Troubleshooting a Drab Foyer (Before and After)

Project Case Studies

This steel cable rail was one of our favorite Home Repair projects from 2017. We were over the moon to learn that our client was just as pleased. They added the following comment to their job completion survey, “They did an outstanding job and we’re very happy with the results.” We were especially honored to win the NARI CotY Grand Award for a Residential Interior Under $75,000.

The entry to this 1970’s split level was gloomy. It’s knotty pine paneling drained the light from the space and created an oppressive feeling. The stairs were closed off, segmenting the space and made the large entry feel cramped. The client wanted to open everything up, add lighting and install a new modern railing to match their mid-century style home.

The client presented us with an inspiration photo and we ran with it. The wood paneling was removed and donated and with it went the half walls, which closed off the staircase on all three levels of the home. Then we had a new steel railing custom fabricated to match their inspiration photo.inspiration railing

The transition from a closed-in staircase to open required extra thought. The original wood floors and stair case were in decent shape and the homeowner did not want to incur the added expense of replacing all the treads. The flooring in the hallways ran perpendicular to the railing so we added a piece of matching wood nosing to fill in the gaps where the half walls were removed. The angled half walls were cut just shy of the treads so a full stringer could be run along the length of the stairs. The stringers were then topped with matching wood caps.

steel cable railing

The existing surface lights were poorly spaced creating dark spots making the stairs of this split-level entry treacherous. Four new recessed lights were install on the top level to evenly light the hallway and stairs. The original chandelier was reused and a new surface light was installed on the lower level landing.

steel cable railing

steel cable railingDespite being a ‘modern’ home, when the paneling was stripped away, the infrastructure was anything but. We discovered that there was no insulation between the exterior walls and panel and serval illegal concealed electrical junctions. The wiring in the entry was rerun and a few additional lines going to other parts of the home were replaced as well. New batt insulation was installed along the roof line and ridge foam board was installed along the exterior walls.

The new cable railing was custom designed for this entry and sets the tone for this mid-century modern home. The stark contrast of the flat black posts and steel cable add contrast and visual interest to the space and the matching wood handrail brings continuity.

The new space feels more balanced and the transition from floors feels more natural now that the stairs, hallways and entry are all visually one large space. The finished product feels much larger, without the additional of any square footage and is now a welcoming entry for guests.

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