In the carefree old days, Grandpa could sit on the veranda, puffing on his pipe, and see guests coming down the dusty dirt road long before they arrived. By the time their car drew up at the garden gate, he’d be waiting for them, hand extended in greeting. But those days are long gone. Now the street is lined with hostile security walls or fencing, and the security gate at the front door isn’t exactly welcoming. Plus the door itself is generally kept closed while the kitchen door or direct entrance from the garage is the home’s real entry for reasons of either safety or convenience. It’s a pity front doors are neglected in this way because a proper entrance says a great deal about a home and its occupants. While it’s a barrier between the big, bad world out there and your private sanctuary, the ideal entrance also immediately extends a warm welcome not only to guests but also to your family. Like Grandpa’s hearty handshake, it says, ‘Come in, we’re delighted to see you. Sit down, relax, make yourselves at home – the kettle’s already on the boil.
Plan your entrance
Bear the following in mind when planning the approach to your front door.
Although it’s not always possible, it’s wonderfully convenient if you can leave your front door open to fresh breezes during the summer. So try to have your home built so you don’t get blown away when you open the door.
The path to the front door should be unobstructed and easy to use. Prune plants and ensure that the surface isn’t slippery during wet weather.
It is paramount, so a security gate is a necessary evil. But there are ways to creatively integrate a gate into the design of your house. Transform an eyesore with a coat of paint and select a gate with an interesting design that complements your home’s appearance.
As a multipurpose space, the entrance calls for lighting that is both practical and aesthetically pleasing. Dark areas need to be well lit to avoid becoming dangerous and unfriendly.
Protection against the elements is very convenient when you’re hunting for your keys. An awning over the front door or garden gate allows your guests to wait in comfort – even in the rain – until you let them in.
Beautify your entrance. As the first thing your guests see, it says a great deal about who you are.
The appearance of a formal home is timeless, but you can update the look with décor elements such as the cowhide rug, seen here, that brings a contemporary warmth and welcome to the entrance hall. Lighting plays a vital role in a home’s finishing touches. The candelabra on the veranda and in the entrance hall provide dramatic focal points.
Choose Your Look
Use simplicity and repetition to create an impact. Choose décor that complements the style of the house, such as the rough logs of the totem poles on the photo (right), that echo the wooden elements of the pergola and the deck. The earthy color palette continues the theme – green, grey, black and brown.
Open up your life with a huge glass front door. Clean, bold lines create a contemporary look that is emphasized with sparing use of dramatic decor elements. This minimalist approach is beautifully complemented by recessed lighting.
Oregon pine doors and wooden finishes are country classics, and detail is an important part of the look. Here a faux window (right) has been made to display old tools. Combine wood with ornamental cast iron, as seen right, in the grille over the front door and the low gate that keeps the dogs indoors.
Your entrance links your home and garden – careful planning will ensure a cohesive, coordinated look. Carry the theme through into the hallway itself with a cheerful Mexican rug and a colorful tree. Garden furniture, pots, plants and ornaments with curves and intricate detailing soften the strong lines of the contemporary entrance with stained-glass panels and splashes of color add to the warm, welcoming atmosphere.
The scale is another design tool that can influence an entrance. Vertical oversizing creates a more monumental feeling, while horizontally stretching an entrance binds it to the earth, and increases the intimacy.
The architecture elegantly supports this minimalist look. the totem poles echo the scale and lines of the entrance hall while adding their own earthy drama. avoid a hodgepodge of styles and shapes.
At the entrance to your home, you say goodbye to the outside world. Your home is your own space, where you live your dreams.