Foyer Tweaking


ometimes a space just needs a little pick-me-up.  That's how I felt about my foyer.  Actually, I've never really put much thought into the space even though it's the first area seen when walking through the front door. 

No doubt ignoring your foyer will get you an "F" in most Decorating-101 classes.  So I decided to apply some long overdue changes to this area.  

MM foyer2


Last year, I had a carpenter add some architectural interest to the large blank foyer walls with these molded boxes with scalloped corners. 

I've seen this effect in magazines and always admired how the technique adds definition and interest to an otherwise plain, boring wall space. 

Blog wall molding 
A little color goes a long way and sure beats the original, ivory paint.  I chose Lenox Tan (HC-44) by Benjamin Moore which has a rich, khaki-colored tone.

While researching paint colors, I read an online review of Lenox Tan which referred to it as "one of the most overused colors ever". 

If that's true, I can see why because it's a great color that reads quite neutral and goes with just about any adjacent room color.

Blog foyer work2 

I was originally going to have the interior of the boxes painted the same color as the wall.  However, one of the painters suggested I try using Ralph Lauren's Suede textured paint to create some contrast.

NOTE:  I was lucky to find two of the most fabulous, good natured, professional  painters ever (pictured above).  They delivered clean, superior work and their paint lines were straight-as-an arrow.  All free hand too with nothing taped off.  Amazing results.  Skilled painters really make a big difference, so choose carefully for large/detailed jobs like this. 

The Ralph Lauren textured paint used to be widely available at Home Depot but has now been replaced on the shelf with Martha Stewart's paint line. 

I also had a powder room painted with this same effect.  You may have to call the Ralph Lauren company directly to get an up-to-date listing of the independent retailers who carry this paint in your area.


Blog foyer paint 

This is such a cool effect.  It really does look just like a suede with a soft, textured appearance.  This particular color is called Fawn's Leap and is a tad darker than the Lenox Tan.

Here's a close-up of the paint effect.  It may be a little hard to make out in the photo but there definitely is a light texture up close and from a distance it looks very much like suede.

Blog foyer suede2

I wanted to frame the front door with some decorative elements and I  found several of these 12 X 12 wall plaques at an antique store.  I love the grated, floral detail.

However, when I held the plaques up on the wall, the charcoal color made them look too dark and heavy for the space. 

Of course, that's an easy enough fix.  

Blog foyer plates

I didn't bother priming the plaques, I just painted several coats of Lenox Tan over them. 

I also made sure that some of the original dark color remained for a little contrast.

Blog foyer plate2

I definitely lean toward a more monochromatic look  when it comes to home decor so I liked the idea of painting the plaques the same color as the walls.

This works for me and I really like the way the floral design has a very subtle presentation.

Blog foyer grates2

Initially, I thought it would be nice to create a symmetrical look on the other side of the front door.  However, a large switch plate threw off the potential visual balance. 

Instead, I found a similar but larger decorative plaque to use in the space.  It was off-white so I  had to spray paint it charcoal gray first, and then apply the Lenox Tan paint to get the same look as the trio of smaller plaques on the other side of the wall-

Blog foyer plaque


I'm really pleased with how well the wall plaques look even though though the large plaque obviously did not come from the same source as the smaller ones.

I think the designs are close enough and painting them all the same color helps the arrangement work in this space.

Blog foyer flat

I also wanted to fill the ledge above the door with something visually appealing. 

I've held on to these old vases for years hoping to be able to put them to good use one day.  They were originally a yellowish color and it didn't occur to me until recently that I could simply paint them to blend in better with the rest of the decor.

The horse statue was re-located from another room and coincidentally has the same grate-like pattern as the wall plaques.

Blog foyer horse

Meanwhile, the moulding adds a totally new dimension to the walls.  When walking into the space from the front door, here's the view looking up to the left.

NOTE:  The color on the walls in the room beyond the foyer (dining room) is called Spanish Red (1301) by Benjamin Moore.  This room is also an on-going work in progress.  I'll share photos of my dining room transformation later in an upcoming post.

Blog foyer left wall

Here's a look at the moulding on the opposite foyer wall.  I think the contrast created by the addition of moulding and Lenox Tan combined with the darker, textured paint really works to bring the wall alive.

You may recall seeing how the room with the olive colored walls was transformed last year into a comfortable, attractive music room.


Blog foyer wall2

Here's a look at the moulding on both walls.

Blog foyer moulding
I'm still working on a handcrafted tablecloth for a pedestal table that will sit on the side of the foyer staircase. 

The alcove-like space is so empty (except during the holidays when I put my Christmas tree here) and it definitely needs to be filled with a permanent decorative element.

I've narrowed down a few tablecloth fabric choices already, so I'll soon be able to get started on that project which I'll share later in an upcoming post.  

Blog foyer stairs
Meanwhile, here's one more look at what the foyer looked like before the new paint, moulding and wall decor.

MM foyer2
Here's a look at the foyer now.

I think a nice window treatment above the ledge would be the way to add to the space.  I'm still searching for a suitable solution that will add the right amount of color and form without obscuring the natural light that pours in from the window. 

Hmm, valence or panels?  

Blog foyer wide
For me, home decorating always seems to be a work in progress that is rarely ever truly complete. 

There are always new ideas and decorative elements that can be introduced and/or re-located and the end product can take months, even years to get just right.

So far, I'm happy with how this space is shaping up.  While there is more foyer tweaking to be done, at least this feels like a really good start.  I'll keep you posted. 

  • Donna Faldyn

    Beautiful transformation! Did you also change the color of your wood flooring and the stained wood banister railing? The stained wood in the before and after photos look different. If you did change the wood color, please let me know how you did it–I’m wrestling with what to do with my orangey-looking oak trim. Thanks!

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Hi Donna, thanks so much.
      The difference in color is just lighting.
      I also struggle with that “orangey-looking oak trim. The trend is toward much darker woods now and I love the darker look.
      Sadly, I think it would cost a fortune to re-stain the floors and all the trim throughout my house now.
      I know it can be done but I’ve heard it’s a pretty pricey proposition.
      Good luck with your efforts.

  • Sari

    I love this foyer! Can you tell me where the chandelier came from?

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Thanks, Sari.
      This chandelier was part of a lighting package that was purchased along with the house.
      I did buy a similar one at a lighting store a few years ago.
      You probably won’t find one you like this at a big box store like Home Depot for example.
      I would check the listings in your area for an independent lighting store and you may be able to find what you’re looking for.
      Good luck and thanks for popping over for a visit.

  • DJ

    Love love love this foyer space!!! Can you please tell me if the wainscoting is only an outside border or there is a wooden board as well to create the effect that you have in white on white ?

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Thanks so much DJ. There are no wooden boards and the white area under the chair railing is just plain wall, painted white.
      Same thing for the large molded box on the upper wall. Nothing inside the box except wall that has been painted with textured paint effect.
      Good luck with your project and happy weekend.

  • cindy

    I’m so depressed that Home Depot no longer carries this paint:( I’ve used the suede, Linen, Leather faux finishes and they are the BEST! I’ve used MANY paint brands over the past twenty years, and theirs truly is one of the best! It’s even hard to say that considering that I’ve used Benny Moore forever. When we built our home, I decided to paint my Laundry Room cabinets with Ralph Lauren, and painted all of my wood work with Benny. Guess what? Ralph rocks the house! To date, I still regret using Benny on our woodwork, and that’s saying something! Your home is absolutely stunning, Lisa! Just beautiful:)

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Oh, thanks so much Cindy.
      I appreciate that, especially today when I look around and everything looks like a tornado came through-lol.
      Happy Sunday and have a lovely week.

  • Sherri

    I was able to find the Lenox tan but I’m having difficulties finding the fawn leap help me please your foyer is beautiful

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Hi Sherri, the suede finish if a Ralph Lauren product and I think you have to go to their website to find an authorized dealer who carries the paint in your area. That’s what I did and the dealer mixed the paint right there after I picked the color I wanted.

      Here’s the link to the RL paint website. I think you enter your zip code and authorized dealers will pop up near you. There’s also a video on this site which deals with how to apply the paint properly.

      Good luck with your project and let me know how it turns out for you.

  • Monika

    I love this. I too was wondering if you could share where you got the chandelier.

  • Michelle moreno

    i would like to know what is the color of the trim color thank u very nice

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Hi Michelle, the trim color is really just a bright white gloss. The suede color is called Fawn and it’s a textured paint by Ralph Lauren. The walls are Lenox Tan by Benjamin Moore. Hope this helps. Good luck with your project.

  • Kelly john

    Tring to figure out where chandelier was bought?

  • Angela Uccardi

    Beautiful! Where did you get the chandelier?

  • Lisa

    Can you tell me where you got the chandelier ?

  • Michelle

    This is just beautiful ! Can I ask where you got your chandelier ?

  • Ros

    Looking to do the exact picture moulding in my foyer and stumbled upon this website. Looks beautiful. Where did you get the curved corner mouldings.

  • RS

    Your home is like dream for every one. You allot fantastic pix of your home. Its too good.

  • Deb Wisker

    Thanks for sharing!

  • codice sconto

    Hi Lisa Its so so beautiful home. I liek this home so much. Its look very rich and cool. And in this home have more space.

  • Amelia Quailler

    This is absolutely beautiful! I hope to be able to learn how to develop creativity like you have here. It’s gorgeous! If I use, I think I will get somewhere. I love this so so much.

  • M.L.@thehouseofwhimsy

    Absolutely stunning!!! Kudos on a job well done!

  • Berta

    What a warm, beautiful, welcoming space in your home. Love the wall plaques.

  • Vicki

    Stunning Lisa. That suede added a rich, rich tone. I would not have thought to paint the plaques if I had come across them. You should have a show or book….

  • adrienne

    Looks FANTASTIC!!!

  • Thimbleanna

    Wow Lisa! Your new foyer is just gorgeous! I LOVE the suede insets. Boy, what an inspiration — I’ve just stripped the wallpaper from our foyer. Ours isn’t nearly as interesting as yours though — more like a big vertical box with almost no wall space except for the walls that are above the 9 foot high level. I love your paint color though and that’s probably the direction that I’ll be heading! I can’t wait to see your continued progress on your home!

  • Judith

    Very nice!!! I really like the wall colors. Surprising, since, I am not a fan of beige. It looks so warm and inviting compared to the “Before.” Really well done, Lisa.

  • Stephanie @ La Dolce Vita

    It came out so well! Nicely done!

  • Kisha

    Lisa, you have a beautiful home. And the foyer transformation is very inviting. Thanks for sharing your ideas and techniques.

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