The work on my foyer/entry continues! If you missed my phase one reveal then go check it out first. Today I’m going to share phase two of this makeover…

I started off this phase by fixing an area of our foyer that wasn’t quite right. When we moved into our home I noticed that there is an area of molding underneath the main staircase that looks unfinished. Take a look:

I believe it was built this way, and it looks like the builder maybe ran out of materials and just threw on what he had left instead of buying what was needed to finish this correctly. Who knows?! But it was time for me to finally make this area look the way it was supposed to look to begin with.

I added two pieces of wood below the stringer and then continued the base cap molding all around the edges. I also installed new taller baseboards in this area. So now the whole area looks like this…

(this is after we painted the walls and before we painted the trim)

Looking better… it just needs to be painted which I’ll do later.

With that area fixed, I then continued with the baseboards. I installed new taller baseboards through the entire entry area and the upstairs hallway. Fortunately, the baseboards on both staircases were already 5 1/4” tall.

Next, it was time to get painting! My husband helped me prime and paint all the walls in the entry, upstairs hall and back staircase.

This is what it looked like before:

And after the paint:

I went with a basic white and I was surprised by how much brighter the rooms instantly felt after changing the paint color.

Painting all of the trim was the next step, but first I needed to do another project…

I wanted to do something with these decorative pieces on the end of each step on our main staircase in the foyer. These are officially called stair brackets. I am personally NOT a fan of these. I guess they are an added decorative feature, but in the area I live in these are nothing special. They are a standard builder grade element in the typical suburban house. I personally feel like this particular bracket design is very colonial looking and our home is not a pure colonial style. They just don’t fit! I’d prefer a very clean minimal look to these stairs.

These aren’t just in our foyer, they are also in our dining room…

You don’t know how many days over the last few years I’ve walked through our foyer and dining room and just wanted to start ripping all of these off. The only reason I waited is because I knew what was underneath was likely not pretty. Since I was now giving this area a makeover, it was time to finally take one off and see what it looked like underneath:

Yeah, not pretty! My preference would be no trim or molding here at all just a clean mitered corner, but as you can see the stairs would need to be constructed differently for that to happen. You can see the end of the stair riser, and the very edge of that riser is mitered.

I spent some time brainstorming this situation. I could have trimmed the mitered edge off the riser and then added a piece of decorative molding along the side to cover up the edge of the riser, but that wouldn’t look much better and then you’d be able to see the edge of the decorative molding from the front of each stair. I realized the only decent option I had was to keep the mitered edges and trim down the current bracket I have and reinstall it.

I cut off most of the bracket so I had a smaller plain piece that was wide enough to cover up the end of the riser.

Then I reinstalled this smaller simpler bracket with a nail gun.

If you look at the step from the front, the riser is still nice and clean looking with no molding sticking out.

The side of the stair is not as clean looking as I’d like and this simple vertical stair bracket is not ideal, but it is the best option I had since I can’t afford to rebuild the stairs. And I feel it definitely looks better than what was there. I removed, cut and replaced all 19 stair brackets and then filled the nail holes, sanded the stringer and caulked everything.

Now that the stair brackets were finished, I could finally paint all of the trim. It took a long time to paint the trim in the foyer, along both staircases and upstairs. I also painted all of the stair risers and the doors in these areas of the house. But all this work was a necessity because these areas hadn’t been painted for a decade and they were looking pretty shabby.

Here is a close up of some of the painted ends of the stairs.

Notice the ugly return vent in the wall? Well, that’s the last project for me to address in this phase of the makeover. It is quite large and unattractive so figuring out a way to make this no longer noticeable is one of my goals for the room. I came up with a two-step plan to conceal this vent, and in this phase I implemented step one of the plan. It’s actually pretty easy: paint the vent to match the wall so it all blends together. Its currently an off-white/almond color and I want it to be white to match the walls. Here is how it looked painted…

That’s better, but it still doesn’t completely conceal the vent. I’ll do part two of concealing this in my final reveal.

But for now I am done with this phase, here are some photos of how the foyer/hallway looks so far…

I love how the front door really pops against the white walls…

And here’s the upstairs hallway…

And the back staircase…

That weird area below the stairs looks much better now…

And the stairs brackets do too…

Look for my final reveal next!


  1. Avatar Judy Gibbs

    I love what you did. Beautiful! I have the same stair brackets and my husband wants to keep them. We took out the wall so that both sides are now open. I cannot find the brackets anywhere. Do you know anywhere I could find them. Thanks so much. Judy

    • Avatar Stephanie @ Studio 36 Interiors

      I’d suggest any company that sells stair parts. I would google ‘stair brackets’ and see what comes up. You’ll likely need to order them online. Good luck!

  2. looks amazing.

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