Friday, January 22, 2010

A Grand Entrance

This time of year usually sparks the desire for a protected entrance because of the wind, rain, snow and ice. I recently met with a past timber framing client who is considering the addition of a timber frame entrance to their home and their design dilemmas made me pause and consider the importance of an entrance not just for protection from weather but because of how it links the home to the world. Co-Founder of the Shelter Institute, Patsy Hennin wrote an essay on how to design an entrance in 2004. She describes an entrance as:

"The way into a house--it’s driveway, it's doorway, it’s final arrival into the home is part of the way we extend an invitation to our guests, family, friends, intruders, salesmen, canvassers. This is our statement to the world that defines that fine line between their welcome and our ability to preserve our privacy. The word entrance is found in the dictionary as a noun that is 'the point or place of entering; opening or passage for entering."

She goes on to describe entrances in other countries and how they create a relationship between the privacy of the inhabitants and the individual approaching. The entrance, and certainly the exterior of a home portray the attitude and personality of those living on the inside. What does your entrance say about you?

This weekend, I took a hard look at my own entrance and realized that mine has none of the intrigue, mystery or charm that my Mom described. It is purely functional, cluttered with snow shoes, sleds and loads of firewood. And when you step over the threshold you arrive in our kitchen and living room area. Perhaps that portrays my husband's and my own open and welcoming attitude; I like to think that it was planned that way because our house is so far off the beaten path. If a visitor indeed makes it to our home, we want them to be enveloped into the warmth and comfort of it. After much reflection, I've decided that the structural component of our entrance is beautiful but that I might want to incorporate the "leading and inviting path that says. 'follow me—this is the way and on the journey in you may discover something magical'" that my mom describes. So I've set forth my summer project of extending our entryway, re-defining it, and beautifying it.

Below is a series of timber frame entrances that we've recently built, to help you shape or re-shape the entrance to your own home. If you have an intriguing entrance that we could add to our gallery, send a digital image to (please add "entrance" to the subject line). If you would like to have us custom design and build an entrance for your home send us an email with the basic design requirements, and we'll provide you with feedback and pricing. If you would like to read Patsy's article in full, it is featured on our web site under our Newsletter link.

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