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Friday, June 22, 2007

Creating a Sense of Entry

I know, I know, you only get one chance to make a first impression. But beyond this, an Entry has requirements other than aesthetic. It is a transitional space that is you buffer to the outside, it should be big enough to great guests, and a place where jackets can be taken, cocktails given and then be ready to move on to the rest of the house.
The Entry above is from a large house I did in Southern California, my clients bought it and I was responsible for the remodel. One of the things that always bugged me was that you approached this home, through a long drive and beautiful tropical garden, but once you got to the front door, you walked right into the Living Room, almost without any transition. We wanted to give the house a sort of Modern Asian feel, so I was able to add some elements to help both the sense of Entry and the Asian motif. Here are some of the things I did, you may be able to apply some of these ideas to your home:
  • The first thing was to lower the ceiling right inside the front door. To do this I created this wood screen that we draped above the door. It creates a more intimate feeling within the larger space, and the way it transitions from low to high, and narrow to wide as you enter, really draws you into the room.
  • Next was lighting. Good, flattering lighting is an imperative part of the Entry experience. I added some downlights (low voltage) above the screen so that the light passes through and creates a dramatic shadow on the floor, and then balanced that with sconces attached to the columns that will light peoples faces (I didn't want them to be striped with shadow). Then using a combination of other recessed lights and table lamps I was able to get the light levels higher, creating a transition when you stepped beyond the protection of the screen.
  • A pair of dramatic Chinese antique chairs flank the door, making a place to sit, also adds a sense of graciousness to the space. I always think that a chair in an Entry is crucial.
  • Also, adding a rug, that serves just the Entry, helps to mark this as a special area. In this case I used something with a lot of color and pattern (it will disguise dirt well).
  • Finally, just to add another layer of detail, I put grasscloth wallpaper over the ceiling. One of the issues with this type of paper is that you always seem to see seams. I counter this by cutting the paper into squares and lay it in a basketweave pattern. That way you make the seams work for you as a extra bit of detail.

I hope that there are some ideas here that you can use to help make you Entry a bit more special.

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

Interesting post. We're just starting a remodel and I'm thinking about the entry a lot. Thanks for sharing your insight.