I hate solicitors. Friday night, kids are finally asleep, mom and dad are tired and FINALLY sit down…doorbell rings. Sound familiar? “Hi-how-ya-
Or maybe I’m just a grinch. While I can’t stop people from knocking on the door, I can now finally stop them from ringing the doorbell, even if they push the button thanks to the Nest Hello smart doorbell (and lucky for you, I’ve put together all the installation instructions in this post)!
We’ve only had it for two days, but I’m in LOVE. PS: This isn’t sponsored (I wish!), just an honest review/how-to from a very tired mama. I chose this particular one for its quiet time feature – you can turn OFF the indoor chime! I’ll never have to worry about our kids waking up from a late-night solicitor anymore!
Our old doorbell was just fine. It lit up, worked well enough, and I basically never had to think about it. Which is pretty much everything you could want in a doorbell. The actual chime inside though? Woof.
Check THAT circuitry out. I’ve never seen such an old circuit board. I mean it has diodes. I’m fairly certain it’s the original chime with the house, which makes it nearly 20 years old. Time for an upgrade! Here’s how I got removed our old doorbell and chime:
If you have a door chime as old as ours, you’ll probably have to upgrade your transformer as well. The fancier/newer doorbells like the Nest Hello instructions say they require the installation of a higher voltage transformer than the old units. It’s just a little rectangle that changes the power type from regular 120V power that is used throughout the rest of your home (outlets, etc.) to low-voltage power that the doorbell system uses. Sometimes it’s in the box the chime was attached to, sometimes it’s somewhere else. We got lucky and were able to upgrade it right in the box – you just need something between 16-24V AC. This is the one we used. Installing it was super easy.
Our old chime was incredibly complex – it rang for at least 30 seconds every time, hence the diodes. And while the wiring was working, it didn’t match a single diagram I could find in my holy-grail electrical book OR anywhere online. So, I had to wire my new chime from scratch. Everybody’s situation is different (one doorbell/two chimes, two doorbells/one chime, etc), but I found these diagrams super helpful. After tracing my wires and rewiring according to the diagrams, the new chime was installed! Hooray!
I chose a cheap, simple, sleek chime since I was investing so much more in the actual doorbell. It’s a NuTone unit, and I think it was under $20! If you already have a newer chime, it will be MUCH easier. Like any other ‘swap-it-out’ electrical project, just copy the old layout of wires and reproduce it for the new unit. Here’s how:
Now for the fun part – installing the Nest Hello doorbell. Earlier, you removed the old doorbell and there were two wires (usually red and white) sticking out of the wall. Time to put it back together!
Installation of a Nest Hello smart doorbell is really simple (as long as you follow the instructions!) – swap out a few wires, upgrade a transformer, and you’re done. And guys? It’s made a world of difference in our home. I haven’t been overly snarky to a single solicitor since we installed it. Nights are peaceful, I get notifications every time someone comes to the door or leaves a package, and I feel safer since it’s a security upgrade, too. Being able to turn my doorbell off is a huge win for our family – all the other features are gravy. Plus, it really modernizes our front door, and goes really well with the new lockset and paint we did last year!
Do you have a smart doorbell? What brand do you have? I chose Nest because we’ve already invested in their cameras and been very happy with them, but I’d love to hear your experience with other brands, too!
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I’ve been looking forward to painting our front door since the minute we moved in. It was always one of those things that we’d get to…later. There were so many other pressing issues (gold everything, organization, flooring updates, getting a nursery ready, welcoming our daughter Emma, refinishing other doors around the house, putting a workspace together, refinishing our stairs, the list goes on and on). But finally, we were ready to tackle the big gold monster on the front of our house. It was time to paint our front door something other than metallic gold (no joke…the trim AND the door itself were shades of gold) and choose the perfect front door color.
Here’s the issue – all of the trim on our house is cream, and so are the garage doors, which limits some of the colors that I could choose. I know that we’ll paint everything white someday (hopefully soon!) but for now, I still wanted it to look good. So, I was struggling with how to make a color really work. I thought about a gorgeous navy color, but wanted more brightness in our dim entryway. I thought about a brighter blue, but wanted something that would look good with Christmas decorations, the debate went on and on. Thankfully, I did a lot of research, and came up with some great pieces of advice!
We decided to go with white because it absolutely goes with EVERYTHING. The other main factor was that I wanted something that would really brighten up our dim entryway, both in the ‘portico’ area and inside. White and black are both solid choices for every home, but because of the brightening that I was after, we went with white over another color. Someday, when we paint the trim white, I’ll add in a pop of something a little more bold, but I’m super happy with my choice for now!
In case you’re feeling the bug to update your front door as well, I put together a little freebie for you to help you find the perfect color. I did a lot of research when trying to choose the right one, so I think it will be super helpful. Just put your email in the box above, and I’ll send it right over! Anyway…on to the tutorial.
This is what we were starting with, in all her glory. When we moved in, we immediately changed the locks so the previous homeowners wouldn’t have a key to our brand new home. We ended up using the Kwikset Kevo and have been pretty happy with it (affiliate link). However, that left us with a paint ring around where the old deadbolt was.
My plan was to sand it down as much as possible, and then hopefully the paint would cover it. It ended up being a little too deep of a ridge to be able to sand down (without getting to bare metal), but it’s barely noticeable once the new paint was on. This door definitely had some quirks, but nothing we couldn’t tackle. Here’s how we prepped it for paint:
Once all the prep work was finished, I went to town painting the inset parts of the panels first and working my way outwards. There are tons of tutorials out there on how to do this. Talitha over at Love, Pomegranate House has a great walkthrough, as does Anna at Ask Anna (here’s hers!). The basics are:
Overall, my best advice is just to work quickly. There really isn’t a need to take a door off its hinges if you are going to paint it. In my opinion, it’s more trouble than it’s worth, especially when you have a quick turnaround on a project, like painting a front door. I don’t know many people that want to wait for paint to dry at night with a giant hole in the front of your house.
Anway, since Aaron and I tend to divide and conquer, there weren’t many progress shots. Emma needs lots of cuddles and attention, so it’s usually one of us with her and one of us working on whatever project it is for that day. And I wouldn’t have it any other way! We started with the inside of the door, and once coat one was applied, switched to the exterior. The cool thing about living in Texas is that paint dries FAST. It was hot, and by the time we finished the exterior, the interior was ready for a second coat. So we dipped our paintbrushes, rinsed, and repeated. Here’s what we came out with!
Isn’t it gorgeous? White was the perfect front door color for our house. I’m so in love with the contrast between the bright white and the dark handle. We ended up upgrading that too since the old one had definitely seen better days. Here’s an affiliate link to the exact one we bought (no deadbolt included since we use the Kwikset Kevo. I think the white, even though it’s a neutral, really pops and brightens up the front of the house. Plus, it lets the wreath be the center of attention!
The new door hardware makes my heart go pitter-patter. Though our house definitely leans a little more traditional on the outside, we love mixing the old and new. The clean lines of the handle and square accents play well with all the other elements we have going on around our front porch. The high contrast between the door handle and the bright white of the door itself is striking!
On the inside, I couldn’t be happier. In fact, I think when we were painting the first few coats, that I may have told Aaron “I’m so excited. This is going to look SO good!” about 20 times. I can’t explain how much brighter this simple color change makes our entryway. This is one of those projects where you ask yourself why you didn’t do it sooner!
The modern touches continue inside with the included handle, and I’m in love. I still need to go get a new strike plate for the deadbolt, but that’s a project for another day. You can also see in this picture (though it’s a little blown out thanks to our super bright Texas sun) that we decided to take down the old metal blinds in the tiny window next to our door. Any way I can get more light into this space, I’m doing it.
One last shot, just because I’m a little obsessed. It looks so great, guys. A coat of paint can make such a huge impact – I’m kicking myself for not doing it sooner! If you’re wondering where everything is from, I gathered all the links for you!
*This post contains affiliate links*
What have you guys done around the house lately? Anybody else out there painting your front door and searching for the perfect color? Making little upgrades outside (or inside!)? Tell me all about it in the comments below! And don’t forget to grab that worksheet if you’re also thinking about changing up your door color!
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Since I had to stop blogging in August of last year, a lot has changed around our house. Little tweaks here and there really, but when you add up that many months of change, it looks like a whole lot! One of the biggest and most impactful changes was adding legs to our IKEA KIVIK sofa, and making it a little smaller. If you want to see how adding legs to a sofa to gain height is actually super simple, read on! Here’s what it looked like before:
I’ve noticed something weird…people don’t like sitting on a sectional together. Even though our sofa (in its original format, see above) could hold 8 people comfortably, and we could jam even more on there, people like their space. Even if there is room on the sofa, if it means that someone would have to sit next to someone (gasp!), they will stand. The world is weird. So…we downsized.
This enormous living room has lots of space to stretch out, but we decided to add more singular seating and less grouped seating. Meaning we took our sofa from a U shape to an L shape. Around the same time that we made the switch to a smaller sofa, we also added legs to it. Aaron and I are both quite tall (I’m 5’9″ and he’s 6′), and my Dad is 6’4″. When he came to visit most recently, he was having trouble getting in and out of the sofa because it was so low to the ground. Pair that with my height and Aaron’s height, and we knew that we wanted to do something to make things fit us a little better.
Adding legs was SO easy. The longest part of the project was staining them and making sure we could find legs that I liked. Originally, I wanted to get some furniture legs from a box store that resembled the turned style of the coffee table, but the expense for the entire sofa would have been too high. We just got some brackets and unstained square legs from Home Depot (definitely the cheapest option out there) and screwed them into the wood on the existing sofa.
The result? A much less behemoth sectional that doesn’t completely consume the room. Tabby is a big dog (80lbs), and we still don’t run out of space with her sprawled out. The extra space lets us have a little bit of room to spread out and add what I’m calling ‘singular’ seating too. Before, our sofa was jammed up against the walls and didn’t leave us with a ton of room to move around. We added these barstools a few months ago (they are seriously SO comfy, guys) when the sofa was still in its original format, but there just wasn’t enough room to walk around.
Taking the sofa to a smaller footprint meant that we had room to use the barstools and a little bit of room to dance around behind them. Someday I’d like to replace our very damaged countertops with something a little nicer (and definitely a bit more overhang for the barstools), but that’s a few years down the road.
Across from the new (smaller) sofa, we’ve accumulated a few more books, added some plants, and generally just filled it out. Don’t mind the baby gate or the back stretcher, I just forgot to move them before I took pictures and Emma proceeded to take EVERYTHING out of these drawers about 2.5 seconds after I took this picture.
The left side still houses one of my favorite lamp purchases of all time, our unknown but un-killable plant that I’ve talked about over on Instagram, but has a new friend: our Xbox. We really don’t have much time for gaming these days, but it’s our entertainment device in the living room since we don’t have cable. Netflix and Youtube for the win!
The right side has lots and lots of books, another one of my favorite lamps, and a few meaningful knick-knacks. I think I’m learning that through the years I’m enjoying more ‘maximalist’ style than ever before, so I enjoy having some extra goodies on either side of the TV. Someday I’d like to build a gorgeous wall to wall bookshelf that centers around the TV, but that’s for another day!
This forsythia wreath lives on our back door, and I love the bright pop of color it gives to the room. Around Christmas, we change it out for a red berry wreath my Mom gave me that I have fond memories of from my childhood, hanging in various places around the house (usually on the kitchen door to the garage).
The mantle houses some really special art – one side is a patent-style print of a piano that I got from an Etsy shop called NeueStudioArtPrints. I seriously love this shop. You’ll notice prints like this all around the house (I may have loaded up on them a few years ago), and they are all SO nice. Super great paper, wonderful print quality, etc. Go check them out!
On the other side lives a sketch my sister had made for me when she was in France a few years ago. We both went to the same cafe in the arts district, just two years apart. She got one of the artists to paint some girls having lunch at the cafe to symbolize her and I. I seriously love this thing, and it will always be a part of my home.
I’m super happy with the updates that we’ve made in here. It still feels a little empty sometimes, though, so I’m thinking about getting a rug to layer in. Since we’d need something at least 9’x12′, it’s going to have to be something that we save up for. I’d also love to plank one of the walls with some sort of accent to break up all the grey.
Did you like this post? Consider sharing it on your Pinterest account so other people can find it, too! As always, you can follow me on Pinterest for even more inspiration. Check out my living room board here for lots of gorgeous spaces!
We’ve lived in our current home for about a year now, and our kitchen windows have never been covered. They face the street and our neighbor’s home, but they are obscured enough that you can get away with not having curtains. But after having a baby, I’ve been craving a little more privacy. The windows are also a strange height, making curtains harder to find and more expensive. I toyed with the idea of frosting the windows,
bought the stuff and tried it with NO success but decided against it. I just wanted some cheap sheer curtains that would let the light in, but block any prying eyes.
I realized while organizing pictures the other day that I’ve never shared our ‘finished’ dining room with you guys! It was one of the first rooms we worked on when we moved in, since it’s right off of the front door. The sad part is, the room really wasn’t that bad, it was just the paint. Metallic gold/green. Not the best color choice, and very unappetizing for a dining room! As a reminder, here’s what we were starting with.