Name: Mike and Sandie
Type of Project: Foyer renovation
Location: Saskatoon; Saskatchewan, Canada
Type of building: 2 1/2 story single-family home, built in 1919
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For the last few weeks, we've had the pleasure of following along with Mike and Sandie as they transformed the foyer in their almost 100-year-old Sasketchewan home. Their goal was to create a bright, functional space while staying true to the home's unique character. After weeks of hard work, which included rebuilding parts of the staircase, replacing the floor, adding wainscot paneling, and building a closet for some much-needed storage, they're ready for the Big Reveal.
It's the main entrance into our digs, so we breeze through our foyer daily. It now has a refreshing, bright, “welcome home, honey” feeling, with energetic layers of colour, a quirky mix of design, and solid architectural features.
Organization is now effortless, and the transition between inside and outside clearly defined. There's a place for the library books to return, a spot for a camera to grab on the fly, a simple place to sit, handy suitcases for spontaneous adventuring (the other suitcases are currently stacked in the front porch due to the console-absence shuffle), drawers for keys and re-useable bags, and a clearly defined closet for coats and outerwear to tuck neatly away. Knowing the decor can easily float atop the bones of the room, we are having fun moving this & that around... tweaking and such with decor as we settle in.
As another notch in the long line of happy accidents during this renovation, the glass console didn’t arrive on time for our reveal, despite ordering it well ahead of time (a hazard living in the middle of beautiful, beautiful nowhere). We're temporarily utilizing our antique Singer sewing machine cabinet in its place (her name is “Mathilda”, thankyouverymuch), and her character nods to the history of the house but also to our young-adult incarnations as eco-savvy clothing designers whose business profits were a major contributing factor to the purchase of this grande ole house (worst house/best neighbourhood scenario for us happy go lucky DIYers!), so her ode is appreciated. Pleased as we are with the Singer as a temporary/permanent solution, we’re irked that some other decor plans got shuffled around to accommodate its unanticipated injection (but that’s just a little reno-fatigue talking... we’ll get over it).
To help us get over the inevitable bout of reno-fatigue, the two of us adults have been having mini cocktail parties at night while lounging on the stairs because we are so thrilled with the new energy of the space that we want to spend more than just breezeway time in there: hello reno afterglow! We haven’t yet sat down to compare the before & after photos now that we’re “done” done... saving that little nugget of elation for a rainy day. For now, just experiencing the fruits of this labour is keeping our smile-tanks full.
We have three favorite elements of the new Foyer:
Painting out the woodwork (without hesitation). We wanted to honor the house’s embedded personality traits in the pre-renovation details of wide baseboards and paneling, but the darkness made it feel like walking into a cave. Painting out the wood and paneling dramatically lightened the space, turning the foyer into a light-filled cocoon. Now it is joyful and bright!
The flooring. Replacing the worn-out hardwood and adding the tile served not only function (for a landing pad of footwear and coats), but created a delightful division of the space into two “zones” without using walls. Knowing that we replaced ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE SUBFLOOR is a gigantic comfort as well.
And the stairs are a close third. Still not over the makeover we gave these stairs... seriously ah-may-zing! Both the staircase and the floors are now rock solid gold. We’ve healed this house to the bones, she’s not just a pretty face!
Although we love the way our additions of furniture, art, and tchotchkes boost the personality of our living spaces, it’s a relief to feel that even without our stuff the foyer holds its own. The staircase, the flooring, the moldings all give the space character, but with the added luxury of modern convenience (a closet, fresh white paneling, no more fretting the house is falling apart underfoot). Working with in harmony with her nearly 100-year-old character and our subsequent generation-gap eccentricities has been a good challenge. Like any romance though, it’s fueled with a unique balance of love, chemistry, and timing. We’ve chosen a cheerful minimal-but-eclectic look at the moment, to showcase the space we feel we've gained and to flow naturally into the (currently) sunny outdoors.
Congratulations on your new foyer, Mike and Sandie! Readers, check out the full series to see the whole renovation process, step-by-step. And be sure to join us tomorrow for a full budget breakdown.
(Images and diary text: Mike & Sandie)