Oh Tenenbaum...

This little 50's bungalow of ours has been a work in progress for almost 4 years now. Gutting the kitchen, tearing out walls, updating plumbing and wiring, renovating 2 bathrooms...you name it, we've done it. All of it except for the stairwell. It has been the only untouched, unpainted, unpatched area of the house. And oh, how I have longed for the day to get my hands on that little area. I think you can probably see why.

Its been an eye sore from day one. Someone befor us loved faux painting techniques just a little too much. Streaky mustard yellow paint? Wowzers.

So last week we finally tackled the stairwell. Thanks mostly to the half off Porter Paints Groupon recently. In all honesty, Porter Paints doesn't have a ton to offer in the color selection so I didn't end up with a color I was super excited about. In fact when we first painted I was really bummed.

So in an attempt to cover the sterile blue hue, I started grabbing all of the unused artwork from around the house. We have a ton of it. Vintage paint-by-numbers we've picked up at thrift stores, canvas paintings from the boys, paintings I have done over the years, and other random lovely things from here and there. I also framed some old National Geographic maps of a few of the travels we have taken (Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, Australia, and Grand Turk).

Yesterday Mike became my stairwell art hanging slave (he was such a trooper) and within a couple of hours the stairwell magically came together. At first I was afraid it seemed a bit overkill. Alot of artwork in a little space. I asked Mike to which he replied, "It looks like the Royal Tenenbaum house". In that moment I knew it was perfect.

The Royal Tenenbaums, one of my top 3 favorite movies of all time, has one of the most amazing movie sets ever! That house! Dreamy. And to have my husband say that our house resembled it...made my week~

I've left plenty of space to add more photos and artwork as time goes along too...

The light fixture was in some random box I had won at an auction several years ago. It was black and rusted (a previous life as an outdoor light fixture). We spray painted it and Mike wired it for indoor use. The plate up top, which had to be big enough to cover the massive hole cut in the drywall from the previous light, was a stroke of genius. We had looked at Home Depot for a lamp plate...all of which were both too small and too expensive. I came home discouraged and headed out to the garage to find a solution.

And then I saw it...the bottom ring to the pressure canner. We had 2 of them and it happened to be the perfect size for a ceiling lamp ring. Who would have thought? Mike looked at me like I was crazy but I snatched it up, spray painted it the same color as the lamp and voila! A perfect, meant-to-be answer to the problem.

At the bottom of the stairs I hung back up our previous solution to not having a coat closet (gotta love these 50's homes with no closets), which are the 4 silver hooks. Between the hooks we hung 3 baskets, one for each of the boys, to put their hats, gloves, sunglasses, etc... in. Utter perfection for this organizing queen.

All in all our grand total was $70.

Paint - $30 (half off, thanks to Groupon)
Frames- $6.50 (thrift store)
Spray Paint - $3.50
Baskets - $30



  1. Great work! I love all of your creative touches. The space is truly yours now (:

  2. You rock!
    And that movie is indeed awesome. I will confess, however, that that type of set-up, with all the picture, would drive my man wild. He's not the collage type.

    PS In our world a bungalow has no upstairs...

  3. A bungalow with no upstairs, Cheryl?? That would be considered a "ranch" here ;)

    Thanks to you and Danielle for the nice words. I am definitely glad the mustard yellow is gone.

  4. I love the color and I LOVE the light fixture!! I can't wait until we finally own our own home and can begin all the changing! :)

  5. I LOVE that light fixture and the baskets are neat too!

  6. Beautiful! Amazing what a a small budget and a lot of creativity can do!!

    To continue the bungalow conversation....in Ontario, your house would be called a "story and a half" where the upstairs is actually the attic. A ranch is a rectangular style bungalow...often raised slightly (then called a raised ranch) so that the top part of the basement is above ground giving you bigger windows and enabling you to finish it as living space. Funny how we all speak the same language and yet, subtle differences abound!

  7. that color is gorgeous. tenenbaum away.