Saturday, March 5, 2011

It's all in the architectural details

At first blush this entrance hall looks so simple. Stunning but simple.

McGill Design Group

It is deceptively simple looking. Seems easy to achieve doesn't it? But look closely. This room is a study in details; look at the architectural detailing. From the wall paneling to the deep baseboards and appropriately deep crown molding. 

What makes this entrance stunningly warm and inviting is the layering of clean and simple furnishings over the formal, traditional details of the home. Imagine the walls bare with only standard baseboard and crown molding. The room would look cold, bare and if something were missing. 

Architectural details can not be overlooked. When you are considering decorating a room start with the walls themselves and build upon the architectural details you add. The furniture is one of the last things you need to think about. Almost an after thought.

I love :
  • The Robert Abbey semi-flush fixture, called 'Bling', just visible at the top of the photo. It's on my list for the atrocious home we are in. 
  • The contemporary wall sconces are lovely and almost unexpected in an entrance foyer.
  • The millwork...on my list. It will run up the stairwell, as in this photo and throughout the 2nd floor hall. 
  • These dark stained treads draw your eyes up the stairs and give a greater sense of depth to the entrance. Again, on my list. We have 'honey' oak stained stairs. Hideous!
  • Hardwood floor, natch. We have 12'x12' ivory ceramic tile covering about 1/2 of our main floor...I'm so embarrassed! And my little piggy's are always freezing! 
For the suburbanites in the cookie cutter homes many of us live in this single photo is an excellent example of a jumping off point to take your blah builder basic to a show stopping shelter mag worthy home. Put the builder's model homes to shame! Show the builders and neighbours (I'm Canadian, eh.) how it should be done. 
  • As the nosey parker that I am I love that the mirror allows us to see in to the kitchen. Wouldn't you just love to live here? Nothing is over done it is simply...perfection.
For the modest investment of cash and a couple of weekends of work for 2 you will always be excited for the moment you walk in the door. Sure wallpaper would look fabulous but will it appeal to a future buyer? Not likely. Wallpaper would cost about as much as the millwork but would date your home and potentially reduce the value...unlike this home. 

Sophisticated never goes out of style.


  1. Perfect timing!! I'm going to work on my entry this weekend, it's all very last minute but that tends to be how we go with our reno projects.

    I struggle with ours because it is so small and cramped - when we first got the house, I realized that there were continuous hardwoods under the rugs (in rough shape though). All except the entry (original deep red linoleum, too far gone to be saved) and the kitchen (god only know what it was). I changed out the kitchen for more period appropriate marmoleum (serene gray, I have to say that it is amazing and we get sooo many compliments).

    We actually had enough left to do the entry but I wanted something with more pow - and bought enough 2" inch hex tile in marble to get it done. Then I started thinking about kids and winter and Canada. I got cold feet ;) Now? I think I'm going to use up that marmoleum, updating the original.

    All that to say! I'd love to hear your thoughts ;) I appreciate your comments about wall paper - that was my other hesitance, I wanted something to give it POP but a couple of friends pointed out the dated nature of wallpaper...maybe I'll focus instead on investing in a nice fixture and crown moldings?

    It's tough!!! Anyway, love the guidance :)

  2. Hi Ginger! Last minute is how I do things as well. It's whenever the mood moves me!

    Are you thinking the hex tile will be too cold in the winter? Or about salt and sand and therefore having to reseal the marble? I love the hex tiles and they would be appropriate to the house. What colour are they?

    The marmoleum would be much gentler on the toes but slippery when kids come in from the rain/snow.

    Have you considered putting radiant heat under the entrance floor and going with the marble? It would be a small investment but so worth it!

    It all comes down to budget of course. I wish I didn't have to work around budget on our house...but I do. If money was no issue our ensuite bathroom and dressing room would be finished!

    Make sure to blog about the entrance! I love seeing what you are up to.

  3. I love the entrance and am so with you about the millwork-though I also LOVE wallpaper- and're a smart cookie;)

  4. Great tips! I love this entrance and agree that spending on good flooring and milleork really pays off. It takes a space from ok to designer and will pay back if you ever need to sell :)


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