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Portland Project: The Entry & Staircase Reveal



I once worked with a makeup artist who said it took two hours to give a Goop model her “no-makeup makeup look.” That’s how this entry is. It looks so simple, but it was actually obsessed over. The millwork and the stair design warrant their own very thorough posts, but today is just a “simple,” “effortless,” and what we think is a beautiful, entry.

Emily Henderson Portland Traditional Master Entry3

To be fair, the entry is something that should be obsessed over, as it is the first moment you are seeing the house. To speak in terms that I understand, it’s the real “coming out of the limo shot” and whether or not we will get a first impression rose is determined on the initial reaction of this entry.

Let’s talk front door.

Emily Henderson Portland Traditional Master Entry61

I LOVE those doors. We went with an 8-foot traditional paneled door with a four-panel glass window which lets in SO much light. For those of you who want more privacy, a simple shade on the back will do nicely, but the light that this lets into the house is amazing (especially since the front is a covered patio) and it feels very welcoming. This house is also on a private street, so it’s not like there are many looky-loos. We used the same stain as we did for the flooring. Remember when we were going to paint it a color? Well, thanks to you and the powers of social media, you requested it be stained, which my brother was psyched about and I couldn’t be happier about how it turned out. Oh and that fancy looking doorbell and Camera? It’s a Nest Hello and Nest Cam IQ. The doorbell has an HD camera in it and has 24/7 streaming that you can review anytime straight on your phone. This is awesome for knowing who’s at your door without getting up to go check, monitoring activity at the front of your house and being informed of when packages are delivered. It also lets you respond via the app to let whoever is at your door know you’re on your way. The camera can detect a person over 50 feet away and alert you with a picture on your phone, so you can ensure that you and your home are safe. With it’s HD capabilities it can also track and follow the person on it’s own. Oh how far we’ve come.

The tile is from Clé, a black terracotta brick that we laid down in a herringbone pattern that is honestly GORGEOUS. It’s simple and doesn’t read as busy. It has this amazing texture that feels so classic, high end and timeless. I will say installing the tile in the herringbone tripled the labor cost, so while I’m SO glad that my brother didn’t stop that from happening, as far as maximizing the profit on selling this house, that could have been somewhere we could have saved.

Hot tip: the labor of tile cutting is what is so time-consuming and thus costs so much, so if you want to reduce your cost then lay the foundation close to the same size as the tile. Fewer cuts = less time = less money. Also, the bigger the tile, the fewer cuts that need to be made, not that you should choose tile solely on cost but it’s good to know that going in. The tile in the master shower of the mountain house took ONE WEEK to install because it’s so intricate (that post is coming soon, FYI). I don’t even want to know how much that is in labor…probably thousands. But boy is it stunning.

Emily Henderson Portland Traditional Master Entry4

We kept the vibe of the entry elegant and simple, letting the architecture and natural light be the stars, so we needed very little in the furniture and decor department.

Emily Henderson Portland Traditional Master Entry21

The chair is from Thos. Moser, as is their Hoops mirror, which looks like leather but is actually bent wood. I have pinned like 30 pieces of their beautiful furniture for the mountain house (and I already waxed poetic on my long-standing love of the brand in the living room reveal) because it’s heirloom-quality, classic and timeless. I loved these so much that we decided to also use the mirrors in the mountain guest bathroom. If you are as smitten with Thos. Moser as I am, they were so generous and are extending a discount to all of our readers with code EMILY18, which applies to all items on their site.

Emily Henderson Portland Traditional Master Entry1

The lighting is all from Rejuvenation (which is local to Portland, yay) and it’s just so beautiful. We went with unlacquered brass with a lot of handblown glass to keep it feeling light and elegant (and more modern). The stairs were designed in conjunction with Base Modern, and we worked with Metrie on the paneling, but again, more on that later in a dedicated post. The office is just to the right when you walk through the front doors and for anyone wondering where that desk/card catalog cabinet/globe/etc. are from, that is also its own reveal post coming up soon so hang tight.

Emily Henderson Portland Traditional Master Entry51I could stare at those stairs all day. That newel. That thin 1/2″ railing. The moulding. The floors.

Being proud of a room that you painstakingly designed, even though it looks like it has always been there is something that makes us feel so very very very good, especially since I’m a novice at designing stairs and moulding. I learned so much, made some mistakes along the way that we had to pay to fix and ultimately I feel so much more secure in the stair design arena now.

Emily Henderson Portland Traditional Master Entry19

Emily Henderson Portland Traditional Master Entry9

For those of you who want this entry as much as I do, we put together a Get the Look (as always) with all the sourcing details for you.

1. Exterior Door Hardware Set | 2. Interior Door Lever Set | 3. Front Door | 4. Semi-Flush Pendant | 5. Mirror | 6. Interior Door by Metrie | 7. Portland Chair | 8. Momo Single Sconce | 9. Interior Door by Metrie | 10. Rug | 11. White Vase | 12. Bowl | 13. Table (vintage) | 14. Swing Arm Sconce | 15. Wood Flooring by Hallmark Floors | 16. Pure White by Sherwin-Williams | 17. Oyster White by Sherwin-Williams | 18. Crown Moulding by Metrie | 19. Architrave by Metrie | 20. Door Casing by Metrie 21. Baseboard by Metrie | 23. Rocking Chair | 24. Cumberland Chair

So what do you think? Would you give that entry a first-impression rose? Per usual, ask any questions in the comments…and stay tuned for the moulding and stairs process post.

Photos by my always lovely in-house photo and styling team, Sara and Brady. Fashion: Wild Fang suit, Wild Fang Wild Feminist black pants, This Is The Great chambray top, nude shoes, black mules.

Playing Catch Up With Portland? Here’s a quick refresher: 

***Photography by Sara Tramp for EHD

***Design and styling by Emily Henderson and Brady Tolbert (and team). JP Macy of Sierra Custom Homes (who I seriously can’t say enough good things about) was the General Contractor, and Annie Usher was the architect.

Fin Mark


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Now it’s me who is obsessed by this entry (and the house) 😉


Does the chair have to be moved to open the closet? That’s how my living room is and it’ll make me chuckle if a fancy designer has the same situation, but I’m assuming it just looks that way from the angles of the pictures.


This also bothered me! It is a stunning chair, but that’s some bad feng shui mojo if you can’t open that closet door all the way. Also, just how tall are those ceilings?? 12 feet? I’m also very curious how that light is in action w/out any filter from the globe. Do you use an edison-style bulb? The overall effect is STUNNING. It’d definitely get my rose!!

I think its only 9′ ceilings actually. And yes door blocks closet but its so pretty so we took some liberties 🙂

B. Tinder

This is beautiful! Is the ‘baseball bat’ newel post a personal nod to something?


I wondered that, too. Love the entry, but that part bothered me a bit, since it looked so much like a bat.


I love the entry! Can you share where your clothes are from in this post? So cute!

Oh shoot! I forgot. They are from Wild Fang – a local Portland designer (with a store also in New York and now LA). xx

Rachelle Corwin

Such a simple but yet sophisticated entry room. I’m sure there are warm vibes upon entering. Is the rug color dark blue or black?

It’s hard to tell. I think its either Charcoal or a dark navy/almost black. Super helpful i know 🙂 I mean I saw it in person but its still hard to tell!

Chloe K Chapman

The front doors are amazing, they really set the tone for the whats to come inside the house. What is specific name or product # of the door, I would love to use them in my front entry!!

We were looking for them last night so if its not linked up then we are still looking for the exact link!


Can we have a link to the iron ballisters?
Thank you!
Love this entry

Julie P

The ironwork seems to have been custom made. And it’s the real star of the show IMHO. I went to the Base Modern site she linked and they make custom furniture which has ironwork involved. If I could get ballisters like that I would be soooo happy…. but $$$$ I’m guessing.


Yes! Link please!!

They were a custom design with Base Modern (!

patricia blaettler

Simply beautiful

Angie RS

This doesn’t really feel like my style since I skew more colorful and less traditional, but it’s straight-up stunning. Those stair spindles, the lighting choices, the interior and exterior doors. Just freaking gorgeous. You all did such an amazing job!


Looks great, simple, clean, traditional but with character. One thing that is confusing me is the walls. Are the squares from the paneling different sizes on either side of the door? And why does it stop 3/4 of the way up on the other wall? I’m trying to puzzle it out from these pics but would love to hear about how that came to be.
Also, the railing on the staircase is gorgeous, but all I see when I look at the bottom wood post is a baseball bat! So, a house for a sports lover. 🙂


incredibly classic and beautiful.

Julie S

This entryway is one of the most showstopping things I have ever seen – the use of negative space and the way every element works together in such a pared-down way is really incredible. The stair railing is probably the #1 most respect-earning element of the whole Portland project for me. Kudos!

Alexandra Rose

I would love coming home to this so much…


This is so pretty! Love the bannister. One question: Why is the sconce on the stair wall so off-center? I’m assuming there’s a reason–my eye wants it to be centered left/right and/or up/down but it’s neither!


Maybe so that it’s directly in line with the bottommost (wood) balustrade when viewed from the front doorway? I wondered the same thing!


This entry is stunning.
Well done!


It’s stunning. Unfortunately I lean more to modern or victorian/georgian architecture which also works so well with modern furniture and more color. I find this house so beautiful though. Any tips on how to adapt traditional interior architecture without a major reno to adapt for those who love modern spaces? And I don’t mean midcentury modern. Just contemporary modern, with clean lines, and elegant.

Jamie G

Bachelor(ette) references + GORGEOUS design in one post??!! You get a dozen red roses for that Emily!

Thos. Moser

Thank you Emily for your incredibly kind words about our furniture and craft! We are honored (and downright humbled) that you chose our pieces for this project. Both the living room and entry are stunning and we can’t wait to see the rest of the home, as the reveals continue. Congratulations to you and the EHD team on a job extremely well done!


This is just gorgeous. I love all of it…the ballisters, the newel post, the semi-flush light, the flooring. And the doors are just perfect! I have one teeny thing that bothers me…the paneling on the door wall goes to the ceiling while on the adjoining walls, it only goes 2/3 of the way. Why not have it all the same?

Jenny M

What size was the mirror (sm, med, large)?

Hi Jenny! It’s the Large size.

Thos. Moser

Hi Jenny!

The mirror shown is the large in Walnut. Have a lovely day!

Rita Moore

This is so gorgeous!!


Just wanted to say thanks for giving us zoomed in images and links to the trim. Class act. Trim makes a huge statement in a space like that and sometimes I am left zooming in on images like a Justin-Beiber-fan-girl and searching for hours to find something like it (and even then you can only hope). A true sign of a good interior design blogger!

Paula Carr

Can I just say a big YEAH that labor costs on tile are crazy? We did a lot of tile work when remodeling our townhouse, and our gc had one guy dedicated to only doing the tile cuts (poor Tabo!) while the master tiler did the actual tiling. Because we’re so close to the beach, we decided to go with tile flooring on the first floor (dark olive porcelain tile laid on a diagonal) and are extremely happy with it. We wanted hardwood on the second floor, which included the treads on the stairs. However, because the trim was all… Read more »


Wow, beautiful! Love it all but especially those light fixtures!!


Great job. Looks beautiful. Good choices on every detail


Your goop model comment made my day. I actually thought those assholes looked that perfect with ZERO makeup.


I was going to comment that I LOVE the main supporting column of the staircase, and then you taught me a new word: NEWEL! That newel is amazing. It really does look like it could have been there forever.

Also, love Thos. Moser! Their showroom in Maine is really something. My parents got each other one of their rocking chairs for one of their big anniversaries.


I love the railing! It’s a total show stopper. Can you reveal the source?


Front door question: what wood species is this door and what stain did you use? I think you have solved my dilemma of deciding on a front door (double entry or single with side lights). Your aesthetics are inspiring!


SO excited for the stairs and moulding process post!!!

Debi toni

This Portland project is fab, and fresh and elegantly laid back. Ive loved your design since your days on hgtv design star,.
I just wish you could also list a less costly alternative.



Absolutely stunning! Thank you so much for sharing your amazing aesthetic sense and for explaining the design process in great detail. I particular love the “I Design, You Choose” posts, and I greatly appreciate that your share how and why you make your design decisions, share sources of products, and share different ideas that you might have. I can hardly wait to see and to read your posts. The simplicity, yet elegance of your design never fails to impress me! Thank you!


Looks amazing. Love it all.


Flawless. Beautiful.


That millwork is perfection and I am going to be seeing those railings in my dreams. Gorgeous!

I definitely dreamed about them last night. SO GOOD!


Random, somewhat related design question, where is the best place to buy coffee table books???


What kind of simple shade wouldn’t be wildly disappointing? We have a fully paned front door and I cant find a solution that doesn’t feel fussy!


Why did you remove the conversation asking about the uneven millwork? The comments I saw were all respectful and curious and clearly several readers genuinely wanted to know why you made the decisions you did in this space (re: millwork not being uniform on either side of the door). I’m quite surprised to see comments that were not offensive deleted because they pointed out something you didn’t do perfectly.


Such a beautiful home! I just love EVERYTHING about this house!! But I was also really curious about the millwork. I was hoping for an explanation about design dos and don’ts re: millwork. And figured once again I’d be enlightened about things that spark my curiosity but that I personally know very little about. I wanted to check back in and reread the millwork comments to learn more….. but was really surprised to find them deleted. I love this blog and find inspiration daily. I especially love your series on ‘Design Rules’. Maybe you could help us understand the rules… Read more »

Sara Vidan

Where can I get those stair railings? We are building and I have to choose my stair materials this week and don’t know how to choose the right look! I want elegant iron, but not ornate, and those are perfect!


I love the look and feel of the space. It wouldn’t be for me though. With all that glass on the door I would be concerned about security, even with an alarm system and would feel much too exposed.

Lori-Ann Reif

cannot wait to find out more about the stair railing….I WANT IT!


Beautiful lightness, and the balance of spare-yet-warm is just gorgeous! I’m puzzled by the questions about sconce placement, as the single light appears perfectly centered over the newel post. The stairway composition is perfection.


I love it, this is really stunning. My fav are the Interior Doors by Metrie, simply beautiful. Maybe I will be the only one, but I really don’t like the chair in front of the closet… Anyway, this entry is awesome!
Anna From Italy

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