Eliminating a two-story foyer

jbjustAugust 5, 2007

We have a 2-story foyer in our entryway that we aren't very fond of and are thinking of getting rid of it. Looking at model homes, it appears that we could put in a decorative tray ceiling and reclaim up to about the third step of the staircase that is leading out of the foyer to the second floor. This would allow us to add an 8'X 8' room off of our master bedroom that we would use to create a small workout space.

Is this stupid? It seems like two-story foyers are on the way out, but the new room upstairs would have the huge window that is now the top part of the foyer unless we want to make expensive changes to the outside of our house. Does anybody know of anyone else that has done this? It sounds like it would be relatively inexpensive since we're not doing anything with exterior walls, though we may have to have some serious beams installed to create the new room.

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Whatever floats your boat. Two story foyers may not be the most useful thing, but they do add value to bigger houses.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 1:48AM
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I would challange two of your observations. Two story foyers are now the norm in upscale houses.
The cost to convert this area into a room will require alot more then you think; both in terms of money and work.
Call in a few contractors and see what they recommend. You will also need a structural analysis of the situation.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 10:57AM
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I think its an okay idea - but only if you're not in a neighborhood of homes with two-story foyers. If you are than it will be rather odd if you ever sell to have people walk into your home and not have the two-stories. Also, seems like a lot of work and $$ to add just an 8x8 room. I also do think it will be odd to have the huge window in an 8x8 room.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 10:59AM
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Talk to area realtors. I think they will say to leave well enough alone, although I really dislike most of these "towers". Nobody is building these things in my suburb -- haven't for years.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 11:05AM
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The trend in Richmond, Virginia appears to have shifted away from the two-story foyer. We've gone in several upscale model homes and it's only in the cookie-cutter transitionals that you see a two-story foyer anymore. The 8 X 8 room would just be for a sitting area off the master, so you might be right that it's not worth the effort. I'm also concerned that it will just look awful for some reason after we're done and it's too late to undo. It's a hard thing to visualize, really.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 11:06AM
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Our neighborhood has some homes with 2 story foyers and some without. Ours does not. There is a small room on the second floor instead, which we plan on making into a walk in closet when we expand the master bath into the current closet. I would ask some realtors their opinion if you plan on moving in the next ten years. If you don't plan on moving any time soon, then do what you'd like.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 3:08PM
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Ours had a two story foyer in the plans and it was framed that way. I undertook most of the interior finish work and rapidly decided that the foyer was not what we wanted. So I built a balcony over the portion not needed for stairs, kind of "J" shaped. Balusters and railing are not cheap, but we still are very glad for the balcony.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 8:42PM
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We have similar balcony as bus_driver. Our staircase is on a curve as it moves to the second floor and the railing continues around until it meets the wall of the staircase on the upper level. This allows a lot of light to come in from the second floor window. We call it the loft. It has a small loveseat and desk but we plan to create a reading/ library area there. You cannot see our chandelier from the outside windows like most two story foyers. Our chandelier sits lower down the staircase. I thought about closing in this space and making it either part of the master or part of my DDÂs room which is on the opposite side but I would really miss the light from that window and I donÂt think the staircase would be as attractive.

It could get expensive to add this space so I would definitely get a few contractors in to look at it. It may not be worth the expense.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 10:28PM
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Neighbors did exactly this to gain a guest room....it does not look bad...the work was well done...but they did hire an architect for the design, due to concerns regarding support.

They did not have a huge foyer window...just a standard size window...as the exterior is very traditional.
However, their foyer was darkened quite a bit, so they replaced the front door with one that is mostly glassÂÂwhich helped.

Also...it does make the space seem smaller...so unless you have a very sizeable foyer, it could look like an afterthought.

I agree that if you have no resale concern, go with what will work best for you.

However, I think the homes that are designed to have a standard height foyer are usually proportioned best for that design...this may or may not be the case with your home.

Last but not leastÂ..I donÂt know how much they paidÂbut they did say it was not cheapÂso, you need to factor that in terms of value for your home and your area.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 5:25PM
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In my area this work is so common that I've heard of a contractor who specializes in it.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 8:45PM
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I tried to send a photo to jbjust but could not. The attempt only brought a warning not to try to sell something.I never got to even compose a message nor attach a photo.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 7:51PM
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Maybe you could email me the photo directly at letsgohokies@yahoo.com.


    Bookmark   August 13, 2007 at 12:00PM
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My husband and I are currently considering the same thing. We actually put a second story addition on our home and since we live along the river, thought a two-story foyer would be great. Unfortunately, the foyer ended up being much bigger than we had planned and it seems to be 1) making it cold downstairs and 2) taking up space that we could've used for another room. (The foyer is 12x10). We are considering whether we should making it into a bedroom, leave it more open and make it a sitting room, or leave it as is. I would love everyone's thoughts on this and to see any photos you might be able to share. As a side note, no other houses in the area have a two story foyer.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 12:39PM
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I'm considering doing the same thing (in Glen Allen, VA). Most of the homes in my neighborhood have the two-story foyer with enormous chandelier (impossible to change a light bulb in this thing!) I've been daydreaming about converting our small 8 x 10 space into an upstairs laundry area. All five bedrooms are near this area and it would be so nice to not lug laundry up and down the stairs. Can anyone post a picture of their completed foyer conversion? I'd be so interested to see the results and what you think about it.

Jbjust, did you end up doing it? How did it turn out? I realize this thread is 4 years old now.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 7:26AM
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What sells best is good design whatever the style. It is impossible to say if the alteration would be a wise one without seeing both the existing design and the new one.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 3:24PM
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Hello, I was thinking of doing the same thing, 11' x 6'
Using two 2x12' on the outer sides and working towards the center with (2) 2x 10, 2x8,2x6, ending with two 2x4 's in the center, then making the ceiling in the front foyer an 11' long Arched entry using copper or something that looks good, wood whatever...
The span though is something Structural to consider, Probly need a builder.
Also the staircase may look odd, with the railing, etc.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 3:46AM
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    Bookmark   March 16, 2015 at 7:55AM
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Daimon - since this post is 8 years old, they probably figured it out :)

    Bookmark   March 16, 2015 at 1:37PM
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