New House Diary: My Entry Architectural Detailing

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Well, it’s Thursday again. Boy are the weeks flying by this year and I haven’t even made it out of the entry hall yet. Ha!

For today’s New House Diary topic,  let’s talk about the architectural detailing in my entry. It’s certainly in need of some help, but at least you should be able to see that the “bones” of this space have a lot of potential. Let’s take a look at the badly-in-need-of-rescue “before” of my entry (p.s. – this is the moment when my designer friends gasp because they can’t believe I’m revealing this beauty – LOL).






So often when I have moved in the past, I haven’t taken the time (or money) to fix all the details of the homes I’ve owned. It just wasn’t a smart investment at the time for those properties.We would have priced our homes out of the market for their location. Those projects were more of a paint-and-decorate mission, with the exception of the kitchen and bathrooms that I renovated in my last home.


But this home is different. This time I’ll be changing ALL the hardware, including door knobs, hinges, and floor registers. This time I will be getting new windows – yep, for the whole house. And I will add casings and moldings and details to them all. It is pretty much a GUT job.

And this time, I will pay attention to all the interior details like ceilings and doorways. I’ll be thinking of all the ways I can add interest and really make this house its best. I’m taking renovations to a whole new level. This is a no-holds-barred approach to a “fixer-upper.” We’re not just doing a facelift here. We’re doing surgery. Or maybe even a lobotomy.


So I thought as we finish up the last two weeks of talking about my entry (yes, we’ve been here long enough) that we needed to address the details of the space. They are so important, and as the great designer Mies Van Der Rohe said, “God is in the details.”

Remember, I told you I am bringing you along for the ride of a “designer doing her own home.” And as little as some of these details may seem to you, they are quite an important part of the design process.

So here’s what I envision…

The doorways:

I want to select certain passage ways, particularly in the entry with the high ceilings, where I can add pediments over the doors. If you refer to the lovely before photos above, you can see I have plenty of room for this. Here are a few pediments that I love, starting with a gorgeous space by Suzanne Kasler.



The walls and built-ins:

The entry, in particular, is a place where I will keep and maybe even spruce up the wainscoting. I’m still considering making the entire entry paneled from floor to ceiling similar to this image. Although that would cut out the option for wallpaper, which I still love.


There are some great built-in cabinets in this house (not in the entry, but that we’ll get to later) that want to spruce up, too. I want to be consistent with the detailing throughout the home, so I can’t just think of the entry now. I have to consider all the details in my home. This photo below is exceptionally inspiring to me. Simple, but so beautiful.


And I’m crazy about giant cove crown moulding or ceiling details that mimic cove molding. This photo from House Beautiful is a gorgeous example. And it looks so pretty with the wainscoting below.


The Bannister:

Well I am still considering a traditional bannister, but nothing would make me happier than to have a Chinese chippendale stair railing/bannister and I think the curved detail of this one  looks good with that cove ceiling detail above, don’t you? So to make this fretwork-style bannister work will all depend on my other choices. I’ve got some weeding out to do now and some decisions to make, huh?  Priorities.


The Ceiling:

Then there’s the ceiling – an often forgotten part of many homes. But I consider it the 5th wall because ceilings cover a lot of space, right? I happen to love this ceiling detail. Very subtle, but formal and classic. And the other moldings in this space are quite handsome too. I love this image. Do you?


So can’t you envision my detailed entry already in all it’s grandeur and glory? My little entry way is getting spiffed up for sure. What do you think? Which options would you include if it were your home? Did I forget anything? Yes, sometimes even professionals forget something. So it’s your job to remind me what I may have overlooked. To visit all these inspiration photos and more, see my Pinterest Boards called Entry Ways and Architectural Detailing.

And please leave me a comment and tell me what  you think about all these lovely ideas I’ve mentioned to add interest, character, and detail to my home.

Next week we’re talking stair runners and then we’re blowing this entry and moving on to bigger and better spaces. You ready? I am!


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11 Responses to New House Diary: My Entry Architectural Detailing

  1. Judith Presgrove says:

    Good Morning Tobi ! ( or “Howdy dee do” from Texas.)

    Love your Chinese Chippendale bannister. That in black with your other foyer doors in black.
    The ceiling you like is “beautiful”. Love the simple pediments. But, what I think is so stunning is the high gloss paint in one picture. I would paint your entire foyer in some gorgeous color you love in that High Gloss paint!! It would look like the inside of a lacquered box!!!
    May God enable you with wisdom and creativity as you make your final decisions.
    Have a great day!

  2. KATHYSUE says:

    DETAILS, oh how I love the details in a well designed home. I think you have covered it all, but you are so right in designing the entire home so it won’t look piece mill. Love the idea of the panel molding, what if you did the entire wall below the stair well and in the stairwell do a partial, wainscoting so you can do a fabulous wallpaper above it, going up the stairs, best of both worlds. Two things I love that you did not mention are, transoms over doors and dentil moldings. Here are a few pins of details from my millwork and detail pinboards that I think you might enjoy. This is my favorite day of the week in blogland because of your post! So fun to play along, even though you don’t need any help what so ever. ( I am using this detail someday in my home)

  3. Karen T. says:

    I like your plan for the ceiling. I also love the Chinese Chippendale stair railing/bannister. I like the juxtaposition of the straight angles and the curve of the bannister. If you painted it black, would you also paint the stair treads black or would that be too much going on? (Maybe leave them white? Or, will you cover the stairs with seagrass, Berber, antelope carpet, etc.?). I like the paneling, but agree that this rules out wallpaper (and somehow from a previous post, I got the impression that you really want wallpaper in the entry). I love pediments over doors. What is the height of the doors of your home? If less than eight feet and if it’s not feasible to raise the height of all your doors, personally I would keep the pediments simple and in proportion. In the end, you’re the pro (I’m sure I’m not suggesting or telling you anything you don’t already know), and I’m sure what you choose will be fabulous. Thanks for taking us on this fun journey with you. I’m sure I will take away tons of ideas that I can adapt to my own home.

  4. Alan says:

    Kudos to you for going whole hog on this entry. I love the idea of pediments over key doorways!
    Would it be possible to make the doorways taller, especially to each room to the sides that might also get pediments?
    Can the doorway that goes under the steps be hidden & have a door that blends into the trim? This may be the real traffic pattern, but it would be grand to enter the home and pause to look up, and be encouraged to stay in the front of the home instead of charging through to the back.
    Have you considered extending a wood floor into the entry, maybe an interesting parquet or a painted design?
    I’ve done a paneled wall that lines up with the 2nd floor height. This still allows for some paper or paint in the upper hall, and brings the entry height down to balance the volume a little bit. In this case, the Pediments might pop up above the paneling and even be more interesting.
    Thanks for the opportunity to throw in my 2 cents worth, this is a very fun project to follow!

  5. Diane Dyhan says:

    This is where I would hire you! So many beautiful choices to choose from and most would blow my budget. I am drawn to the sculptural look of the chandelier against all of the white woodwork. I think I would invest in lighting that would be the most exquisite piece in the room.The moldings in the gray room appeal to me but I like things a little more simple in that area so I would remove the entire section with the bust and add some detail to the center rectangle in the first half. Pardon my lack of proper terminology describing crowning details! My gut is telling me that you will have wallpaper on a focal wall in the adjoining room and not in the entry. We will see!!!

  6. Tobi, I would change out the wood banisters and install a metal staircase.

  7. Monica says:

    My! My that photo of the Chinese Chippendale stair railing/bannister has me weak at the knees! Stunning!! I am anxious to find out if you will do paneling on the staircase wall. I have not done anything to my curved wall and want the paneling so it will be waiting to see what you pick. I love the fact you will be doing ceiling detail. I have to say ceiling detail speaks volume. Have a great Friday!!

  8. Deb Bruna says:

    Good Afternoon Tobi,

    I love your plans for architectural details. That ceiling is enchanting. I love Chippendale railings outdoors, but not so much inside. They say deck to me. I like the openness of the traditional railings inside. I would also change out those sidelights in the front door, or put in double doors. I second the transom suggestion. I added a transom above my front door and it really improves the appeal inside and out. The foyer feels more open as well. It is going to be magnificent. Can’t wait to see it all come together. Thanks for including us in the fun.

  9. I really like the curvy lines of your staircase. Not sure that the sharp angles of Chinese would look best there.

  10. Oops! Left out a word: meant to say “Chinese Chippendale”.

  11. franki says:

    Pediments, arches, molding..OH, MY!! You are ON A ROLL!! Loving this!! franki