Tyler Johns and the Foyer Makeover

Tyler Johns and the Foyer Makeover

Meet the Winner of the 2023 Chatter Magazine DIY Photo Contest!


Last month, the Southeastern Salvage Chattanooga location and Chatter Magazine, affiliated with The Chattanooga Times Free Press, hosted a Do-It-Yourself Contest. This Chatter DIY Contest has been going on for the last several years, and it started because we love getting to see what those in our community do with their renovations!

The rules were simple: the contestants needed to submit photos of their DIY project: either by uploading two photos that showed the before and after, or by uploading a side-by-side comparison. The winner would receive a $100 gift card to Southeastern Salvage here in Chattanooga!

The contest took place during the month of February where everyone could vote on the winner of the contest. Thousands of people voted for their favorite project based on how practical and attractive the finished project turned out to be.

Here are a few of the other entries! The top image is the before, and the bottom image is the after.
How do you think they did?

We had a lot of great entries for our DIY Project Contest, but of course there can only be one winner. All of the voting was done by the community, so the contest could be held as fair and unbiased as possible. We had bathrooms, fireplaces, stairways, and many other kinds of remodels that were submitted! Pictured above, you can see a quick look at some of the other projects that we received.

We are happy to introduce Mr. Tyler Johns as the winner of the Chatter DIY Contest! Tyler submitted this project of a complete foyer overhaul which was very impressive and took a lot of different skills including carpentry and tiling. We were able to get a bit of background information from Tyler and get several more pictures to tell the story of this winning project.

Built in 1975, this old house was in need of some serious TLC. When Tyler bought the house in early 2020, he knew he had a lot of improvements to make on this house to turn it into a home. The musty carpet had to go, and so did the creaky stairs that would be unsafe for their growing family.

After ripping up the carpet and putting in a new door, the place already seems to feel more modern!

After the carpet was ripped away, the family made do with the bare steps and a step ladder until Tyler was temporarily laid off from his job in early 2021. He decided that this would be the perfect time to tackle his stairs project that had been waylaid for so long. He knew that this would be a time-consuming project and impact the main entrance of the house, which would be difficult to maneuver around.

He decided to start simply by just replacing the knob on their front door. Of course, such a simple project was sure to hit a snag and, unfortunately, it was the doorknob being the wrong size.

“If there’s anything we learned during our renovation,” Tyler said, “it’s that no project is just an ‘easy fix’.”

That summed up how he felt when the doorknob just would not work with their original door. Replacing the door at this very moment was not the plan, but a bargain at a local home improvement store made it possible. The new door fits perfectly in the space and the bright teal color really makes the house look cheery and homey.

Tyler then began the hard work on the flooring, which he had had much practice with having done two similar jobs in the house already. But he wasn’t prepared for what he would NOT find underneath the foyer steps.

The jagged stair piece of wood you see him adding in the photos is a 'stair stringer'.

He realized that with the stair treads that he had already stained and sealed, he would need a third stair stringer placed in the middle of the staircase. This would prevent the stairs from sagging in the middle, and also be up to code with the city’s building requirements. According to the old building code in the 70s, they allowed 2x10s to be stretched across 2 stringers. Tyler learned that the code today says that these new oak treads needed to measure 1x10 and sit on three different stringers, including the brand-new middle stringer.

After consulting many home improvement stores and home improvement pros like his Dad, Tyler worked on cutting and setting the treads at the right angle to support the weight of anyone walking up and down the steps. However, their family pooch didn’t understand that there was nothing to step on and would tumble down the non-existent stairs when family would come to visit!

Here's the progression of putting the actual stairs in place.

There was only one set of steps to go: the ones leading down into the laundry room. Tyler ended up repeating the process of adding the stringer and supports to the bottom steps, making sure that the spacing matched the other set of stairs for ease of use. After he and his wife finished the stair tread, it was time. Finally, they put on the final touch: the railing. Here, he used Newell posts to support the red oak he ended up using.

A before and after shot of the new railing, which was added for safety and design.

When Tyler met us at the Chattanooga location, he let us in on his upcoming next project: getting some of our fantastic butcher block! He was very tight-lipped about what the next project would be...One can only imagine he’s going to finish the kitchen since the floor and the stairs are finished.

Whatever he ends up using it for, this $100 gift card is going to be put to good use. We can’t wait to see what’s next for this family and their new home!

We hope you were inspired by this DIY Project, and remember to subscribe to get the latest and greatest from our Home Blog!

If you have any DIY projects you’d love to share with us, tag us! You can find us on Instagram at @southeasternsalvage or on Twitter at @SESHomeEmporium.

This website is designed to give customers a general idea of the type of products we sell.
Products, Styles, Colors, and Prices may vary by store. Prices subject to change without notice.
If you are looking for something specific, please confirm availability and price with the store.