Were Black Walls The Right Decision?

I made a bit of progress on the home gym this weekend, and I’m pretty excited about the decision I made for the closet area walls. But I have to admit, it was a huge struggle for me to feel motivated to do anything. As soon as I hit “publish” on Friday’s post, I checked my email and saw that I had received an email from the place in Austin that has my damaged external hard drive. I opened it, and read the first line: “We have exhausted all possible means to determine your media is not recoverable.

I cried. Again, that’s almost two decades of pictures, including all of my blog pictures from 16 years of blogging. Yes, I have pictures on my blog of all of my projects, but what’s on my blog is a tiny fraction of all of the pictures on that hard drive. I still get a lump in my throat when I think about it. It makes me so sick to my stomach that I didn’t check to verify that the drive was being backed up on Carbonite. I just assumed the backups were working properly, and now I’m paying for that assumption.

That completely knocked the wind out of my sails. I couldn’t motivate myself to do any work on Friday, so I took the opportunity to visit my friend who’s in the hospital. She’s the type of friend with whom I could sit and talk for hours, which is exactly what we did.

By Saturday, I was in a little better head space, and was actually feeling pretty excited about getting some painting done. And at the suggestion of many of you, I decided to paint the closet area black.

Let me refresh your memory and show you what color the closet was originally…

That color did absolutely nothing for that closet, and looked horrible with the walnut color of the dresser.

I considered painting the wall a solid color selected from the colors of the stripes, but the only one that made sense to me was the darkest teal…

That looked horrible with all of the warm colors in the stripes on the surrounding walls.

But when a few of you suggested black, that just made completely sense in my mind! Black is a main color in the room, and I thought it would look amazing with the warm colors of the stripes just outside the closet area.

And y’all were right! Black was the perfect choice! This color is Limousine Leather from Behr.

I haven’t hung the mirrors yet because I’m wondering if I need to do something to them to make them show up better. They have very thin black frames because I was always planning to hang them on the colorful stripes walls. But as plans have progressed, I’ve decided to hang them in the closet flanking the dresser, and now that the walls are black, the frames completely disappear. So I’m not really sure what to do about those. But they’ll be hanging on the wall, so the won’t be covering up the baseboards like they are right now.

Yesterday, I gave the dresser one last tweak. If you’ll remember, after the original makeover, it looked like this…

I loved the drawers, but I wasn’t really excited about the wide band of black at the bottom. So I removed that base (which was very easy to do by removing six screws), and tried these metal furniture feet.

I really like those furniture feet, but I didn’t love that they were hard to see against the black carpet. I expected them to show up more, but because they’re shiny metal, they ended up reflecting the black carpet and blending in. I had to position myself just so in order to take the picture above so that the legs would show up fairly well, but when standing in the room, the legs kind of disappeared from most angles.

So I decided to make one last change. I removed the walnut trim from the wide black piece at the bottom, and then added it to the bottom black piece that forms the main box of the dresser, and then added four of the legs. I like that it shows up clearly against the black carpet, and the dresser doesn’t look like it’s floating.

But now, as you can see from the picture just above, I do have an issue with disappearing mirrors. I mean, you can’t even see that there’s a mirror to the right of the dresser, can you? So I need a solution to that. This weekend, I bought the TV that will go above the dresser, so I can get that hung on the wall today. And then my neon sign is out for delivery today! Woohoo! If I can figure out out what to do with those mirror frames, and there’s a quick and easy solution, I might have a finished home gym closet by the end of the day.



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      1. What about a faux frame of walnut mounted on the wall. With black matte and then the mirror frame painted gold. Then mount the mirror on wood to raise it from the the frame on the wall. Around the back of the mirror add led lights. I wish there was a way to add a drawing. Hoping you understand my description.

    1. Totally agree on the gold frames. Tip: never paint mirror frames in situ (i.e.while attached and taped) as the old color WILL bleed from under the frame where it meets the mirror. Take the frames off the mirrors and paint not just the face but the underside that touches the mirror. If it is somehow not possible to remove the mirror, prepare to use an additional trim (even stiff uphosltery cord!) to cover the bleed.

  1. Oh yes that works very well for the dresser!
    Walnut frames for the mirrors? 🙂 If you still have enough scraps left over.

    1. I think walnut frames for the mirrors would be great! Ties the dresser together with the mirrors for nice symmetry!

  2. Is it possible that they are in a cloud somewhere? You should have been notified by Carbonite that your updates were not current. I get notices all the time.

  3. I know this may not be a popular idea, but, have you thought about using LED light strips behind the tv and mirrors? If I remember correctly, this is a gaming area? I know that is a very popular look right now. I have 2 teenage boys that sit at computers in their spare time and love this look, and my husband puts these light strips everywhere he can!

    1. Yes. My first thought was neon frames, but I like this better. Build the mirrors out slightly from the wall and mount light strips behind the mirror.

    2. Great idea!!! Those lights would be perfect! Sorry to hear about your pictures. I have some “in the cloud” but have no idea how to remove them. Luckily I put all my photos on thumb drives also, just in case of a thing like this. Our hard drive has been going strong, but our last one was acting up and had been fixed when I decided to load all my photos onto thumb drives and CD’s. Not long after I’d finished, that hard drive bit the dust! Glad I was able to do that when I did! There HAS to be a way to find your photos, but I have no suggestions.

  4. For the mirrors: I like the idea of a white frame. To mimic the white around the stripes. The black wall looks fabulous!

  5. Just my opinion and is subject to change but at the moment it looks like a black hole in the room. I will reserve my final opinion as the accessories go in.

    1. I was thinking the same thing about the “black hole” and that when the tv, mirrors and sign are hung it may change my opinion. I think the new walnut base and legs on the dresser look great! I was wondering if you could add a walnut frame behind the existing black frames. A flat piece of walnut that is wider than the black frame. It would mimic the walnut base on the black dresser. A gold frame would also look nice.

    2. That was my first thought too when I opened the post. Guess I’ll wait and se until it’s done.

    3. I totally agree. I’m almost always in sync with her decisions but I’m not on board with this look. I thought the coral was beautiful with the chest. In my eye it went from a very cheerful room to a solemn room. But I may not know the effect that was the goal. Only my opinion.

      1. I agree. I loved the coral. Not crazy about the black hole. But since it isn’t my room, no problem. I’ll have to see it finished to see the vision.

        1. I like the black and definitely love the change in the dresser. The only thing that does not fit to me is the gold handed. Too dressy style for very casual lines. I would try a black pull or a plain bar type gold pull. Walnut for the mirror but leave the black frame on as an accent. I like the casual direction the closet is going . It will let your neon sign be the star.

          1. I forgot to say how sorry I am for the los of your photos. I am an amateur photographer and the same thing happened to me with the corrupted hard drive. Mine was back before there was cloud backup or a least I did not know you could back up that much data. A lot of my photos were actually on my computer but not all. I was sick every time I thought about it. Thousands of photos of work gone .

    4. I’m not loving the black wall either. With all of the other bright colors in the room, wouldn’t one of those work? I can’t remember when or what room it was, but I do remember Kristi not wanting to paint black because it would look like a black hole. (maybe the black entrance to the studio?) Also, I must’ve missed the post about mirrors in the closet. I thought they’d be in the room reflecting the light from the window. But I do agree on painting the mirror frames gold. I thought the closet was for storage, with shelves, etc so wouldn’t they be covered up by whatever is stored? I think I must’ve had a stroke recently that has impeded my memory, so I’m sorry if I have this all jumbled up!
      Kristi, I know this is your house, not mine…so this is only my opinion & it will not sway you one way or the other. Afterall it’s just paint & can be easily changed!

  6. I enjoy reading your blog and find you very inspiring and genuine. I’m so sorry for the loss of your photos. Just reading about it makes me heartsick for you. It’s ok to grieve but don’t beat yourself up. When it was time to close out my parents house I really grieved over not keeping everything, so many good memories and connections to things. I kept way too much and now 5 years later I have a different perspective and realize they are just things. So my advice is to grieve and mourn the loss and then move on to do the next right thing which you are very good at doing! You are the best at “putting your big girl pants on” and moving on and taking the next step! My desire is to mourn with you and to encourage you.

  7. Take different colors of electoral tape and put around the mirrors to see what color you like. Or if you have some walnut left. Reframe the mirrors with it.

  8. Love the progress so far! How about the colored light tape strips made for behind TV but installed behind the mirrors? It’s an idea 💡 🤔

  9. You might look up Gillware (gillware.com) for data recovery, recommended by an IT buddy. Also, the Professional Photographers Association uses Ontrack Data Recovery Services, also recommended by an IT buddy. I believe both offer free or very reasonable diagnoses and estimates. Good luck.

  10. The closet does look good with the black, and I do like what you did with the dresser a lot! I guess it definitely would look great with the mirror frames showing up…gold, white, walnut…any of them would really help…gold does sound nice to me. My heart breaks for you with all your data possibly lost – hopefully you will still recover…but you and ALL of us have learned a valuable lesson. But for you I feel so upset. I hope there is still some HOPE! But, I know you will deal with it well, no matter what. You are resilient…we all know that. 💜

  11. Maybe a thin frame stout them that will complement the drawer pulls on the dresser? What ever you pick will be right. I am always astounded with your creativity and vision.

  12. On the hard drive, been there and I remember that feeling oh so well! Not 16 years worth, but definitely more than enough to feel wrecked for quite a while. Was it Carbonite’s fault or a missed setting? I feel so badly for you, and don’t know how you were able to pick back up and continue, but you are very resilient and I look forward to seeing another 16 years worth, this time double and triple backed up which is what I am doing now.

    1. It was my fault. It was an external hard drive that I didn’t keep plugged into my computer. I would plug it in every now and then to let things back up, but at some point, I must have missed something, and my external hard drive stopped backing up to Carbonite. I should have been much better at double checking to be sure it was backing up. I just took for granted that everything was set up and backing up properly.

  13. I am truly sorry to hear of the permanent loss of your data. That is truly tragic, I must also admit surprise that they were unable to recover anything. 🙁
    With the mirrors in the closet, will you be able to easily check your form when working out?
    The black walls in the closet came out better than I anticipated. Great work!

  14. Hi Kristi – so sorry about your hard drive! I’m a photographer, I know how awful that must be for you. I do twin backups on the big external hard drives ( I think they’re up to 8 TB now) they sell at Costco, neither one is uploaded to the cloud or offsite, I just back everything up twice at home. In the 15 years I’ve been doing it I have had one hard drive fail. When the hard drives are full I split them between the house and the ( separate) garage, in case of fire. Kind of simplistic, but works for me 😉

  15. The changes you made to the dresser are just right. Looks great! The black on the walls looks great also. My suggestion for the mirrors is rub’n’buff or gilding wax or something similar to make them a color of gold/brass that will coordinate with the dresser hardware. A thin gold/brass frame would set them apart from the walls without being too distracting

    About losing your photos — so very sorry. Has happened to me in a similar manner, though not with Carbonite. What I do now is to have TWO external drives; three would be better. I use Carbon Copy Cloner to keep the second external drive identical to the first. It is scheduled for the middle of the night and I set it up to send me an email when it makes the copy. I am not a computer whiz but I was able to set this up. In addition, it is smart to have a cloud backup. To be very safe, you could add a third identical external drive and keep it off site. Once a week or once a month, exchange drives 2 and 3 so one is always off-site and no more than a week or a month behind. I am so very sorry this happened. I hope you can set up a good backup system for the future. I am impressed that you can pull yourself up and keep on working to make beautiful things for your family and to share with us.

  16. Take some 2x4s (or something similar) and make a rectangular frame to center and mount the mirrors onto. Stain it a walnut color. Will give the black walnut theme, contrast against the black, and provide some depth and dimension to the mirrors! Love your room!

  17. Will you be making a frame for your tv as well? Coordinate that frame with the mirrors. Grab a color from your stripes. Maybe the coral that was originally on your closet wall?
    It’s all fabulous! I can’t wait to see it with your neon sign.

  18. I love your closet painted black and I love what you did with the dresser! I would buy wider mirrors with gold frames. So very sorry about your lost photos, what a huge disappointment and loss.

  19. I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your hard drive, it was more than just pictures – it was the history of your business. I love your work and am not a designer by any means, but I want to ask: what about beveled mirror frames? Are they too far out of style? Blessings to you, Kristi.

  20. Ok, I love how matte this black is! I also like the way you modified the dresser – much more balanced now that the black base is gone (I hadn’t even noticed it was there before, just noticed how “bottom-heavy” the dresser was).

    For the mirrors you obviously need to change the frames, but maybe wait a bit until everything else is in, to see which option would balance the area more?

    But I want to come back to the electrical panel; if it’s going to be behind the mirror, put the mirror on hinges, so that it can open like a door. If there’s an emergency the last thing you want to be doing is trying to lift the mirror and move it aside. Something like this: https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/nissedal-mirror-black-20503774/

    You may even do that for both the mirrors, and use the one to the left for hanging things, e.g. cables, since there will be a game station there (like in IKEA’s photo). I’ve done that with a mirror and it’s great! Plus, there are another couple of benefits: A more substantial frame that can get whatever treatment you want AND you can easily adjust the two mirrors in any angle you want. And while you say they are fine for checking your form, these mirrors are also outside your main bathroom, and maybe that will be convenient when dressing up!

  21. Kristi!! My heart aches for you, to lose two decades’ worth of everything.

    That shop was down in Austin. What about other shops around the country? Prices for recovery have gone up (per disk size) since 2020, but mmmaaayyyybbbeee someone else might have success. Here’s hoping to what could be.

    Oh. And the black inside the closet looks stunning.

  22. I LOVE the black wall, but I was one of those who suggested it! I think when everything is installed, it will look even better. And I love the change to the dresser as well. I imagine you will make a frame for the TV like you’ve done before. and I would suggest using the walnut. I think the mirrors look fine in the frames as they are, but like the suggestion of having a gap behind them and running lights behind. That is really awful about your pictures, I can’t imagine losing so much work. One of the many problems with all the tech we have come to rely on so much! Sometimes I wish we had not gone so far as we have.

  23. Hi Kristi,
    Love the black, and what you did with the dresser. What about mounting your mirrors to the wall, and then adding a wider frame around them, in order to have them stand out more?

  24. The colors in the room are just so charming and it’s such a great idea. I’ve been so interested in watching this transformation and loving it, but I just can’t get on board with that black in that space. It’s simply kind of jarring. Personally, I liked the salmon/pink color of the closet so much better because it went with the colors painted above the closet opening so nicely and looked so much more intentional than the black. Overall, not my preference, but I’m thrilled at the inspiration I get from watching what you come up with. Congrats on the progress and I can’t wait to see the final results.

  25. I like the dresser remake. Looks like the mirror will cover the electric box. Love the black. Your neon sign should look fab now!

  26. Black in the “closet” was the absolute perfect choice! The walnut dresser looks so much better against the black—it was picking up the coral too much (and for a while I thought the top of the dresser had a pink hue). I hope you love it!

  27. Love that closet color. I would paint the mirror frames to match the walnut finish on the dresser. PS I am a matchy matchy person.

  28. Is there any chance a second opinion on the computer dilemma would be an option? I feel for you. That IS so painful!

    1. Another commenter left the names of two other places who do hard drive recoveries. I’ve already contacted one, and as soon as I have my hard drive back, I’ll be shipping it off to them for a second opinion.

  29. I too see a black hole with no life in it compared to the room. The coral seemed so YOU! I was surprised but you always work it out.

  30. Kristi, I am SO sorry about the hard drive. I can’t even imagine how devastating that must feel. I am glad you have good friends to support you! And I really like the black wall. It’s as if the floor lifts upward to the closet space. I think when you get everything else in there, it will look really clean and orderly and balance the cheerfulness of the rest of the room. I look forward to seeing the final results!

  31. I have been following you for many years and love your blog! You are amazing. First time posting… I might add a walnut frame to mimic the walnut and black strips on the dresser.

  32. I love that black wall! I agree that lighting behind mirrors would totally add that zing to the space.