Believe it or not, fireplace season has started in Rochester, Minnesota! My boys love switching the fire on, turning the chairs to face the firebox, and basking in the warmth. And I love watching them do it.
We also had our first snow. I thought it was just going to be a few flurries, but it snowed almost all day and we ended up with about two inches by the end of the day! People keep telling me this isn’t usual, but we got snow in October last year as well, so I think they are just in denial.
I happen to love winter and snow, so I was enjoying it immensely. I will admit that there is a small part of me that feels like we only experienced fall for about 2 1/2 weeks. I hope it will reemerge for just a little longer. Our leaves haven’t even finished turning, yet!
Anyway, I wanted to show you the progress that’s been made in our foyer.
As a reminder, here is how it looked…
It didn’t look bad, but it looked very vanilla and beige. The same peachy cream color was used everywhere – the walls, the trim, the spindles, the doors. With everything painted the same color, there wasn’t a clear visual distinction between the architectural elements to showcase them. I love the arch above the small hall leading to the living room, the transoms over the doors, and the returns along the stairs.
All of these features deserve to be noticed!
I also disdain carpet on steps. I know it is comfy underfoot and cushy if you fall, but it is so hard to clean! It would take me almost 30 minutes to thoroughly vacuum the steps and they still looked dirty. I would just do my weekly vacuum and try not to think about all of the dirt, hair, and fuzz embedded in there.
Anyway, we finally ripped up the carpet, so we could redo the steps. Our plan got a bit derailed, but I’ll share about that in another post. For now, we’re just living with the particle board steps and, even though it’s not exactly pretty, I like it much better already!
The real progress that’s been made so far is with paint!
You know that I will paint just about anything and I even enjoy painting.
I’ll put on some good music and get into my painting zone and I can get a lot accomplished. This job involved painting about 18′ up in the air, though, and after falling off of the top of an 8′ ladder a few years ago, I don’t do tall ladders.
So, we got a quote on getting the high walls in the foyer painted (along with the second story window above the front door). We also asked for a quote on painting the spindles, doors, trim, and walls in the entire downstairs foyer/hall and upstairs hall. The quote ended up being so reasonable that we decided to do the whole shebang. It saved me a solid couple of weeks of painting.
I have never hired out painting before. It felt luxurious (and a little odd) to be working on other things while painting was happening.
We hired a father/son team who attends our church, Gray Painting, and they did an excellent job. Truth be told, they did a much better job than I would have. They sanded the trim, taped everything off, removed the door hardware, etc. They were meticulous, neat, quiet, and always asked before doing something extra (like mudding over an unnecessary access point that was covered by a solid plate) or making a decision to paint (or not paint) something, like grates over the stairway lights.
The walls and trim now look cohesive with the adjoining rooms that have already been painted.
And the colors look clean and classic.
Oh, we replaced the almond switched plates with white ones, but I still need to buy a few. You can see in the photo above what a difference it makes. We planned initially to replace all of the switches and outlets. Once we got into one of them, we realized it was going to be a big job that we would have to hire an electrician to do. I’ve just been changing out the plate, though, and the almond switches and outlets aren’t that noticeable. In the end, I think there are more impactful places we can spend our home improvement dollars.
I selected Sontington Gray (Aura in Matte) mixed at 50% for the walls and Coventry Gray in (Advanced in Satin) for the doors. The trim is a custom match to Farrow & Ball’s All White (Advanced Satin). It’s just a shade off of being bright white.
I love the way the white trim frames the doors and transoms. Even though they are typical six-panel doors, the paint color elevates their look.
I was excited to hang a couple of ceramic plaques I purchased at the cute hardware store in Barga once the painting was done. One reads WC (water closet) and the other says “broom closet” in Italian. Technically, that is a coat closet, but we do keep our vacuum in there so it works.
It’s interesting how much the wall colors changes in different light. It leans green in the living room (mixed at full strength), looks grayer in the kitchen and hall, and reads as a soft blue in the light of the foyer. I like that it works with everything, though, since this space connects all of the rooms on the first and second floors.
We will still be swapping out the light fixture for an antique chandelier, but the one that is currently there even looks better with the new paint color. (We’ll change out the hall lights, too, but I haven’t found the perfect fixtures, yet.)
The painters didn’t paint the banister and spindles along the stairway, because they will most likely have to be removed when we work on the stairs. I’ll deal with those once that project is done.
The baseboards on the first floor are also unpainted since they will likely get banged up when the quarter-round is removed and the tile is installed. I’ll share more details on the tile, but here is a peek at the sample…
When I first started talking about the foyer makeover, it didn’t seem like it would be all that involved, but it’s turning out to be a much bigger project than we anticipated! Jeff and I feel like it’s worth it, though, since it’s the first thing you see when you walk in the door and it connects all of the other spaces in the house. It’s a “room” you can’t get away from, so it should flow nicely with the rest of the house.
I can’t wait for all of the other major components to be in place, so I can start adding texture, layers, and some warmth…