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Seduced by the Charm of an Old Home

Hello Fabulous Farmers!

I practically get weak in the knees when I arrive at a home that is bathed in original, classic charm, and this Colonial at Rock Haven Farm is no exception.

Thank you for coming back after last week’s assault on your eyes! (If you missed last week you can read it here.) We’ve made a lot of progress cleaning out the debris in just one short week, so today I’m going to show you the foyer and some inspiration photos for the design of this space. But first, a little bit of corny fun on the farm!

This is my first inspiration photo for the front entrance. I’ve always appreciated a glossy

black front door so I think this house with its formality is the right place to install one. You’ll notice this entrance has a very similar front door and sidelights to mine (if you’re new here, here is a photo of my entrance in its before state). I discussed the entrance briefly in an earlier post and asked for your opinion: keep the entrance as is, or install a new black steel entrance which is all the rage right now? One of you asked about the steel so here is a picture.

This could really give the entrance some WOW factor. It would also bring an abundance of natural light into the foyer and give me that rustic-industrial edge I'm looking for.

I listened to all of your comments and I have decided not to decide yet on whether to switch out the front door. However, if in the end, I decide not to switch it out, black steel will find its way into another area of the house, which you’ll see in a future post.

So here’s my foyer:

Loads of grasscloth. Going to be fun removing that - may end up skim coating over it.

Indicative of the Colonial Revival style, the foyer is in the middle of the home with the living room on one side and the dining room on the other. Front and center is the spiral staircase.

Nothing in interior design puts a spell on me more than a beautiful staircase, and this one definitely has that. When we arrived at this home for the first time, and even though it was engulfed in a sea of debris, the staircase stood proud. It’s accompanied by 10 ft. high ceilings adorned with sizeable crown, custom moldings, and a beautiful window on the second floor that floods the upper staircase with natural light. Just like most of the house, the staircase is built with solid craftsmanship so it requires no structural work, only any cosmetic changes we ultimately decide to make.

This is inside the foyer looking to the right towards the living room.

This is inside the foyer looking left towards the dining room.

Great craftsmanship here. A lovely feature in this traditional foyer.

I set about looking for inspiration for the transformation of this space and I came across this first photo that is textbook traditional.

(FOYER A) courtesy of Matthew Carter Interiors

What I love about this foyer is that the trim and wall colors are fresh, and the natural light streaming in really enhances the space - it almost makes it glow. It has good ceiling height and a rich, dark hardwood floor, and its molding detail is something to get excited about.

How this foyer differs from mine is that its cased openings and window grill work are more ornate than mine. I actually like that mine are less ornate because I feel I have more liberty with my design style and more freedom to sneak in some elements that aren’t as severely traditional. Given that my foyer is North facing and, therefore, has less natural light, it will surely be a bit more of a challenge to pick just the right paint colors.

Courtesy of Matthew Carter Interiors

In this photo of the staircase, you can see the elements are similar to mine, although the spindles are more ornate, and it is not a spiral. Don’t be surprised to see the spindles on my staircase painted or stained, or more!


This second inspiration is a huge departure from the first. This foyer grabbed my attention because I have always been drawn to more masculine spaces. Also, I love the idea of bringing some rustic elements into this Colonial to give it a little bit of the “farmhouse” feel but with a hint of industrial. I’m sure you’ll probably agree this foyer looks nothing like mine, and you might even be thinking I’m truly off my rocker! I just love everything about this style: from the dark hardwood floors, to every element of the staircase being stained just short of black, to the texture/paint treatment on the walls, to the furnishings themselves. This photo probably gives you an idea of why I’m contemplating ripping out the entrance and installing a black steel door and windows.

In the end, whether I lean toward inspiration A or B, I need to remember that this is an important decision because in interior design you only have one chance to make a good first impression, and the foyer is where it all begins. I want my guests to feel like they’ve been enveloped in warmth when they walk in the front door, and to be inspired to want to experience more. Once again, I would love to use my version of “phone-a-friend” and have you guys chime in with your ideas on foyer design, and whether you think I should lean more towards A or B. I really do value your opinions, and it is helpful to hear your ideas.

Before I leave you, I wanted to share a little treasure with you. Tucked away high on an upper shelf in a dirty old cabinet in the garage, my husband came across an old photo album. Its cover is made out of wood that looks like it was salvaged from the job site. To our surprise, it contained dozens of old photos that were taken during different stages of the building process.

Sometimes it’s just the little things that bring me joy!

I hope you all enjoyed your frolic on the farm, and I hope a little bit of treasure finds its way into each of your days!

Sandy Sheldon



#Colonialhome #SonomaCountyWineCountry #HomeRemodeling #HomeRenovation #FarmHouse #InteriorDesign #Foyer #Entrance #MatthewCarterInteriors #SteelWindows #GlossyBlackDoor #BeforePhotos

Hi, I'm Sandy Sheldon -  welcome to my farm.



@rockhavenfarm_           INSTAGRAM                 #RHFreno

Hi guys! Have a question or comment?  I'd love to hear from you!


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Hope you enjoyed your visit!

This huge interior design and home renovation adventure will certainly test me, but I'm throwing caution to the wind and plunging head first into design euphoria. I have  great things in store for Mrs. Colonial, and hope I can share every exciting and beautiful detail with you! 



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