A Gray Front Door, Boxwoods for the Raven Planters, and the World’s Easiest, Cheapest Wreath


That’s right: in a less hectic month I would manage to split this into three separate posts and perhaps try to tie in an elaborate story about some party I went to once in college….but it’s December, so you get this three for the price of one post instead.

(Incidentally it’s kind of KILLING me how I keep running out of time to write these posts and end up rushing things. In my post about my Ikea rugs, I left out the whole part about how there was this chatty yet oddly somber woman in the rug section who really wanted to help me out with my rug purchase and asked me a million questions like, “what room is it going in?” “how big is the room?” “what else is in there?” “what style is your house?” ….a more on top of things blogger would have whipped out a business card right there and been like, “here! you can SEE the room right here on my blog!”  Looks like I just told that story after all. Maybe it’s just as well I don’t have more time for this).

So back when we made the planters for the front porch, I mentioned that they were part of a planned larger front porch spruce up that would include painting the front door. In fact, the paint I used on the ravens was also destined to be the front door color (Behr’s Evening Hush). Then we put it off for a very long time. Then it finally became one of the projects Dave and his Dad tackled while my in-laws were visiting over Thanksgiving.

This will not be a “how to paint your front door” kind of post, because I actually don’t think we did such a hot job of it, and we probably should have spent more time reading other people’s posts like that first ourselves. Our prep work consisted of lightly sanding the door and scrubbing it down. Then we painted (a brush for the grill stuff and a roller on the sides). It looks pretty…imperfect up close. I’m not sure what we should have done differently…maybe a more thorough sanding to start with. Maybe sanding between coats. We kind of hate this door anyway, though, so maybe the imperfect paint job will motivate us to save for a new door sooner. I am very pleased with the color, though, and glad we finally got it painted. Had we waited until we had time to research and make the finish less amateurish we might never have gotten around to it, so I’m going with a the perfect is the enemy of the good kind of thing here.

Here’s the door pre-painting:



Here it is after the first coat:



While the hardware was off, I gave it a coat of oil rubbed bronze spray paint. We’ll see how that holds up.




Incidentally, when we DO get a new door, it might be a more exciting color. Our front shutters are dark green right now, which kind of limits things. But it occurred to me recently that painting nine sets of shutters doesn’t actually sound impossible, so that may well get done someday.

We didn’t have a wreath on the door at all last year. I am, in fact, not entirely certain I’ve EVER had a Christmas wreath. Although I did find a wreath hanger in my basement in one of the Christmas boxes, so it appears I at least made it as far as planning to hang a wreath at some point.

I’ve admired a lot of fabulous DIY wreaths in the past few weeks. And, for awhile, I thought I might try to make one of these fabulous wreaths. But then I didn’t, and I still didn’t, and Christmas was creeping ever closer.

So I ran out to the thrift store, grabbed a wreath for $3, and hot glued a bunch of pinecones and ribbon to it. Wham! Done!

There is nothing special about my wreath except that it cost less than $4 and I could put it together with Abe in the Ergo on my back and be finished before he started wiggling and trying to get down. Actually, these days that seems pretty darn special all by itself.

I still had all my gold painted pine cones, formerly of my Thanksgiving centerpiece.


….and I picked up this roll of ribbon from Hobby Lobby, where, because it is Hobby Lobby, Christmas decorations are always half off, so it was $4 for the roll and I used not much of it for the wreath (I’m not sure why I decided on the NINETY FEET roll of ribbon. Go big or go home, right?)


I put a dot of glue on the back of the wreath where I started wrapping, wound it around, then stuck some more glue at the end (I underestimated how much ribbon, so there are actually two strips glued on here):


…then I glued the pinecones down and hung it up with some more ribbon on that mysterious wreath hanger of uncertain origins:



I got really nervous after I hung it up that all the pine cones were going to fall off when kids slammed the door a hundred times a day. Because, I mean, they’re just glued on there. But it’s been a few days, and so far so good!

And then! Last thing! Remember those pretty mums I bought for my planters? (you can see them in that picture up there). Yeah. They died. Really quickly, in fact. Plants are mysterious creatures to me, so I’m not sure why, but google suggested that too much afternoon sun (the house faces west and we have a more or less treeless front yard, so there is plenty of afternoon sun) might be the culprit.

So we picked up a couple of boxwoods ($15 each) at Home Depot. When I pulled up the dead mums, they were still all in the shape of their pots, like they’d never really made themselves at home at all. So, umm, we’ll see. For now the boxwoods are not dead! I wrapped some of my JUMBO ROLL of velvet ribbon around them to celebrate.

Okay! Here’s the whole thing put together:



And then Dave hung up the traditional cherub’s Santa hat:





We still need to repaint the rest of the doorway. It’s especially glaring how beat up the paint is next to the new gray. And the railing needs a coat of paint, too. And maybe Christmas lights. But the front of the house is looking about 100% more festive than it did last year already!

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A Gray Front Door, Boxwoods for the Raven Planters, and the World’s Easiest, Cheapest Wreath — 27 Comments

  1. Oh, that gray door looks great! If you would have asked me before, I would have said white is better, but now as I see both versions… Gray doors are better!
    And I LOVE that santa hat on the cherub, it makes me laugh and I hope so it does to all of your neighbors 😉

    Love, Midsommarflicka

    • As soon as the kids saw the cherub when we first looked at the house (which was in February, I believe) they decided he needed a Santa hat!

    • Thanks! The camera doesn’t lie, I guess….unless you get it far enough away from what you’re taking a picture of ;). It doesn’t look bad unless you look closely, so I’m not too worried about it!

  2. I really like the gray door. It’s a great color with the white doorway and the color of the brick. Maybe paint the shutters that color…you know when you get around to that. You need to name the cherub. It has to have a name if it gets a hilarious Santa hat every year!

    • Hmm…maybe he already DOES have a name; I’ll have to ask the kids! I was thinking gray for the shutters…and then maybe….navy for the door? I don’t know. The brick kind of limits things, too, really…..

  3. A humble suggestion for the other 85 feet of red ribbon… get some (fake) spruce garland and wrap your handrails in it, then put the ribbon around it. It would look amazing with your wreath and other stuff!

  4. I love the cherub hat most of all. So very festive, those concrete (or wood? or whatever?) angels.

    Your porch is looking downright festive. Love the new color on the door and the boxwoods were a great choice. Bonus – you can make boxwood wreaths with them, too!

  5. It looks stunning and grand friend!!!!! The before and after is just jaw dropping!!!! Love that color love the boxwood and your wreath rocks!!! A job well done…oh and I just saw a library on Lauren Leisses recent post that reminded me of yours!!! A merry week to you!!!

  6. haha, Oh Gretchen. I adore you. I love the somber old woman at IKEA who wanted to know all about your room. Every time I sell something on the classifieds and people come to pick it up, they start asking all sorts of questions about our house, and I just want to give them my blog business card, but I get way too shy. And then Aaron does. And it’s super awkward, and I hide.
    ANYWAY, I LOVE the front door color. It really looks stunning and classy! What a lovely holiday porch you’re rockin.

    • She wasn’t even old! She was probably in her 30’s or early 40’s. She was just very serious about decorating :). Love that Aaron hands out your business card while you hide 🙂

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