Coastal foyer light Shades of Light

The Challenges of a Two Story Foyer

So sorry for the “radio” silence, but in all seriousness I was feeling very overwhelmed and quite honestly a little sad after our move from Louisville to Virginia Beach. When friends in Louisville asked us where we were moving to they felt not one iota of sorrow for us because of our proximity to the beach, I guess being land-locked will do that to a person after a while… Well anyway, I have my head firmly above the water now and I feel like I’m making progress after being here for three months. We’ve done a lot of little projects (like replacing lighting and painting), but have some big ones on the list that I’m just starting the planning process for (like flooring and kitchen updates).

This is our story about changing out our light fixture and painting the walls in our two story foyer. While this is our second two-story foyer home where we have changed out the foyer light, this was my Hubby’s first attempt at doing it himself. Having said that though he and I have changed out many (many, many) light fixtures over the years and most of the time it is a very straightforward process… turn off power, remove old fixture, install new fixture following original wiring plan (i.e. white wire to white wire, black wire to black wire, ground wire to ground wire) however being up two stories makes this a tad bit more complicated.

Here is a shot of the foyer light after I had already started the painting process, basically I finished all I could do up to this point.

Painting two story foyer

My hubby considered quite a few options (some of which I would say would have been not very safe), scaffolding was the front-runner until he spoke to one of the guys at or local United Rentals and explained to him what we were trying to accomplish… needless to say this was the tool of choice (Oscar didn’t care for it

Personal lift for two story foyer

It’s a personal lift (JLG FT140), I truly think he just wanted to try this bad boy out, it is pretty darn cool, it breaks down into 3 manageable pieces, it’s battery operated and comes with 2 batteries and a charger. He also used this rig to finish up the painting, as I had painted as high as I felt comfortable with an extension pole… overall the cost savings was pretty significant to DIY the lighting install and paint the foyer ourselves, saving money always makes me happy!

Changing light in two story foyer with personal lift

The lift worked perfectly though, it was a tad wobbly when it was fully extended, but it was very safe and worked like a charm!

Painting walls in two story foyer with personal lift

The foyer, downstairs & upstairs halls we painted a very neutral color, Benjamin Moore Classic Gray (#OC-23 in Eggshell).

Coastal foyer light Shades of Light

The front door I painted in Behr Blackout #N510-7 (Satin finish) which adds some contrast and overall interest to that wall.

painted two story foyer Classic Gray

The walls and ceilings have a swirled (shell) plaster finish to them, which was both a pain and sort of a blessing when we painted these walls. We had to use a thicker nap roller which made the roller much heavier and I had to be sure to get into all of the nooks and crannies which used a lot of paint and took extra time, but I was able to start and stop without worrying about lap lines which helped when painting the 2 story area.

Two story foyer lighting, coastal, Shades of Light

We purchased  the chandelier from Shades of Light (we have one here locally in Virginia Beach), it looks like driftwood but is really metal painted to look like driftwood, we love the coastal vibe of this light!


So this project was most challenging so far, but I’m excited it’s complete and we can move on to the next room!

As always thanks so much for stopping by…

Until next time!




  1. First, Welcome to VB! It will grow on you. I promise.
    Second, I absolutely love the chandelier. It and the door (color) are perfect choices.


    1. I was born and raised in Richmond, VA so I have a lot of great summer memories of Virginia Beach, it’s just that Louisville really stole my heart! I’m still on the hunt for cool places to eat and shop so if you know any please share! I’m glad you like the chandelier and door color, from my seat in the Family Room I get to see them all of the time and I really love them too!


  2. Hi Susan, we are facing this exact dilemma! 😅 We are in the process of re-painting our house, and we have similar foyer that I’ve been trying to figure out how to tackle. Did you rented that personal lift? We are also in VA Beach area, and wondering where to rent one out. And information you can share is very much appreciated.
    PS: I loved every update you’ve done in your home!


    1. Hey Donna,
      Thank you so much! We’ve done a ton more work but I’ve just not been very motivated to update the blog. So my hubby works in the construction industry so he had a couple of guys bring it by on a flat bed truck, but it comes apart in 3 pieces I think and was easily handled by 2 people. My hubby felt very safe on it too! We have painted a 2 story foyer with a long extension roller pole and an extension ladder to cut in, but since we needed to change out the chandelier at the same time we thought the rental made sense. I’m pretty sure he rented it from United Rentals, I think the cost was around $100/day. Hope this helps!


      1. Susan,

        Thanks so much for this information! I agree, it would make sense for us too to rent one. In addition to painting, we are planning to update the builder’s grade chandelier.

        Can’t wait to see the rest of your update!


  3. Hey Susan!
    Looks really nice, I hope you’re enjoying your new house.
    What are the dimensions (width and length) of your two-story foyer? Asking because my wife and I are considering factoring a 6′-wide by 8′-long two story foyer when we remodel our house. I think that’s a small area to make a nice 2-story foyer, but maybe I’m just not imagining it well 🙂

    Thank you!


  4. This looks gorgeous. I have a similar front entry and was trying to decide how to accent the front door. I was leaning towards dark grey framed in white (a lot like your door) and seeing your door and the window above really helped me visualize it. We are also doing a light grey on the walls (S.W. Agreeable Grey). I love how your paint job turned out. Thanks for sharing your journey.


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