An Artfully Fresh Foyer: Home Glow’s Saturday Blog, ORC Edition Week 1

It’s time for the new One Room Challenge — and I’ll be tackling my entry and stairs for my first one! For those of you who are not familiar with the One Room Challenge, it is the brain-child of Linda at Calling It Home. Twice a year, 20 invited designer/bloggers and a host of guest participants complete a room in 6 weeks, with a weekly blog post to update on progress. Featured designers post on Wednesday and guest bloggers post on Thursday. Hence, for the next 6 weeks, Home Glow’s Saturday Blog will post on Thursdays. If I find some spotlight inspiration for Saturdays, I’ll do a quickie short-form post for you. 🙂


(And for anyone in my locale — if you’d like to enlist my services for the Spring ORC, let me know! I might be looking for a project.)

Without further ado, let’s get started!

The Entry Inspiration — It’s All About the Art

For those of you familiar with Home Glow Design’s Saturday Blog, you know that I live in an OLD house, 225 years old in fact. I have been making it over one room at a time in a fresh, classic style — I love to use classic silhouettes that feel natural with my home’s architecture and infuse them with color and pattern to reflect my family’s vibrant (well, with two little boys at home, EXUBERANT might be a better word) character.

I’m also a budding art collector, much to my handsome husband’s dismay, and I can’t help shopping auctions for things that strike me.

Last spring, I stalked this piece:

Cloud Towers by William Leon Stacks, 30 x 30

My husband is a Florida boy. He grew up at Disney, played in the orange groves and surfed with his friends, and vacationed on the Gulf Coast. Then our family started going to the Florida Gulf, too. With the boys, it is such an easy going vacation. Play at the beach, play in the pool, cocktails on the deck (for me and my man, not the boys) — perfection.

This piece, which Stacks painted of a Florida beach, crystallized that beauty for me, both the beauty of the setting and of our family time together; the brilliant turquoise and swirling colors captivated me. It was for sale from Sarasota Estate Auctions. I watched the auction on LiveAuctioneers.com (I’ve written all about the ins and outs of auction buying here and here), but couldn’t afford it. But then it didn’t sell because it didn’t reach the reserve set by Leon Stacks’ estate. I called later and offered the reserve, it was accepted, and I had it shipped to New Hampshire. Not a steal, but for a sizable and GORGEOUS work of art and a treasured family heirloom, it was worth it to me.

I love it when art is the starting place for a room design. The only place we possibly had room for Cloud Towers was in the entry hall. So here we go….

Studying the Masters

I want my entry to feel open and happy, fresh but also historically-inspired by the architecture of our house. Classic lines, inspired colors. It also has to transition our downstairs library and dining room and the upstairs bedrooms. That’s a lot to do.

I started studying how other designers might showcase art in an entry.

The Pink Pagoda, ORC 2014

The Pink Pagoda chose a white backdrop for jewel toned art.

Mandarina Studio
Mandarina Studio

Mandarina Studio went for a gallery wall and lots of pieces playing on the same colors. I’d like to bring in another work of art, but I also don’t want to lessen the impact of my Cloud Towers.

Source Unknown
Source Unknown

Loved the saturated turquoises against the pale background in the above, especially in the Murano chandelier. Blue glass to bring out my skies in Cloud Towers is an idea.

Jonathan Adler

White with pops of color is good, but I’m still searching for a backdrop for my art that’s a little different than white. Hmmmmm….  But I like the leaner art on the mirror. And of course the turquoise.

Collins Interiors

A much-pinned entry by Collins Interiors. I love this one for the juxtaposition of impactful modern art and a vintage chest with lots of patina. Something like this would work for my old house. Now we’re getting somewhere.

Source Unknown

I definitely want a mirror to bounce the light around my small entry and a vintage/antique console much like this one above — less formal and more in character for my modest-farmhouse-meets-Federal-details home than the veneered beauty that Collins uses.

S. R. Gambrell

Wow. Coral LOVES turquoise. There is pretty much nothing Steven Gambrell does that I don’t like. He’s a genius, and color is one of his many, many strengths.

Chenault James
Chenault James

Eureka. Ladies and gentlemen, we have it. Art, turquoise accents, super pale coral walls, vintage console.

The Starting Point

Here is what our entry looks like now — well, last week. Not horrid, but very, very BLAH. Please pardon the night-time pics. I forgot to take these until midnight before the plaster guy was supposed to arrive at 7 AM the next day.


I already have a vintage Craigslist console that fits the space perfectly. Anybody want a happy Swedish rug? I’m not kidding, just email me to discuss a price.


Three boxes of pictures and books that haven’t been unpacked since we moved in 4 years ago — pretty horrible.

The front door that is never used because we have no outdoor lighting.

The front door that is never used because we have no outdoor lighting. It was midnight when I took these, and my autofocus is broken, hence the blur from my sleep-deprived-unable-to-focus eyes. I’ll try to get that fixed!

My Victorian banister and taupe-ish carpet. If we paint, this thing is going to look even more dingy.

My Victorian banister and taupe-ish carpet. When we paint, this thing is going to look even more dingy.

Dilemma -- how am I going to visually shrink this narrow, double-height wall?

Dilemma — how am I going to visually shrink this narrow, double-height wall?

Upstairs landing -- single light source, non-working phone and thermostat that needs to be moved into a bedroom.

Upstairs landing — single light source, non-working phone and thermostat that needs to be moved into a bedroom.

Single light source crowding attic hatch, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Single light source crowding attic hatch, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

The To-Do List

  1. Repair plaster walls and ceilings
  2. Remove rug up to where boys’ bedrooms start
  3. Paint
  4. Install new stair runner
  5. Install new foyer lights, stair lighting, and second floor landing lighting
  6. Have window treatment made
  7. Frame Cloud Towers
  8. Take apart and rewire lamp (eBay find I already have)
  9. Get lamp shade made
  10. Order bench for beneath console
  11. Accessorize with entry accoutrements, stairway art, family pictures, and throw rugs

Will it get done? I think so! Will it look great? I hope so. Check back next week for my inspiration board and the start of work!


18 thoughts on “An Artfully Fresh Foyer: Home Glow’s Saturday Blog, ORC Edition Week 1”

  1. The Chenault James inspo is breathtaking…best of luck. Looking forward to following your progress!

    1. Thanks, Sarah! We have the wall color up at this point now, and it’s everything I hoped for. And Rob loves it — so if Scott ever needs convincing for a coral/pink, just send him our way.

  2. That painting is amazing. I bought a huuuuge painting years ago because it looked like my Lowcountry childhood in Charleston. It was hard to find companion art initially. Or I thought so, but it commands the room wherever I hang it! I love your inspiration and can’t wait to see. I restored a 100 year old home years ago so old homes have a special spot in my heart!

  3. You will get it done and it will look great! Love the idea of pale coral walls in an entry, it just seems like it would make for a wonderfully happy space to walk into. Love the art too! Best of luck!

  4. In my book, nothing beats a big painting and I know you’ll do a great job…you have some great bones to work with. Can’t wait to see the progress!

    I know you’ll be busy this weekend, but hope its a good one nevertheless.


    1. I will be busy with the ORC — and a spectacular fall weekend with family and peak leaves here in central New Hampshire. It’s all a part of home. 🙂 Thank you, and I’m looking forward to showing you the plaster/paint job and some adventures in framing!

  5. I can’t wait to see how you work with that beautiful painting – it’s very unique and very cool; great inspiration for decoration!

  6. Your foyer is such an amazing space…I can already tell it’s going to be GREAT! And I LOVE all your inspiration shots…it was so funny as I was scrolling through, because I realized I had pinned almost every single one!!! Can’t wait to see how it turns out!!!

    1. Thank you, Stacy! Please stay tuned, and I hope I do your anticipation justice! This is our “forever” home, and I love that we’re just one of many families who have spent their lives here.

    1. Thanks, Rosanna! Your ORC bath from last spring was so beautiful and airy — did you get the details finished?

      1. Thanks for taking a look Amy! I got some of them finished =P. It’s hard when you don’t have the deadlines like with ORC! Good luck!

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