As so many clients and friends prepare to entertain guests this holiday season, we turn our attention towards a home’s architectural greeting – the anticipatory experience in advance of enjoying a home’s interior. In the same way that outstretched arms call loved ones into a warm embrace, a residence can provide a welcoming greeting and pull visitors into the property. Below, components to consider in order to elevate a home’s entrance.
From the curb
A clear sense of procession for a property begins long before visitors reach the front door. As a home is viewed from the street, elements like entrance gates can help indicate a property’s commencement. On larger land parcels, when used in combination with a thoughtfully placed drive lit by lanterns, entrance gates are a subconscious cue that an established property lies beyond. At more formal residences, the drive may resolve at a motor court, all but pulling visitors close to the entry. Finishes like a cobbled edge along the drive or cobbled patterning within the motor court can elevate the presentation of such elements.
To the formal entry
Along the approach to a home’s entry, outbuildings may augment the overall experience. At existing properties which lack a formal sense of arrival, a structure such as a carriage house might be added to function as a dramatic marker in anticipation of the main house. Space and style permitting, a gatehouse with pedestrian or automotive pass-throughs can build a crescendo towards a grand homestead. The placement of these structures is given significant consideration to lead to the anchored moment of arrival at the front door.
At the front door
On existing properties, particularly older homes where the front foyer is claustrophobic or cramped, a vestibule may be added at the front door. These enclosed structures, with an entrance often flanked by lanterns, allow for the interior foyer to expand without significantly increasing a home’s footprint. Whether covered by a portico or exposed to the elements, the front door itself always receives special consideration. A more significant door than seen elsewhere on the property is typical, and where appropriate, character-instilling details like bullet glass, transoms, and sidelights may be explored.
Inside the foyer
A formal interior entryway is more architecturally decorated than other casual spaces within a home to indicate architectural fanfare and arrival. Layers of molding and trim are often specified along with details like wall paneling and floor inlays. When a stair resolves inside the foyer, elements like decorated final newel posts are not uncommon. Adding these extra layers into new construction homes can provide a sense of history for a new property and tell the story of a timeless home.