World's ugliest entry

oceannaFebruary 1, 2008

My house is a split entry. That means you open the front door and look inside at stairs going up and stairs going down. As you look up the stairs all you see is the opening to the kitchen. You are standing on a little landing pad that is only as wide as the two staircases. The right size rug in there is about 2'x3'. Above the stairs going down is a blank very tall wall. There are no pretty railings or spindles; just a half wall with a flat piece of wood on top of it, and two plain hand rails on one side of each staircase.

I've looked for/at entry pictures till I'm blue in the face, and they never, ever picture my type of entry because it's ugly as sin.

What do you do with it? Split entries are fairly common -- can any of you post pictures of what you've done with yours?

Here is a pic of mine looking down from the top and up from the bottom before I moved in -- sorry, you'll just have to imagine what it looks like if you just walked in the door.

MAYBE I could convince my son to replace the hideous hanging light, but I don't have much money and that light is very hard to access. I can just hear him whining and arguing about it now. I hate the greyish-beige carpet and can't afford to replace it either. Whatever I do has to be on a shoestring budget.

I've already done something but I don't like it, so that's why I'm picturing it as it was before I moved in. As you can see, there is no room for any type of table on that little landing pad by the front door.

The window by the front door is frosted, so I can't do Gallery Glass on it. The window above the door is almost impossible to reach because a ladder quickly runs into the stairs and you can't lean it against the glass. I've thought about doing GG on an old window and then asking my son to hang it there in the transom, but I don't know where I can buy that old window. I know of no salvage yards around here, and I have looked. Ideas?

I already made my grumbling son hang up a big heavy framed print on the wall above the stairs leading down and now I don't like it there (I can't remove it; he'd have to). Besides, we're in earthquake country and if that thing ever fell on you it would cut you in half. Prior to that I tried a quilt/runner up there and it looked stupid.

Looking down from the top:

Looking up from the bottom:

What would you do if this challenge were yours?

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What if you made a little family photo gallery on the one side? It would give the guests something nice to view on their way up and on their way down? Do all in the same frames (I pick up black ones at Walmart and the Dollar Store)and maybe have all the pictures in black and white? I don't think your light is hideous, but you might could find a reasonably priced chandelier at Home Depot or Lowes, or even to replace it.

I love all of your windows. Your house looks very warm and inviting.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 7:29AM
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Why not set up a scaffold so that you can sit up there and do some of your great Gallery Glass work?

Don't know if it is your budget, but is there any chance of changing out the side window to clear glass so that you could then do a companion piece to the window above?

Once you do the gallery glass in the big window, you won't need anything on the wall space above the down staircase - the colors, etc from that will shine on the wall.

Your style home here is referred to as a raised ranch - and 20 years ago when we were looking at homes, that was the one style I refused to consider, because of the entry. They are a challenge!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 7:42AM
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Les, you just gave me an idea. Oceanna, if you don't want to do the whole window in gallery glass, what if you swapped out your light fixture for a tiffany-style, stained glass pendant/lamp/chandelier? It would do the same thing - reflect colors in the sunlight and also be viewed from the outside? Just a thought, and less labor intensive (maybe?)

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 7:54AM
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Oh, I had one of those homes years ago - hated the entry. I too thought about your beautiful gallery glass - perfect for both windows to add that special spark to the space. Can you make your gallery glass on a horizontal surface and then remove it to stick on the window? Or you could buy some cheap glass cut to the window size so you can work at your leisure and ease then when it's finished, place it over the current glass and hold it in place with trim.


    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 8:57AM
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I would embrace the groovy-ness! :)

I wonder if you could get your hands on pics in books or magazines of split foyers when they were new. Even if you didn't want to replicate the look, it might give you an idea of things and shapes that work with the space?

I used to hate anything 70s, but it is really starting to grow on me. It seems like the last decade where anything had a unique style.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 9:06AM
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I second the idea of trying to find old pictures for ideas, but not sure where you could look.

Another suggestions (and you've probably already thought of this) is to paint the walls for both sets of stairs and the area by the front door and a nice color that will tie in w/the other rooms you can see from the entry and help unify the "splitness" of the entry (or minimize it). In the photos, the white seems quite stark to me.

I agree that Gallery Glass would look very nice on the window above the door. That would bring a lot to your entry . I think the chandelier is fine, very neutral and appropriate for the space.

The window that's to the side of your entry door seems high enough that maybe you could place something under it for interest, maybe a narrow-but-tall basket or a small shelf w/baskets, and a plant or vase w/dried arrangement on top.

To me (go ahead and read that as "to me, the complete amateur"), the entry you have just isn't the kind where people will spend a lot of time so it's not necessary to have tables, lamps, etc--much of what you see in the entries typically pictured. Maybe try to approach the entry from a minimalist perspective and think about what activities (if any other than entrance/exit) you use the entry for. Is there one thing, within the confines of the space, that you would like? Is there one place you find that you look at the most?

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 9:24AM
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Oceanna -- > I just read in another thread that you have parrots. I think a size-appropriate yet decorative/funky item for your entry would be an ornate parrot stand or tall-but-small birdcage, perhaps even something that mimics the lines of your chandelier.

I did a quick search to see if what I was picturing even existed (I know zilch about keeping birds as pets)--and I couldn't find anything--but here's something that's interesting (probably isn't close to you though). Since it would only be decorative, you could paint an old stand whatever color you choose. Just an idea:-)

Here is a link that might be useful: old tall bird cage

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 9:34AM
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Ok, so you open the front door and face the stairs going up? Do you remember that post in the gallery showing all of those cool staircases? I think the poster was someone named Oceanna? Why don't you take the carpet off of the stairs, paint them, and do something decorative on the riser?

It's not that bad of a job. I'm doing mine and am going to post a blog when I get done with them.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 10:18AM
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I also think paint would help. To me the would work is what stands out to much! It seems to be very narrow, and all you see as you look at the wall are rectangles. Painting the walls a darker shade can enhance the color of the woodwork, or you could paint out the molding so it isn't so prominent.You wouldn't have to paint the base board, just the trim around the windows and the door. Just a suggestion!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 10:19AM
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It's not as bad as you think it is! My MIL has that same entry. Only she doesn't have either of the windows and above and all the way across that half wall are PINK spindles/posts that run to the ceiling. Yes I said PINK.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 10:27AM
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I like the idea of family gallery pictures. Also if you have pictures of your parrots that would add color also and interest. I almost bought a bi-level that had a split entry over 10 years ago when I was deciding on that house or my townhouse. They were around the same price. I really loved the property in the back of that home but did not like the fact there would be a bathtub in the client's bathroom versus the townhouse had a powder room with no bathtub or shower.

My hairdresser has a beautiful home with a split entry. I knew she redid the beautiful wooden steps going down wiht some pictures and redid the beautiful rugs going up. She added an iron handrail going up and a gorgeous wooden rail going down that matches the stops.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 10:40AM
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One of those hgtv shows recently had a two story stairway...I think it was an interior stairway, not an entry, but had the same feel. They used 2 paint colors horizontally to break up the space, with a little strip of molding between the colors. I think the top and bottom were one color, with a lighter wide horizontal stripe in the middle. When they were talking about it, I thought is would look stupid, but it did make the space look better. Sorry don't remember which clone show it was (woman host though) and don't have a picture.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 10:54AM
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Hiya Oceanna,

Sorry, I don't have any decor advice for you because

1. I'm Decor Challenged
2. I love your split entry!

I live in a very modest, one story, 1950 track home so for me having your split-entry would be a dream come true!
Long ledges, lots of wall space and windows *sigh* --- I can only dream.

I do have something that might come in handy for you.
My decor that was held down with this stuff made it through a 7.5 like it was a walk in the park.
My heavy items were secured with it and all were fine.
My lighter items --- well, what can I say --- RIP.

The day my husband started pounding out the wall in the bathroom with a sledge hammer, I freaked.
Til I remembered that the large pieces of iron and other framed pictures on the wall on the other side of the wall he was working on, were held against the wall with a little of this stuff.
Nothing budged, not even leaned, not a bit.

Again, sorry I'm of no help with offering suggestions as I love your entry!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 11:04AM
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I had that entry in my first house! DH had bought before we married. This was 1981. We had two entrances into the kitchen so we walled up the one that you could see from the stairs. From the kitchen this allowed a nice little pantry. We painted the wall going down the stairs a deep terre cotta, the walls in the living and rest were a warm light cocoa, we tore the wall down that your couch is against and just had that open . Our loveseat and a chair stopped people from walking off. Not code and we did not have little ones-and no problem selling it that way . Had we been forced to rewall it we would have done a railing for it to be more open. We also painted all of the woodwork a warm white. I would suggest you start with painting the woodwork and the downstair wall. I think you will surprised at what a change that will make and how helpful just getting started will be. Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 11:13AM
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I'll see you your supposedly ugly entry (lots of light and space) and raise you MY heinous, narrow little pseudo-foyer (no light at all, not wide enough for a demilune and shoe shelf, ugly tile, no obvious place for mail/coats/keys to perch). Yours looks great, even with all the objections you raise!

Just a little devil's advocacy here -- it's not as bad as you think! (: that said, I trust your taste re improving it still further...

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 11:14AM
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Hi.....I know this can be a "tender" subject (lol) but I think painting the dark stained trim out to a cream/white is probably the first thing I'd do here. That is probably bothering my eye more than anything. By doing that, you'll visually increase the space a LOT. Then onto a more welcoming paint tone. Yes to finding an inexpensive light fixture and I too thought of running a chairail up the stairs to break it up and add some interest. You could do a darker tone then on the bottom without losing tons of light.

Yep to a gallery. No harder than finding cheap (even plastic) frames at Walmart, spray paint them (can't tell they're plastic then) get some white mats and print out black and white photos or sepia photos.

BTW....even if you don't paint all the wood trim in your house I think in certain spots it's just fine to vary...especially when the space will benefit quite a bit from going white.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 11:31AM
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My first thought was to go crazy with your "muralizing" that you've shown off in other threads. You could do it in bits and pieces, at least partially with your bum parked on the stairs. :-)

Definitely yes on finding a different light fixture. I like the suggestion of a colorful Tiffany type. Check eBay, (has some beautiful ones at very reasonable prices as Tiffany fixtures go - look at the Amberjack and Floral hanging lamps), clearance sections in stores, Craigslist (hey, aren't you the one always trotting out CL? LOL!)... heck, even post to your local Freecycle list! If cranky son won't put it up, see if you can barter with a handyman or electrician.

BTW, Ook makes special hooks for hanging heavy things in earthquake country or anyone else. They have clips to hold the hanging wire in place so it can't bounce off the hanger, and you don't even need to find a stud. I use two so that the picture won't tip off kilter, and I always go overkill on the weight ratings (for instance if I have something that weighs 25 pounds I get two 50 pound ones) just because I'm neurotic. ;-) Home Depot has them and they are not expensive. Nicest thing about them is that they don't destroy your walls like toggle/molly bolts will, just a few pinholes that you can fix with a teensy dab of spackle on the end of your finger.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 4:43PM
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All I could see is the brown trim. It looks like its picture framing everything and it jumps out at you the sec you walk in the door. Its framing .

The first thing I would do is paint ALL trim lower and upper if no other trim got painted.

You just can't imagine what that will do.
Been there done that. Had a split level 1979.

My hardest job was dragging that cleaner to that stair carpet. Ended pulling it up and staining the wood.

Get busy on those windows girl. They need your talented hands.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 5:14PM
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I also have a split entry (or bi-level) home. We have the same tall wall on the right as you enter which we have wallpapered. We do not have the half wall on the other side that you have. Ours is open with a railing. I think that helps eliminate some of the tunnel feeling you might be experiencing. Updating the light fixture will also help you feel better about the space. The window you have over the door and next to the door are wonderful. We added a window over our door as well many years ago. About two years ago, we replaced the front door and sidelights with a full leaded glass door so the entire area now is very bright and sunny.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 6:06PM
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I also am of the opinion that painting those walls another color that blends better with all the oak will be a big improvement. A nice gold, tan or even a green would look good. As for your oak trim, it would be helpful to see some closer shots before making a suggestion. Is the trim oak and the window sil/frame painted sheetrock? That looks odd to me and I think they should be the same color; however, this is a look that should be continued through the whole house so it would be good to think about all the options in terms of time and budget. Same with the door. If the trim stays, I could see a nice stained door looking better--though may not be in your budget since front doors are expensive. I like the idea of the gallery glass or even Wallpaper for Windows on that picture window.

My mom has a split wall like that and she puts a few plants on the ledge (though probably not the safest, even with a houseful of kids I can only remember once a plant tumblind down. They got great light and thrived. She grew african violets. On her long wall, she had paneling, though is more of that 70's look you want to get away from. Then she put up a large clock and several wall hangings/picures. I like Les' idea of doing a photo gallery. One thing I like about it is that it looks like it gets lots of natural light--and that is not something you can add easily.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 6:08PM
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We had the same entry in our old home. Would love to attach a photo but it is saved in word. Any idea how to get it pasted here?? Hmm....

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 6:11PM
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I like your entry. You light is very in.

I agree the trim is the first thing that hits your eye. I vote to paint the trim. . Maybe a window treatment like shutters or wooden blinds on the lower window would disguise the frosted window and still let light in.

I like the idea of a picture gallery of somekind.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 6:14PM
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Honestly, I'd paint the wood colored trim around the door, rip up that carpeting and put down the most beautiful runner you can afford.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 6:49PM
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Since you are an artist, could you do trompe l'oeil?
Maybe a niche with something beautiful in it.....
We have the same entry in a townhouse but the steps are to the left of the door so that allows space for a table & pictures above it. But they did not put an outlet there so you could have a lamp.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 7:31PM
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Hi Oceanna: Sorry, but I do not think that your entry would ever win the "ugliest entry" contest. In fact I think it is an attractive and light filled space.
I notice that these views are both from the stairs. I don't think that people are likely to stand on the stairs and look very long at the decor. It seems that the most important views would be from the rooms at the top and bottom of the stairs and from the room at the far left of the photo. The other important view would be as you enter the front door. I think that for the latter focusing on the stairway and walls going up would be a priority. You have some good options here that many have mentioned. A nice chair rail, possibly with some decorative mouldings below the rail, a pretty paint color, and art (possibly your own art) or as someone suggested, photographs would add interest. A pretty runner on the stair, or possibly painted risers as shown, would also add interest.
For the others--what do you see,for example when you are sitting in the room to the left? What would you like to see? Maybe some photographs taken from these positions would also help you to think about those vantage points.
I am no decorator, but I do know that natural light is so important, and you are lucky to have lots of that in your entry--my entry has no windows so I an envious of that! Good luck to you.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 9:22PM
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Well, running with Val's suggestion of painting the walls darker, I thought a nice nutmeg-y brown would make the foyer feel like more of a cozy entry way.

Thumbs up? Down?

You could do (gasp) faux ivy in papier mache or decorative plastic pots, you could also decorate a narrow shelf with lightweight things that you wouldn't mind having dropped on your head or you could bolt it all down.

The light fixture is from Bellacor - I thought it was rather pretty for $84.00.

Carved wood bits and tiles would make it seem woodier and maybe like the woodwork is better. Know what I mean?

There's a bell-pull between the door and window and a green voile scarf on the little window on a black cafe rod.

I repeated your living room curtains on the top windows since they'll show when you're on the top floor.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pretty nice, pretty cheap

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 12:33AM
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Wow! I'm surprised to come back to so many great answers. I read each and every post and appreciate that you all took time to think about this for me. Thank you all so much! Now -- how to answer each of you?

Thanks for reminding me that some of you would love my entry -- it's all in the eye of the beholder. Yes I do get lots of light in there -- and the neighbors can see me if I come down the hall to the kitchen so I always have to be dressed. I do want this area to look nice as it's the first thing anyone sees when they come in.

Beth, thanks for posting as I love your home so much! To me you're a great decorator! I originally wanted to put up false wainscoting -- white paneling below -- flat, with little boxes made of trim on it. But I'm not sure how to do it because of the stair rail. Do I cap it off above or below the chair rail? Doesn't it have to be the same height on both sides of the stairs? How do I do it on the other side with that cap up there?

Dorothy9 and Johnmari, yes it's a lot of work/time but I could probably paint anything I want in there. The hard part is getting all the way up to the top. Ladders have to be braced on the stairs and it's very hard for me to manage that ladder. I've saved lots of pictures of stair murals.

There really is no room either up or down that views this area, good point, Beth. From the LR above the half wall all you see is the solid paint that's up high, and that light fixture.

Dgmarie - Runner on the stair: I saw a neighbor's house where he had done that right over the carpet and it looked good. I hate that carpet. It has a grey undertone and I hate grey. It pill balls up. It shows everything; it never looks good. If I rip the carpet out, the stairs won't be pretty underneath. They'll no doubt have plaster texture and paint drips on them. Can I redeem them? Has anyone here done that? Or would they need to be covered with pretty wood? I think that's pretty expensive?

Valley 57, I would LOVE to knock out the wall in the center of the stairs and replace it with a nice top rail and spindles, but that's beyond my personal ability and I can't afford it. You're right it would open the space up.

Here's the way it looks right now...

Should I paint my flowers back out? Men don't say anything when they see it (it's flowers, after all). Women say they like it. When I first did it, it was too even; it looked like rick-rack when I stood at the top. So I re-did it to look more uneven. I have quite a bit of time into it but if you think it looks bad I can paint it back out by continuing the upper color all the way down.

Mjjones and others who suggested painting the trim all white, would you then also paint the hand rails white? Would you paint the piece that zig-zags down at the edges of each step white too?

Val, the wood on the top of the half wall in the LR and on the top of the half wall on the staircase isn't oak. I dunno what it is. It's a medium honey color, not light or dark:

So I guess it's no loss to paint it white? If I do that I guess I'll also have to paint all the trim in the LR and down the hall white.

This antique umbrella stand is in the corner under the sidelight window. The color doesn't contrast with the wall very much. It has some canes in it with interesting tops on them, but it looks a bit bare. Maybe I should take the canes out and put in a big fake fern? I do kill houseplants. :/ I have a passion for topiaries. I wonder if that's a good place for one?

I put this WT on the transom window a few months ago. It's just there temporarily until I figure out if I can Gallery Glass that window.

It's a BIG window. Sky, I can't see working on a piece of glass that big without breaking it or getting cut if it doesn't have a frame. I think Plexiglass is very expensive, especially in that size. I can make decals from GG that I could stick up there -- that's what I did with my son's window but then I spent a lot of hours on my feet getting it all connected. That's why I was thinking if I could get an old window that was a little smaller I could work on it on the floor or maybe at the table, then have my son hang it there. I just don't know where to get the window. Maybe two smaller windows?

Chelone, make scaffolding? Balance isn't my strong point, btw, nor is strength any more. I wish though.

Chicoryflower, thanks for photoshopping for me! I never thought of putting a shelf across under the window. The LR curtains are different now and are about to change again. I ordered new draperies from JCP the last time we discussed my LR and guess what? They STILL haven't shipped me the rod to hang them with. They said "February" as they were out of stock. The light fixture you pictured is pretty and thanks for the link, but I kind of think it should be a more vertical shape there, rather than such a horizontal one. The paint on the bottom of the wall is kind of a cafe au lait, the top a paler tan. There is a slight yellow tone to all my paint, by choice. I'd never thought of a bell pull there. Interesting idea.

Johnmarie thx for the link, and also Wodka, I actually have a couple of Tiffany fixtures similar to that laying on the floor in the theater in the basement waiting for a home. I'll think about if either would look good there. But they don't give off much light -- the one there now really does which helps me see in the LR at night. With all my lamps there lit it's just "romantic" lighting.

Les, I'd love to change out that side window to clear glass, and I don't know if it's in my budget either. Maybe I should take measurements and hang out with CL to see if something comes up. I kinda think if I call window guys it will be too small a job for them to want to bother. IME they want $2K plus to even think about it.

You may all remember my posting this; it's the view downward to the basement from the front door. That table isn't right for there. I put a trunk there now but it's too big for the space. I'm still looking for the right thing to put there.

This is what you see looking upward (please excuse the mess in my kitchen). I can't see getting rid of that kitch door as I use it all the time.

This is the view right now from the top down.

This is what I have hung over the stairs going downward, so you see this when you come in the front door. It looks small in this pic but it's really huge. Right under the bottom of this pic is where that wall cuts off.

Johnmarie, it's hung up there very strongly, thanks.

Amity, thanks for the tip on the Quake Hold. I'll have to check that out. If you put it under a vase on a nice would shelf would it mar the shelf over time?

Mildred, I think I can visualize the horizontal stripe being nice -- but more modern than my decor, thanks.

To those who suggested a picture gallery, would you still do it above those flowers? Or remove the flowers?

Lynn2006, I'd love to do what your hairdresser did! But I'd need to come back out of retirement to do it. Or rob a bank?

Midwestmom -- I'm having trouble visualizing pink spindles! lol

Daisyadair, yep I remember it. I just wish I knew what was under that carpet. I peeled the carpet on my last home before selling and it was hideous under there -- but got covered back up with new carpet. Being always a multiple dog owner I'm not nuts about carpet. I'm drooling over a real wood floor -- but doggy toenails and cost, and then my vinyl-wood kitch floor would look bad. So yes I'm thinking about continuing that floor through the LR. Just thinking. Now please post that pic in the stairs thread?

Melle_sacto -- interesting idea about the bird cage. I think you mean where my umbrella stand is now?

Bungalow house -- I'm still waiting for it to grow on me. hehe

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 5:42AM
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It is NOT ugly, LOL.
I have 2 ideas for you....
In my former home, a split level also, I put something pretty to look at right at the TOP of the stairs, so your eye would travel up...How about that?
Or, in my present home, I just purchased a majesty clock, something fun that you would see like in a train station. I think it's fun and different and would look nice in your entry way as well. :)

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 6:10AM
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Hi.......I've been playing lol. Lori's used to my early morning action...nice shot Lori.

Oceanna.....I just put up a chairail to emphasis more horizontal lines vs vertical. Painted white below, warmer color above.

I think the simplest solution is simply to so tightly shirred sheers on two rods over the frosted window. Perhaps put a shallow window box below with grass in it?? A very simple but natural look.

I was playing with frames painted different colors with the thought of black and white photos...but "whateva" would be pretty there.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 6:55AM
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Links help..............

Here is a link that might be useful: Oceanna's entry

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 6:56AM
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Oceanna, your flowers are beautiful.

I'd seriously consider painting the woodwork and door instead.

If you hung the shelf, not only could you put decor on top, but you could hang decor from the bottom also... like bell pulls, light catchers.

Do you want to see some other PS-s?

Taking the contrast out of the hallway will allow visitors to see your decor rather than the architecture.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 9:23AM
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Oceanna - as for changing the side window to clear glass, call a glass company you know the ones that replace broken windows. It is not too small of a job for them and it isn't that expensive either to do.

Sorry not very good with the other stuff, but just wanted to chime in on the glass part.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 9:51AM
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Why can't I view the picture/link that jant posted? Is anyone else having trouble or is it my computer?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 10:28AM
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Oceanna: Your dilemma remembered one that I had when we first moved into this house. It took me almost three decades to settle on a solution! The dilemma was that if you looked from the kitchen straight ahead as you entered the house from the garage, you say a very long "enfilade"--a fancy way of saying you could see through the kitchen, the dining room, the living room, the back hallway right to the focal point--the back bathroom commode if someone left the door open! My solution was (a) to put an automatic door closer on the bathroom door--but you still looked at a door! I finally came up with a do it yourself (well actually I had a carpenter do it but if you are not a klutz like me, you could do it yourself). I designed fretwork that could be made from inch strips, put it on the door and painted it with an old RL paint that looks like mother of pearl. In fact since the back hallway had 6 doors in a very small space (including two closet doors) I put the fretwork on five of them--one has a mirror in the middle of the fretwork so when the doors are closed you see a hallway that seems to be mostly fretwork with columns (which I also had built surrounding the doors. I will try to attach a picture. What about putting fretwork --possibly simpler than my pattern (if you attempt it by yourself), or even lattice (I used it in my sunroom) up the wall and on your kitchen door. You could paint it all one color or you could use a white/neutral color for the fretwork or lattice and put a pretty color underneath. Just a thought, since you are so talented and can do many things. Good luck, and now I will try a pic

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 10:32AM
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I also meant to say, that I love what you have already done, and think that you made excellent color choices. Keep the lovely flowers that you painted--you might be able to put lattice under them as if they are trailing along the lattice. If you are able to do trompe l'oliel painting--and I suspect that you are given your obvious talent-you could even paint a trompe l'oliel lattice or fretwork "fence" to go with the flowers. Love your paintings too. Here is another picture of the hallway with the fretwork. It is fairly easy to draw a pattern for this one because it is all diagonal and vertical/horizontal line intersections.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 10:47AM
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I remember those homes too!

I would instantly paint out the trim around the door, the frosted window and the stairway handrails. When possible, paint out the trim around the upper window!

You'll see a MAJOR difference just doing that amount of painting!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 11:14AM
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Loribee, I love what you did to the top of the steps to make it interesting when one walked in the door to the house and looked up. Oceanna, that is a great idea to try in my opinion as well as the gallery. Your entry is not ugly, it just needs enhancement.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 11:23AM
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I think it needs something really dramatic - like really wide stripe wallpaper and a hugesquare mirror on the wall at the bottom of the handrail. Do a white and colour stripe and then paint out all the wood white.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 11:23AM
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I just relooked at the pictures, so I can see your kitchen. Maybe a small tiny skinny ocassion table in the spot next to the kitchen to add interest and pictures going up.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 11:25AM
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I posted on painting out the wood work around the windows and the door. I would also include the door into the wall color. I would leave the wood baseboard as is, and also the stair baseboard. I think that way you will tie it in to the rest of the house. I love the painting that you have done so far. Mary

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 1:19PM
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I'm standing here in my paint clothes with a brush in hand.
First lets tackle all that trim.

Ooooooh, I said that already.
After we get that done, we can rest........2-8 weeks and do something else . Lol

Thats usually my mo.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 3:09PM
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That entry does bug me, and I've finally put my finger on what exactly bugs me. It's just toooo.... MEDIUM.

I can see the entry going either of two ways:

Take the carpet off the stairs and stain the wood. Yes, you can take the plaster and yuck off them. It's pretty easy, and if you shop around for the materials, not that expensive. Take out the umbrella stand and the little table with the flowers. Get some really dramatic poster-size photographs, framed, and hang them on the stairs going up and down. Where you have the table and print, one giant tall mirror. Replace the floral-pattern foyer rug with something in a less ornate pattern--maybe one with just pattern and no border.

or, alternately,

2) ZING!
Make the window wall a feature wall. Paint it a contrasting color. Replace the molding around the windows and doors with something wider--think Arts and Crafts. Again, take out the carpet and stain the stairs, but then put back a runner and foyer rug in a zingy color--like, say, a bright, welcoming red. I like the idea of turning the banister into a flower planter--there are lots of plans in the home handyman magazines for building these. Then you could put in plants with bright foliage or flowers. Think about how great it would be to walk in during the holidays, see red carpet, and just above, a line of poinsettas. Then, pick up the zingy theme with the artwork--lots of bright, primary colors. For wall paint with this approach, I would pick a bright, shiny white for the nonaccent walls. Again, ditch the accent stuff. The light fixture should pick up the theme--something in brass would work well here, and shouldn't be that expensive on craigslist.

Best of luck! I understand that you are uncomfortable with the feeling of your entryway--it isn't YOU. The entryway should set the mood that you want visitors (and yourself) to feel when you set foot in the door. Maybe that's the best place to start. What do you want to feel when you walk in the door? What do you want other people to think and feel?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 3:20PM
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Alice Johannen

Okay, I'll chime in too, since I'm in a split-entry as well.

First, what seems in need of something to me, actually, is the door. Any chance you could paint it? The whiteness of it seems too stark somehow.

I was just looking at my "tall wall" and wondering if I should put something there, but decided against it because I have a tapestry on the wall perpendicular to it.

Here's a before picture:

And here are a couple of "afters":

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 4:23PM
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Loribee (and Lynn2006),

I love what you did at the top of your stairway - very pretty! But did you see what's at the top of my stairway? It's the opening to the kitchen. I'd love to see your clock. Can you post a picture?


Thanks for playing with the entry. I like what you did, but it's so modern... all my furniture pieces are antiques in that living room. I'm struggling with that as is -- I wish I had an old charmer of a house and this SO late '70s house and I are fighting each other. I do think maybe a touch of greenery somewhere in there is a good idea.


Thanks about my flowers!! Yeah, that white front door of mine really stands out like a sore thumb, doesn't it? I'm still thinking about the shelf. I would like to GG that transom window, though, so it would become a focal point -- and the sidelight too if I can change it out for plain glass. If I get tht done perhaps I should paint my flowers back out so they don't fight with it. If you'd like to photoshop it some more starting with what I have there right now I'd love it, thanks! I think by the "contrast" you mean the way I divided the wall up? Those walls are SOOO tall and SOOO blank done all in one color. As you enter the front door the wall on your left is two stories high of blank nothing.


Thanks for that idea -- I'll call some this next week; looks like nobody's open on Saturday.


Oh, I'm so glad you posted about your doors. I had wondered about the one with the mirror you had posted in your gallery, and meant to ask you. I think this would be a super idea for my hallway doors, as all my doors are the flat boring kind. What an interesting thought about doing that on the wall below the flowers, and yes I could paint it, though it would take several days. I never would have thought of that. I'm not sure what I'm doing to resale; I'm sure a r.e. agent would tell me to paint it all back out.

The kitchen has no door, just an opening. I run through that opening a lot of times in a day with all these animals to feed and water, so having a door there would be a big hindrance. I suppose I could do a bead curtain but I can't imagine one looking good there.

I love all the architectural details you've done to your home. This home is sparse on that and I'd love to have more. The DR, LR, Hall, and Entry all have popcorn ceilings. I'd scrape them down but I can't even reach the ceiling in the entryway and the only place to prop a ladder is on the stairs. I have a stairway ladder but it's not tall enough and it's all I can do to manage it without crashing out a window or something.

Teacats, Mjjones, Love-my, and all who want me to paint the trim white...

I'd be doing it this instant but remember my LR furniture all being dark, formal antiques? Remember that half wall behind the fainting couch? I got the f.c. re-covered and here it is.

Would you want the cap on this wall to be white, and all the baseboards white in this room?

Here is a very crude mockup of what that would look like with all white trim. Which way is better?


I had thought about stripe doing the matte and semi-gloss in the same color. The problem with any of that is I can't access the top of the wall, even by ladder. To paint the wall to the top I had to tape a paint brush on a telescoping rod and hope I did well even though I couldn't see what I was doing well -- which is another reason I didn't dare use a color way different from the ceiling. I can't imagine how I'd get wallpaper way up there. My next door neighbor with a similar house has wallpaper in her entry, hates it, and can't figure out how to get it back down. We're talking some serious height here, and over a staircase where a normal ladder won't work.


This is what is just to the right of the kitchen door. To the left is the hallway. If I paint the trim white in the entry, the baseboard here and the trim piece on the corner (extreme right) will have to be white too.


Thanks for your sweet words about my painting! Since I've never seen anyone do anything quite that way I'm really unsure about it. I really do want to leave the woodwork that borders the stairs dark, to not show dirt, of course. I'm just not sure where all this white painting should start and end, as you can see by my photos.


Great name! I'm not the minimalist kind of girl. hehe I'm the antiques kind of girl. My favorite homes posted here belong to Claudesw and Georgiagirl... all that "southern charm" really charms me!

I hope you're right about the stairs. Once the carpet is ripped out I'm stuck. One of my fears is that the risers come straight up and the treads are behind them. If that's the case I'd have to cap the stairs with something. I truly love oak staircases, but we're talking money. I'm not too sure how crummy wood would look stained. I'm sure that what's under that carpet isn't pretty as it was never intended to be seen. I wish I had x-ray vision! Have you stripped off carpet from stairs a lot? Just wondering because of your name.

I agree with you I would LOVE better trim around that upper window. Possibly doable -- again the problem is reaching it. I had my 30' ladder in here... it's stopped by the stairs so the angle was very steep and it laid on the trim at the top of the window -- the challenge was not laying it ON the window (keee-rash!).

What I want to do is Gallery Glass those windows (makes it like stained glass). Still trying to figure out the logistics of doing the transom window. Anyway, if I can do that it will be very pretty.

YES on the red entry carpet. I'm thinking a formal one to go with the rest of my house. The one that's there used to look better till I tossed it in the washing machine... then the green faded onto the cream. I need to look at JCP washable rugs I think.

YES I would love red formal runner down those stairs. My sofa/chair are deep tomato red (see pic of sofa above).

I found pots that fit over rails, but haven't seen anyone turn a wide banister like that into a planter. Do you have a picture? How would that be done? Real plants would thrive there in all the light (though fakes are easier). I assume if I did that I'd need to paint out my wall flowers?


Your before pic is just a little red x and I can't get it to show. Were your stairs solid carpet before? Did you peel carpet off and discover good wood underneath? Your after pictures look great!

YES I agree the door looks stark. What color should I paint it? I love that you have real railings and spindles. I wish I did, but that kind of construction and cost is beyond me. I love your tapestry - very pretty. Your decor looks charming, and your stairs look great.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 7:03PM
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Hi Oceanna - Your FC looks fantastic!! When did you get it back?? If I am remembering correctly the upholsterer said he could not reinforce the back in any way. Correct? Hope I am mistaken about that. However it looks really nice - love the material you picked out for it.
Regarding your entry - I'm voting for the gallery glass and I keep seeing in my mind a transom window with a stained glass window hung in front of it by chains from the ceiling. I know you said it's near impossible to access that window but I really think if you could do one of the ideas that you have been keeping a file on .. and do it on plexiglass so you can work on it sitting at a table. Frame & Hang. At least check out the prices on plexi - might not be so bad. I just think with an amazing Oceanna artpiece hanging up there no one is going to be looking at anything else in the entry ... ummm, and it will keep the neighbors from looking in and then you can run around your house in your whatevers!!
Oh and regarding hanging anything, I always try to bribery with my boys. For DS2 it's a home cooked meal and for DS1 it's babysitting. :D

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 7:51PM
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Hi Mry193 -- thank you! I got it back about a week after he took it. I hadn't posted it because I'm having a hard time taking a picture of it. The braid in the pic looks very contrast-y but in real life it blends right in. The fabric looks gold but in the pics it comes off green. I'm so glad you like it! :)

He said he reinforced the back a little but it was designed to be against a wall and must be kept against a wall. Otherwise it may break if someone leans back on it. I've always kept it against a wall for that reason.

I'm envisioning the same thing as you, that the easy way would be to work on the window on the flat on my DR table, or the floor, and then get my son to hang it with hooks. It can be a little smaller. I would love to do it on Plexiglass as it's so much lighterweight, won't cut me, etc., so maybe I should look into the pricing some more but I thought it would be expensive. The transom is approx 70" x 35". I could even see hanging two framed windows in that space and they would be so much easier to work on.

I hear you on your sons. My son called me from Costco today and he ended up picking up a new garbage disposal for me and a new printer. My former ones both died. So he'll be over putting in the disposal in a few days. What I do back for him is usually decorating. I may have to paint his LR soon. lol

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 8:38PM
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Hi Oceanna: Your furniture is so beautiful. After seeing it in context, I really think that you are on the right track. I actually like very much what you have already done with your entry. A pretty red rug for the entry plus a coordinated runner would be terrific. Possibly you could paint your entry door with an enamel that is either lighter (50 or 75%) of the color for the walls? Then you could focus on thinking of a way to do the gallery glass--which would be so elegant. I think it is good that you do not have a door to the kitchen ( I mistakenly thought that there was an edge of a door to the left)--no door eliminates any awkward feeling. I like the yellow that I see in your kitchen, and I think that it can look fabulous with the red runner and carpet. Your couch is so beautiful, and I think it is a very good idea to pull that color into your entry. After seeing what you have already doon in your foyer with the additional pics of your lovely furniture, I think you have a beautiful space right now, and I think that you can take your time and find a rug that you love. You are so talented, and have lovely taste! Thanks also for your kindness.

Regards, Beth

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 8:39PM
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oceanna - so I have been thinking and thinking on an easy solution until you settle on something permanent. Since the view up the stairs into the kitchen is the biggest eyesore to you, but you want to use your doorway to the kitchen, any chance something like this would work? With your artistic ability, you may even be able to buy plain and paint your own scene.

Here is a link that might be useful: doorway

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 8:54PM
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Oh gosh - sorry. I just read your comment on you not being able to envision a beaded curtain there.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 9:03PM
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How do you paint these foyers? We have split levels too, but I don't like to climb ladders.


    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 9:22PM
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i totally feel your pain as i lived in a 70's ranch in california and i am an antiques girl, too. it was tough getting some architectural interest going in that place! but you are so artistic. i love the idea of you doing a window to hang over the top window. however, i know you have to see if it is doable. in the meantime, they now have window film that you can attach to the window. they come in all kinds of styles and you can take them off later! i was thinking that you could either do a frosted window film on the upper window to match with the lower and give you some privacy, or you could change out the lower one and then do a stained glass film on both.
i love the idea of painting the trim off white-- and to answer your thoughts about the south's look, i live in the south now and almost everyone has painted trim! of course, that is a colonial look. the stained trim looks pretty, too-- but in the case of that foyer, i think you could paint the trim a nice creamy off white and it would really open it up. you have tons of natural light! and by the way, a friend who put up the frosted glass film (she got hers at ikea, but they have it online at brylane and some other places too) actually saw her room got brighter afterwards.
in terms of the landings, i think (humble opinion) that you want to entice the viewer if you are framing a picture or view for them. so i like the idea of a mirror or the larger prints. something that says who you are, and draws someone further into your home. you could, for instance, get two brackets to place on the inside of the door jamb going to your kitchen. they have nice plaster ones that are victorian, colonial or whatever style you want. then maybe you could add a few other paintings to the right, to really pop. i used brackets like this to give my 70's ranch some flavor! i hung chandelier down the hall from them, so when you walked in you saw the chandelier at the end of the long narrow 70's hall, framed by the brackets. i used a small area- a niche-- to bring the color red in so you could see it from the door. i'll have to dig out some pictures and try to post them. i've never uploaded anything here wish me luck.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 9:24PM
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Oceana, I love your upstairs that looks nice with the stained trim. Is there anyway to stain the door to match the trim?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 9:33PM
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Hi Beth,

Thank you! The furniture is pretty, and really quite formal. It doesn't seem to belong in this style house but here we are and I'm trying to make it fit better. Now, would you paint all the wood trim white around it? Or paint the trim in the entry white and have some cutoff point for that, like look up the wall and the trim at the top (that behind the fainting couch) is still stained wood?

The kitchen walls -- two are off-white but there isn't much of them showing. Two are pale green, but there's very little wall, it's just around the cabinets. I painted the cabs the faintest whisper yellow, almost white. The cab doors are weird and one of these days I'll change them. That's another project. I just love your kitch, btw.

A door on the kitch would drive me nuts -- I'm through there many times a day to feed all the critters, and to let the dogs out. But I'm wondering if I should trim the opening out with some attractive wood moulding?

I agree that it would be good to pull some red into the entry. The neighbor who did the runner did it right over his carpet. It was red. It looked great.

The POs must have loved grey (I hate it) as they had grey tones in everything -- even their white paint. The LR, DR and hall are trimmed in stained wood, but the bedrooms are all trimmed in white, oddly enough. Should I paint all the trim white? I love the formal look of this type of paneling, but would it look good going up my stairs and then in the LR behind my dark furniture? I think I could do that myself... I'd have to sand all the texture off the lower part of my walls first...

The grey tone in the carpet drives me nuts, as all my colors are warm and it sucks the life out of a room. I would love to rip it out so much I could just go start ripping this instant, but I don't know what to use for a replacement. I need to keep costs down on a tiny retirement income. I fear I'm running through my savings too fast.

The PO did something goofy. The LR and DR flow together but he chopped them up via the floor, a bad move IMO. The DR floor is medium honey oak laminate. The LR floor is that ugly carpet. I doubt I can match the laminate even if I hire someone. I also don't know if I can rip it out. I like it fine and wish it extended through the LR, but whatever I do up there still begs the question of what to do with the carpeted stairs. I wish I could figure it out. I can't lay wall to wall carpet myself and am not so sure I even want it; if all were free I'd have wood floors.

I can lay wood floors, I think. I've laid ceramic tile, vinyl tile, and wood parquet. I just did my kitch in vinyl plank tiles and they look good. I'm tempted to do the DR/LR in it but it's still vinyl. So I dunno. It's easy to install, inexpensive, easy to keep clean with dogs who sometimes do bad things, but undoubtedly bad for resale down the road.

Thanks for the vote of confidence!

Hi Roguevalley,

Thanks for the link. I'd thought about that, but do you think it would go with a more formal antique decor? I just can't see it.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 9:40PM
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Oceanna - I was searching to see if I could find an elegant wood bead curtain. Looking at your fainting couch got me thinking of victorian woodwork, corbels, fretwork, spandrels, etc. - which got me thinking of door beads. I thought finding some beautiful wood beads, not bamboo, might work. I couldn't find any. Would it be ridiculous to try to make one?

I'm trying to think outside the box. Could a victorian wood screen door be retrofitted to work there (not using screening but some other material)? Although that puts a door where you'd rather not have one. And what about a spandrel in the doorway? I'm just throwing out random thoughts here. Maybe none would work - but maybe something would.

Here is a link that might be useful: millwork

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 10:29PM
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Oceanna, your window is 70" wide? I didn't realize it was that big. I really like the idea of hanging more than one framed window in front of it. Years ago I bought an old frame with just the glass in it - no picture just because it was so pretty,antique gold with lots of filigree and only $20.00. I still haven't used it but now I'm wondering if something like that - an old antique frame ( probably two) with your gallery glass creation hanging from the ceiling .... Can you read my mind and see what I am trying to explain? You might still want to replace the glass with plexi ...
Sorry if this is confusing. I have a hard time putting ideas into words. Now you can see why I usually don't offer any help with decorating questions :) but I recently saw a picture of your bathroom window and I remember the one you did for your son and just think that another of your creations is the solution for this window. Just need to find a way to get it there.
New garbage disposal & printer? that sounds just like something my DS's would do. Over the years DS's have given me christmas gifts of ladders, trash cans, dremel, rotosaw. Just Thursday DS2 used DS1's truck to pick up another of my Craigslist finds. (just a trundle bed frame to go under my GD's daybed for when my GS stays the night) Of course I promised to make an upholstered headboard for DS1's three year old for his big boy bed. What goes around - comes around. :D

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 10:36PM
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Hi Oceanna--I will have to think about some of these things. Before I saw your furniture I tended to agree about painting out the trim, but now I am not so sure. I was wondering how long you think that you might stay in this house. You have mentioned concerns about resale. If you see this home as short term, then that would certainly influence your choices. I have taupe carpet in some rooms with rugs over the carpet. That would be a possibility that might save some work and money, especially if you do not see this home as permanent. The rugs could then go with you. Sometimes rugs can be found at a bargin. Of course you have to be careful, especially on line. However, I have some experience there and would be glad to help.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 10:39PM
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Here is another paint suggestion, Leave the trim around the windows and doors, but Paint the door to look like a wood door! I like the one posted by alicepalace! I had a friend who painted a door to match the wood work, and it was beautiful! Maybe someone can do a mock of a darker door! I don't think that I would paint the half wall cap, I would just focus on the entrance wall! I also love antiques, and know how you feel about the woodwork! Best of wishes, Mary

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 11:19PM
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Oceanna~I guess I'm a slow reader, LOL. And every time I thought of something, someone else already thought of it. :)

I want to strongly second the idea of putting the frosted peel-and-stick on the big window, it doesn't block much light and you NEED the privacy! I have it on several strategic windows myself.

You could even head down to the hardware store, with the goal of finding a young person that you can pay to do these small jobs, they may be able to recommend someone handy there. Please check their references! I got tired of asking DH for help with jobs I can no longer easily do myself, and that he didn't really want to do for one reason or another. Paying someone else turned out to motivate him a little more, LOL! Just a thought.

But what is really jumping out at me, are the common themes in your very own comments...

You've asked several times about painting out the flowers, which I LOVE! Not least because they're so personal, I like to see something with personality/quirkiness in a room. I would love to see a few painted birds (or one magnificent peacock?),or a birdcage somewhere in your decor. If YOU'RE not loving them, paint them out.

Otherwise, they really look nice to me... I even like your chandelier. But something like alicepalace's "after" glass lantern is a classic that would suit the transitional style you've got, bridging traditional pieces with the late 70's architecture.

IMO Paneling and white woodwork are both colonial styles, not suited to this space. Don't worry about different trims in the BRs. But these spaces are all open to one another, so you need consistency. I think the real problem with the trim around the door and the transom is that its too small, it should be thicker, and then the dark stain will stand up to the light walls.

You've mentioned resale value several times, is this not your retirement home? Besides, if you were to replace the carpet (someday) with a quality laminate in the LR and oak stair treads (if necessary), that would boost resale value. Painting and claudesw beautiful trimwork are decorative treatments that cost more time than $$, and are easily changed to suit.

BTW I LOVE that trimwork idea as well, my sister has the same kind of house, and her hallway has six doors too. It looks a little like a funhouse with her mirrors, LOL! I think that is a very classy treatment, & adds just enough architectural detail to blur the lines into transitional again. I need to show her this idea.

You've also convinced ME that you should have the red runner and foyer rug! LOL

I have a MUCH bigger vision for my home than money, BUT how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 12:36AM
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I love that type of fretwork! I do feel that it would be out of place in this '70s home though. I'm kind of riding the line between the home's style and the style of my furnishings. Also, I don't really want to draw the eye to the kitchen opening. I think when someone is climbing the steps they're concentrating on the steps, and maybe seeing the painting on the walls, and chatting. I don't think they're staring into the kitchen. Then when they get to the top of the stairs they turn their heads to see the LR and that attracts them. My kitchen isn't all new fancy, but I think it's not bad looking. The only thing about having the doorway there is that I can't put some nice little table or whatever there like Loribee made look so pretty in her old home. I think the kitchen opening there is okay and I don't really want to do anthing to it, but thanks so much for brainstorming it!


Well as best I can measure it without getting on a ladder it's about 70" wide, yes. It's huge. I think I see what you're saying -- hang two frames up there? But frames are ugly on the back side and generally need the print/cardboard to hold the glass in place. However, two pieces of glass framed on both sides might be the ticket simply because of the size and weight of doing it with just one piece -- unless I really can get plexiglas, which is lightweight.

I plan to do one of my stained glass look creations up there. It's just been the logistics that has held me back. I haven't designed what I want up there yet.

My son picked the disposal and printer up for me but I will pay for them. The free part will be his installation for me. We trade labor -- me more along the helping him decorate part. I wish my daughter weren't four states away. We'd have a lot of fun helping each other decorate. We chat about her kitchen re-do for hours on IM sometimes. Her taste is exquisite and she's very clever.


I'd like to stay in the house as long as I can and had hoped for another ten years. But lately I've been having some problems with walking and with the stairs. I saw the doc Thursday and I go to the hosp for some tests about circulation in my legs on Monday, plus I start PT for back/hip trouble on Wednesday, so we'll see what all comes out of it.

I keep resale in mind because I moved from my old house a couple of years ago and had done so much to it in 35 years I had a lot of work to do to get it to look like a new house again for resale (including peeling a lot of wallpaper, re-texturing walls I sanded, and painting everything, stripping carpet, etc.). I figured I'd paint instead of wallpaper in this house as it's easier to paint it out. I don't want tons of work to do next time and I'm not getting any younger (though I'd sure like to!).

You know, you have a point there. If I put down stair runners and a hall runner and a big rug in the LR maybe I can overlook this rug. I'll think about that. It sure would be less work. My neighbor didn't buy the fancy brass bars to do his runner. He actually stained quarter rounds, I think, and nailed those in. It looked okay because the rug was so pretty you didn't notice them. He said it was protecting his stairs carpet. Thanks for the offer of help! I'll look CL first.

I'm just not so sure about painting the trim because of my dark furniture. I'll look at some pictures with that in mind.


That is an idea. I've seen some woodgraining on TV, but I've never tried to do it. I'm not quite sure if I can. But it would be neat I think. I'll think about that. The woodwork isn't special, but I'm just thinking it goes better with my furniture than white would. Maybe I should go white around the transom, though. I've been hesitant to paint the front door because my old one was painted and it would stick in some weather... but the white is bothering me. I'm not as good at photoshopping as some folks here, but I'll mess around with it. Good idea.


I'm a slow reader too. :) I'm planning to Gallery Glass the transom window. It makes it look like stained glass. I did one in my bathroom, and one for my son. I'm just trying to figure out the logistics since the window is so hard to get to. I can't do it like I did the other two. That's why I'm thinking of doing it on a separate piece and hanging it there.

That's a good idea about where to find help, thanks.

Thanks so much for your kind comments about my painting! I had posted the first pic here once before and almost nobody said a thing so I figured maybe everyone thought it was ugly. You know, I know people with birds who decorate with birds, but I don't like decorating with birds because I have the real thing and nothing can match their beauty. :) Some of the stained glass peacocks are magnificent, though.

I like the amount of light I get from that chandelier, and I use it often. I looked at CL tonight and didn't see anything there I liked. I think it's a lower priority than some of the other stuff, like the windows. It just looks kind of "plastic fantastic" to me. I'd prefer a crystal chandelier there, but it might be overkill for the house style. I'm not sure.

You make good points about the trim. I'm thinking the trim in the LR is white abound the window and it needs beefed up too. But yes, the rest of the trim all matches and flows in the open spaces. I hadn't thought of that type of paneling as Colonial -- interesting.

Please see my answer to Beth (Claudesw) above about resale. I hope to be here for a long while but I'm not sure right this minute. Theoretically they can give me drugs that cut the pain and stop any progression if this is what I think it is. Then I can exercise more, which I want.

I love what Beth did to her doors! It's very pretty. I'd love to do that to my hallway doors. Yep, paint and a little wood trim aren't very expensive and are something I can do myself.

I love your comment about eating an elephant. Often that's how it feels! I expecially like it when I can make a huge difference with a can of paint. I also find CL to be a blessing or at least a good promise of one. I'm picking up a little rebounder tomorrow that should be very helpful to my health. :)

    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 5:56AM
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Oceanna, I'm not sure if this has been suggested or not but I'm thinking maybe you can go back to your original idea of doing a gallery glass design on your large window but do all the work on smaller pieces of glass or mirror or whatever you happen to have and THEN apply it to your window like peel and stick. I'm thinking it could have a design so it could be applied almost like a puzzle then once it is all on no one would know it was not one piece. You get to do all the work sitting down and your son ONLY needs to put the puzzle together on the window itself. Mom stands in the LR handing him the pieces one by one ... maybe using one of those long reach gadgets you see advertised on tv around 4 am. :D

    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 7:31AM
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Mari, thanks so much for brainstorming this!

I know they say you can do that -- make it on glass and peel it off -- and I've tried it. When I was very carefully peeling pieces of any substantial size from the glass they stretched and tore. The way around that is to work them on clear cling film. That's what I did with the big designs on my son's window because as you point out it was easier to do them at the dining room table at my own home, then standing on my feet at his house. I did, however, manage to pipe the circles in which I mounted the glass marbles directly on the glass and peel them off. Then I had problems making them stick to the window and had to "glue" them down with some clear GG, and they still kept falling off. I finally made it work, but just for those.

If you just stick cling decals up there it looks like you put a lot of decals up, and that's not the look I want. So after I put his on I did a lot of leading work and a lot of painting directly on the window to make the window look like a stainded glass window, rather than just decals stuck on. When I was finished everything was connected and the edges of the decals I'd made were "cemented" into the whole (which is stronger, and also better for future window cleaning). On my bathroom window I did the entire thing right on the window because it was easy to reach and I could take frequent breaks and return to it any time I wanted.

Chelone is right that a scaffolding would be useful, but with the size of that window even if I had one I'd be on my feet up there way too much and it would take days to complete while a scaffolding blocked my front door.

Because of the size of this and the un-reachability of it, I'm thinking the best way is to do it on a separate piece of glass or plexiglass, or maybe two separate pieces if I have to, then ask my son to simply hang the work.

So what I need to find now is the right piece to work on, and a way to hang it. I'll make some phone calls this next week in regards to that and also to see if it's cost effective to replace the sidelight with a double-paned clear window. Once I settle those things I can start working on a design.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 8:46AM
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Ah, I understand, another of those 'easier said than done' situations. I know you will find a way to make this work. Can't wait to see the final product!
Good Luck!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 9:31AM
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I forgot to mention in my earlier post that I have fallen down stairs that were bare wood: granted, I am clumsy:-), but they are also slippery sometimes-- so please be careful if you do this! I really like your idea of the red runner (like your sofa color?) over the existing carpet. it would bring a vibrancy into the entry, transition nicely to your LR style and colors, and be safer...

I can't post anything picture wise here to show you my brackets-- but I found similar things online and I'm posting a link here just to give you an idea of what I am talking about. I didn't buy mine from this site.

I really wish I could post my pictures, because even though my house was 70's ranch, the brackets looked great with the colors and the style of my furniture.

Here is a link that might be useful: brackets

    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 9:55AM
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ok - got ya on the doorway. But I do think that just as as successfully as East meets West, or whatever other types of fusion that looks great these days - you can make victorian meets 70's work equally as well. I really don't think your house screams 70's. It's pretty non descript, really.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 10:21AM
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Hi Oceanna: I understand your position--I have osteoporosis (well, technically not quite there but too close for comfort), and that plus the fact that I am also not getting younger, does influence my choices in my home. I too am facing a choice about whether to replace carpeting in my bedroom (where my cats have free roaming rights--and ignore scratching posts by choosing the carpeting, which I am sure that they find more convenient!!). If I replace it the cats will simply be delighted to break it in. If I take it up and put something else down, such as the cork that I usesd in my kitchen, it would (a) be more expensive, and (b) be slicker so I would be more likely to slip, especially on the set of two stairs that go down to the bedroom. Presently I am leaning toward recarpeting even though I would have to replace it one again and much sooner that with the other options. I do think, especially with stairs, that safety issues are a very high priority in flooring decisions. Rugs over carpeting, in my experience, are less likely to cause you to trip, than rugs over a hard surface. Having said that, there are non-slip undermats that can be used, even some designed to anchor rugs placed over carpeting.
I also think that, if you could find a decent and reasonably priced trim carpenter who can climb a ladder, widening the trimwork and retaining the wood stain, might very well be a good choice with your furniture--I think also just leaving the trimwork alone would work.

Is your fc oak? I have a fair amount of oak furniture, and from my experience, yellows and buttercream/yellowed ivories, work well with it. In fact, because I had oak furniture that my father made many years ago that I wanted to keep in the breakfast part of the kitchen, I used the buttercream/yellow backgrounds for my kitchen. Those colors also look good with the warm neutrals that I think I see in the colors of your foyer.
Good luck, and I will be thinking of you as you go to medical appointments next week.
Regards, Beth

    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 10:56AM
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Oh Oceanna, I meant to add that I hope all goes well with the tests on Monday and you have good results from the pt for your hips and back. I've been waking with hip and back pain in the middle of the night for a while now but I've been blaming it on my mattress. Don't know what I'll blame when I replace the mattress and still have problems. Already have osteo ... but if I blame that then I may have to admit to getting old! :)

Sounds like your daughter inherited her mother's talent!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 11:17AM
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I didn't read all the suggestions as I am short on time right now. A few years ago we built a new house and because of the slope of the land, our entry was six steps down below the rest of the house...this is the only pic I have of the entry as we ended up selling the house.

The trim isn't up yet and we put up some crown molding and had a tile floor and steps. I hung a coat rack on the wall and that was all that we had put there. Was waiting to move in before I hung pictures.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 1:59PM
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decorpas~I'm pretty clumsy too, my parents called me "Grace" LOL. I slipped on my own CARPETED wooden stairs, (but I WAS pregnant), nothing is perfect or can prevent every accident. That is a big drawback with this type of house (prairie four-square), and the split levels. I'm thinking the stairs are going to be the deal breaker for us someday as well.

Having said that, an appraiser told me that if we removed our carpet and sanded the wood floors, we would add substantial value to the house. I only mentioned it since Oceanna is concerned with resale. I personally would leave a carpeted runner on the stairs, for safety's sake, and my cat likes it, LOL. Runners over carpet look fine too, I think, but don't add to resale. Maybe if it's new carpet? (which you could do right before putting the house up for sale), but not as much $$ as wood.

BTW A friend of mine is installing REAL hardwood floors, one room at a time. She found a great deal at HOBO, a lumber liquidator in our area. She has me intrigued, thinking of our carpeted BRs. Just what I need, another project, LOL. I'm sure you'll hear from me if we do this.

Oceanna~I didn't mean for you to decorate with a bird theme, LOL. I had never heard of Gallery Glass. Yes, a faux stained glass panel would be perfect in your foyer, I would have it installed so that you could take it with you when you moved.

IMO a Tiffany or crystal chandelier would compete for attention, in a way that yours wouldn't. Since so many of us like yours (meaning that its a non-issue for resale), why not cross it off the list? Easiest way to complete a project, LOL!

May I suggest a less ornate frame for your beautiful lady painting, the frame kind of fights the art nouveau style? IMO that is the period from which the umbrella stand and stained glass piece should come from. Your painted flowers already complement that style.

And maybe a boot scraper for under your gorgeous horse? :)

    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 2:26PM
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Please don't apologize! All suggestions are most welcome and I spend time considering each one. I truly appreciate that you have extended yourself trying to think of solutions for me. The main reason I don't want any kind of door or curtain in the kitchen entrance is I'm through there many times every day, often carrying and balancing things for the critters (like a tray with four parrot water dishes on it). But I will think about the millwork. I've loved that stuff forever.

That's my goal -- Victorian meets the '70s, meets the 21st Century. lol! There is no road map I know of for this and I'm finding it challenging. It worked in my last house, but it had taller narrower windows that I loved, and I got the grids put in them, which really helped. The windows in this house are all wiiiiide and I hate wide windows. It makes it all harder.

Plus the half wall drives me nuts -- but it sure does let in good light. Chelone came up with a good idea about hanging something above it and I'm still thinking about that one and looking for the right piece of something.


They aren't so easy to paint! I have a folding ladder that works on stairs and that helps, but mine still doesn't reach high enough. If you are strong or have a helper you may do with a taller one than mine. To do the cutting in along the ceiling, I taped a paint brush to a pole. To roll the looooong walls I used an extender pole with a roller screwed onto the end so could do almost all of that with my feet on the floor.


I'm glad you understand my dilemma. Thanks for the link on the brackets. Those are gorgeous. I've seen similar on eBay too. I wish you could post your picture.

I'm *really* glad you brought up the issue of falling on wood stairs. I've had carpeted stairs in my homes and I'm scared of falls. I've taken a couple of falls on the carpeted ones, but was glad my descent was somewhat padded.

Yes, the stained glass look window film can look very nice, and if I couldn't do the Gallery Glass that's probably what I'd do. I don't care for the frosted film nearly as much. My absolute favorite in the real stained glass pieces is glue chip. It looks like real snowflakes on the window to me.

To learn how to post pics here, you can put "how post pictures" in the search window and several posts come up. I'd love to see your pics!

Would you paint the trim white around my dark antiques?


That front door is metal. The only way to make it look like wood would be to do a faux woodgrain on it and I've never done that. Further, it looks good on TV or from a distance, but has anyone here seen it up close?


I'm sorry to learn of your osteoporosis. That's a scary one. I have a young friend who takes Fosamax and it gives her dreadful heartburn, bless her. I have another friend whose dog jerked on the leash and broke her fingers. Yikes! Take good care of you. My back problem seems to be more disc loss than bone loss, knock on wood. As to the other, they're checking for P.A.D. and that's very scary, especially since strokes run in my family. I suspect I'm looking at some severe lifestyle changes here and I hope they work.

Thanks for the word about rugs over carpeting. I didn't know that. I really do need all the help I can get! I know that whatever is done with stairs needs to be very well anchored for safety.

I wish I knew what to tell you about your bedroom carpeting. The things we sacrifice for our beloved pets, eh? I love carpeting for the bare feet and to sit on; I don't love it with dogs. You get a dog housebroken and then they barf on it, or have an occasional accident, or get diarrhea and can't hold it, or get incontinent in their old age. *sigh* I'm not a cat owner but I can well imagine your chagrin at cats attacking your carpet. Have you thought about putting those claw covers on your kitties? They come in colors. lol

I may have to hire someone, or more likely talk my son into it if I want better trim around that window because my problem is I can't figure out how to position the ladder so I can get to it. Not to mention that me moving a ladder around is dangerous and probably funny like a Woody Allen movie.

My LR window is trimmed in white, so maybe I can paint around the transom window? It's next to it visually. I know it sounds goofy to have wood baseboards and white trim around the window but it seems to work in there. Are you saying maybe I can turn all my trim white if I go to an ivory? My FC is oak, yes. I love the wood on it. The sofa and chair I think are mahogany. They're stained so dark they're almost black.

Thanks for the good wishes on my test tomorrow. I hope it doesn't snow or I'll have to cancel. I'm just glad I finally found a good doctor who cares and is thorough, for a change. Wish I'd found one long ago if this is P.A.D. It's ticking me off because I want to walk for fitness and for my dogs, and walking down my little hallway in the house is making my legs feel achy/exhausted. Climbing the steps is murder; I have to rest at the landing to lower the pain level. I'm really hoping this doc can help. I urge anyone who is experiencing anything like that to keep finding new docs until they get one who cares.


Thanks for your good wishes. I'm so sorry to hear you're waking in pain -- how awful! Osteo is a bear. :(

I had a waterbed and stubbornly clung to it for far too long. I switched out to a foam mattress and do much better on it. It has the memory foam on top. I saved money by getting it at a foam shop (no fancy covering). I tried out everything and picked out the combination of layers that is best for me. And I can always add another layer or switch one out. It's one of the best things I did.

The other thing that has helped me more than I can tell you is sticking to the blood type food lists. I highly recommend everyone over 40 give that a serious try for a month to see for yourself. It's been a lifesaver for me.

I'm with you... none of this getting old stuff! Just about the time we finally get it all together, we start losing it. Where do we sign up for reverse birthdays?

My daughter is very talented, thanks. My son can swap out an engine, and can cut baseboards and put them up in the blink of an eye. Good kids are a real blessing.


That's a pretty entry! I love your door and sidelight. What color is that on the walls?


Your title made me chuckle!

Good grief, girl, you fell on the stairs while you were pregnant? Yikes!! I hope you held on to that baby. I was an idiot not to insist on a ranch when I bought this house. They're really hard to find here and frankly I love the look of a two-story but not of a ranch. I was thinking this would be my last move but maybe it's not. My next door neighbors my age are thinking of having a stair elevator put in to theirs, as it's cheaper than moving.

I'm jealous if you have hardwood under your carpet. I'm sure I have plywood under mine. I'd go for it were I you. Wood floors are so gorgeous, and yes they boost resale. Installing a real wood floor looks like a ton of work; I've only seen it done on HGTV.

I'm thinking that if I can get Plexiglass cut to the exact size of my windows, it could be secured by a little strip of wood trim. I thought about taking with but it would probably be a big resale booster. Here are the two windows I've made.

This is in my bathroom:

This is at my son's house, next to his front door:

I'm pretty excited about designing stained glass for my entry, and have some ideas floating around the back of my head.

Hahaha! Easiest way to complete a project -- indeed! I'll think about your words. I'm kind of a fan of the make-everything-a-focal-point school of decorating. :) I think a crystal chandelier would be better than a Tiffany if I do the windows, though. But money and work saved is a good thing.

I'll give some thought to a less ornate frame -- though I think my son will shoot me if I ask him to take it down and put it up again for me. It was a hard job. Now, I'm not quite understanding about the umbrella stand. Do you think I should replace mine? I wish it were a darker color. I have thought about it.

A boot scraper under the horse? hehehe

    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 6:09PM
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"To do the cutting in along the ceiling, I taped a paint brush to a pole."

Wow, I don't know if I would have enough confidence to do that, but that sounds better than climbing a ladder. Problem is that since the ceiling is a long way from the floor it's hard to see, but you can see it close from the upstairs.

I bought a edge pad that could be attached to an extension pad, but I tested in on the kitchen this weekend, and it didn't turn out good. I suspect it because the ceiling is textured.


    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 7:22PM
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Barb, most of that cutting in was done from the top of the stairs ladder. I couldn't reach what I was painting without the pole, but I could see it better than if I'd been on the floor. Poles are our friends. :)

I've done a LOT of painting. I've even thought about doing it for a living and if I had enough stamina I would. I love a freshly painted wall.

I don't like paint pads and I don't like foam brushes. I love my Purdy brushes and they were worth every extra penny. Well, a 1" foam brush is nice for cleaning out the rim around the edge of the can.

However, I love, love, love my little foam roller. It's super lightweight so it's easy on hands, wrists, arms, and arthritis. I can paint a lot longer with it than I can with a big heavy roller. It's also far easier to clean out. I've reused mine over and over too many times to count.

The texture looks weird when you first roll on with a foam roller, but it settles out to look normal in seconds. Once in a while I think I need to do a second coat because of having used the foam, but usually not. However, even painting it twice with the little foam roller is easier on me than the big heavy rollers.

Behr is my favorite paint.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 8:10PM
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Oceanna--how very beautiful your work is! If you can find a way, I am certain that your entry would be a knock out with the window. I can't see your window in the living room very well, but it looks as if you have draperies that cover most of the frame. I would not worry too much about changing the framework around that window --low priority I would think.

I now realize that there is a corner between the half wall behind your fc and your tall entry wall, so the idea that I had might be difficult (two paint colors joining at an "outie" corner)--I was wondering about painting your living room with an ivory or pale buttercream yellow as a backdrop for the fc and the wood trim. I think that that a subtle ivory/yellow would work well with the wood tones. I think yellow works with most wood tones, even dark ones, and certainly oak. With your lovely red, if you picked that up again in a wonderful rug, you could add some touches of blue in other fabrics and accessories (or in the window that you design) and possibly in the rug. This would give you a primary yellow/red/blue scheme that along with the brown toned wood and the pale brown on your entry walls. It would also tie in with the pale yellow that you are using in your kitchen and I have found that pale yellow/ivory/buttercreams also do well with those taupe tones in your carpet.
Also if you go with keeping the wood trim you might consider a way to make a "unit" of the entry door and the window to the side. You might for example use some wide oak trim to frame them as a unit with pilasters matching the style of your current wood railing (fairly simple, not too much detail in the pilasters) on the left of the door, the right of the window and then covering the space between the window and the door, sort of like I did around my french doors in my sunroom. Then you could choose a door treatment (paint or stain) to balance what you would do with the side window (would you be able to do gallery glass for that window that would be translucent--giving light but providing privacy?

I was so glad that you added photos of what you had actually already done in your foyer plus the pics and placement of your beautiful furniture, not to mention tose fantastic windows that you have done--because I think your home is lovely JUST LIKE IT IS. I think you can relax and focus on making changes that you would enjoy doing and that interest you, but you don't have to do anything because your home is aready lovely.

Just rest and take care of yourself. Please let us know how you are doing.

Peace, Beth

Picture below: note that the pilasters around the door and side windows cover the door and window frames and a blank wall in between--joining them into a unit. Yours would be the oak wood color and would not necessarily have the lattice work. These pilasters are relatively easy to make and then just use some oak very simple crown molding on the top.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 8:43PM
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I managed to post a picture on the "test" page of my brackets and then it disappeared! i still can't figure out how to do it here, but i will keep searching. no browse button comes up in preview your message.

I know there are a lot of differing thoughts about painting trim, so it comes down to what each person's taste is. I find that the darker trim can break up a space, so I don't have any problem painting over it if I need to! I think a nice ivory color trim would be gorgeous. Nothing stark, an antiquey color like an off-white or cream. I used a lot of cream in my houses on the trim and I love the soft look it gives. It can even play up the trim in the end. For instance, you can easily put up a piece of quarter round or extra trim above the original trim (get advice from hardware store re what piece would work to do this) and then paint it all and it will be a beautiful detail that goes with your furniture and still does not compete against the style of the home.

It's funny how we have to work with the style and yet carefully edit it to blend it with our personal styles! You have an artistic eye, so I am sure you will come up with something great! i LOVE the windows you did for your son!!! and i agree, a crystal chandelier would be perfect. so wish i could post my entry redo, as i hung a chandelier there and it warmed the space up so much.

yes, I've fallen down too many stairs to mention-- ouch. better safe than sorry!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 9:05PM
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Thank you so much for hanging in here with me on this thread! :) I've been thinking maybe I should have posted a bunch of little threads instead of throwing so much out there at a time -- but these areas are all connected.


Thanks! I enjoyed doing those windows and I want to make my transom even more beautiful. I was looking at the dimpled side window... I'd been thinking of starting a tree or vines/flowers there and carrying it across the transom... but there is a pretty big gap between the two, which leaves me scratching my head a bit more. Whatever I do there it had better be good.

I'm working on a tray tonight. It's an old aluminum one that I use to carry bird dishes and I'm sick of it leaving grey smudges on my sink. So I cleaned it, primed it, and painted it black and I put a gold rim around it. I'm thinking of doing some bunnies on it, or birds, can't decide which. SO fun! I can see doing these for eBay (I could sure use the $ and I don't think I'm strong enuf any more to hire out for painting -- but we'll see what the doc can do for me) and I already wish I had a dozen more started just for the joy of doing them.

I got a tole tray with the thought of reworking it. It's a turquoise color and looks so darned pretty in my kitchen that I just sealed it last night. I don't have the heart to rework it. I do want to use it, though. Eventually it, or other trays I do could end up on the wall. But I need one for carrying bird food.

Here is a picture of the corner at the top of the stairs going into the hall:

Is that the corner you mean? The end of the half wall doesn't amount to anything and I change color there already. There is an end table there to the right of the FC, so all you see is just the thickness of the wall. Changing color there is no problem.

To the right of this photo you see the doorknob to my hall closet. Around to the left is where the Mucha picture is hung... the wall over the descending staircase. Right now the hallway is yellow, and that includes the wall that has the halltree, to the right of my kitchen opening. I was thinking I'd probably repaint the hall and my DR all the same as the LR.

I'm a redhead and my skin has a bit of yellow undertone in it and I look good with yellow in my colors. I believe in using for decor the colors we would wear, so we look pretty in our own houses. All my colors have yellow undertones, as does my skin (I'm told -- my hair is auburn because of gold-red tones, eyes green -- I was a freckle-faced kid, still have freckles on my arms and I sunburn) -- which is why the taupe carpet is fighting everything I own including myself. It's also why I painted my fireplace -- the bricks were a purple-grey-brown. The POs were grey lovers. We don't get everything we want in life, and the house is close to my son and in very good shape (PO was a carpenter) with a livable floor plan, so I bought it. Now to make it mine!

One of my concerns is that rugs so often have burgundy, but I need to find a more rusty red. I'm not sure how easy that will be. The couch isn't burgundy; it's deep tomato red. I was thinking that for a LR rug I would just stay with beiges and browns to avoid the whole problem? The stairway runner and my sofa aren't visible at the same time, so if that is a bit more toward burgundy it wouldn't be such a big deal, but I'd still prefer a yellow red.

I am definitely wondering what color to paint the LR. I was thinking of a gold taken out of the FC fabric anyway, so I will definitely consider an ivory. I like ivory but was thinking of a more dramatic color. Do you think ivory is better than a deeper gold?

There is green in the FC, so I'm already yellow-red-green in the LR. That's kind of my color scheme from my last house too. No blue, though. I can do navy or aqua, but not royal blue or baby blue. Should I run with the green or throw blue in there too? I'm beginning to wonder if my LR will be like a rainbow, and certainly hope it won't be like a clown. hehe

Definitely an advantage to designing my own window is I can use whatever colors pick up on my color scheme. For that matter, I could, and probably eventually will do all my own artwork too.

I absolutely love the pillasters in your sun room! However, there is very small clearance on my door wall between things -- I think there's about 1/4" to the left of the door as it is. I'll have to think about if it can be done. Great idea. I love, love, love good architectural/trim in a home. It makes a huge difference. I sure wish I could figure a way to get to that darned popcorn ceiling and put up crown moulding. I love the kitchens that have like a half a turned spindle next to the cabinets. So pretty.

Aw shucks! I think my home needs a lot of improvement, but love reading your words. I'll be glad when JCP finally sends me the darned drapery rod I paid for I think it was in November -- so I can see if those curtains will work out there or if they need to be returned. It sure will be good to get the right curtains up there. It took me almost 35 years to get my last home to where I truly loved it. It was a great house with huge rooms. But it was getting to be too much for me, especially the humungus yard. I've learned some gardening tricks since then though, so I'm having more fun with this yard. :-) It's nothing to write home about but it's for sure not overgrown with weeds.

Thanks -- I don't want to rest, I want and need to exercise, but first they need to reduce the pain so I can. I'm getting a new rebounder -- my old one is SO old. I'm planning to hit it umpteen times a day if that's what it takes to get in better shape. Don't laugh, but for now I'm putting it in the LR so I don't have any excuse. The only other place is downstairs and I find myself avoiding those stairs until the dirty laundry piles up and I'm out of clean clothes -- bad me.

I love that pic of your sunroom -- wish I could sit there with you and have a cup of tea, or in the summer a cool lemonade!


Oh dear. I use ImageShack. Then I copy/paste the bottom URL into the text here. I type . No spaces except between "img" and "src." Works every time. I do hope you can post your pics as I'd love to see what you've done.

I know just what you're saying about adding trim rather than removing and replacing. It's far more economical that way too.

If you use ivory/cream for the trim, then what would you use for the LR walls? And do you think the ivory would look better than the wood around my dark furniture (see pics above)? That's my holdup on doing it.

Ouch on the falling down stairs! I'm such a klutz my friends would laugh at me as I would ski down the hill just fine and while waiting in line for the lift I would fall over! I'm hypermobile with poor balance so I think "klutz" is my middle name. Small hand-eye coordination I can do, like painting, drawing, beading, sewing, etc. I could shoot the burglar well too. lol But big muscle coordination? I must have been napping behind a big wall when they handed that out. Maybe we need pillows strapped to us?

    Bookmark   February 4, 2008 at 12:31AM
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Just wanted to stop in to say that the ideas posted here will surely make a big difference in your space. Your entry has a lot of light, and I love, love, love the idea of using the glass work to bring in some color. Your work is just wow!! With talent like that, your "ugliest" entry won't be that way for long.

You mentioned about painting the LR gold, and I think that would really warm up your space. It also goes great with the rusty reds you described. I agree that creamy white woodwork would look great as well.

Please post pictures when you make the changes. I am always interested to see how things turn out.


    Bookmark   February 4, 2008 at 7:58AM
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Here are plans for a railing planter. You would have to modify them to fit your banister.

About your stairs--is there any way you can get a peek? Maybe from the bottom in the lower level? My parents were pleasantly surprised to find out the stairs in their mid-century modern house were fir--but then the landing turned out to be plywood!

Here is a link that might be useful: Plans for railing planter

    Bookmark   February 4, 2008 at 9:46AM
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thank you for the instructions! i have posted on other forums no problem...this site was beginning to feel much as you described your hand-eye coordination for me. and yes, i can's walking i have a hard time with:-)...and now posting photos? gee whiz.

yes, i do think the ivory trim works with your furniture. here where i live there are a lot of victorian and colonial styles and most of the homes in the historic register have darker, antique furniture and painted moldings. in terms of wall colors, someone did a mock up hhere of a nice warmish taupe/chocolate color....not dark like chocolate, but it had those tones of pink in the beige that went really well with the fainting couch or settee you have. i would look at caramels and taupes and make sure the taupe doesn't accentuate the grey carpet color. it might acgtually pull it all together and warm it up quite a bit if it is the right one. not a mushroom taupe, but a lighter shade of chocolate. champagne is always a fav color of mine, caramels and parchments...any of those would be a great unifier of your antiques...and not too bold, still going with the feel of the home. just adding a backdrop for the furniture. i had caramet colored walls (will try to post those too) with red velvet sofa and loved the way it looked....

okay, i think i might have done this...let's see! you have to look up, cuz the brackets are at top of pic. i hung the chandelier, put the flooring in and painted -- it was a green shag carpeted entry hall with lime green walls! it is the last picture (3rd one)

Here is a link that might be useful: brackets in entry hall

    Bookmark   February 4, 2008 at 3:37PM
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We should have a "bilevel thread!" Our last house was one. Good in many ways with a livable flow but the entry was a pain. We put up beadboard and attached some hooks for coats. It was too small to do much with but we made some changes upstairs. DH hung a half-oval shelf at the top of the landing for "seasonal bits"-- a flowering plant with some little tchotke or other. We hung flowered curtains over the sliding glass door in the DR, which I really appreciated. I used similar fabrics and colors in both the LR and DR but I painted the DR in wide, pale taupe and white stripes. Our house was not gifted with great windows or nice trim but eventually it became quite cozy and livable.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2008 at 4:45PM
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Thanks so much for your kind comments! :)

Suggestions coming in for the woodwork are paint it, no don't paint it. Suggestions coming in for the LR are ivory, gold, and chocolate, and I'm also wondering about green.

I'll definitely post pics when I have something to post. I keep hoping my curtain rod will show up so I can get the curtain thing settled, and then I can think about paint.


Thanks for the plans, very cool. Now I'm confused. I thought the planters were supposed to go on the sloped piece in the middle of the stairwells? Was that supposed to be for behind the FC?


You're welcome. I hope you can now post pics.

Once I get the curtain thing settled I'll need to do some photoshopping for wall color in the LR and try to narrow it down. I'll keep your suggestion in mind, thanks.

Yes I see your corbels, very attractive! I hadn't thought about them being dark. The pics are small, but your home looks just beautiful.


Nice looking house! You must have put in the glass fronted cabs in the kitch yourself?

I have the slider to the deck in the DR too, but only ordered a topper for it. It has vertical blinds from PO and I almost never draw them, but they are good for those few days when the house is hot. I don't want full length draperies there because I let the dogs in and out there several times a day. I really like the beadboard in your BR. Your dining table looks very inviting! What time is dinner? ;-)

    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 3:04AM
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I've been looking at this thread for a couple of days.
I think your foyer is not ugly, just lacking some drama.
Here's what I would do...
Strip all the wood on the landing and stair rail etc...
The wood seems to be ash? Then I would stain the wood darker
to be more in keeping with the antiques. I am good at refinishing furniture, so if you like the idea I can guide you through it so that you get an even tone without the darker swirls taking the stain to dark. It's inexpensive to do just a lot of elbow grease. I would make mantle tops over the windows and door and stain them the same color.
I love the camel color you painted the wall (and the garland too) I would paint the front wall the camel color as well as the inside of the front door paint it a slightly deeper semi gloss camel color. To the right of the front door place a small little unique table and small lamp.
Now for the stairs, rip up the wall to wall, refinish the steps, (again just elbow grease) stain them the same color as all the wood and buy a floral stair runner, as well as a
complimentary rectangular wool rug. Now for the windows, do your stained glass overlay.
That all being said, you may have to paint over the lovely garland as there may be too much going on between the garland on the wall and the floral rug.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 11:53AM
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This is an example of a mantle top, we made this from
poplar wood and stained it to match the furniture in the room.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 11:58AM
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What about some pretty wainscot and chair rail running up the stairwell wall (Wainscot can be found at HD and Lowes for cheap if you don't mind using the molded mdf stuff -- easier to use and doesn't split like wood when you're putting it up)? Maybe use wood treads and a carpet runner on the stairs, too. That will help draw the eye up instead of no man's land. And I would do something about that light fixture and take down the swag treatment.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wainscot idea

    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 1:07PM
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hi oceanna,

the corbels i used are actually an antiqued green-- they just look dark cuz of the photo (user error).

i know you are getting a lot of different advice...and it can be confusing, but the bottom line is that you have great taste and you have to go with what feels good for you to live in. it works to have the woodwork stained OR painted. both will work-- it's up to you how you want it to feel. judging from your glass work, you have an excellent eye so i am sure your decision will be beautiful.

you might just need some time to let all the ideas germinate. i make the slowsky's look speedy when it comes to making decorating decisions...

thank you for the compliments- sorry the pics were so small. i don't live there anymore, but it was fun redoing the place. now i am facing an entirely new house with all new problems and challenges. one day i will live in the house after i get it decorated and won't that be nice?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 1:37PM
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You do not have the ugliest foyer!!
I have skimmed and glanced at photos.
I love your gallery glass. You could hang it on hooks - framed out in wood.

It seems to me what is throwing you off is the color of the carpet. Have you considered replacing the carpet?

Something in a nice understated design - low pile or looped/berber style.
I found this one on Karastan - have no idea about the price?? But something to tie in the gold of the woodwork and the tomato red of your gorgeous sofa. Green would be a good color to blend those.


Here is a link that might be useful: example of Karastan wall to wall carpet

    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 3:38PM
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Sorry, wrong link.


    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 5:36PM
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Yes! johnatemp~ That's the right style, that is exactly perfect. Well, it would be for me, but it's your $$, LOL.

Oceanna~ Sorry I mentioned the frame around the picture, it is NO BIG DEAL! But I do agree a darker colored umbrella stand would stand out more. Have you looked at Michaels? I personally love the walking sticks, very European.

I LOVE your Gallery Glass, that would be so awesome!

And I love your exact colors too, you described them so eloquently. Now I am not a redhead, but I have been known to fake it, LOL. I do have green eyes, LOL.

I love seeing everyone's pics! Decorpas, demeron amd cliff_and_joann~how nice of you to share.

p.s. The baby is fine, he's seven yrs old now.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2008 at 1:39AM
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Thanks so much for your input. I don't know what kind of wood it is, but I've stained soft woods before and I know what you mean, that they can stain real unevenly. If you know how to avoid that I'd love to know, just in general regardless of what I do here.

Which are you referring to as the "camel" color -- the darker color on the bottom of the wall? Because the door wall is already the same color as the upper part of the wall, but turning it the darker color might be a good idea.

I agree on the stair runner and matching rug. I'm just thinking it would be a lot less work to just leave the carpet down on the stairs underneath?

The picture you posted is beautiful! Staining the wood dark -- that's something I can "photoshop" to look at, thanks. I like the "mantle" you built on top, and your windows are lovely.


I do love wainsot treatments. Thanks for the link; that is gorgeous. That's another thing for me to "photoshop." I take it you think I should paint out my flowers?


I'm already planning to take the swag down when I get the Gallery Glass up, so I agree with you.

Yes, all the different advice definitely is confusing. I think I'll have to "photoshop" a lot of different looks to see what I like best. Thanks for the vote of confidence! It's for sure that all the changes can't come quickly; it will take me time to decide, and also to do the work. I've been thinking about my LR floor for quite a while now and still don't know the answers. You're decorating first and moving later?


You're really right that I hate that carpet. It is sucking the life out of my warmer colors. I would love to replace it but I'm on a tiny fixed income, so I'm still thinking about how I can afford it. Yes, Karastan is lovely stuff. I priced a 10x12 square of one pattern on that web site and it was estimated at approx $2K. lol! You have exquisite taste! Do you also have some winning lotto numbers for me? ;)

    Bookmark   February 6, 2008 at 4:42AM
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Oceana, Yes I mean the darker camel color on the door as well as the wall.
To get an even tone on stained wood,
after you strip and sand it you need to apply Boiled Linseed oil (apply with a rag) you need to wait 3 days (even if it feels dry)lightly sand it before applying stain, then wait 2 days, lightly sand and apply your varnish or Waterlox.
Wood like oak and ash -- the darker parts will stain dark
the boiled linseed oil prevent that from happening.
As I said in the previous post, I think your wood is ash.
If you decide to do it, you can email me and I'll go into detail on how to strip the wood and get the desired finish you want and which sand paper and steel wool to use.
Yes, you can just start with the steps going up to use the runner.
Try and get wool, I have a wool runner on my steps for about 6 years and it looks as good as the day we put it down. I am a big fan of wool carpet and runners, as they seem to not get dirty or stained and hold up to the dogs etc...

A friend did her stairs after she saw mine and bought an inexpensive oriental (not wool) and after several months it
looked like a bath mat in need of a wash, my point being buy the best you can afford for your stairs cause it takes a beating, and you don't want to have to constantly replace it.
Here is an example of poplar, which is a very difficult wood to stain (ask any woodworker -- it's used mostly for painting projects) with the boiled linseed oil we were able to achieve the color we needed to match the furniture.
Your ash wood would be easier to stain than this poplar wood was. We made this several years ago, at the time there wasn't many places to buy premium wood like maple or walnut and I knew I didn't want oak with the characteristic cathedrals so I opted for poplar.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2008 at 11:21AM
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Wow, that looks gorgeous! Thanks for the information, and for your kind offer of more help if I decide to do this. I think it's going to be a while until I decide what to do. I also appreciate your words of warning on the runner. There is a serious budget problem here, though.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2008 at 11:28AM
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I think all you need to do is spruce it up with some new paint with some color and install a decorative stain glass adhesion over the top window above the door.

Simple and also not much $$ to make a world of difference.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 5:27PM
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I tried reading all the posts, there were too many. So forgive me if this is a duplicate idea? Did you consider replacing the front door and glass with a double glass door? I know that is pricey but would look fabulous!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 5:54PM
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Oceanna - The suggestions are all wonderful, but your entry is quite also quite warm and inviting... Keep this in mind as you pair your decorating options with monetary restraints. :-)

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 7:07PM
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My goodness, how did this get revived? lol

Mhanna -- you're right -- but right now I'm several days into trying to pick the right design to do my own Gallery Glass window over the front door. So this is timely because I'm working on this. I'm also wondering if getting the window up there means I'll need to repaint the walls.

GK5040 -- I'd love to do that but the budget is miniscule. Creativity is big though. :) I should put up a post soon about my choices for over the door.

Japhynmarley -- Thanks for your kind words. I like it to be warm and inviting -- I think that's what entries should be. They should say "come on in."

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 8:54PM
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I agree that we should keep up a RR/Split/bi level thread going. I am bumping this up to see what others have done with theres. I have seen some great ideas and would love to see more.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2008 at 11:21PM
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Cliff & JoAnn, what a pleasure to see a bit of your beautiful home again, the wood work is exquisite!
Oceanna, what fabulous antiques, your fainting couch is exceptional! Personally, I would not use white near a softened antique, rather, draw from my favorite shades in the fabric to dramatize attention to this wonderful treasure!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 12:22PM
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I am so glad this topic is here. I have a split-foyer home and am always looking for ideas. Mine is a little different from oceana's in it only has the front door not the glass on the side and at the top. I have lived with this over 30 years and have updated it in many ways over the years. I am about to do it again.

Right now, it has a hardwood floor and a wooden decorator door with the oval, beveled glass. The door and my stairs are the same color. I have used a decorative cut glass type film to block out some of the glare and provide a bit of privacy in the door. I am planning to add tread/stair brackets to the sides once it's painted this time. The only thing I want there (you know how small it is), is a silk or live tree and a fountain. Haven't decided if it'll be a wall fountain or a floor one. I removed the carpeting sometime ago to reveal lovely hardwood stairs.

I have faced the front of the stairs with a lightweight Luwan material that I plan to paint white. I will then add WORDART to the risers going upstairs. The wall leading upstairs has 3 pictures that I have stairstepped. I like the tapestry that another poster had and will probably opt to try that look. Will try to match the tapestry to the round rug that I will use in the foyer to pull it together. I won't finish until sometime in August and will post before/after pictures at that time (have to read how to do this).

I will be painting it in a butter cream color to complement the LR/DR colors. I also love the idea of using wainscotting and will ask my painter what he thinks. It will give the area an entirely richer look. I have a ceiling fan with a light there now. This will be replaced with a traditional foyer chandelier or a pendant lamp.

I have seen some do Photoshop. I am sure this is a software package that might be pricey. Is there something out there that can help an on-a-budget homeowner see what her foyer might look like before I do it?

Thanks for reading. Sorry to be so long.


    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 4:34PM
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Bodica, thanks for your kind words. Interesting idea. I'll think about what color that could be.

Peachie, can you post some photos? I'd love to see it.

I thought I posted this to this thread, but I guess I didn't. Here is my stained glass piece, all done...

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 8:24PM
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Sorry, I haven't had time to read all the other responses, but my vote would be to paint the wood trim a creamy white with a soft gold/buff on the walls and keep the light fixture, it's back in style!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 10:33PM
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Oceanna, what a beautiful glass piece. I love it. I love the way your foyer looks. You have really made it your own. It is really pretty.

I will post before pictures this weekend for the foyer. Since I am in the midst of getting the bedrooms back to normal after the floor installations, I want the surrounding areas to be a tad bit neat. Expect something by Sunday.


    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 9:29AM
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