(Part 1) Empty Entry: The Making of an Entryway

Tori McBrien EntrywayI’ve always found it funny when people say to me, “Your home must be amazing!” It seems to be a common misconception that an interior designer’s home is as perfect as his/her clients’. Well, when it comes to my home, that hasn’t been the case, at least not yet. My husband and I bought our first house and spent years renovating and designing it, turning it into the home we wanted. It took us four years just to finish our basement due not only to our penchant for perfectionism (we’ve both been cursed with the affliction) but also because we have busy work schedules and decided to start our family during the process. It was the addition of those two beautiful kids that nudged us out of the recently perfected home we had created. So, this past summer, with a little reluctance to leave after seven years of blood, sweat and tears, we sold it to move into a new house which we hope will be our “forever home.”

Entryway tips

This new house is one that needs a major overhaul. Yes, the bones are great, the property is fantastic and it is nestled in a great neighborhood within walking distance to the local elementary school. Many visiting our house would think, “This is amazing. There’s no need to renovate.” However, the layout and flow are….let’s just say interesting. So we bought this home knowing in a few years we will need a pretty decent renovation, something that will have to happen in the hopefully, not too distant, future. The issue is I’m an interior designer. I want my home to reflect our style and showcase what I am capable of, not what the previous owners’ preferred. And because it’s my own home and I’m both the client and the designer, I’m impatient. I constantly tell my own clients how important the design process is and not to rush too quickly into anything. But it’s hard to follow my own advice. I have to sit on my hands to keep myself from diving into a renovation. With all that said, I HAVE to work on something or I’ll go stir crazy so I decided to begin with our entryway. Let the design process begin!



The first phase of any interior design project is to start with gathering basic information. Typically, there would be an initial conversation and potential consultation to learn more about the scope of the work and the client(s) themselves. Because it’s my own home, I obviously know the “client” and their living habits quite intimately, so it is really about determining what we like and dislike about the space.

Tori McBrien entrywayOur entry has a lot going for it. Actually, the fact that we even have one is a major bonus in this house. The front door of our previous home opened right into the living room and this one has the potential to become the grand foyer I’ve always wanted. It also has beautiful detailed crown moulding, lots of closet space and has the perfect spot for the new-to-me antique chest I purchased earlier this year on an antique-hunting trip in Parma, Italy with none other than CTC&G editor, DJ Carey.

BUT there are also several things I’d like to update in our entry. Right now, everything is painted the color of pale pea soup: walls, trim, even inside the closets. Yuck! And it’s completely void of furniture. Our entryway doesn’t scream welcome, or even whisper hello. I believe that an entryway sets the tone of the home and ours is apathetic and depressing, the exact opposite of how I want my guests to feel when they visit. I envision an entryway that reflects our personalities: classic, tidy, and a little bit playful while being warm and inviting.

For my clients, I design spaces with a large range of styles but for my own home, I prefer a traditional look with a twist. This includes a love of antiques but adding modern elements to create a curated look that’s elevated but still comfortable.

Stay tuned to see how I use the next steps in the design process (site analysis, schematic design and design development) to pull together a game plan for our “Empty Entry.”