14 Traditional Foyers with a Twist

Whether the house is newly built or hundreds of years old, a traditional-style entry extends a warm welcome. Explore these vibrant, clean and intriguing spaces, and learn how designers merge historic details with modern amenities to create fresh and lively foyers.
Regan Baker-designed space in San Francisco
Photo by Suzanna Scott

“We wanted to bring functionality to the entryway,” says designer Regan Baker, explaining his scheme for this foyer in an 1890s Queen Anne–style home in San Francisco’s Mission District. “The modern console not only provides interesting visual contrast but acts as a great spot to put wallets, keys and mail.”

The console, from Imago Furniture, provides a chic complement to the chandelier. “We love the way these minimal, modern pieces look when contrasted with the intricate Victorian trim and architectural details that were original to the space,” Baker says. “Keeping everything painted a fresh white helps marry these two distinct styles.”

Rosen Kelly Conway-designed home in Summit, NJ
Photo by Mike Van Tassell

The trio behind Rosen Kelly Conway gave this Victorian home in Summit, New Jersey, a major makeover. “By removing walls and adding large expanses of contextual windows to flood the house with light,” explains Tom Conway, “we were able to create a more open and airy vibe, reflecting the owner’s casual lifestyle.”

Even so, the designers were careful to respect the house’s historic roots, restoring as many details as possible. In the entryway, these included the door, the moldings and the chandelier medallion. The team added the milky Murano glass chandelier, which fits right in.

San Francisco home by Redmond Aldrich Design
Photo by Laure Joliet

In the entry of a family home in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood, Redmond Aldrich Design founder Chloe Warner had artist Judith Braun create a large-scale charcoal mural under the stairs, placing a vintage bench from WYETH next to it. The result: a subtle yet bold design moment. “The goal,” says Warner, “was to announce that the house belongs to people who care about art but also have it be a clean soothing place that connects to other rooms.”

Nina Farmer home in Boston
Photo by Paul Raeside

Careful to preserve the Arts and Crafts character of this historic 1904 Boston home, designer Nina Farmer Farmer spent a great deal of time restoring the original wood staircase in the entryway. “We really wanted it to be a showpiece you see right when you walk in,” she says.

For the furnishings, Farmer chose pieces from different periods and countries, like the vintage Blackman Cruz console and Pierre Jeanneret chair from Chandigarh. “Just the right mix,” she explains, to balance the original wood detailing.”

M Interiors foyer in Kips Bay Decorator Show House Dallas
Photo by Stephen Karlisch

Melissa Morgan was determined to make the foyer of the Kips Bay Decorator Show House Dallas somewhere people would want to spend time rather than simply pass through. “We decided to create a cozy seating area at the base of the stairs, close to the kitchen and bar,” she says, “for a more intimate gathering spot.”

Key to establishing the space’s warm, welcoming feel is the Gracie wallpaper, with its nature-inspired design. Continuing that theme, a pair of leopard-print Louis XVI fauteuils face each other across a French mid-century coffee table, all grounded by a cream and blue rug.

For clients who wanted “old-fashioned, deep-dish decorating” in their San Francisco home, Miles Redd, of Redd Kaihoi, created an entry that more than fits the bill. Redd enlisted artist Agustin Hurtado to paint a whimsical faux awning, which he paired with an antique Swedish clock and Rococo-style console table. A more contemporary touch is provided by the Robert Silvers photomosaic portrait of Jackie Onassis overseeing the main stair.

Nest Design Group in Houston, TX
Photo by Julie Soefer

“Our inspiration was a Parisian flat, mixing classic and contemporary,” says Nest Design Group’s Jana Erwin, describing this elegant Houston foyer. The space also blends glamour with simplicity, juxtaposing an antique crystal chandelier with a rustic bench.

Madeline Stuart-designed foyer in Beverly Hills
Photo by Trevor Tondro

A modernist interpretation of classic bungalow-style architecture, this Beverly Hills home is replete with Arts and Crafts details. In the foyer, Madeline Stuart preserved the period feel with a circa 1910 French lantern, Charles Limbert chair and Gustav Stickley table.

Amanda Lindroth's Lyford Cay, Bahamas, home
Photo by Tria Gioven

“I just loaded it up with all my favorite vintage finds,” Amanda Lindroth says of her Lyford Cay, Bahamas, home. “I layered every single idiom I love in one tiny spot.” Among her favorite pieces in the foyer: the vintage white palms, which blend with the cypress walls and “give the space some age.”

Echoing these, but in a green register, are the plants perched on the Raj Company antique mirrored brackets; the matching ginger jars from Twos Company add color closer to the ground.

Santa Monica foyer by Nickey Kehoe
Photo by Rodger Davies

“Interestingly, this Santa Monica foyer was the original hunting lodge from the 1930s, so our inspiration was right within the walls,” says Amy Kehoe. Kehoe and her design partner, Todd Nickey, nodded to the space’s history with paneled walls.

“There was discussion of eliminating the fireplace to update the entrance and stairwells,” she continues, “but there was too much character to consider that — even if it wasn’t as intuitive for modern living. We welcome the quirk.” The chandelier, in the style of Adrien Audoux and Frida Minet, was a vintage find; the bench, by Formations, is contemporary.

Rancho Santa Fe, California foyer by Sean Leffers
Photo by Darren Edwards

“The goal for this Rancho Santa Fe, California, space was to keep it feeling light and airy,” says Los Angeles–based designer Sean Leffers. “It’s supposed to function as a bit of a palate cleanser between the florid courtyard garden at the entrance and the completely decorated library, living and dining rooms off of the foyer.”

To emphasize its Iberian character, Leffers had the original paving tiles glazed to match the ones in the old Hotel del Coronado and installed 17th-century wood doors bearing the family crests of their original owners, which he found at a salvage warehouse in Seville, Spain. The French chairs, Aldo Tura umbrella stand and McGuire Furniture Company bench add to the cosmopolitan air.

Oxfordshire foyer by Rebecca James
Photo by Alex James

“For the foyer of this Oxfordshire, England home, I was inspired by the grand palazzos in Venice and wanted to create a contemporary version,” says Rebecca James. “The whole idea was to make the space timeless by mixing period and contemporary elements in a harmonious manner.” Quintessentially contemporary, the bold Ling Jian painting ties the space together in both scale and color.

As for the period elements, James found the Italian 1950s bronze lantern and Murano glass wall lights at Galerie Glustin.

Jeff Andrews-designed foyer in Glendale, CA
Photo by Laura Hull

“While the interiors are decidedly contemporary, the architecture has a slightly Spanish feel,” Jeff Andrews says of this new build in Glendale, California. “So I designed the stair railing in the entry as a nod to Spanish Revival style while keeping the lighting and furnishings cool and eclectic.”

To ensure it displayed the requisite cool, he designed the light fixture himself. “It is made from 25 handblown glass pieces and is inspired by cascading water,” he explains. The chair is also an Andrews design, from his collection for A. Rudin. It pairs perfectly with the Blackman Cruz table.

Westport, CT home by Chango & Co.
Photo by Sarah Elliott

“This 1803 Westport, Connecticut, house was recently restored by a local builder, who successfully fused the best of the old and new,” says Susana Simonpietri, creative director and owner of Chango & Co. “We hoped to capitalize on the beautiful combination of both, while inviting a more livable, playful energy for the young, growing family.”

The entryway has plenty of energy, thanks to the Carla Weeks paintings, Restoration Hardware console and McGee & Co. lamp, which together pack a stylish punch.

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