But we're getting ahead of ourselves. First, to remind you, we started with this:
First step was to give the entire hallway, doors included, a coat of fresh white paint. This step made a HUGE difference. I can't capture it in photos, but as I painted it felt like I was literally cleaning the walls and doors in the hallway.
Next, we taped. And taped. And taped. It was so tedious! I give you no illusions; this project was not fun. I decided I wanted 5 inch stripes, which for 95 inch walls meant we had to tape off 19 stripes. And the thing about stripes is that they need to be straight. And the thing about old apartments is the walls aren't straight. Like I said, it was tedious.
Then we painted. (And by we I mean me and Matt and my friends Avery and Erin. Thanks for the help guys!) I realized within second that it was going to take three coats of gold paint (Martha Stewart metallic paints, Color: Kiwi Peel) to cover the walls. So again, tedious.
But finally, she was DONE. And she is a beauty! You'll see that the cabinet doors remained white. On our poll there was a tie between stripes and white. I'm glad I kept it white for now, we'll see if I want to get creative with them later. (I've thought an antiqued mirror inset on each door could be cool!)
You'll see in this picture that the stripes are indeed gold and reflect the light. It's subtle but it makes a big difference.
One of the best parts of this project is the view into the hallway from other rooms, it adds interest to all the connecting rooms when the doors are open. So much better than a plain off-white wall.
In other news, Matt didn't know I was taking a picture, and right as the shutter snapped he walked into frame.
For the past six months we've been putting a little away each month, and for Christmas and our birthdays this year, we are asking for one thing: money for a two week trip to Europe.
A two week, romantic vacation to Europe. To say that I'm looking forward to it is a serious understatement.
I have never been across the pond (Matt has been twice!) and I have always wanted to go. I especially want to go alone with Matt, before we have kids. So it looks like it's now or never. We are thinking our trip will probably be in April or May.
Besides doing the normal London things (the theater, the parks, the sights, the food, etc.) we are going to do something that I find so exciting I get super giddy just at the mere thought of it. Beware for the nerds. We are going to tour Leavesden Studios! As in, the Leavesden Studios right outside of London. As in the place that Harry Potter was made. Yeah, we are excited.
With Paris being such a quick train ride from London, why not spend a night or two here? I find that people have strong opinions about this city. It's either their favorite place in the world or they detest it. I'd like to see for myself.
From Paris I'm not so sure what the plan is. I think I want to spend a couple of days in Lake Como. London, Durham, and Paris will be amazing but Lake Como could be much more relaxing. And, if it's good enough for George Clooney, it's good enough for me.
The question lies in this, do we take an over night train to Milan from Paris and then head up to Lake Como? Do we stop in Switzerland on the way instead? Do we want Lake Como to be our final destination or do we want to squeeze in Florence or Rome or Tuscany? Since I've never been to Europe and we are at the very beginning of our planning stages, I have no idea how much time all this traveling from place to place will take.
Anyways, as we plan, I'd love your help. You know I'm all about food when I travel, so do you know of some amazing restaurants in any of these places? Do you have any other activities you'd suggest? Any advice at all and I'd love to here it!
Ellen has been afraid she's turning this into an interior design blog, so here I am to turn it into an acting blog. Almost everyone from outside of LA that I meet asks me the type of questions about the business of acting that let me know they don't have a clue what's it's like to be an actor here. And why should they know? It's a totally different world here and the entertainment industry is particularly enigmatic. I had to learn all of this stuff for myself when we moved here (I'm still learning it), and I did a lot of that learning through reading articles by agents or casting directors explaining their take on the business of acting. Here's a few of the misconceptions I hear often and some articles that might shed a little light for those of you who are curious about what it's really like to try to make a career in acting in Los Angeles.
Why Don't You Just Get On A TV Show? That Would Be A Smart Career Move.
I've lived in LA for two years, and for those two years I've worked incredibly hard at building a career. While explaining this to people, someone will inevitably ask me why I don't just call up Mad Men and get a small role on there. If there was a red phone somewhere that linked directly to the casting gods, then all 50,000 actors just like me would start a giant gang brawl to get to the phone first. It takes years of building relationships, consistent branding, and training to make sure that when you get in the audition room you are absolutely ready to not blow it. After 2 years of living in LA, I can look back and see a clear path that I've cut out moving in the right direction. I can also clearly see that the path will be a slow one - but it is moving in the right direction.
Acting Is An Impossible Endeavor And A Pipe Dream.
Well, I can't argue that thousands of 20-something white guys just like me want to be an actor, and that acting is arguably one of the most difficult industries in which to break through the catch-22s and carve out a career. But it's not impossible. Read this amazing, encouraging article from casting director Bonnie Gillespie about how if you live in LA and are actively pursuing your career, you're already playing in the Super Bowl.
How Do You Get An Audition?
I truly didn't understand this at all until I moved to LA and experienced it for myself. In fact, it's almost too difficult to describe. Or maybe it's that no one really knows. Of course there's the whole agent thing, but I think relationships are more important. See what Bonnie Gillespie has to say about that here.
How Much Time Will You Give Acting Until You Decide To Quit?
A legitimate question, especially when it comes to thinking about providing for a family, etc. Something that Ellen and I both understand and have discussed is the fact that to build an acting career takes years. And not 2 years, but more like 5. Or 10. Or 15. Jenna Fischer, maybe better known as Pam from The Office was in LA for 2 years before she got on TV, and that wasn't a speaking role. It was 5 years until she actually said a line on television. It wasn't until closer to 10 years that she booked her role on The Office. She wrote an amazing article about her career journey. Also check this out. Another goldmine from Bonnie Gillespie. The bottom line is, dreams can change. What you've been striving for could change. We change as people as we grow. So until I stop having fun here, or until I feel called to something else, here I am.
I'm painting some horizontal stripes in our hallway. Right now our hallway looks like this:
(ignore the random, too small, weirdly placed arrangement on the wall)
Besides the fact that it's white, bland, and boring, all the doors are also different shades of white. I hate it. I want to make this space fun and noticeable, not just a place that gets you from point A to point B.
I love a bold horizontal stripe, and at first I thought I wanted to paint something more subtle (and admittedly more predictable) like this: