I touched on this topic a few weeks ago when discussing that people often now enter their house exclusively via their lock up garage, or their back door and that in many homes a front door has become completely unused. A lot of modern design often gives a fairly perfunctory experience for the welcome to a house with the front door as well - many Australian townhouses give priority to a double garage and driveway with the front door being pushed to the side, often recessed, and the garage ending up being front and centre of the design.
fairly standard modern Australian townhouse via
While this may be practical, it's not the best way to welcome people to your home. If anything this says that you're not interested in having visitors, as you've essentially made it hard to find the front door, given an unwelcoming vibe by having a visitor walk across the driveway to get to it, and if it's not softened in any way (interesting door colour, plants etc) it can most definitely give off a "go away" feel.
There's a lot of psychology behind the traditional entry. It's a transition point between the public and private realms, and it's the first clue you give anyone to your aspirations in life (Grand/ Informal/ Unassuming etc). I've mentioned before the book A Pattern Language, which is a bit of an Architectural bible. It talks a lot about the best way a house relates to the wider community via the design of the facade - and the one thing that is consistently stated is that a garage should not be given priority. Unfortunately though, sometimes practicality dictates that this is the only way a house can be designed… but if you can at least balance it out by giving a good Front Door experience, you can alleviate some of the lack of welcome you can otherwise experience.
Adelaide cottage front garden via
Soften an entry with greenery. If you have acres of paving leading up to the front door (which is what it will feel like if you have a large driveway taking up most of what would otherwise be a front garden) you need things in pots. Living things always make everything feel more welcoming.
London town house planters via
One of my favourite things about London are the window boxes and planters prevalent in the houses and apartments in the posh areas (Belgravia, Kensington, Knightsbridge, Chelsea etc). These are usually tended by specialist window box gardeners (really), who will change the plants over seasonally and create quite amazing variety in tiny little boxes. The people who live in these houses understand that even when you have no opportunity to plant things in the ground, greenery will always give a more welcoming entry to a home.
Overscaling the width of the path, as demonstrated in the image below gives more prominence to people, rather than cars. I did this with our front path, which is fairly short (we don't have a deep front garden). The prior path was extremely narrow - I made ours around 1.6m wide, which gives a feel of generosity of space, even when there is a short transition from street to door. Consider a different material to construct the path out of from the driveway, and have a separate gate for foot traffic. This will give emphasis on the person, rather than the cars.
Paul Bangay design via
Get a decent door mat! This seems obvious, but often you grow so used to what you've had for years you get a little blind to how others will view it. Large sized ones are always good for the reasons I've mentioned above with the path. If you have a front door with sidelights around it, a wider than normal doormat works well, as the photo above also demonstrates.
Front door colour
People love a colourful front door. In Australia this is not common at all for a few reasons. If you're in a group of townhouses, you'll need Body Corporate approval…. which will usually mean you won't be allowed to change the colour. If you have an old house, and live in an old suburb, you'll likely have local council heritage restrictions on what colour you can paint your door. It will be restricted to the heritage colour palette, which means you won't have a lot of options… but anyone else not restricted by these two things can have some fun.
Lighting will add a lot of ambience to a home, and if you're pushed for space in your entry way to do much else to soften it, it may be one of your only ways to add a bit of personality. The 3 lanterns below give a really nice warm ambience to the entry (as do the plants in their zinc planters).
Finally, just making sure it's clean is always a good idea! If you're entering your home via your garage or side door all the time, you need to go out and check how the front entry looks - piles of dead leaves and a dusty front step does not make for much of a welcome. We all become used to our homes but trying to see it through the fresh eyes of a stranger might prompt you to give it a clean once a week, so get out the broom!
Belgravia town house via
I was going through my draft posts today, and realised I've got around 7 half written posts on Design or Interiors sitting there… so I'm going to try to get them finished off and up on the blog at last… stay tuned for a bit of a design month (or two).
Powered by Blogger.
- ► 2016 (27)
- ▼ March (5)
- ► 2014 (51)
- ► 2013 (106)