I’m excited to now bring you inside our Montgomery flip/dream house! If you look past the dirt, navy blue carpeted stairs, water damage, and brown velvet curtains, you can see that this foyer had pretty amazing bones to begin with.
The handmade terracotta floor, the rustic wood accents, the leaded glass windows…I was completely obsessed with it all and didn’t care one bit about the other stuff. It just needed a little love to bring it to its full potential!
Of course, the foyer had to get much, much worse before it could get better!
Not only did it become our holding zone for all sorts of construction materials and shipments throughout this renovation, but we had the tile saw set up out here for a loooonnng time, which didn’t help the situation!
It might look like the foyer only needed a good cleaning and some new paint, but it actually was a much bigger job just because of one little detail. All of the common areas of the house had textured walls, which is totally a personal preference, but I thought that making them smooth would go a long way in freshening and updating the space.
Phil tackled this horrible de-texturing job, even in these 2-story room. Thankfully none of the ceilings were textured, just the walls. He used a paint roller to coat the walls with a thin layer of joint compound, let it dry, and then used a pole sander to smooth it…and repeated the process over and over again until the texture was gone!
It took about 3-4 sequences for the wall to look smooth again. The front door was boarded up during this time while we were working on refinishing it.
I mentioned about refinishing the beautiful door in the front yard post. The exterior side of the door had this stunning texture to the wood –
But the wood on the inside of the door was much smoother, so removing the paint from this surface was not nearly as difficult.
Even so, it was still basically impossible to get the old paint completely out of the cracks in-between the different planks of wood, regardless of what tool we used. After staining it, I used a tiny paint brush and the dark trim paint to just cover up any white paint stuck in the seams. It ended up accentuating the different boards, which is not a bad thing in my opinion.
That pretty hammered metal was a surprise we discovered. I had planned on removing the paint from the original decorative hardware, but was not at all expecting the reverse side to be so pretty! I’m a sucker for all things hammered metal, so using the textured side was an easy choice.
The last item required to finish the door project (minus that yellow duct tape threshold) was replacing the mysteriously absent interior door handle!
The lockset and handle appeared to be something custom made, so I wasn’t sure what to do about replacing the inside portion.
I didn’t want to go the custom route for this item – (especially because I ignored it until the very end of the renovation and ended up not having time to do that) – but luckily I found something in a similar style on eBay that did the job.
One of the biggest improvements to the foyer was the stair project. The old navy blue carpet was the very first thing to be removed from the inside of the house, and the stairs remained bare for most of the renovation as I waffled about how to finish them. Ultimately I decided not to do a standard wood tread because I didn’t want it to compete or clash with all of the surrounding very rustic wood.
Instead, I thought that tiled stairs would be perfect! Of course, a few boxes of tile arrived completely smashed (you know, as to be expected on the last leg of a very stressful renovation), but thankfully the company replaced them so it only costed us the wait time for the replacements to arrive.
Our contractor reinforced the stairs and wrapped the treads and risers with cement board to support the tile. We went with a terracotta tread to coordinate with the terracotta on the first floor below. For the risers, I choose an ivory and navy patterned tile. Most of the tiles like these are very obviously in a Mexican or Spanish style, but I tried to pick one that wasn’t quite as style-specific so it might work in a house that’s more French country.
Phil was long gone at this point to his new assignment in California, so we choose to have our contractor tile the stairs. It was kind of a bummer because we were planning on doing it ourselves, but I had my hands full (overflowing, actually) and was happy to not tackle this on my own. I choose a grout color that matched the original floor as closely as possible.
I love how the tile looks next to that rustic wood!
As much as I love how the stairs turned out, the best day ever was the day that the entire terracotta flooring throughout the house was deep cleaned, restored and sealed by a floor refinishing company. The angels were singing this day! Look how clean and sparkly they are!
They sealed the terracotta stairs treads at this time as well. We ordered the treads unfinished because the other option is a very glossy finish, and the tile sealer for the floor would be more satin.
The last thing that the foyer needed was a statement chandelier. The wiring for the original overhead light was located over the stairs. We had it moved over to be centered on the dormer window and the front door, which makes more sense to me!
I wanted to find something really special for this spot, so I scoured eBay for months until I found the perfect antique crystal chandelier that was actually large enough for this grand foyer. It’s a gorgeous Italian fixture from the 1920’s and is a rare find at about 3′ wide! It was kind of fun bringing in a character piece that felt so authentically old and cool – it actually shipped here from a small town in Italy – so small that I had to wait for the sole carpenter in their town to build the crate that it was shipped in! My grandparents were here saving my life on the exciting day that it arrived, and as we were unwrapping each individual crystal, I was completely dumbfounded at how stunning it was – I could not shut up about it!
We used the same large medallion that was in the foyer before, but it looks so much prettier with a thick coat of ivory paint. The chandelier installation day was fully of anxiety for everyone involved, but worth it for the absolute perfect fixture for this space.
The foyer could not be complete without one last bit of drama, of course. In order to close on our construction loan, the bank sent an inspector out to evaluate the renovation. We were a little nervous for it because it was crucial for it to assess at or above the original projected value, so we were trying to present the house as best as possible. Well, the inspector rings the doorbell, and one of our dogs (who shall remain nameless) ran and pounced on the window, cracking a couple of the panes right there in front of him. So the inspector got a really great first impression before he even entered the house…
Add that to the never-ending to-do list! I had no idea what repairing a leaded glass window like this would cost, but thankfully it wasn’t too painful (besides the waiting period and the plywood temporary window during house showings). A local company came out and took the entire sidelight panel back to their shop, and a few weeks later they reinstalled it in perfect condition.
But, all of the frustrations of the renovation, the broken tiles and windows, and drywall dust was all worth it though for a foyer like this! Don’t you agree?
To my surprise I found this really unique white concrete console table on craigslist! I’m fairly certain that it was destined to live in this entryway.
I couldn’t be happier with how this foyer turned out. It makes quite the first impression now!
Paint colors used:
Walls – Behr White Mocha
Baseboards – Behr 75% White Mocha
Door Trim – Sherwin Williams Black Fox