We have all heard the expression, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” These words of wisdom can be applied to almost anything. Often our overall opinion of something is made within the initial few seconds of first encounter.
This is the reason it is important to pay close attention to the design of your front door, entrance, and the entire arrival experience when designing your house. You don’t get a second chance; you must be certain that an image and feel is presented that is consistent with the rest of the house.
The role that the entrance to a house plays in the transition from public to private is often overlooked or under-appreciated. We, as human beings, are at the mercy of our minds; and our minds seek order. Abrupt changes can consciously or unconsciously affect our overall feeling of a house or situation. We much prefer gradual transitions.
This makes us feel comfortable. To further illustrate the harshness of an abrupt change, think about the feeling you get when you leave the darkness of your bedroom and turn on the light in your bathroom. Our psyche reacts to changes in spaces in the same way. It can be jarring and disconcerting when there is a sudden shift from one type of space to another.
The entry experience is a transition from the street, or public domain, to your home, or private domain. Many houses, unfortunately, have little to no transition. They are built where the transition occurs within one or two steps. Imagine a time when you’ve walked into a house and are immediately standing in the living room. This gives an uncomfortable feeling, even if you can’t quite put into words why. The privacy of the living room has been compromised. There was no “middle place” to let your mind adjust from public to private.
A better entry transition from public to private can by achieved through a number of ways. Front steps, porches, vestibules, and defined foyers can all be used to help ease the transition. Although a porch and front steps can still be open to the public, there is some degree of a private feeling because they belong to the house. A covered porch can enhance this feeling since it is almost an indoor space. Behind the front door, the private space begins. But the foyer is not as private as your living room. You greet guests in the foyer and it is visible from the front door. However, there is no furniture around to indicate that people linger there as there would be in the living room, a more private space. One should progress from public spaces to more private spaces gradually.
All of these concepts come together to give your entry experience the desired smooth transition. Remember this is your home’s first impression. And you don’t get a second chance.