My Blue and White Foyer

joules rain coat

Phew! It felt like this renovation project lasted for-ever! It's finally all done and I spent a rainy Sunday styling it all up (because you know with a family of four people and two dogs it never looks this clean in real life!) and now I am so happy to be able to share my blue and white foyer with you all!


 My foyer is actually one very long and narrow hallway that can be broken into three parts - a beginning, a middle and an end. Let's start at the beginning, our front door area.

blue and white

This used to be the messiest spot in the house. There's shoes everywhere, coats hung on door knobs, bags on the floor, keys left in all the wrong places, resulting in us always losing them. This area has gone through the most dramatic transformation of all three areas. 

Here's a before shot:

We had lived in a house of beige for 10 years (I don't redecorate very often 😁) and while I do still love that look, I was hoping for something a little more dramatic this time around. But it wasn't just about aesthetics, I needed something functional that would serve our family. 

That meant getting the jackets off the railing (I must have removed them before this picture because I swear they were always covered in jackets!) and a place to hold all those keys. 

joules

So we built and installed our key own coat and key rack!

coat rack

It is the most basic racks you could possibly make, and they're the absolute best! We purchased two pieces of light coloured wood from Lowe's, the one for the key rack was slightly smaller in width and height. 

joules rain coats

We painted them white with leftover cabinet paint from our kitchen and once dry, applied some heavy duty glue (I believe it was No More Nails) and we added a few screws where the studs are. Then I calculated the distance for each hook (use an add number of hooks) and I screwed them into the board. Done.

key rack

umbrella stand

L.L.Bean

There are so many options when it comes to the wood and hooks to make a rack. I really wanted something clean, simple and sleek. Something you'd find in a farm house, purely functional. I knew everything else in this space would be a little more over the top and I wanted something to keep it grounded. You can see the mirror in the below photo that is in our foyer. It has a lot of interesting detail and I wanted that to be more of the focal point, so the racks where kept clean and simple. 

But that doesn't mean it was cheap! The wood was around $20, it was the hooks that got me! The coat rack hooks where the cheapest ones I could find and they were $9 a piece while the small key hooks were $5. It was almost $90 dollars just for hooks! If you ever plan to make a coat rack my advice is to check discount stores in your area (KW Surplus comes to mind for Waterloo Region folks) or find a deal online. I had mistakenly assumed hooks would be cheap and just went the day we installed them to grab some.

foyer

Right at our front door we have a powder room which I shared how I recently redecorated it in this post. I've opened the door here so you can see how it coordinates with the hallway.  

hallway

A view from my front door. Like I said, it's a long, narrow hallway and having a space to hang everything and place things on a hallway table make this space functional and keeps it looking tidy. 

front door mat

My friend, the talented interior designer Kendra Bester, highly recommended the L.L.Bean Waterhog Doormats. I was eager to get rid of the cheap $10 black utility doormat I had for the past few years so I ordered the rug in the large size to cover the full front door. It's been a great mat in the few months that I've had it. It helps keep the dirt from the dogs paws at the front door and not in the rest of the house. 

home decor

The mirror was a clearance item at Lowe's for $10. It's a solid wood frame and I painted it with the same paint on the coat rack. The nesting tables are from my in-laws and they hold a flower vase that I try to keep something in at all times (even if they are faux flowers) and a Nicole Miller tray that I am pretty sure was meant to be used as an outdoor serving tray. It's blue and white and keeps little nick nacks in one place. And because it's meant for outdoor use, it's plastic and won't break if the dogs knock it over. 

classic style

The nesting tables serve their purpose, and provide us extra table space when we need them, but I'll be the first to admit they are not the most ideal table for a front hallway. I'm still on the hunt for the perfect table, which would have a drawer and bottom storage for dog items and/or hats and mitts during the winter. If I had to tell you what the messiest and hardest to keep clean spot in my house is, this is it. 

Everyone, myself included, dumps everything on this tabletop. It only gets cleaned when the pile gets so big it becomes a fire hazard. If I had a drawer, I could conceal all the little items that end up here (like buttons, fuses for cars, hair ties, coupons, etc) and if I had bottom storage then all our winter stuff could be tossed in there instead of us trying to recreate the Leaning Tower of Pisa with our mittens. 

home decor

What I'm not showing you here is the inside of the hallway closet. Not because it's messy, it's that there really isn't much to see. I haven't painted it yet and there's just a utilitary shelf and rack that is holding our fall coats (yes they're all ready to go!) My hope is to install a closet organizer sometime in the new year (to be honest, it's pretty low on the household priority list right now). 

My Blue and White Foyer

Now we're entering the middle part of the hallway, the most awkward spot of them all! It's where the hallway is at its narrowest and darkest. The natural light from the front door and from the living room windows on the other side never seems to hit this spot. 

tobacco basket

Walking up two steps we have a landing that is so dark, you'd think it's cursed. It leads to our upstairs hallway and there are no windows at all. The lights in that hallway just don't seem to shine down here, no matter what light fixture or bulb we use. So I went with an old decorators trick, I added a mirror in the hopes it would bounce what little light it does get. 

I also have my newly acquired tobacco basket, aka the treasure I've been hunting for for nearly five years! I love it in this space and I had just seen a few photos on Pinterest of people styling them up. Smart! I bought this little red and orange wreath on sale at Pier 1 last week and just used a mini black office clip to attach it. At Christmas, I think I'll attach our holiday cards here. Anything to add a little colour and light to this spot! 

art project

This is a view of the other side to the dark stairway, a big long blank wall. Well, that's what it was for the longest time. I really had no clue of what I wanted to do here, but I knew I wanted it done right away. A few months ago I bought three framed pictures at HomeSense on clearance. I started to play around with the configuration and then added in a few empty silver and gold frames I bought at Goodwill (I buy them for $2-4 dollars and just store in my basement for a future project). I pulled out the watercolours one weekend and made some cheap and easy art. A gold H for Henderson was bought at Chapters a million years ago. I moved it around constantly trying to find it the perfect home, and now it has one. 

home decor

Now we're at my favourite part, the end of the hallway. This little spot gets wonderful natural light and looks into the kitchen and living room. It's probably the most styled of any spot in my home and I do my absolute best to keep this spot tidy. Whole house could be falling apart, but at least I have my little happy zone. 

hallway console table

It's just a tiny space beside our basement door. It's here that I think the blue and white walls really pop. The white door with the boxwood wreath (a permanent fixture) and the white railing going up the stairs just look lovely with the blue walls (colour is Benjamin Moore Kensington Blue).

hallway decor

I have part of my blue and white collection here, along with my Fortnum & Mason wicker picnic basket I brought back from London and a small silver tray I've had since my boys were young. Little tidbit about me - back in the early 2000's I spent time reselling silver pieces I would find thrifting on eBay. It was early days of running an online shop and AMH and I made some pretty good mad money doing that. He bought and sold vintage video games and systems. It started our love of antique hunting! That silver tray was one of the last items I bought and I just couldn't part with it (I sold my fave piece to someone in Germany and I've never forgiven myself, although I did make one hell of a profit!) 

cane furniture

The console table was found...um...in someone's garbage. I kid you not. I was driving my mom and my brother around town while they were visiting and on our way home, we all spotted this lovely table in the garbage. I asked my mom if I should grab it and next thing I know my poor brother is in the backseat of my sedan with this table on top of him. I gave it a quick wax of Pledge and it was good as new. 

The cane chair was a Goodwill treasure, $5. The coolers and Thermos were sadly a lot more than my 5 dollar chair. Most of them came from antique dealers and stores, although I will say that I have paid considerably less than what they are worth. 

Thermos

The green and white plaid item was only $20 Canadian and I saw it a few months later in an issue of Country Living for a few hundred American. Not that I'd ever sell them, they make such great props for photos! 

Fortnum & Mason

On a quick country drive to Elmira I picked up these roadside gladiolus flowers 3 for $1. I love living in Waterloo Region this time of year, there are so many lovely roadside stands to visit!

Canadian art

Alex Colville is my favourite Canadian artist. There was a Colville exhibit a few years ago at the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) and I got to see many of his originals there. A truly talented artist. AMH wasn't able to join so I went with a friend and I bought him this print of "The Pacific". This painting inspired a scene in one of his favourite movies "Heat". 

Yes it's a picture of a man looking out at the Pacific Ocean with a handgun on the table behind him. I did worry about what people might think of me having that hung on my wall. I love art in all forms and I would say that as someone who likes to speak their mind openly, I disagree with censorship. It's a beautiful piece of art that my family and I enjoy so here it sits and here it stays. 

Only once did I have someone tell me that it probably wasn't appropriate to have this in a common area of my home, that I should probably place it in my bedroom. I respected that perspective. And I did think long and hard about it. I worried that having it here would label me as a gun supporter (I'm not) or that family and friends would get the wrong idea about our family values. Other than that one time, it's never come up. I don't think people who come into our home spend that much time looking at the artwork. We're usually quick with the drinks so that's always a good distraction. Plus I once heard of a couple who displayed their own nude photos in their bathroom so there you go. It could be a lot worse. 

lowes lighting fixtures

The light fixtures were the last thing to get replaced in the whole house. I had put up with the cheap builder basic fixtures long enough! These open glass cover lights have three small bulbs inside and do give a good amount of light. To keep things nice and easy we bought four, two for this hallway reno and two for the upstairs hallway (that is not even close to being done).

rug

A view from the landing into the living room

My Blue and White Foyer

A view from the living room into the hallway. I tried to stick with core colours to keep things consistent. The hallway is painted blue and white, the living room is painted white, with lots of blue and white in it, and both spaces have red rugs. I think when people, who like me are not experts at home decorating, think about redecorating they focus too much on each room as an individual space. The reason it has taken me so long to redecorate my main floor is because with every item, every thought, every plan, I was ensuring it was consistent from room to room. 

The last thing we need to do is replace all the flooring on the main level with hardwood but since we just got a puppy and Colton our 120 pound Bernese is still with us, the floor will have to wait. 

Yankee Candle Apple Pumpkin

One thing that isn't exactly fun to look at but makes a huge difference is scent. I have a Yankee Candle plug in right at the front door and it is a game changer. There is nothing better than walking into a home that smells warm and inviting! Right now I am using my all time favorite scent, Apple Pumpkin (I have this is my car even in the dead of summer). Just ignore the nail pop on the wall that I clearly forgot to correct. 

chair rail

I talked about adding the chair rail in my powder room blog post and it was a much easier job to do this hallway then that tiny powder room with all its angles. 

chair rail

Because the hallway is so long, I was able to get away with adding long pieces of chair rail, no cuts needed! There was just one corner to deal with, at the front door, and I hope you can see from the photo here that my cuts were not exactly perfect. I used an old trick my dad taught me and I plugged the gaps with white wood putty. Once dry I sanded the grooves in it and added a coat of paint. It's not perfect but you'd never notice unless I pointed it out. 

My Blue and White Foyer

Another decor project checked off my list, just in time for the last long weekend of the summer. My plan is to sit and enjoy the fact that this blue and white foyer is all done, and I'll just worry about the rest of the home decorating projects later. 

So what do you think? Just your style or not to your taste? Let me know what projects you've got on the go and if you've got a blog link to them, drop it in the comments below so we can check it out! 

Paint:
Benjamin Moore Kensington Blue (840 part of the classic collection) in Ben Premium eggshell
Benjamin Moore Cloud White (CC-40) in Ben Semi-Gloss
Front door Benjamin Moore Whipple Blue HC-152

Art:
HomeSense
AGO Shop
Handmade by moi
Eagle items all from antique shops
Kitchener poster from The Art of Home
White mirror Lowe's, painted Cloud White
Tobacco basket antique store, wreath Pier 1

Rugs:
Aisle runner, HomeSense ($99)


Umbrella stand gift from my mom
Blue and white jars, pots, vases and plaid tin items various antique stores
Front table tray Nicole Miller at HomeSense
Cane chair thrifted
Console table and nesting tables free
Blue blanket Target
Light fixtures Lowes

1 comment

  1. Great post, I love the transformation and also love that fact that you are enjoying your LLBean waterhog matt. Thanks for the shout out!

    ReplyDelete