Come on in! (Phase 1)

The welcome mat, the front door, the foyer.  It’s almost like the prologue of a book; the entry way sets the stage.  Since first impressions matter most I decided to start my main remodeling project with the foyer.  So if you come over now or anytime in the next six or so months, you may not get past the foyer because I’d want you to think that the rest of the house looks just as good.  Don’t worry though, I’ll incorporate some nice seating into the design plan after the renovations are complete.

Here’s a quick snap shot of what the foyer looked like:IMG_7541

Notice the walls, door trim, door, window muntins and base boards are all the same color, the same off-white/beige/3-year-old-undershirt-that-deflects-bleach white.  I suppose having every vertical surface the same color made it easy for painting, but it nearly sucked the creative soul right out of me!

The previous owners of the home were very sweet people that maintained this home better than a Captain and his ship, which is a huge reason why we bought it.  When we did the hand off of the keys, the lady of the house gave me all of the paint color samples from when she originally had it painted in 1983.  I graciously accepted them and hung on to them along with the original owner’s manual for every piece of equipment or system in the home.  Primary resources are a historian’s drug.

My plan and Inspiration:

Right off the bat:

  1. Give me some contrast!
  2. A new door, solid wood with a window/s, is a must.
  3. Why is this coat closet so HUGE?! 24 sf for coats?!

To remedy my demands wishes, I consulted my late night BFF, Pinterest.  It’s a great relationship that we have, Pinterest and I.  He tells/shows me everything I want to read/see, I can stare longingly at him for hours and he doesn’t mind, nor does he mind when I fall asleep holding him.  Yes…the Hubs has been away for WAY too long.  Could be worse though, I could have one of the life size pillows with his picture on it!

Right…back to inspiration:

Oh Pinterest, you know just what to say!

The one problem with the style I fell in love with, my home was NOT built in the 1910s.  As much as I wish it was.  No, no craftsmen influence within 10 miles of this 1980s gem. For this gem is a ‘COLONIAL REVIVAL;’ the rectangle box, symmetrical fenestration , grandiose entry, pitched roof, brick veneer (gross) and aluminum siding (grosser) would give Paul Revere something else to shout about!

How does one blend colonial and craftsmen and what do I do with this coat closet sized for Joseph and Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat?  I’ll tell you how:

Step 1)  Decide on color to help secure creative soul to body and mask off wainscotting line to scratch the craftsmen itch.  When I put the tape up I measured 5′ from the floor.  I wasn’t too concerned about my tape line being exactly at 5′ because I knew my trim would cover the gap.IMG_9758

Step 2) Buy paint, paint the walls and decide that the stair well also needs the paint and wainscotting treatment.

Step 3)  Decide that all of that work you just did was for nothing because you do NOT like the paint color.  Buy more samples and ask Hubs which of the samples is his favorite only to get the response of “They all look like the same shade of grey-ish-beige to me.”  Decide on personal favorite and repeat steps 1 & 2.


Finally deciding on Griege by Behr.  Hubs and I had a great laugh the ‘griege’ was a color choice; he was spot on.

Step 4)  Remove all of the trim carefully…I have future plans for the boring lattice. Enlist some help and paint the bottom portion of the wainscotting.  Call it Operation DEATH TO SOUL SUCKING BEIGE.

The casings, trim, bottom portion of the wainscotting and baseboards are all in Bistro White by Valspar.  I selected a satin finish because of the 4 little hands, 4 paws and large plastic toys that will be constantly zooming past these walls – easy clean up is needed.  


I continued the color scheme and wainscotting up the stairs and down the hall. I like how it makes the ceilings feel taller as well as providing a cohesive design through the home’s p-ways. (Passage ways for you non-Naval types.)

Step 5) Decide on new trim because all of the original trim (windows, doors, baseboards) in the house is flat 2″ lattice.  B.O.R.I.N.G.  It HAD to be replaced, let alone painted with a contrasting color.  This is where I felt I could shake up a colonial/craftsmen cocktail.  Keep the 5′ high wainscotting line, but instead of a craftsmen trim package, I went for the Adam casing available at the Home Depot.  I used it for the doors and wainscotting trim.  It was affordable and offered a good combination of clean lines and milled edges.  Because my ceilings are fairly short, I wanted to be sure that the casings and floor moldings would be appropriately scaled.  For the baseboards, I used this 4 1/4″ board available at the Home Depot as well.  I felt it complimented the casing molding as well.



Can you see how terrible the soul-sucking beige is as compared to the white?       ***shutters in seat***

Step 6) Borrow Father-in-law’s air compressor and pneumatic nailer.  I enlisted him for knowledge and labor, in that order.  The line made by the 3M painters tape, which is by far the best painters tape out there, left a 1.5″ band.  The trim obviously covered it up just fine, but I was sure to measure and level each piece of trim from the ceiling to maintain a consistent height of the wainscotting.  Now, measure twice, cut once, find your studs, make shims for the non-plumb walls and then…deck the halls!

Ta Da!


Don’t you love the new light?!  More to come on lighting choices for this project.


A few more things left to do in Phase 1, like the caulking and painting of the trim.  I just need a free Saturday and that will be done!  A few end notes:

  1. Cost: ~$600.
  2. Biggest Lesson Learned: Using shims will help to line up your mitered cuts to a perfect joint!
  3. Best Tip: Use wall mud to fill in large gaps between the wall and trim, or even between the joints of the trim.  Once its dry, use a fine grit sandpaper to shape it.  So easy to do and gives great results.
  4. Most Favorite Part: Watching the room come alive after the soul-sucking beige was covered up!



6 thoughts on “Come on in! (Phase 1)

  1. Looks awesome!!! Major props on painting the section over the stairs! I’m with you on satin finish, we desperately need to paint our pinky beige walls for all the reasons you listed!!!


    1. Thanks Melissa! A roller brush extender helps A LOT! I saved myself the $12 and just unscrewed my broom handle from the broom, it fit perfectly on roller brush! I’m not sure what drew people to this color of beige back in the day. I’m sure they’ll say the same thing about my ‘greige’ choice in 30 years though.


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