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An Entryway in Desperate Need of a Makeover | ORC Week No. 1

May 6, 2020

Low ceilings and dated paneling are about to be a thing of the past in this fixer upper entryway.  See the before tour of this room before I start giving a much-needed makeover to this small space.

MACTAVISH HOUSE   |   Published May 6, 2020

Small dated entryway

The day has (finally) arrived. Today begins the annual spring One Room Challenge and I am excited to be showing the transformation of my entryway over the next couple of months.

As with practically everything in life lately, the ORC was postponed from it's original start date at the beginning of April.  On top of that change, stay at home orders have made weekly Lowe's visits difficult, antique and decor shopping impossible, many online products have a delayed availability for shipment, and there is an overwhelming desire to just veg at home rather than start a new project.  Suffice it to say, this year's event is likely to be a bit different than normal.

In case you've never heard of the One Room Challenge (ORC) before, it is a design event created by Linda Weinstein of Calling it Home that takes place twice a year and this season the media partner is Better Homes & Gardens.  Twenty designers are featured, but anyone is welcome to sign up as a guest participant.  Although it normally takes place over six weeks, this year has been increased to eight to give everyone time to adjust to the changed life we've been living.  The room reveals will begin June 25.

Inside the doorway of a dated fixer upper.

As I mentioned, I've chosen to give a much needed makeover to the entryway of my fixer upper.  If this is your first visit here, I've been updating a 1900s home that belonged to my grandparents.  It is a very slow process as I'm trying to save what remains of the original house rather than just demo it all, but the best part really has been seeing a place with a dated interior in need of some love be transformed in to something worthy of a share on Instagram.  I couldn't be happier with how things are coming together.  The living room is complete, new siding, window, and doors are on the exterior, and I'm currently working on the breakfast nook off of the kitchen.

Click here to see my entire renovation journey, including the before tour of the house.

Because of the delayed schedule, some of the work has already been started in this room.  But I'm going to take you along through this makeover just as I had planned originally and let you see how quickly ideas must change when working on a fixer upper and how I overcame the difficulties that arose while trying to renovate during these past few months.

This room is positioned at the back of the house and is the door everyone uses to come and go.  When my grandparents lived here, it was also used as a pantry area.  But all the cupboards are to be removed and I'm going to transition the space into just a dedicated entryway.

There are a few challenges here that I must take into account when making my design decisions .....

  • The ceilings are VERY low in this room.    Being that this house was built around 1900, there was originally no bathroom.  This space was the porch area that lead into the kitchen, and the room was created when the bathroom was installed.  The roofline is just inches above the doorway, so there is no option of raising the ceiling height.  The main problem with the low ceilings is trying to find a stylish light fixture that doesn't hang down where someone can hit their head on it. 

Dated pantry

  • The bathroom door opens out into the room and also into the aforementioned light fixture.  For as long as I can remember, the door would scrape the linoleum floor as you closed it against the wall thanks to the floors not being completely level.  And you had to be careful coming into the house that someone was not coming out of the bathroom at the same time because you'd be knocking the doors together.

  • In the corner beside the kitchen, there is ductwork going from the furnace in the basement to the bedroom upstairs.  The owners before my grandparents installed an angled wall in front of it to cover the duct, but I don't like how much extra space this eats up in the already very tiny space.  

Entryway with cupboards and dated paneling

  • This small space opens directly into the equally tiny bathroom.  Given the way these two rooms join together, it is important when designing the entryway to be mindful of what will also be happening in the future bathroom design so that the two spaces can flow one into the other giving the illusion of a larger space overall.  This means things like having one single floor surface, the same paint colors, and even possibly matching light fixtures.

  • And the room is just overall small.  I want to pack in everything that an entryway should have - a table for dropping mail and keys, a place to sit to put on your shoes, somewhere to hang coats, and a rug to bring in texture and color.  But that all has to be done paying special consideration to the size and scale of everything that I choose, while also keeping decorative pieces to a minimum as to not overwhelm the space.  Even though it is small, I don't want the room to feel small when you come into the house.

1900s fixer upper entry

That wraps up my before tour of this main entry into the home.  Next week I'll be sharing with you exactly what I found when I did demo to this room.

I'd like to invite you to subscribe to my blog so that you can receive updates when the newest posts in this series are available. The form appears just a little further down on the page.

And before you go, I'd love for you to share in the comments below any design or decor ideas that popped into your head when seeing the space in this state.  What would you do to bring this entryway into 2020 and how would you handle the challenges that the room presents?

Thanks for visiting and I hope you're excited to follow along on this massive update with me!


Week No. 1 - Entryway Before Tour - You are here!
Week No. 2 - Demo in the Entryway 
Week No. 3 - Entryway Design Plan 

Fixer Upper Entryway Before Tour

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