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Please help me enclose my office without destroying my front entry!
Mike T
January 21, 2013 in Design Dilemma
I would like to add some french doors to this opening to close off this space so that I can work at home without too much noise from the kids.
My Dilemma is how to handle the stairs protruding into the opening.

I think the best approach is to remove the railing and portion of the stairs that protrudes into the space, I would then install the french doors with a transom above and a custom sidelight above the stairs. The french doors are about 4 inches wider then the floor opening between the stairs and the opening opposite.

I would greatly appreciate any advice y'all might have. I desperately need to close this area off, but I also need a solution that doesn't destroy the design of the entry or look like an afterthought.

Thanks in advance!
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Norma Sassone
Wow! What a strange construction decision, especially considering the hallway is quite wide. Though it might be a big job, and i am not sure from your photos, how big the room is attached to the foyer, I might want to turn the first 5 - 7 steps perpendicular away from the doorway and into the hall. This would give you a complete doorway for your french doors, in addition to a nice slanted wall facing you as you come in the door, where you hand artwork or a beautiful clock. Of course, that would mean the stairs jut about 3 - 4 feet INTO the room/hallway, so i am not sure how that would work without seeing a view from the stairs downward into the hallway. Also there is a heat register right at that spot that you'd need to deal with as well.
January 21, 2013 at 11:39am     
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mmilos
I would make the entry into the room a single door width and have the wall extend fully behind the staircase.
January 21, 2013 at 11:47am     
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houssaon
I wonder why you would want to put a transome in. How tall is the opening? What is the width? Could you post more photos of the entry?
January 21, 2013 at 11:50am   
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Mike T
Norma, thanks for the reply and the pictures. That is a great suggestion I hadn't thought of. Unfortunately, if I turned the stairs it would run them right into my dining room. I attached a couple more pictures the better show the layout, the first few make the hallway appear bigger than it is.

mmilos, I appreciate your comment but I'd like to avoid losing the light/view from the entry. Also, I think the molding around the opening would look odd if the wall ran halfway through it.
January 21, 2013 at 11:54am     
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PRO
OasisDesign&Remodeling
You might want to consider installing another wall on the office door side. wall that would accomodate French Doors, one of which would be fixed by the stairs. You could also do & one way sliding door that would slide past a fixed door into the wall...this will take up some room.This is about the only way this will work Any solution would be costly, but I see this as the most attractive & suitable. You will need a very good finish contractor. I would also then replace the carpet with matching hardwoods in the entry so that you wouldn't have a patch of carpet showing.
January 21, 2013 at 11:57am     
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mmilos
If you used my suggestion, of course I would modify all the mouldings to make sense and tie in the narrower entry into your office space. This includes removing the stair and railing intrusion into the room.
January 21, 2013 at 12:05pm     
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PRO
Building Moxie
a dilemma is right. I like some of the suggestions up here... but looking at the added pics, I don't know that turning the stairs could be done effectively. Beyond trying something outside of the box with the rail or potentially building a partition inside the room ... Moving down to a single door and enclosing the stair might be the path of least resistance -- trim details could probably be replicated. That is - if this is where you want to keep your office. Sorry to say this, but this is really unfortunate -- otherwise a great looking foyer and I feel for you. Luck. ~jb
January 21, 2013 at 12:05pm     
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PRO
Interiors International, Inc.
Considering this project is going to cost a lot regardless of how it's done I would do a custom double door. make the entry to the room smaller. Custom double door made to fit that space which looks like it would be a bit shy of 4' by moving the opening as close to the outside wall as possible.
January 21, 2013 at 12:06pm   
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Mike T
mmilos, I realized that is what you meant after I replied to your post. I was hoping to avoid modifying the molding or shortening the opening, but I think you have the best idea thus far. I want ensure that the office entrance looks like it was part of the original design plan and so far yours is the best option.

Thanks for your comments Moxie, I appreciate it.
January 21, 2013 at 12:10pm   
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houssaon
There are other ways to buffer noise from other rooms. One idea that comes to mind is a padded folded screen that could be positioned between your work desk and the entrance to the room. Something like this: Upholstered Folding Screen, Folding Upholstered Screen 1, Folding Upholstered Screen 2. You could have one in front of the opening while you work and remove it when you are finished: gold gilded folding screen. A folding screen will be a less permanent change.

Also, a carpet runner on the stairs and in the foyer will help reduce noise. Carpeting in the area where they play.

Otherwise. I would have a new design for a one door entry with a pocket door.
January 21, 2013 at 12:18pm     
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mmilos
Just reuse that original moulding detail without the central capital detail over the narrower entry door. It'll tie in and look good. Agree with others on getting a good finish carpenter. A full glass french door will preserve light and view into the entry.
January 21, 2013 at 12:19pm   
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PRO
Building Moxie
no problem Mike if you go with a single door, do it in glass maybe a simple 15-lite (as long as you keep your office tidy) it will help maintain the openness of the space when the door is shut.
January 21, 2013 at 12:21pm   
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judianna20
Solid glass by the stairs, adda single door, like a shower, but using molding for a frame. I did something like that for my loft railing.
January 21, 2013 at 12:27pm     
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Mike T
Thanks again everyone for the comments. I'll give it a good look when I get home tonight.

Here is a follow up question for y'all. Assuming I place either a custom set of double doors or single glass panel door, do you think it should be painted white to match the moldings or stained to match the front door? The office will soon be built out with stained floor to ceiling bookshelves and I thought the stained entry door may work there. My wife disagrees . . .

Thanks again,

Mike
January 21, 2013 at 1:21pm   
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mmilos
Are there any other single doors on your bottom level besides the entry door? If so, I'd match what you have on the other doors. I agree though initially with your wife and would paint it white to match the trim...leave the emphasis on your front door.
January 21, 2013 at 1:31pm     
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Mike T
Thanks for the input mmilos, the only other doors on the main level are white. I think white is going to be the right answer here too.
January 21, 2013 at 1:34pm   
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Tarey Cullen
It appears that the front entry has a transom and that that height is used on the existing opening to your office. I would repeat the transom design, with a single glass door unit / and drywall the left side re-using the existing door framing on the left in the narrowed opening. No side light.
January 21, 2013 at 1:45pm   
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houssaon
Here is a mock-up. I don't think you have the room for double doors. I think you might have to more the door further away from the steps. Right now, as you can see from the mock-up it is so close to the foot of the stairs, someone coming down from the stairs can knock into someone coming out of the office at the same time.

By the way, more glass in the door will lessen the sound absorbtion.
January 21, 2013 at 1:46pm     
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mapeggy
My first choice is to look at foldable room dividers. In organizations where they want to divide one room into two, they have (almost like folding screens) wide panels which are hinged together. They run across a track on the floor or in the ceiling. When not in use they fold back against the wall. In your case it would be on the wall to the right as you enter your room. Then when in use they pull across the opening to the end of the room. Or to have fewer panels build a short wall (can be used as a bookcase) on the left side of your rooms' entry. Then the panels can stop and rest against this stud wall. Wall probably extends 12" into room. From the stud wall to the end of your room could be built in bookcases or cabinets. I will try and send drawing of what I mean, since I am sure this is not clear.
January 21, 2013 at 2:16pm   
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Tarey Cullen
Similar to Houssan's sketch, I wanted to show the transom/ and continued wainscot detail into the stairs. I chose to leave the molding and just build in the drywall. That area can become a recess for a niche with shelves to set pictures, et al
January 21, 2013 at 2:21pm     
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debcase
Have you thought of the modern barn door look? The door slides over the inside of the wall on a tracking system. Take a look at realslidingdoors.com I think that's the sight. I've seen it in million dollar modle homes. This way you won't need to change the size of your door opening and the stairs won't be a problem. You can choose rustic to contemary doors.
January 21, 2013 at 2:27pm     
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ekc3502
I agree with OasisDesign&Remodeling - come into the office 12 to 18 inches or so and build in french doors - the doors will probably create niches where you could put built in bookcases. Since you are building into the office, you could probably have the doors swing out towards the foyer. Have a good finish carpenter match the bookcases and door trim to the rest of your house. You wouldn't have to touch the foyer trim.
January 21, 2013 at 2:44pm     
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PRO
Summit Stairs & Millwork
From what I can see in your pictures, you have VERY few options. As you walk into the room that you want to close off, would there be any way to relocate the entry to that room either on the wall on the left as you are looking into the room or the wall directly opposite the current entryway? Other than relocating the way into the room, you are pretty well locked into what you have. There are only so many things you can do with a stair and keep it to building codes. It looks like your balusters are up to current code compliance of 4" max between them so you are good there.

Look at the possibility of moving the entry and completely close off the current opening.
January 21, 2013 at 2:53pm   
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bollmansct
The stairs turning out towards the office does create a dilemma. I agree with the comments about creating a recessed entry into the office. From the foyer/stair side you will have "walls" that can be beautifully trimmed out as a recessed entry to your french doors. On the office side, you will see a wall of built in bookshelves. I have seen this done with bookshelves that span across the top of the door and down the sides, creating an "entry" with walls and ceiling. If the built ins are done well, it will feel like a wall - not bookshelves. The doors can then be attached 15" to 18" into the room. Here's a pic from Houzz and there are other examples if you search on bookcases around door, including one using pocket doors (sliding into the walls)
January 21, 2013 at 3:18pm     
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Julia Hale
French doors!!!
January 21, 2013 at 3:23pm     
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sbdzynr
What if you installed a beautiful sheer/or drapery over the door but inside the office.....it could have a one way draw which could stack behind the imposing rail...certainly the least expensive way to do it and no demolition/construction involved.
January 21, 2013 at 3:29pm     
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mpoulsom
I like Tarey Cullen's idea....if you don't put sheetrock in that half wall on the left you could always put stained glass or either put a beautiful piece of artwork in that area. I think one big door is the way to go with this transformation.
January 21, 2013 at 3:30pm     
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Mike T
I've considered the idea of building a new wall inside the opening, on a slant away from the stairs, as suggested above. I like this idea because I don't have to mess with the stairs and molding. I'm concerned, however, that this is never going to look like it was part of the original design. I haven't been able to find any pictures of this being done successfully. Anyone have an example?

Again, thank you all for your input. I really appreciate all the great ideas. FYI, the opening between the bottom stair and the wall is about 46 inches, total opening is about 71 inches.
January 21, 2013 at 7:53pm     
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debcase
The idea of barn doors does not change the view or construction from the foyer. The track is placed above the opening on the office wall. There is no additional wall being built. Search barn doors on houzz or pinterest.
January 21, 2013 at 8:06pm     
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knc11kat99
You could put a certain there
January 21, 2013 at 8:10pm   
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Darzy
This is what I would do. I'd make the staircase (railing) straight. Then, I'd sheetrock the wall you want to put the door on (remove the current molding) just enough to put a wide door on. (with decorative moulding). So, the door looks like a wall with molding (sort of like the hidden door of the President's oval office). This is a lot like Houssan's idea.

January 21, 2013 at 8:41pm     
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Darzy
Here's a hidden door with a bookcase.

January 21, 2013 at 8:46pm     
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John Seiffert
I'm glad Summit found the issue. Move the doorway to the right as much as possible and eliminate that laughable design. Add custom door to the Entry. The builder should be publicly shamed.
January 21, 2013 at 9:15pm     
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Darzy
I just ran across this photo and it reminded me of your space. Notice the door is far right and the bannister is similar to yours.

January 21, 2013 at 10:15pm     
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Mike T
debcase, I appreciate the idea about the barn doors. This is certainly an option I'll follow up on. But to make the barn door work I would still have to either straighten the railing that protrudes into the office or remove it correct? I'm not sure if I missed something.
January 22, 2013 at 4:20am     
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Mike T
Darzy, thanks for the ideas and especially for posting the picture of that similar foyer. I haven't had any luck finding pictures of similar areas, you must have a gift.
January 22, 2013 at 4:22am     
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Darzy
lol YW Mike. I "fell" on it. I was looking for black painted railing and this came up. :)
January 22, 2013 at 11:52am   
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PRO
OasisDesign&Remodeling
That's what I'm talking about!!!
January 22, 2013 at 12:20pm   
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Darzy
PS..you could do the sample above, but use a pocket door to keep the area "clean" on both sides of the door entrance.
January 22, 2013 at 1:10pm     
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debcase
Mike, you are absolutely right. I didn't realize the railing purtruded into the office until I took another look at the picture. You didn't miss the concept.
January 23, 2013 at 7:31pm   
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klsl
Could you custom building a glass panel enclosing in the stair area as is and then have a single French door in the rest or the opening ?
January 23, 2013 at 8:23pm   
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lefty47
HI - I would box in a frame for the door into the office side enough to clear the stairs and add bookcases in the office to allow for the new extra depth , then add the the french doors - one stationairy and one fuctional . And they could be the same color as the front door . The new frame and bookcases could be the white . The glass in the doors could also be frosted for more privacy.
January 23, 2013 at 8:41pm   
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Mike T
While I like the idea of adding the wall inside the opening, I have a couple of concerns. The advantage of this approach, as I see it, is that I wouldn't have to mess with the molding or the railing on the stairs. However, anyway I can conceive of adding this new wall is going to result in a small space between the stairs/railing and the new wall. This space just seems very awkward too me and screams afterthought. I can't seem to picture a way that this new wall/doors could be arranged, especially in reference to the stairs and railing, that wouldn't look like an afterthought. I've searched and searched, but I haven't been able to find a picture of where someone has done something like this, if anyone has come across such I picture I would really appreciate it if you would share!

My greatest concern is that remodeled entrance look as if it were part of the original design and not an alteration. I think the mock up houssaon posted is the solution that will look most natural. The opening would be around 36 inches, which I think would nicely house a large french door or small set of french doors.

I'm really do appreciate everyone's input, these are some great ideas.
January 24, 2013 at 5:49am   
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Jean Tuck
Yes i THINK FROSTED FRENCH DOORS TO THIS OFFICE AREA WOULD BE NICE..AND THE STATIONARY NONE OPENINGSIDE TO BE BY STAIRS RAIL.If I lived in a house like this but I would want a bungalow for myself easier to care for with no stairs to bedrms.
January 24, 2013 at 5:56am   
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PRO
Building Moxie
just occurred to me. custom pocketless sliding doors.
January 24, 2013 at 8:24am     
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PRO
OasisDesign&Remodeling
Housseon's idea will definitely give you what you want & shouldn't be too difficult. (I am jealous of those who can use software to create images like that!!!) My original idea (which I tried to explain & which bollmansct pictured for me) is more reminiscent of something you would see in architecture from the 1880's where quaintness ruled the day with angles & plenty of recesses, so I don't see it as awkward or as if it was an afterthought. If anything it would add character to the elegance of the home. And I like the 1/2 railing feature...taking that out takes away an interesting feature. Plus you would gain some absolutely gorgeous bookcases in the study, further adding character & elegance. Either way, your contractor needs to be an excellent finsh carpenter & that will be the key to how either choice results. Good luck!!!
January 24, 2013 at 9:58am   
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Mike T
The saga continues . . . the doors are in, we are still waiting on the transom. Sheetrock is up, but work has not yet started on redoing the molding. It's pretty nice to have doors on the office, can't wait for it all to be done!
February 5, 2013 at 12:21pm     
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Darzy
Congrats! It is goint to look great. Can't wait to see the finished product.
February 5, 2013 at 12:32pm     
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mpoulsom
perfecto!!!!!
February 5, 2013 at 12:51pm     
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Tarey Cullen
glad it worked.
February 5, 2013 at 2:05pm     
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PRO
OasisDesign&Remodeling
Thanks for the update!!! Looks good so far!!!
February 5, 2013 at 5:53pm     
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PRO
Melissa Doan - Weidel Realtors - New Hope
looks great - the most natural solution
February 5, 2013 at 6:14pm     
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Mike T
Here's the long overdue after picture of the project. I couldn't be happier with the result. Thanks again to you all for your advice. Too bad I am moving . . .
January 26, 2014 at 1:54pm     
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rjanice
Absolutely perfect!
January 26, 2014 at 2:51pm     
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PRO
sronceconstruction,618-614-8566,
move The entery way. over. 4 foot
January 26, 2014 at 3:01pm   
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OasisDesign&Remodeling
Looks great!!! Sorry to did it for someone else to enjoy, but good luck wherever you go.
January 27, 2014 at 1:28pm     
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sunnydrew
great job fixing a dilemma.
January 27, 2014 at 3:10pm     
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cindyguent
Really enjoyed reading through this and seeing all the great ideas. Can't believe how quickly you went forward with the plan. Usually people toss ideas around forever. Love the end result! So sorry to hear you're moving.
January 27, 2014 at 5:55pm     
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cindyguent
I take that back about how quickly that happened. Just realized post was from last winter! Great nonetheless.
January 27, 2014 at 5:56pm     
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Hobo Jane
Very nice.
January 27, 2014 at 6:27pm     
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sunnydrew
I really thought the original design was the most unusual. It would be funny of the new owners came in and then posted a dilemma about wanting to open a narrow doorway to their new office.
January 27, 2014 at 7:44pm     
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PRO
Antico Elements
This is a great idea. I am glad the office came out great.
January 29, 2014 at 9:52am   
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carolinejmck
This looks great! Bravo!
January 30, 2014 at 7:19am   
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Mike T
Thanks everyone, as you can tell I'm very pleased with the result. I was actualy able to do all of the work myself and I was able to reuse almost all of the existing moulding. Total cost of the project ended up being about $350 (that is if you ignore the value of my time haha).
January 30, 2014 at 7:24am     
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apple_pie_order
Superb redo. Congratulations.
January 30, 2014 at 7:50am   
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mrwillie
You should be very pleased with the result. It looks amazing.
Nice job.
January 30, 2014 at 10:53am   
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sbrustein
Wow-you did that all yourself?? Very impressive!!
February 7, 2014 at 8:52pm   
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Katherine McAnally
Would you mind telling me how many feet it is from the last step of the stair to the entry wall? Is the front door edge even with the edge of the stairs? Which way does the door swing? How long is the total staircase?
February 8, 2014 at 5:53pm   
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