Creating an Entrance to Your Home

The outdoor space between the street and the front door is the start of the entrance to your home. This sequence of spaces differentiates between public and private areas. The street is the start of an intimacy gradient that extends to your front door and into your home. This transition from the street to the inside of your home should be a tranquil experience, slowing you down after experiencing the traffic on I-95 and the challenges of the day. Creating an entrance transition from the street to the front door and inside your house can create a space with a feeling of calm. Having your front door open directly to the street, you overlook the opportunity to create a graceful arrival to your home.

A Good Transition

The experience of entering your home and passing through an outdoor room between the street and the front door influences the way you feel once inside. If the transition is too abrupt, there is no feeling of arrival and once inside the quality of an intimate privacy doesn’t exist.

The important thing is that an actual physical outdoor space exists between the street and the front door. The essential quality of creating this place is defining the space and to create a sense of enclosure, with a change in surroundings and view, while emphasizing a variation in the light, sound, path direction and surface texture.

Below are some considerations you may want to think about in the design phase of the project:

Create a sense of enclosure

Define a space or path extending from the street to the front door. Think about the transition as an actual space or outdoor room rather than just going from point “A” to “B”. Create a sense of enclosure with a gate or garden wall.
As this space is shaped, think about changes in level and direction in the walking surface at points of significance.

Activate all the senses as you pass through this outdoor entrance room. Create calming sounds with chimes or water. Introduce smells with fragrant flowers and bushes. Provide a Zen view at a change in direction or stopping point on the path. Vary the amount of light with a trellis. Change the texture and size of the paths surface material. Change the scale of the path. Create a space at the street and just outside the front door for greeting or saying goodbye to guests. Create a space in the middle of the path or inner center as a point of reflection while looking towards a Zen view.

If done well, the outdoor entrance room you created between the front door and the street will feel comfortable arriving and comfortable leaving. This will be a remarkable addition to your home.

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* is an independent publication, not affiliated with the City of Oakland Park.

About the Author

William Hoffman

William Hoffman

William Hoffman is an architect who designs and builds new homes & home renovations. He has been based in Fort Lauderdale FL since 1982 and Oakland Park FL since 1993.

He also was the Design Architect for Whole Foods Market Florida responsible for the majority of the WFM’s now located in Florida.

His residential work is located in Florida, North Carolina, Hawaii, Panama and the Caribbean. Your comments and questions are welcomed and he can be contacted by phone at 954-561-1642, email at [email protected] or through his website

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