Before & After: The Foyer

If you follow me on Twitter, you have likely been “tw-eased” by me a few times with some photos of our house. Having a full-time job, plus updating the house and trying to swing a social life has been difficult to find time to blog. But, I’m making time now to show you some before and afters of our recent (ahem…four years in the making) foyer overhaul.

When we bought the house from Ted’s parents, the foyer looked like this:

Just to give you some perspective, our foyer has an entryway that runs perpendicular to our stairs. To the left is our front door and to the right is our back door. There are stairs leading up to the main floor of our house and stairs to the basement. This is a super high traffic area of our house!

The foyer floor was peel and stick blue vinyl tiles, the stairs (and the entire main floor) were covered in a blue/grey carpet that had seen better days and the honey oak railing was one screw close to falling down. It was due time to give it a fresh overhaul.

First, Ted removed the carpet from the stairs and the entire main level of the house. We are fortunate that the original hardwood floors were in decent condition (except for the living room and dining room where there was only plywood under the carpet), so we knew that we would one day have them refinished.

Skip ahead to this past Christmas and we finally were able to have the hardwoods sanded, stained and sealed. We opted to go with a professional and we couldn’t be more pleased with the final result. He did a great job sanding out any imperfections and he was able to match the stain to the colour of our living room/dining room/kitchen floors (which happened to be a vinyl plank…more on that in another post!) :)

Before we had the floors refinished, Ted ripped out the original banister, which was also known as “The Death Trap.” To make sure that no one, including our 6-year-old chocolate lab named Mason, went over the rail, we beautifully fashioned a “safety guard” out of TV trays and yellow caution tape (don’t try this at home, folks!)

At this point, we were ready for our hardwood floor guy to come in and refinish the floors for us. Let me mention that this was all being done two weeks before Christmas. We also had to move out of our house for a week while the floors were being done. Thank goodness for parents who take in their grown children (Thanks Dad!)

Here’s a few snapshots from the process. I was able to pop in to the house during the week the floors were being done to capture the progress.

The stairs being sanded:

The stairs being stained:

The final product:

Our next task was to tackle the foyer flooring and our railing. We also hired a professional for this….Steve, our trusty family friend/contractor for The 236. He did a great job installing a new tile floor in the foyer. We had some tiles left over from our basement bathroom remodel that we used.

For the railing, we saw a photo in one of Home Depot’s magazines and fell in love with it. We gave Steve the magazine and told him to go for it. Here’s some snapshots of the progress.

Steve hard at work installing the new custom railing:

The railing pre-stain (I was the lucky one to have to stain and urethane the railing):

Ted very excited that the railing was stained and sealed (yes, we decided to remove each ballister to make the entire process easier). I used left over stain from the hardwood floor refinishing to an exact match:

The final product — complete with all new baseboards, door casings and paint for the foyer and stairs. The walls are painted in Benjamin Moore’s “Kangaroo” and the trim is done in Benjamin Moore’s “Chantilly Lace”:

I dressed up the foyer with some furniture and accessories that I already had on hand, like the console nesting table, decorative bowl and tree-inspired coat rack. I did add the circular mirror above the table for those out-the-door hair and make-up touch-ups, and the cute little candle shelf that I found at a local thrift store for $4.99:

I love the final product and even though it took four years to get the foyer to this point, we’re thrilled with how functional and welcoming the space is for us and our guests.

The last project that I have to do in this area of our home is to find a functional and eye-pleasing way to sort incoming mail. Right now, our poor decorative bowl gets buried under mail and newspapers. If you have a suggestion, leave me a comment or catch me on Twitter!

Thanks for stopping by The 236!

Linking up with…


Addicted 2 Decorating’s 2011 Year in Review: Room Makeovers


  1. What a terrific makeover! We just purchased hard woods to have our upstairs hallway done. They will also be pulling the carpet from the stairs and sanding and sealing for us. I thought I would try to do the stairs myself but then I thought about all the time and labor involved so we are paying as well. I love your new railing! I have your exact old one. Not looking at changing that out soon but yours is an inspiration. Adding that look to my wish list. :)

  2. I have even uglier carpet and I love what you did, we have the paler old floors that need refinishing too, I love the dark stain on yours, it’s beautiful, great job! Sally

  3. Hi Michelle – love your makeover. Just wondering how you like your Kangaroo paint color. We are thinking of using that color in our Living Room/ dining room. I bought a pint of it but still am not sure. Don’t want it to go pink. Thanks so much.

    1. Hi Diane!

      Yes, we love, love, love the Kangaroo paint colour! We did our living room, dining room, foyer and hallway in that colour. It’s a true beige — not pink hues to it which was important to us. I recommend this colour to all my friends! I hope this helps. :)


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