After being one of the lucky winners on the Cote de Texas, Aiden Gray contest, I thought a little foyer update was in order. After all, fabulous lamps from Aiden Gray need a lovely home, don't they? A worthy home.
Our foyer has been through a lot. Originally, it was a portion of the front porch! Lastly, before we purchased our cottage, Sybi, there was a doorway directly across from the foyer door. The previous owner, who renovated our cottage, chose to wall up the doorway, creating a niche, he added shallow shelves. Additionally, the bottom of the niche was filled in with lapboard. In "walling" up the doorway, a single sheet of sheetrock was used in the doorway. This thin sheetrock left us with little opportunity to hang anything in the niche, the shelves were approximately 6" deep. Shallow indeed.
Initially we removed the shelving, along with the lapboard base to the "doorway niche".
I applied antique French book pages to the wall using wallpaper glue. My thought was to create interest, without needing to hang art upon the wall. Keep in mind, as you enter our cottage, this doorway niche, is the focal point of the room. We trimmed the niche neatly to finish.
We took a remnant of a dining table, a pair of legs, with about one quarter of the gallery attached, and fitted the base to the niche. Then we added a wooden table top to create a console table. My motivation was a serving bar, for wine, or treats while we entertain guest.
I was never content with the design plan. One thing that bothered me in the plan was a makeshift transom window at the top of the doorway niche. I felt the transom interfered with the over all design of the niche, cutting it off, making it appear odd on top. We strive to mindful of Sybi's history, built in 1894, we don't want to remove original architectural details. The transom did not appear to be original to Sybi. There was no glass installed in the transom, no channel for glass. With the award of Aiden Gray lamps I began to ponder a new design update for the odd doorway niche. After a great deal of thought, I decided the transom needed to go. Removing the transom would create more height, and simplify the niche. Being the focal point in the space as the door is opened, I feel it is important for the niche to make a statement. In design school one "rule" taught to me by my professors; the foyer is the most important room in a home, it teases of the design to come, and provides the first impression of the homeowner, and home itself. This odd little niche, for me, wasn't giving a very favorable first impression. I felt my design plan hadn't been successful.
Our wall paint throughout most of the cottage is Sherwin Williams, Accessible Beige. The color is a a warm gray, or greige. I wanted to bring that color into the foyer. I also wanted a surface in the niche that would allow me to display art upon the wall. Mr. GDC removed the niche, then filled the space with plywood. The plywood backing would provide a surface to mount art. I upholstered the back wall with a cotton canvas paint tarp, using staples, stretching the tarp over the plywood. The color of the canvas is similar to our wall paint, bringing the color from the dining room to the foyer, "marrying the spaces". The simple cotton canvas, creates a lovely, clean backdrop for art. We trimmed the canvas with quarter round, painted in the foyer color. The trim finishes out the niche nicely, giving a clean edge. Finally, I feel the height of the room is accented, the odd little niche more a graceful reminder of Sybi's past, than an "what is that?" perplexity.
We mounted the console table back into the niche. The dark espresso finish pops against the neutral canvas paint tarp backdrop.
The finished niche provided clean, simply lines to the already very busy foyer; exterior lapboard, an original porch post, six French windows, the foyer door with side lites, also a slanted ceiling with the original fascia board running across the ceiling! Yes, Sybi's foyer is a has a lot of elements to take in. (I apologize the photo is dark, taken at dusk, once we finished our project. You can see how the foyer light chandelier prisms throw light about the room.)
How to dress the door niche? I decided upon a combination of art paired with a starburst mirror to bring a bit of shine to the door niche. I used a pair of pewter finished garden stools in the foyer as coffee tables. Adding the mirror here, repeats the shiny silver finish, carrying it across the room. Of course, I adore starburst mirrors, I may be a little obsessive about them! I think they are always a good idea!
This small print is a section from a much larger print I had cut down years ago. I took the remnant, then cut it to fit this ornate vintage frame. The colors are soft, the subject impressionistic.
We've had this Glycee Giselle print for many years. He's graced every house! I wanted to mount him upon a canvas so he would have no frame. I wanted him to look old. I painted the edges of a thin art canvas with grey chalk paint. I applied warm water to the back of the print, peeled off the heavy backing leaving a thin layer of the front. I applied the print to a canvas using adhesive. I purposefully created wrinkles, and accidently a hole or two! Finally I polished him up with a layer of Annie Sloan's dark wax.
I think he looks antique, although he's only 20.
I'm content with the new doorway niche design. I think it is Aiden Gray worthy. What about that lamp table? Hmmm, I feel another project coming on -
On a personal note, I apologize that it has been so long since I blogged. I've missed blogging. I took a part-time job. I'm learning to juggling a little more. I'll be back soon, promise.
Until next time, wishing you all the best -