The old foyer was confining, opening only to the formal dining or living rooms, so we removed a coat closet to create a barrel vaulted passageway that leads directly to the new kitchen and family room. When you walk in the view opens up directly though the house and towards the back yard.
To have a tall ceiling in the new family room and kitchen, we added a couple steps up to the the new master bedroom above. The bedroom now nestles into the roofline, giving it a loft-like feel.
A few BEFORE PICTURES to see what we started with: