Painting the Inside of Exterior Doors Black is Practically Magic & Our New Living Room Rug at the Cabin!

February 7, 2019

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When the painters were painting the interior of the cabin, they asked if they should just paint the doors white orrrr? And I said not to worry about the doors or sidelights or accompanying trim because I’ll paint them black afterward. The look on their faces! Haha. But just like when I painted the doors in our living room black in our own home, I knew that it’s what I wanted to do here, too. I’ll never get over the impact of such a small project.

You can read how we had them tint all the beams and the wood on this window wall here, but hopefully in the photo above you can see how orange the wood used to be in the trim around the door. I decided to paint it allllll black. We already had the black on hand from painting the exterior of our cabin (black is the new black). It’s actually solid color acrylic deck stain in black by Cabot. It goes on just like paint and is very durable. We already used it on the exterior doors last year, so we knew it would hold up even better indoors.

Don’t mind the old plumbing pvc we used to stir it, it was all we had that could serve as a stir stick! Hahaha.

This is usually a project I wouldn’t mind tackling by myself, but Chris’s project fell through (wrong tool an hour from home! argh!) so he jumped in and we got it all painted in about an hour. I cut in around all the edges and windows and he brushed the rest. I used this Purdy one because we had extras on hand from when the painters were here, but I really love this soft handled one too! I have found a short-handled, 2″ brush allows me maximum control so I don’t have the need to use tape or anything. We also always get so many questions about drop cloths and why we don’t always use them. We have found higher quality paint is just less splattery and also takes less coats which all adds up to less time. If we do drip (because, I mean, we’re not perfect!), it’s almost always better to let it dry and then flake it up….unless you’re painting a room with wall to wall carpet, then always use a drop cloth!

The results look instantly so. much. cooler! I strongly believe that every room needs a pop of black and why stop at one, you know?

Here’s a similar view from before we painted the doors. See how it was just kind of bland? If the doors were wood like the rest of the wall, I might have just had them tinted, but then again, I just loooove the black so much.

You may have noticed painting the doors wasn’t the only upgrade we made in the living room – we got our new rug! The previous one used to live in our bedroom before we brought it up here but at 9×12, it was always a smidge too small and didn’t extend beyond either side of the couch. Also now that all the walls were mostly light, we really needed something a little darker to ground the room.

I had been hunting for a good 10×14 and I fell head over heels for this one from Loloi when we were invited to visit their show room in Las Vegas a couple weeks ago. It’s their Heirloom HQ-06 Bone/Charcoal Rug. We got to meet Cyrus Loloi, the grandson of the founder and he was such a pleasant person who told us all about what goes into their rugs. I told him, “Well, no wonder you can’t make a bad rug!” It’s true, every one is gorgeous. But while we were walking through the showroom, we were both drawn to this one. It’s a high quality, hand-knotted rug from their heirloom line and something I’ll definitely cherish forever. (Full disclaimer: it was gifted to us with no obligation or strings attached.  This one is really similar if you want the same look for less!)

(P.S. lots of questions about these slippers when I posted the above photo on stories. They’re the perfect cabin slippers.) Our cabin is a no-delivery zone so every thing that is inside has to be delivered to our home first and then driven up and then, lately, hauled though mounds of snow. But the excitement of seeing it in place was more than motivating.

Isn’t she pretty? We didn’t bring a rug pad up, but that’s something we’ll add soon to extend the life of the rug even more and add a little but of cush to its already super soft fibers. I haven’t troubleshooted the snaps on the green chairs yet (they will not stay snapped!), but that’s on my list for this weekend because we both love the way they look in the space even more now.

We’re inching along in here, just shooting to make progress every time we make a trip. We’ve had lots of mixed comments about our timetable, some have said it seems like it’s taking us forever to complete spaces and some feel like we’ve been rushing. To be honest, we’re just working by the weather at this point. When the driveway is clear and it isn’t a blizzard, we come up and get as much done as we can! We’re not really on any sort of timetable but with every improvement, we get anxious to keep going and make this mountain paradise a little more our own.

As always, progress photos help. I came across this photo from 2017, shortly after we bought the cabin:

And this is how it looks now!

I’m on the hunt for a good round coffee table now (maybe something like a rustic dark wood?) But other than that, we couldn’t be happier with the way the cabin living room has shaped up over time. I think real, actual interior designers have the incredible ability to transform a space in a short time. I realized for me, I like to improve it little by little, taking steps back and often course correcting. It might take longer and require more patience, but I love the process so much. It’s almost like I don’t want it to ever end. :)

Want more cabin living room posts? Check out:

The new sectional
Taking the fireplace all the way up!
The Pendleton Buck
Painting the walls and toning the beams
Painting the walls and toning the beams

Lastly, the latest cabin log is up on our channel! It shows us painting the door and unrolling the rug, but also our appliance delivery and a sneak peak at the appliances! Which I’m excited to share more about next week.

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What do you think?

  1. Meagan Groom says:

    I LOVE how you paint the doors black. However we have French doors that have French panes inside the glass…so white French panes that we cannot paint.

    Do you think we couldn’t paint the doors and trim black while leaving the French panes still white? Or would that look odd?

  2. Nancy Mortensen says:

    Hi! I love the cabin and all of your projects! Do them at your speed, no one elses speed. I prefer seeing things done at a pace that is more relatable than a “designer” (which you are whether you call yourself one or not!) Keep up the GREAT work!

    About the chairs…..what about using a grommet tool? punching another hole through the leather and using a bolt and screw combination? just a thought!

  3. Lauren B says:

    Our home came with all of our interiors doors painted in Sherwin Williams “Iron Ore” (an almost-black) and while nice in the photos of an empty house, it’s amazing now that we are living here! It adds some depth and interest to our home. It’s been on my to-do list to paint the inside of our exterior doors the same color and this post is motivating me to make sure it’s done sooner rather than later!
    Oh and I love the chairs with that rug- total game changer. Hope you get the snap issue worked out.

  4. Donna Caldwell says:

    I bought the alternate rug you mentioned! I think I’m gonna love it in my living room!! Woot!!

  5. Amazing transformation! Black doors

  6. Nicole Roe says:

    Room and Board has a few good round coffee tables that I’ve had on my wish list recently at a reasonable price point.

  7. Tracy says:

    ???? it all!

  8. Tracie says:

    It is amazing what a difference the right rug makes – It just makes everything look THAT MUCH BETTER! – Love it

  9. Kristine Fletcher says:

    I love it all! I’ve painted our interior doors black and agree with every space needs a little black. We are moving to small mountain town in Colorado and bought a 20 year old home. Lots of projects and remodeling on the horizon and your cabin gives me tons of inspiration. Thanks!

  10. Jessica says:


  11. Debbie says:

    That rug is gorgeous and completely changes the feel of the room. I love it! I actually didn’t like the green chairs at all before, but now they look great. However, I am wishing that the sectional was a lighter color. It looks very reddish and jarring against that rug. A beautiful, camel-colored sectional would sing! :-)

  12. Jessica says:

    This space is so beautiful! Love sharing in the process :) I’ve been looking forward to painting my front door black and now I’ve got some great guidance and visuals, thank you! I have a French door that is white vinyl vs. wood in the back of the house. I don’t think paint will work in that instance. Any advice on cozying it up?

    • Julia says:

      Hmm, if you’d like, you can use a really great primer first ( Kilz adhesion is a great one).

    • Ryan says:

      Look up tips on painting vinyl windows. It can be done but vinyl will expand and contract more in the heat so you’re usually better of selecting a lighter tone paint that won’t absorb as much sun especially if the door is on a south or west side of the house.

  13. Sarah says:

    WOW! It’s AMAZING the way the rug ties really enhances every piece. The chairs look SO good now- I hope you can find a way to keep those snaps snapped! And of course, the black doors are perfect.

    Also, just wanted to say how much I appreciate hearing how you enjoy the slow, course-correcting approach; that’s definitely how I do it in our home and at times I feel guilty/ashamed that I didn’t get it right the first time and that it takes me so long to ‘land’ on the right look. It’s so encouraging to hear you validate that approach because your end results are always so great! And also, it really is a great feeling when I finally get to the end and feel like I really thought through every detail and the space reflects my family and looks nice.

  14. Kris says:

    Hi, it looks beautiful.

    I can’t help but wonder though, are you going to keep that rug in when you rent out the cabin? We had a cabin near here growing up (snow/mud/wet/ even smoke in the summers is no joke!). I assume you will do a no-shoes policy in the house, but that rug seems so expensive for continual wear and tear of renters. Curious how you will address it or if you will at all?

    • Julia says:

      Of course! The no shoe policy will go a long way, but this rug is also extremely varied in color and will likely hide lots of accidents well, too. As with our own home, we are really striving to make the cabin a livable but beautiful place. (Can we say no crazy parties?! Haha)

  15. Ashley Holzhauer says:

    I’d love to know about this “no delivery zone”! Is it due to road conditions during the winter or year round? Is it due to road width? Just overall curious about this :)

    • Julia says:

      It’s year round. Our cabin is located behind a locked gate. There is a steel delivery box a mile down the road, but it’s communal and not very big.

  16. Amy says:

    Wow, looking so amazing! Can’t wait to see the lake bedroom when it is finished. I think your round, wood Arteriors table in your front room at your house that used to be in your basement would be awesome in this space.

  17. Chris says:

    I love the one-piece-at-a-time cabin updates. It makes makeovers seem more attainable to most of us, I think. I was initially really interested in Emily Henderson’s mountain house project, but she hasn’t revealed any progress along the way and it’s made me lose interest. I love what you’re doing!

  18. Julie says:

    Have you had any problems with the Tig chairs scratching your wood floors?

  19. Courtney says:

    I love it! It looks so good and so inviting!

  20. Emily Lex says:

    It’s so perfect!! Cozy, modern, stylish, rustic. You’re doing such a beautiful job and I’m thankful you’re sharing it all with us!

  21. susan says:

    Wow. Wow wow wow! That looks SO GOOD. Y’all have made great choices in this cabin. It looks SO much better!

  22. Kelsey says:

    Does the deer mount bother you now? I can NEVER tell how to mix patterns. I think it all looks great but was wondering if you planned on changing that now since the patterns are so different?

    • Julia says:

      We still love it here! It’s mostly neutral with just a little bit of red so I think it still fits in. We’re never shy about moving things around though!

  23. Tarah says:

    My home has outdated, built in shelving around our fireplace. It needs a facelift desperately. Would you recommend this black stain for inside shelving?

  24. Sherri says:

    I love the it! The black adds a nice dimension to the space. That rug is definitely killer! Those green chairs are of another realm. And for those who think your timetable is off, pay them no mind! It’s not an easy project when there is so much snow and you can’t load things right at your doorstep! When you guys do something, it’s always to perfection! ????

  25. Jacqueline says:

    Your cabin is turning out so great! I love the black doors and also really love your appliance choices. They are so chic looking!

    I’m surprised ppl think it’s taking forever to transform your cabin. You’ve been making steady updates – plus its winter and you have kids. Not to mention life with little kids in general is hard… thanks for sharing!

  26. Jeanna says:

    I love the doors in black, and the new rug looks amazing! It’s just coming together so beautifully! It might make it easier to get things in the cabin if someone shoveled off all those steps though, LOL! The new appliances are gorgeous too by the way, especially the stove :)

    • Julia says:

      Hahaha, you’re right! At the beginning of the cabin log video, you can see Chris and I shoveling them, but it literally snows about 18″ a week and I think this time, the guys were like “We’re plowing through!”

  27. Christine says:

    Everything is so stunning. It’s soooo amazing to see it all come together. And the black doors instantly change the look and vibe, and I love it. We painted our front and back doors black on the inside and even though I was scared to go as dark as possible, I’m still obsessed two years later!

    I have to comment on how happy the delivery men look. They’re all smiles and seem genuinely happy to be delivering high end appliances in 6’ of snow up a really steep hill???? I would be miserableeeeee. You guys are obviously amazing to work for! Did you know that you would be in the “fill the cabin” stage in the middle of winter? Would you wait until the snow was gone (or not as bad) if you did it all again? It definitely makes for great entertainment, but I’m sure it can be hard.

    • Julia says:

      We have become really great friends with our contractors (even have had game nights with them!) so we try to make it as fun as possible in not ideal conditions. Our timing got a little off-track last year but our goal was to have their part done with before the holidays–which we 95% made. The snow has been difficult to work with at times, but once we’re inside, it’s all worth it! Haha

  28. Julie S says:

    This is a whole new level!! I didn’t see anything wrong with the rug/doors/chairs before but now comparison shows me how MUCH better you’ve made it. That rug is the [insert current slang for freaking awesome]. And it and the chairs must never part ways- they are made for each other.
    We have an open living area quite similar to that in your full time home and I was fully planning to paint the inside frames of our modern French doors black… then I photoshopped it up real quick and UGH! It made the wall/area way too busy with dark things, and the thick black lines against the white walls were too heavy. I still kind of can’t believe it. But I left the doors painted white!

  29. Jen says:

    Everything is looking SO great! And I love the timetable/pace, and getting to see each step of the process along the way.

  30. Victoria says:

    I think the new rug looks great, and how much better are the wood floors when you look back at the carpet!

    Now that you’ve painted the doors black, the wood frame next to it has a higher concentration of knots and my eye is really drawn to them. Maybe it’s just because I’m looking at images, but I’d consider painting the frame around the bit already painted black. So not all of the wood round the windows, just the knotty bits next to where the black is now.

  31. Kelli says:

    Can you please share info on your cluster fly traps.
    We have the same problem at our cabin.

  32. Julia L. says:

    I don’t leave a lot of comments, but that new rug makes ALL.THE.DIFFERENCE in this room, I am so in love with it. And I agree with the green chairs, I think they’re perfect, but I understand the frustrating nature of the snaps. Perhaps you should just make the snaps decorative – get your sewing loving mom to stitch the loops together and that way it won’t pull off the snap anytime someone sits down

  33. Naomi says:

    I didn’t realize it’s been over a year since you purchased the cabin – how time flies!

    Even though those chairs sound like a pain (I remember when you shared you purchased them on instagram someone immediately commented to ask about those snaps – apparently a known issue!) I still love how they make the space look and hope superglueing them works for you!

    I hope you would consider a giant upholstered ottoman as a coffee table (like this one from CB2 – it will up the cozy feel of the cabin, maybe? I also like to imagine kids taking a running start and flinging themselves at it. I have a big sleeping-bear-shaped knitted pouf that I got off etsy and it’s a superb conversation piece, children’s toy, and yes a plate tray in a pinch!

  34. Lydia says:

    Wow! Great job! This project is so fun to watch.

    I know you guys know way more about this stuff, but I keep wanting to see that gorgeous sofa float a little more in the room. It probably isn’t possible with the stairs coming down, but I thought I would ask if you considered it. This is coming from a girl who moves every piece of furniture a thousand times before deciding on a final position.

    Love all your work! Thanks for including us on your journey!

    • Julia says:

      It’s about 4 feet away from the wall so that there’s no chance of hitting your head. but you’re right, any more would interfere from the stairs.

  35. Katie says:

    Yes! Love the black so much! And the rug! I hope you can figure out the chairs, because they do look so good. Now, what can I go paint black……

  36. Brooke says:

    So many beautiful changes! Now you need to do one more picture of the living room changes with Chris and Polly in it. That would be a fun side-by-side

  37. Elizabeth says:

    Wow! That rug is perfection in your space. Love seeing the updates on the cabin.

  38. Rebecca says:

    I love the way it’s looking. And I’m enjoying the timeline actually. A little at a time means we get to enjoy the process longer!
    You guys are amazing, and I love following along.

  39. Kellie says:

    She’s coming along beautifully!!!

  40. Katie says:

    I’ve been so excited for when you would paint the doors black, and I love it as much as I thought I would! So good, and I love seeing how everything evolves and comes together! Curious, what are the off white little boxes in the big windows?

    • Julia says:

      They are cluster fly traps. When we first bought the cabin, the place was swarming with cluster flies! It was…gross. We did a ton of research and found that these were our best bet. They completely solved the issue and we could probably take them down now. Haha

  41. Krystal says:

    It’s looking so good!!! Not sure why the fuss about taking so long. This is your place to take as long as you want. It is always better to take your time to ensure that the right decisions are made. You have to live in a space for a while to know what you want. And what parents of 3 has time to get things done fast?? LOL. Keep up the great work!

  42. Tiffany says:

    It was beautiful before but now it’s so cool. You have really worked your magic!

  43. Amy says:

    I’m loving the progress on the cabin. Looking so good! Can you please link your green coat??

  44. Charity says:

    It’s looking amazing!! That rug is EVERYTHING! It brings all the other furnishings and colours in the room together making them all mesh. I love seeing the progress you share!

  45. Lisa says:

    Killed it. That rug is EVERYTHING! Incredible job you two!!

  46. Allison says:

    That black, particularly on the exterior, is absolutely fabulous. It’s even making the roof color grow on me, I like the warmness it brings.

  47. Danielle says:

    The cabin is looking great! The snow is gorgeous, but I can’t wait to see pictures of it with all the colors of spring and summer outside.

  48. Karen says:

    I hear you on taking your time with design – we finished a big renovation last year (main living areas and kitchen), and my husband expected it to be fully furnished/decorated right then. This ain’t no HGTV show! Haha. It took me about 8 months to furnish and decorate the family room (and I’m still on the hunt for a coffee table), and our front living room is empty (but my design wheels are turning!).

    I actually signed up for Modsy, that online service that helps with furniture layout and furniture selection. I used it only for layout help, as in our front living room I want a comfy sofa/seating area and a desk that faced the view out the windows (not the wall). It was pretty cool! I received two ideas (of course I preferred one and my husband preferred the other, hah!), and then went back and asked them to fit in a dining table, which they accomplished as well. If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t enjoy the process of decorating/picking out furniture, this site would be golden for you – their renderings had furniture and decor pieces all plugged in the design, with endless options to swap out/mix it up.

    Anyways, not sure why I went on this tangent, but I hear ya Julia – I too love the process and don’t want it to end (b/c then I’ll be on Zillow looking for my next project!)…….

  49. TP says:

    A drum shaped, brushed brass coffee table would look beautiful in the living room.

  50. Love it all so much. Dreaming of renovating my own cabin in the snow. I think you should keep the chairs and super glue the snaps. I had some boots with snaps that wouldn’t stay snapped and I super glued them. Voila! no more problems. Worth a try at least! Hope you are feeling better too.

    • Megan says:

      Second this! Plus super glue dissolves with acetone, so it would be pretty easy to un-glue the snaps and wash the covers if necessary, and re-glue after.

  51. TP says:

    Definitely black was the way to go with the doors. The rug looks beautiful. Well done!

  52. GJ says:

    Love the black! The whole place looks great. Have you seen this coffee table – I think this shape would look great in your space.

  53. Anna says:

    Although you seem love the green chairs, looking for other options might be the best bet. Maybe not right now, but on the long-term wish list! I just think in a space like that it would be nice to be able to perch on the arms too, but I imagine a cushion like that wouldn’t really hold any weight or support much at all. Just a thought :) Would be worth it in this, your main living space in a house with so much bedroom accommodation! Also, that before picture with Chris holding a baby Polly is crazy — the walls look SO much more finished now that you’ve painted them, and your baby girl has grown so much!

  54. Nahyun Arnal says:

    I LOVE the slow process. Everyone spends their entire life rushing, and I personally think if we all slowed down a little that life would be more enjoyable and less stressful. You guys have already done so much at the cabin, it’s actually incredible. I love the small posts like this with just a simple change and diy project! Keep up the great work!

    • Rochelle says:

      I really appreciate your renovation process, to me it feels like you’re timing is realistic for what a typical homeowner would experience with renovations. To me, it’s incredible what you’ve accomplished in the little time you’ve owned the cabin! If you plan to own it and love it for many years, AND you love the process, then why rush? I really love these posts with simple changes. They’re very inspiring and a good reminder that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make a big change that makes you happy!

    • Julie S says:

      Absolutely agree.

  55. Elizabeth says:

    The black doors add so much dimension! Love them and the rug! I feel like the cabin has been moving at real life speed! It’s fun to see the transformation

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We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 

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