ABM Studio: The Entryway (Before)

Front Door Inspirations!Colorful door inspiration! green, pink (does anyone know?), bluemint

The entryway is the first room in our little (BEFORE) tour of the new studio. I'm excited to share photos of the current space, plans and ideas for future projects and some inspiration photos too! 

The front door is a big deal. I love the mood that a bright, colorful door can create. A door can make a great first impression! We're planning to replace the current front door with something more solid and paint it a bold color. Which is your favorite from the inspiration images above? I'm personally most in love with the pea green and bright blue. Yellow is always in the running, though… always. Entry BEFORE   Here's the view when you walk though the front door. When I look at this photo my mind is instantly spinning with ideas. Art, lighting, paint colors… where to even begin? This house has the BEST bones—so, so much potential.

First up, lighting!Pendant Light InspirationLighting Sources 1/2/3/4. 

I love the idea of a big pretty statement light in this space. Or maybe something with a pop of color? Maybe even a DIY fixture? Something like Sarah's pendant lamp? At the moment I'm leaning toward something big, either a chandelier or a metal globe of some sort, but I've been known to change my mind… a lot. Entry BEFORE  Here's the stairway. I doubt we will paint all of the wood. We will put major thought into this before starting, because undoing it is a crazy hassel. In my home the stairs were already painted, so I am leaning toward keeping wood on the stairs and painting the risers. Currently the stairs are in good, but definitely not perfect condition. There are scratches in the wood if you look closely. I'm excited to bring on the paint after we've thought long and hard about it and committed to an idea! I won't lie. It makes me nervous, but so excited at the same time.Cute staircases at Madewell storesStairways at two Madewell locations (rainbow steps via DesignLoveFest)

My two favorite stairways that I've ever seen are both at Madewell locations (no surprise there!). I love the idea of adding type or bold color to the risers of our staircase. Wanna know another fun detail?? There are two sets of stairs in our new space! The second one is an enclosed hallway type staircase right behind the kitchen, leading up to the sponge painted room. Since it's less formal we'll probably do the crazier idea there. I'm just excited that we get to dream up a stairway makeover x2! Entry BEFORE Under the entry stairway there is this open space. The possibilities here are SO fun! Here are my first two inspiration points:Bookshelves beneath stairsa. My initial thought was something similar to this (via Design*Sponge) but shelves built into the space beneath the stairs. How cute would it be to have a little hidden bookshelf right there?Reading nook beneath stairsb. But then, I saw this reading nook (via Indulgy)! That's pretty special. Now I can't decide what to do with that little nook. Entry BEFOREHere's a view of the entry from the dining room door. 

I can't wrap up this post without a little talk about my favorite subject of all… COLOR! Color is a big consideration in this new space. We haven't made any specific choices yet, but what we definitely agree on is that we don't want to do an all white house. As much as we LOVE all white houses (that's basically what my home is, and I have never regretted it even once!) With that said, we knew it was time to break out of that comfort zone and try some new things. In this space we're looking forward to experimenting with color, texture, print and patterns! If we make a regrettable choice (and we fully expect to) we'll paint over it… no biggie! We're looking forward to trying new things, learning from our mistakes and growing as designers and bloggers along the way. 

For the record, we like the color the entryway is already painted, but since there are quite a few spots on the walls that need to be mended before painting we will most likely go with a brand new color. I mean, the temptation is just too much. If you need us we'll be in the paint aisle, staring at swatches like zombies for the next few months. Sigh… 

Thanks for taking a little (BEFORE) tour with us. We're excited to share our progress as the space begins to take shape!WelcomeI love this idea to paint "welcome" at the entry and this sweet welcome sign from Terrain.

Whatever direction we choose to take from here, I just want our entryway to feel like a welcoming space! I want our front door to basically smile and say, "Good Morning!" I want the entryway to speak to what this home is meant to be, a creative space. 

I'm looking forward to hearing what you guys think about all our crazy ideas! xo. Elsie 

ps. For more obsessive daily studio inspiration, follow my studio inspiration board on Pinterest. 

Credits// Author and Photography: Elsie Larson, Inspiration images are linked throughout. 

  • Definitely the first mustard green looking door! A very autumnal feel to it 🙂

  • I like the side mirror part of the mint gate! This added a unique look to the entrance. I will go with that.

  • A fantastic entryway! Simply WOW! I will go for a mint and a green one 🙂

  • I think blue door is quite catchy to the eyes. I like even the green one! It’s really beautiful.

  • I love the pea green color, but I think it should be combined with the whimsy of the blue numbers and stipes. Then for the under the stairs area . . . I think you should do the chair thing but maybe put a small shelf on the wall (if it is big enough). You can see I like compromise. But for the lighting then I like those options but I saw some other lights the other day that I liked that are similar.


    Those are my comments. Thanks!

  • I have a yellow front door and I love it, it’s always a cheerful welcome home whatever the weather!

  • will you keep the screen door?
    i am in desperate need of front door ideas for my house. the outside brick is reddish-orange. the door is a rusty red and there is a gold framed glass screen door. i’m up for suggestions 🙂

  • I painted my front door a vibrant blue, very similar to your inspiration photo. The color looks great in every season, and I love it. It looks surprisingly great with a Christmas wreath, it looks great with a pumpkin on the steps, it looks great in the summer when my yard is a jungle of green… it makes me smile every time I pull into the driveway. So that’s my vote 🙂

  • Love the seat under the stairs! Much less practical than the shelves… but that may be half the appeal! But I cant believe you are going to paint the stairs! Besides the maintenance, the wood ages so well.. keep them as your “old” and make the rest of the space modern, light fixture included. You could treat the stairs in some way but not paint!!!!
    (I am pretty sure you will paint though….. 😉
    So many possibilities…. I can’t wait to see the finished project!

  • I don’t know why but I see door and I think orange. It’s bold, it’s energetic, it’s darker than wellow, it’s happy. I like to be welcomed by orange.

    Oh. OH. You HAVE to make a reading nook under the stairs. You just HAVE TO. Think of Emma and her Harry Potter fever. She will love you. More, I mean. 😀

  • Have you thought about doing wallpaper for the stair risers? You could even use your Spoonflower designs or design some new ones, since they now have wall paper.

  • Oh my god, I love that staircase. Please don’t lose the detailing on the side, it’s gorgeous! I think shelving underneath would be a DREAM! I am SO excited to see all of your new home DIYs–always an inspiration 🙂

  • ah just whatever you do, please don’t ruin that gorgeous staircase by painting it! that is beautiful wood :/

  • i would have fallen (i did) in love with this house just by seeing this entry way. i love the staircase!! 🙂

  • Wow, the house is great. I bet it’s so much fun (and stressful) choosing what to do with each space!

  • I think a Sputnik chandelier would look awesome in the entry! I’m glad you aren’t planning on painting the entire staircase. I think the wood looks so beautiful!

  • I’m sure whatever you guys do is going to totally cute!! Can’t wait to see it!!!


  • Love the door inspiration pictures. Maybe you want to have another door inspiration in red? Then look at my door here:
    or here:
    I designed it myself and gave the sketches with the exact measurements to the joiner who made it just like I had planned it.
    I ordered the glasses which are replicas from vintage ones here:

  • For more inspiration on painting the stairs – I think the Opening Ceremony store in NYC has the best painted stairs around. It has the lyrics to the Doors song “Hello I love you” – check out a picture here, number 19: http://list25.com/25-most-creative-staircases-ever/

  • I love those lamps ! very smart designs . . . they reminded me on this UK interior designer named Lee Broom:

    you should check out his crystal lightbulps!

  • Hi Elsie! I love the ABM studio! I follow you on Pinterest and these awesome ideas have been showing up on your studio inspiration board lately 🙂 That lighting is so amazing!! And I def have a thing for mint colored doors 😉 Hope to see more ideas for the studio soon!

  • I like the green door a lot.
    And I love the idea of having a little sofa under the stair case. Or a single, pretty armchair and a little table?

  • As an architectural historian, preservationist, and general lover of woodwork, I must agree wholeheartedly with not painting the stairs. Have you considered restoring the wood instead? That would be a great blog post, especially since most bloggers these days are trigger-happy when it comes to covering original, beautiful (especially in this case…gorgeous scrollwork!) woodwork.

  • Wow that space is amazing! I love the duck egg blue door and those stairs are stunning!!

    I’ve always wanted to do the bookcase under the stairs thing in my home….maybe one day lol

  • hi there, I am so in love with the reading nook, I would love to sit there right now…and the lettered stairs…I can imagine how you feel with all the ideas comming to your head instantly. And I am so curious to see how it’s going to look. Happy accomplishment 🙂

    Lots of love, Jess

  • Oh, I’m familiar with the staring-at-swatches-like-a-zombie scenario. Every time we renovate a room my husband leaves me staring at the paint swatches in the hardware store and takes himself on a shopping spree. And even when he’s done, he has to drag me away, usually clutching fistfuls of the things. What a process! But so exciting when you find the perfect colour!

  • This looks like such a beautiful house! I’m looking forward to more of these posts as I have just moved into my very first house and am getting excited about decorating! I love the little nook under the stairs idea, but I wonder if it would be a little dark without the window, so i’d probably go for the shelving idea 🙂

  • Maybe you should consider getting a better proofreader. It feels like the quality is going down, and I’m noticing typos, misspellings, and misuses more and more often.

    The written content should be as great as the photographic content. They should compliment each other – but when one is below par it drags the whole composition down.

    Sorry this sounds so negative, but I would be embarrassed if I was running a huge, well trafficked blog (and making my living doing it) and there were so many mistakes. Take pride in your work!

  • Please, please, please do not paint that beautiful woodwork. It’s gorgeous and deserves more respect than having paint put all over it. As people who consider themselves artists, please respect the craftsmanship that was put into the woodwork in this home! Even though this is your studio, at some point you will re-sell and having original woodwork is a huge selling point, anyway.

  • I’m sure it’s gonna be amazing!
    looking foreward to see more pictures..


  • Oooo a yellow door would be so cheery! I love the reading nook under the stairs! Love it! Can’t wait to see more of what you come up with 🙂

    Lulu xx


  • I cannot wait to see what you guys do and I love all of your ideas! I love that this space can be a completely creative zone! And a nook under the stairs!?? I’ve ALWAYS wanted one of those! Good idea spot!

  • Love your beautiful mess ! Always a great inspiration (:

    I wonder, with the chunkiness and ‘weight of presence’ the staircase has, if your lighting options you have listed may be too ‘light’ (no pun intended). Perhaps in order to counteract the disproportionate ‘weights’ of staircase vs light, you could use a cluster of the lighting you choose – three together instead of one – or relighting – three in a line leading to the dining room ?

    Vanessa B

  • Wait! What if you did the reading nook with just a few little shelves on the bottom side of the stairs so that whoever is reading can see them. Let me see if I can find a link to the idea I saw….ok, forget the link, but some little bookcases/shelves WITH the reading nook could be REALLY cool! 🙂

  • wow so much to do! I love the green door, I think the double door is great too. there is a lot of lighting needed! and color. I cant wait to see what you guys do!!

    PS need android app now! 🙂

  • Hm. So many possibilities. My only thought is that lighting option #1 seems the most like your style and the best to fill the space if it’s a sufficiently large enough piece. Maybe basketball size or slightly larger would be good, I’m guessing. Otherwise, I vote for option 3. I think #2 will look a little sparse, which can be good, but I like 1 & 3 better in this case. I can’t wait to see what you come up with. Thanks for sharing pictures.

  • Wow, I love that reading nook! I’d choose for that idea, if the space is big enough.
    Good luck with your new studio!

  • another cute idea is to build a secret little resting place for your dogs – I thought about doing that in my place as well

  • I love the reading nook under the staircase. I always wanted a cute little nook. Doesn’t even matter if it is for reading, sewing, or just hanging out…It makes the place so comfy!

  • O, ofcourse, I totally forgot to put on the website, haha
    here it is!

  • I love the bright blue door. I haven’t seen that color for a door too much, so it would be rather unique but not an outrageous color for it. Also, that nook under the stairs (wish I had a nook like that under my stairs) is calling for a little bench. I can just hear it! But whatever you decide I am sure it will be fabulous and I can’t wait to see it. Enjoy the process!

  • Just a thought; but you can cover the risers with painted masonite or other thin board. That way if you ever want full wood stairs it is easy to remove. So excited to follow your new adventure.

  • I love the peagreen door- the door itself and the color. Although yellow would be nice keep in mind how dirt would easily show. The darker colors wouldn’t have to be cleaned so often and would give you all more time to work in the studio.

    I love the third light fixture- so modern and will put out lots of light for you.

    If I were you I would keep the main stairway unpainted and for the more private stairway I would do a spin off the the second Madewell photo.

    I look forward to see progress photos of your house!

  • this project is so exciting! can’t wait to follow along through this entire process!



  • Speaking of colours, this website is AMAZING, since it shows lots of different colour palettes, so really good for a bit of inspiration in interesting combinations and new ideas! Hope it helps, and have fun!

  • LOVE these ideas! esp love the reading nook and the painted welcome at the front door!!


  • I love the mint green door, but color is so subjective, and you just have to go with the consensus among you. However, I do agree with someone about the wood staircase. I almost always favor paint over wood, but the grain is so lovely on this and it seems a shame to cover it. Even scratched, I think that natural wood is worth saving. It will be less likely to show future scratches than paint would, also. You could play around with whatever on the back room stair case and change it up as suits your whim, but please leave that lovely wood in the entry way. That being said, it’s YOUR house; I just figured you wanted opinions (hope I was right.)

    Oh, and whatever light fixture you choose, yes, it should be large scaled

  • I want a house like those 🙁 sob…


  • I LOVE those wood stairs! They’re so gorgeous! Would it be possible to spice up the wall next to it instead of painting the stairs so you can just let the wood shine? (I too have had nightmare experiences trying to get paint off of beautiful wood.) Whatever you do will be inspiring as usual, I’m sure.

  • Hi Elsie,

    Thanks for sharing pics of the house studio and your vision. I’m very excited to start seeing posts of DIY’s et al in the new space! I love the idea of a beautifully charming front door….I’ve seen so many beautiful front doors like above on my many trips to Cape Cod, where I’m always inspired!

    Would love to see a Christmas decor special in this house, it will be such a lovely backdrop for Christmas posts hint hint!

    Best of luck and success to you, Emma and your team.

  • I just love all of your ideas for this spot in your new studio-house 🙂 and especially the reading-nook under the stairs… that’s just amazing! xx Cici

  • Just curious, what is a WC? Where I come from that means ‘water closet’ aka toilet! I am pretty sure you don’t mean that…. 🙂

  • I have to agree with Fine and Feathered about painting the stairs. I am all about painting wood, believe me. But those stairs! They are gorgeous! I love the imperfect patina as well. Scratches can be easily fixed. I would do everything else to that space before touching those stairs just to see if that is enough. Maybe the contrast will look great. As for the door photos, I love the pea green one but also love your idea for a yellow door. I have an orange door and I love it! Makes me smile every time I come home especially as it was a boring, boring beige for the first two years we were here. I vote for bookshelves in the nook under the stairs. I love reading nooks but, really, how many people would go to their entryway to sit in a reading nook? It just doesn’t seem like a realistic use of the space. I realise this is mostly a purely creative space but I always imagine reading nooks next to big windows where you can look out at a tree or something. I don’t know, that idea just doesn’t grab me. Maybe I am too practical.

  • Those stairs look beautiful in the wood stain. Refinish them if necessary, but please don’t ruin them with paint.

  • I love the pea green door! But please please please don’t paint those steps!!!! They are so gorgeous as is…way better than those two painted examples!!! Please!

  • I love those stairs so much as they are – I’m a huge sucker for gorgeous wood features & furniture!

  • LET IT BE BLUE. it’s such a lovely shade. on a rainy cold day everything else might turn out dull :/

  • Books.Let there be a book station under the stairs. The reading nook looks lovely but there’s always a chance you might knock your head under the stairs right?=)

  • Completely feel the same way FineandFeathered – seems sad to cover up or change that beautiful staircase, obviously it’s each to their own but it such a gorgeous statement in it’s own right and can be easily worked round.

  • Thanks for the edit tip. We actually do have a proofreader. I wish that we never had typos, but we still do. We’re always working to create a better quality blog. 🙂 Just wanted to let you know we care.


  • If I had to guess, I’d say that pink door belongs to Miss Sherri Dupree Bemis (or one of her sisters)!

    Love seeing the before shots… It makes seeing the after shots that much more exciting!!
    xo, jenn

  • Do the reading nook please! Hahaha it l makes the room more..spacious than the built in reading shelves. :)) it’s so cool how your house is so full of color. Mine is so drab..hahaha like all beige and white but oh well :))


  • as always I love your inspiration ideas 🙂
    can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  • I like the light mint green (not the pea green) color for the front door. Also, I love the natural wood stairs and risers. Beautiful!

  • I love the reading nook and the pea green door is awesome!
    I really like the stairs the way they are…but you guys know what you are doing.
    Best of luck 🙂

  • My vote is for the pea green door. I also LOVE the little detail on the side of your stairs, the little scrolling things (that’s a technical term).

  • Love the nook under the stairs……..a child would be thrilled to read there next to the window. I’m not sure if an adult would comfortably fit….I’ll have to take another look! Not too fond of the stairs without a bannister/railing. Need something to hold on to when wearing heels, etc. and for safety issues. Love your blog, your ideas, and your creativity!

  • Oh PLEASE leave some of the wood on the stairs. That is too gorgeous a color to lose completely!

    I agree with you on the colorful front door – I badly want to change ours up and maybe paint it sky-blue!

  • Those stairs are so pretty, I’m nervous about them being painted even a little bit.

  • What an amazing new space! Cannot wait to see more pictures! I love that blue paint for the door. : )

  • I like the mint or blue door, I really like the style of the mint door. The nook is a really neat idea and more unique than bookshelves.

  • I love the mint door with the number painted on it. A little welcome message on the door would be cute too. I think a book shelf under the stairs would look great and half painted stairs (as in the 1st madewell pic) could be a good compromise x

  • Have to say though, FineandFeathered, you’re coming across rather on the passive aggressive side. Or are you just being melodramatic? They are stairs. Someone spent a long time building them, but they are stairs, nevertheless. They are replaceable. And if it makes Elsie happy to paint them, then paint them she will. As she should, really, for they belong to her.

  • I agree about the staircase. It’s lovely as it is. I’d definitely keep the fun paint for the servant’s stairs. There it would be a cute surprise, and not a gaudy display, imo. But I guess some people like sponge painted walls and carpet, eh? To each their own.


    P.S. It’s not “regretful choice” it’s “regrettable choice.” I have insulted your writing in a past comment, but I shouldn’t have. It was rude of me. Besides, your writing connects with a majority of your readership, and that’s what’s important. Even so, I urge you to consider a proofreader. I notice typos in almost every post.

  • Scrolling through this studio house + the project gave me belly flips and chills, simultaneously. Gah, the beautiful thrill! Have a blast with it all 🙂

  • Hi there-
    Wow. It’s fun to read strong opinions. I love your passion! In a lot of ways I would say we share your passion for historic homes. 🙂

    I hope you can still enjoy our blog whether you like our paint choices or not. I think that’s the fun thing about decorating- everyone loves something different. We’ll see what happens! 😉

  • This looks like a loved, lived in, and special place! I’m so darn excited about seeing this whole process take shape. I think a reading nook would be cute, but the light isn’t very bright in that spot. The bookshelf is cute and it would also be a sweet place for a tea set area for little ones! Just saying. 😉

    The Rambling Fangirl

  • Please please please don’t paint the stairs. I am all about making older homes fresh and modern (where it doesn’t hurt them) but even with scratches that staircase is beautiful (and the scratches could be easily fixed now, whereas paint is a huge project to remove). I’ve been reading this blog for over 3 years but I don’t think I could even keep reading if I saw that that was the sort of thing you’ll do to that house.

  • I love the mint door with “No. 1206” on it. That font is amazing!

    ♥ Naomi {Starry Eyes + Coffee Cups}

  • We’re sure it’s gonna be amazing!

    We’re so happy for you!

    Love and good night from Germany,

    Birdy and Bambi


  • What a marvelous home for projects! I’m excited to see what you do with it! Love the brainstormed ideas so far! 🙂


  • It’s must be so exciting…I’m glad for you!!
    I love the mint door and the 2 or 3 ligth!
    For the stairway, I’m agree with you, it’s need colors !
    and for the entry stairway, why not a WC or a bureau??
    Anyway congratulations for your proyect home!!

  • What about doing an ombre effect on the risers? That might be a fun staircase makeover. I feel like a great entryway calls for a statement light, and I love the West Elm ones you chose as inspiration! Although I would lean towards bookshelf’s, your space under the staircase lends itself to being the perfect spot for a reading nook.

  • Beautiful renovation! I especially love the green color. I’ve heard Master Painting in Chilliwack, BC does some good work to help me with my own ideas, but I haven’t decided just yet. http://www.masterpainting.ca

  • I like the pea green door and the blue door equally! I don’t think it matters what color, though, so long as the hardware rocks.

    Love the photos of your new studio! Can’t wait to see how you transform it, room by room.

  • LOVE that stairway AND entryway! I vote for a bold color for the door. I also love all the possibilities for the stairway nook. If you needed storage or a place to stash things, this is awesome…http://stagetecture.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/staircase-drawers.jpg

    But I’m partial to a little reading nook myself… http://www.busydoor.com/images/2012/06/Fascinating-Under-Staircase-White-and-Red-Reading-Nook-Ideas.jpg

    Have fun! Looking forward to seeing the progress!

  • I love that dark blue door!


  • Such great inspiration my favorite is the stairs with no rail and the nook under the stair case so sweet.

  • love this idea! my mom painted her front door (and garage door!) bright yellow and it’s perfect! such a fun entry to the house. especially in the winter. like a little beacon of light in the snow 🙂

  • …for a front door that ‘smiles’ and says ‘hello and good morning’ then I think your idea of yellow would be a great way to get that across. Saying that I am surprised you are not considering red, being your past connections to ‘red velvet’ 😉 White walls will draw in lots of light and will be great for photo-taking throughout the seasons. As you know, colour can be added with fittings and furnishings and are easily switched/moved around for more options… The understair space would be great for some kind of ‘reception’ and message exchange centre. What fun to have a total playhouse to experiment in without having to live with it 😉 Enjoy girls!

  • I love the blue door! Or do a yellow door! Nothing says ‘good morning’ better than a yellow door (:

    As for the open space under the doorway: I love the reading nook idea, but you don’t have a window under the stairway… It might be a bit dark for reading… The bookshelves on the other hand would fit perfectly (:

  • I LOVE the blue door! It’s so welcoming. I can invision entering through the blue door and upon closing it having a gorgeous yellow facing me inside the room 🙂

  • I’m a fan of the peagreen color!! Crazy that anyone would use the word “peagreen” and “love” in the same sentence.
    Also, I like the shelves underneath the stairs. I’m in the process of doing something similar and look forward to what you end up doing.

  • I have to say my favorite colors for the door would be the green and the blue!! What a fantastic entryway! So excited to see more!

  • I love all the ideas you have for this space! I’m excited to see what you do with it.

    Whimsy Darling

  • The green door is TO DIE for, followed quickly by the blue! Goldenrod could be a wonderful color, too!
    I also really like your first 3 lighting ideas because they seem like they would be brighter and spread more light.
    I’m really excited to see what you all end up doing! Triumphs and failures, that’s part of the fun!

  • I absolutely love the idea of a little nook with a built in bench! The perfect spot to sit for taking off your shoes, or even reading a book! Definitely a bit more original than the shelves!

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