The front entry of this cottage-style home in Excelsior didn't create a positive first impression for several reasons: Its country decor didn't blend well with the contemporary furnishings in the rest of the house, the wall paint and wallpaper border needed updating and a wall cabinet was the first thing you saw when you opened the front door.
"The owners had been redirecting traffic through the kitchen door for showings," said Lori Matzke of Centerstagehome.com. "You always want to make sure your front entry is inviting enough for visitors and impressive enough to make a buyer want to see more."
Matzke removed the wall cabinet, shelves, wicker furnishings and wall cupboard to make room for more suitable furnishings. The balloon shades were removed, too, to let more light into the porch.
The trim and doors weren't in good condition, so Matzke painted them with a satin finish. (Gloss finishes on woodwork and floors tend to highlight flaws.)
Woodwork throughout the house needed a touch-up, so Matzke used a creamy shade of white rather than a darker color that would have required multiple coats to cover the lighter paint.
Matzke borrowed a contemporary leather chair from the crowded adjoining living room and put it in the porch to create continuity between these two rooms.
"You always want your decor to be as consistent as possible from room to room," she said. "Going from one style to another is distracting."
Matzke removed the wallpaper border and painted the ceiling and walls pale khaki to create contrast between the trim and the walls and to make the space feel fresh and clean. These neutral tones appeal to most buyers but have enough yellow undertones to complement the natural wood floors.
A traditional buffet and mirror that had been in storage was used to help soften the sleek lines of the owner's modern furniture. And a folding screen that had been hiding the basement water heater is a handsome decorative element that provides some privacy.
Matzke used simple accessories including a plant on an elephant plant stand that had been hidden in a corner of the living room to help soften the look of the leather arm chair and screen, and she used a pair of candlesticks and a contemporary vase filled with greenery help make the space feel more inviting.