Reimagined Entranceway

Before: Old sheet rock sagged away from the ceiling, making for a decidedly undramatic entrance.
We "broke ground" about a month ago on a project that would revamp Better Farm's entranceway and give guests a strong first impression.

At the start, we were up against old sheetrock, visible lines, exposed electrical wiring, inadequate insulation, inefficient storage, and a boring color scheme:
Visible sheet rock lines, electric installed outside the wall, boring light fixture, and plain white walls and ceiling? No thanks.

There were a few elements worth saving: one, the "better be" tag former artist-in-residence Erica Hauser painted a couple of years ago over the entranceway:

And two, a chimney section we discovered when we started taking down the old sheetrock:

Three, the stunning custom staircase Gary Stephenson built back in 2011:

Local contractor North Country YDIY got started reinsulating, replacing sheetrock, and reclaiming old barn wood across the street to use as trim throughout the space.

Here are some photos of the process:

Nate Serafine, a painter and contractor out of Rochester with property and a camp in Rossie (Paintinate), came by to teach me how to mud and tape the sheet rock so it would appear literally seamless.
Though the idea was to simplify and clean up the space, there were certain embellishments added as well. I knew I wanted a bold chandelier to put in the center of the foyer, and found a beautiful one at Lowe's:

I'd thought a lot about putting a bold wallpaper in the immediate entranceway to offset the muted walls throughout the front hall; but when I found this amazing woodblock on Etsy, I had a change of heart:
Giant paisley stamp from DelhiDaze on Etsy.
Paint colors: Benjamin Moore's Sandy Hook Gray and Sherwin Williams' Wild Wild West.

On the ceiling, I decided to install some faux tin in a bronze color to create a formal entranceway. I thought the copper would contrast nicely with the barnwood trim gleaned from this property.

Creating a small alcove in the long hall allowed for visual highlights like the wooden carving and copper backsplash.

All the elements started coming together in a beautiful way:

To finish off the space, we added a holy water font from an old church as a key holder and an antique shelf found at another construction site that I screwed hooks onto for a coatrack:

Here's a side-by-side comparison:

This spring a project will be to make a bench with hinged lid for shoe storage in the front hall. Photos to come on that! If you've got a DIY home project you'd like to share, email us at

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.