dancing through life, down at the…filoli ballroom

Hello? Unburied yourself from the piles of wrapping paper yet? We finally did, but we’re still recovering from a sugar high over here at casa marcelli….

Which is probably why (in addition to the fact that I am a dork) I keep giggling over that title. Not because it’s particularly apropos or clever. But because I actually was singing and dancing to this song while working on this project. So, excuse me as I pat myself on the back and snicker, while I tell you about filoli ballroom.

It’s the name of the paint for our bathroom vanity! And isn’t it pretty.

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We debated for a long time what color to paint our vanity in here. We kept going back and forth between our strong contenders: black and white. Yeah, I know, we’re crazy like that. White would look nice as it matches the trim we have in the house. But, against the not-quite-white tile, we were afraid a glossy white would make everything look dingy. So, black seemed to have the upper hand. But…we weren’t sure about a big black vanity in a room with soft colors. So, we hesitated.

Then one day we had a crazy idea. What if we drew from the colors in the shower curtain and painted our vanity a soft green? We were sold. We brought a few paint swatches home from Lowes and let them live against the vanity for a few weeks until we had a winner. Filoli ballroom, here we come!

Shower Curtain

I just like that it’s a fun color amidst all our neutral tones.

Filoli Ballroom Paint

We used to have a shelf under the vanity that actually made it impossible to store cleaning bottles upright. Rather than having leaking bottles, or investing in “travel sized” cleaners, I went ahead and removed that when I painted the inside.

Then I added my favorite peel and stick tiles to add some protection to the inside of the cabinet and make it easy to wipe up any spilled cleaners.

Finally, a usable vanity that is clean, has new shiny hardware, and is greeeeeen.

Which, given the title I gave to this post, is appropriate, don’t you think?

Don’t mind me. I’ll just sit here, to an absurd degree, being fixated on it’s verdigris. Ok sorry. I’ll stop. And let you get back to the leftovers! Me? I’m gonna find some more cheesecake….


be our guest! be our guest!

Though we don’t have dancing flatware or a hospitable candelabra (like how I’ve had two Beauty and the Beast references in a single week?), we do love guests. And we got to play host to my brother, who visited a few weeks ago! We had a splendid time, and his arrival gave us the necessary push to make some progress on the guest room!

From this:


To this:


This may have happened along the way.

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Sorry if we don’t re-create that welcome when you come visit….I mean, once we’re done painting, I dunno that I’m picking up a brush again anytime soon. (What am I kidding myself, my list of things to paint keeps growing!)

But, for now, we’re loving that our guest room is inhabitable now. Simple changes, but they make a room much cozier.

Wanna come visit?

If you’re good, we’ll even let Sophie snuggle with you!

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eat your heart out, belle

My favorite Disney movie of all time has always been Beauty and the Beast. Why is that? Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that Belle was a brunette. Or, perhaps because she was intelligent and uninterested in the condescension of Gaston, or the vapid fawning of his entourage.

All that may be true, but my admiration may simply have come from envy over the library that the Beast gives her. Remember that library?


But, let’s be realistic. My library probably won’t have multiple stories or soaring ceilings, and it may look more like the town library she read through in the beginning of the movie. Remember that one?

But let me tell you this: Rob and I painted the library and set it up a few weekends ago, and it is stunning. I feel like Belle – given the best gift a girl can get. Check it out.


This is my new favorite spot in the house.


I’ve always counted books as some of my dearest friends. And, I’m so glad to have them surrounding us again. Remember what the room looked like when we first moved in?


It felt so good to empty out those boxes and be able to read again.


And, I adore our mail slot with it’s fresh coat of glossy white and the hinges and pull Rob hit with some Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint.


So if anyone is looking for me in the next few weeks, you know where to find me: in my fairy-tale library.

Addendum: the paint we used was Valspar Ultra color-matched to Glidden’s Wood Smoke in an eggshell finish. The trim is Valspar Signature in Ultra White semi-gloss. Note: since painting this room, we have switched to buying Valspar Signature paint instead of Valspar Ultra. It seems to cover much better with fewer coats and we’ve decided it’s worth the extra investment.

so we did something crazy

Well, crazy for us, at least. If you’ve been tracking with the progress in our house at all, you’ll note that we’re big fans of neutral colors. We’ve been joking recently about how bored we are with painting every single room in the house with the same 5 gallon bucket of tan paint! And, our other color? Grey. Yeah….boring, right?

Well, we haven’t ventured out into the realm of colorful paint yet (we’ll save that for accents and the master bathroom, maybe), but we are stepping up the drama.

With (drumroll please)….



Black doors!

Aren’t they gorgeous?


The funny thing is, when we first started painting the doors, I hated them. Like, literally I almost cried. I didn’t even say anything about it – Rob simply turned around after hanging the door, took one look at my face and said “yeah…you don’t like them, do you?” Which was really sad seeing as we had already painted 3 doors. Also, he loved them. But, for whatever reason they just looked gaudy and way-too-bold in our house. In my mind, they looked beautiful. In our house….well, that was another story.

But, my brother was coming to visit and we didn’t have time to repaint them at the time, so I told Rob we’d leave them up for the next week and see if they grew on me.

And, fortunately, they did – with the formula of time + hanging-black-picture-frames-in-the-hall-so-the-door-was-not-the-only-black-thing-there, I decided I loved the doors. See the difference adding those black accents makes?


With the shiny brushed nickel doorknobs, they almost look new. Not bad for repainting a 60 year old house’s original doors!

doors galore

So this weekend it got a little trickier for guests to help us with our dishes or find spices. And sometimes us too. It takes us a little longer, sometimes, to locate things.


Because we have DOORS on ALL the cabinets in the kitchen!

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And now we have to remember where we put things instead of just taking a quick glance around the kitchen to see! Gotta open a few doors now and then.

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But I think it’s totally worth the trade off.

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It’s incredible to me how much different the kitchen looks as it’s coming together. Nearly at the “finished” stage now! A little trim, some paint touchups, some curtains, and the backsplash over the stove, and we’ll be done! (Of course, I have started thinking of all kinds of new ideas – like glass doors on the cabinets to the right of the sink – but that’s for much later.) We keep just standing in the kitchen and staring at the space.

Amazing how, in just a few short months, it went from this:


to this:

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I keep scrolling back and forth between the photos. I’m stunned by the difference. Amazing how much new life a little love, care and updating (and a lot of sweat and a bit of frustration) can breathe into a place!