We’ve been sharing the DIY major renovation of our Atlanta home and now we’re ready to start sharing some pictures and details of our DIY renovation of the foyer.
It felt so good when we got to this point because even though it’s not the last room on this floor, when we got to this point we knew we were close!
To give you some background on the space. This picture shows the foyer when we purchased the house.
But the picture below is what the foyer looked like for most of the year while we were renovating the main floor. As we moved from room to room we had to store furniture and tools in the foyer to get it out of the way. The room became a storage room rather than an entranceway.
We couldn’t have people come through the front door. That really wasn’t much of a problem because we certainly weren’t able to entertain. But, the thought of soon being able to do both made us happy =)
The following picture is looking from the foyer into the kitchen before any renovations began. If you’ve been following our posts you know that the wall you’re looking at separated the foyer from the kitchen and is now gone.
Actually, that kitchen is gone also! We moved it to where the old den was.
Opening up the foyer to the dining room
It’s hard to remember at what point of the renovation process we actually removed that closet and wall because it’s all kind of blending together. Did we do it when we were renovating the den? Which actually turned into the kitchen renovation; but the kitchen actually became the dining room renovation. You see where I’m going with this?
Suffice to say, we took that closet and wall down.
You can read about the prior renovation projects here:
Look how nice and clean it looks in the picture below! It makes me happy just seeing it!
Opening up the foyer from the family room
When we renovated the family room, we opened up the entrance from the foyer into the family room by about 2 feet. Not a lot, but it made a big difference in how open the space feels.
We used a drywall lift to hoist the laminated support beam we installed when we increased the size of the opening. We’ve mentioned in the past how much this lift has helped us. We were able to borrow the one we used on the main floor, but we will purchase one of our own if aren’t able to use this one again.
And yes, the picture above and below shows us back to our DIY renovation norm.
DIY renovation norm means mess.
When you work full time and renovate after work and on weekends, you use every minute to move forward on the project. Cleaning up each evening after you work on the project just isn’t feasible.
The reality of DIY renovation is that, to a certain degree, you just have to numb yourself to the mess. That’s very hard to me to do, but I’m getting there.
My best tip is to hide any rooms you can with plastic sheathing – the cheap stuff. When you walk in your house after your day job, it helps hide the mess so you can pretend it isn’t there.
Shadow Boxes and Trim
We went with shadow boxes in the foyer and down the hallway. Similar to what we did in the dining room.
While I was working on sanding and painting the keeping room, TJ was busy installing the shadow boxes and trim.
We carried the shadow boxes and trim down the hall, down to the basement level and upstairs to the top floor also.
In another post I’ll share the bannister posts that TJ built. It totally transformed the stairway. Each post had over 400 pieces. And I should probably mention that there are 9 posts!
Once we realized how much work they were, I actually felt bad asking him to build them.
But then I added up how much 9 posts like that would cost and I started feeling good again. Really good =)
How to clean and renew grout on a stone floor
Now, the floor. If you look at the previous photos you can see how dirty the stone and grout had become. After a year of renovation work, it was filthy. In the beginning we tried to keep the floor covered with paper, but we just kept ripping it. So we gave up trying to keep it covered.
After we finished the foyer I tried to clean it but nothing worked. I know because I tried everything, cleaners, bleach, a paste. Kind of like when I cleaned the brick on our old fireplace.
We really wanted to keep the stone because not only was it beautiful, but the work and money to replace it just wore us out thinking about it. But we thought we’d ruined it to the point of no repair.
Then I saw a product at Home Depot called Grout Renew. You paint it on your grout. I’ve heard of products like this before and they didn’t interest me. Probably because I’d thought about it for bathroom tile which generally has a thin line of grout. But now we were dealing with large lines of grout. And, we had incentive!
We decided it was worth a try. We had to remove and reinstall a few pieces of the stone that had come loose. Once we did that I got started painting.
I bought a good quality paint brush from Hobby Lobby and spent several days painting the grout. I won’t sugar coat the process – its time consuming and hard on the lower back.
But, for us, it was absolutely worth it.
I plan to do a separate post giving more detail and providing more pictures. But, short version is that it was a tremendous success.
I’m sharing the image below so that you can compare it with the ones above. You can easily see the difference in the grout after I used the Grout Renew – even with TJs footprints. (Sorry, I just had to include this pic!)
I’m VERY happy with how it turned out and I’m giving it a big thumbs up. Here’s the link if you want to research the product. I used Oyster Gray and it looks great against the dark stone.
I’ll be doing a full reveal of this space and the others including paint and decor – so please consider signing up for an email notification. You won’t want to miss any of the posts!