ORC™ Week Two: Entryway Design Concept

remodel of a two story foyer in a suburban home


My favorite thing about the One Room Challenge™ is how you get to see room makeovers in real time. In this HGTV-laden world of mega-renovations from start to finish in under an hour, it’s refreshing to be reminded that real life projects take time. I have clients who get so frustrated by the third weekend of their living room renovation that they’re ready to throw in the towel. That just breaks my heart because I know that if you just persevere for a few more weeks, you’ll have the home of your dreams for the rest of your life. Rushing through decisions and taking short cuts is no way to treat the most expensive object in your life. It’s especially no way to treat the place you’ll raise your family, gather your friends, or toast whomever is the newest bachelorette looking for love in exactly the wrongest place.

That said, I don’t have much progress to show you all this week because I’m taking my time on this one. I’m making decisions that are thoughtful and negotiated, instead of just jumping in all at once. This is my second round of The One Room Challenge™ and I made some big mistakes last time. Mistakes I’m not looking to repeat. Mistakes that could have been avoided if I’d taken more time to plan and brainstorm. Mistakes like installing this wallpaper /lighting combo that, while stunning, doesn’t suit the style of my home:

Your home has a style. Try to work with it and not against it.
Your home has a style. Try to work with it and not against it.

I absolutely love the overall aesthetic of this space. For another home. Now, as we reflect and decide what needs to be updated before we can sell our house, this room is back on the list. The one space in our home that felt entirely finished just a few months ago will require more updates (read: money) before the entire house will feel cohesive and completely remodeled. In fact, the space we started with – before the last ORC™ – actually feels right for this home, in retrospect.

Upscale transitional is the name of the suburban house game.
Upscale transitional is the name of the suburban house game.

There are no words to describe how terrible it feels to know that you put your family. – and yourself – through six grueling weeks of renovation just to end up with a space that isn’t quite right. Plus, Christine is pissed, having warned me repeatedly that the wallpaper was a step in the wrong direction. Total fail.

I don’t love admitting I’m wrong. I’m telling you all of this so that when you make decisions about your renovation, you think about what I’m saying here and it requires you to be more thorough and approached in your decision-making. Think about the entire home, as a whole. Don’t just plan one room that makes no sense for the rest of your home, like I did. I see kitchens all the time that make me wonder if the family who lives there have split personalities. I should have known better than to make this mistake. This just goes to show you – no one is without err.

Look at this dumbass smiling like she didn’t just destroy her dining room. Plus, what is that bowtie about????
Look at this dumbass smiling like she didn’t just destroy her dining room. Plus, what is that bowtie about????

This time around, I’m taking things slow. I’m making lists of items that really need to be addressed and not just updates for the sake of updating. If you’ve been reading for a while, you may recall that when I began tackling the dining room, I’d made a proclamation about how I was bored with decorating my homes for some future resident. I wanted to see my own style reflected and DARN IT this is where it starts! (you can read all about that here)

Well, I’m just going to take that platter of crow sprinkle it over the ice cream I’m currently stress-eating because, as it turns out, I do need to be decorating this home for someone else. This isn’t our forever home. My realtor’s advice (see the full list of things to consider for upping your resale value here) is so relevant. We’ll be selling in May, so I need to make sure whatever we do next is impactful but intentional. Since this is the first space any potential buyer will see, I want it to shine but also feel relevant to their lives.

So here’s my list of items we must tackle:
paint spindles
replace carpet with wood
fix loose railing
install stair runner

patch/paint walls
install moulding
build bookcase in landing
accent wallpaper / stencil
paint doors/trim
replace almond switches / outlets with white

replace boob lights in hallway
DIY console table
commission artwork for hallway
gallery portraits wall in hallway
replace gold door knobs with black
find mirror for front entry

entry closet storage – art supplies, games, outerwear, shoes
extra pillows / throws storage
family book storage
hall closet storage – extra linens, towels, toiletries, lightbulbs, vacuum, carpet cleaner


I’ve always admired Sherry and John Petersik at Young House Love. They have great DIY tutorials and I’ve been wanting to try their DIY Stair Runner Installation for years. That’s my plan. I’ll be installing new wood treads and risers and using their tutorial to figure out how to install a runner over them. You should check it out! I’m telling you, it’s super thorough! And of course I’ll report back on how it goes.

We have two closets that will require some reorganization. Or really, initial organization because we’ve honestly just thrown everything we need to store into these spaces without any real thought or process. It’s annoying. We rarely find what we need and I’m embarrassed by the looks of them. So we’re going to do it. I’m particularly inspired by this colorful coat closet from Better Homes and Gardens and this coat-turned-cleaning closet from Polished Habitat (above). In general, I’m looking for inexpensive storage solutions that will allow us to easily hide all of our necessary items in an attractive way. A $2,000 custom closet isn’t in the budget, so we’ll have to DIY a solution (but what’s new, am I right?!).

dining room shiplap alternative

I’m planning to use the exact same treatment from the dining room (above) – the one situation in which I maybe didn’t err – in the foyer. I’m not going to clad the entire space in a wall treatment because I want to add some color. But I will be taking this shelf idea from Jason Donnelly Interiors (below) into serious consideration for my design.

Jason Donnelly Interiors
Jason Donnelly Interiors

So keeping all of those foundational ideas in mind, here’s my final design concept for this space:

foyer design concept - coastal but upscale modern

And here are the sources:
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water hyacinth basketdecorative beadsconsole tablerunnerwallpapermirrorcoral figurinejarvase
Original artwork from Renee Gibson. You can contact her

Did you take a look around the other challenge participant’s blogs and instagram posts last week? I found about a hundred new people to love, so I highly recommend that you check them out. You can see everyone’s current projects here.


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  1. You did a beautiful job with the last ORC, but I totally get it. I love the direction you’re going in & can’t wait to see the big reveal!

  2. I understand- I’ve totally done the same thing! Thank you for being so honest with this! I do love your dining room now but it was beautiful before too. I’m excited to see where you go with the entryway!

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