’re interested in purchasing a copy. I used my training as an Interior Designer and my love of up-cycling to show you how to enact Divine Design on a Dime.)

  • 5. I purchased the cabinet (for $25). I removed the door and will use that in the future for a funky frame or something else down the road. I repaired the top and sanded the whole unit. When I removed the old stain, the mahogany on the sides and the drawer front were so beautiful, I decided to stain those and just paint the top and insides. I don’t have to have the whole plan in place before I begin. I go with the flow and use what I have in front of me, trusting in the process. It’s a great way to tackle every part of our lives ;)
This is the kind of project which takes me in to a state of “flow”.  During the entire process…from planning, to searching for the perfect piece, to sanding and painting…I focus lovingly on the task at hand.  I allow myself to become immersed in the action, and I leave my “monkey mind” behind so I can ‘hear’ the yearnings of my heart. This is better than years of therapy when we are hoping to live in to a life of Bliss!

Welcome to my new entrance way! From drab to fab!


And don’t be at all intimidated by this process.  This is something you can do as well!  Even if it doesn’t turn out the way you envisioned, embrace the flaws and use the experience for learning.  The important thing is that you expanded who you are and had an experience. :)

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  1. Peggy McAloon 06/25/2014 at 10:08 pm

    You just gave me the courage to do something with my entry. There is no closet … instead whoever built this place used all that perfect space and put up some hooks. I’ve hated them ever since I moved in. I’m going to look for either a nice piece with doors or have a closet built. I hate having coats hanging on hooks. Reminds me of grade school…At least we were given lockers in high school!!

    • Paula Boylan 06/26/2014 at 5:15 am

      Glad I could inspire Peggy :) The century home I live in doesn’t have any built in closets on the main floor so I feel your pain. I put an armoire in the back entranceway and that is where coats etc. live. Good luck with your project. Send me a picture when you are done; I would love to see it.

  2. Stephanie Wood 06/25/2014 at 4:10 pm

    Seriously fabulous. I love how you listened to your heart and went with it while considering the practicality of it all, and then shopping for a bargain. Yes, yes and yes to all of those pieces. Cheers, Stephanie

    • Paula Boylan 06/25/2014 at 6:03 pm

      Thank you Stephanie. I’ve come to realize that if we think of the heart as the driver who determines the destination, and the mind as the car which gets us where we want to go, we can’t go wrong. Heart centred practicality…I love your comment!

  3. Jennifer 06/25/2014 at 3:48 pm

    Hi Paula, I love how the outside is a reflection of how we’re feeling inside. What a great “after” picture!

    • Paula Boylan 06/25/2014 at 6:04 pm

      Thank you Jennifer. I appreciate you taking the time to respond.

  4. Tina M. Games (@MoonlightMuse) 06/06/2014 at 9:19 am

    I love your blog post, Paula! ~ What a beautiful example of an “inspired passion project.” :-)

    • Paula Boylan 06/06/2014 at 9:41 am

      Thank you so much Tina. That is a real compliment from such a beautiful and inspiring spirit!

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