This morning, in preparation for writing this blog, I decided to get my nose out of the interior design magazines for once and take a real-life walk around my favorite neighborhood, Westshire. It’s a beautiful area, with mature landscaping and mid-century modern homes, designed by the architect Ron Molen. I’m told by some of the old-timers at my church they’re also known as the Research Homes.
I was in search of that one certain house, but couldn’t quite remember where it was. You know the one. The one with the smashing red MCM front door. Finally, at the end of my journey, I found it. But meanwhile…
I wishfully wandered and walked, and saw quite a few other homes I liked in the process. And as I was wandering, I was singing Walking in Westshire, to the tune of Walking on Sunshine by the Bangles, and I was deep in thought, trying to decide and define something.
What makes a welcoming entrance? What is it, exactly?
And I decided it wasn’t about the value of the home or the green of the front lawn, not about marble pillars or expensive landscaping. I thought and I thought and I came up with a list in my head.
Would you like to hear it? Of course you would!
Whether it be an apartment in a large complex, a house in a tony neighborhood, or an Airstream trailer parked in a hollow, these are the things which make for a welcoming entrance:
It’s clean and clear of clutter. There are no cardboard boxes, piles of trash, or rusty metal objects permanently camped there, no dried-up leaves gathering woefully in corners. There are no major obstructions to the walkway, the front stairs, or the porch, and nothing which isn’t either beautiful or serving a purpose in the entryway.
It’s easy to find the front door. Now before you shout that I’m stating the obvious, I have to tell you, I saw plenty of homes where the front door was overgrown by bushes, or the dark brown of the windowless front door blended into the dark brown of the siding. There are also plenty of homes where the front door isn’t on the side which faces the street. Some houses on corner lots make it difficult to tell where the front door actually is.
There are decorations. Whether it be a seasonal wreath on the front door, a cheerful profusion of flowers lining the walkway, statues flanking the entry courtyard, windsocks or banners or rainbow flags, bear carvings made out of logs, or metal art placed on an otherwise boring area of the facade, there are things which show the personality and tastes of the owner.
It is well lit. Not only does the entryway have enough lighting at night, it also has accent lights to highlight the landscaping or decorations. And to go one step further, the lights should be appropriate to the period of the house and the glass and bulbs kept sparkling clean.
The house or apartment numbers are easily visible. It’s a good idea to have numbers stenciled on the curb (if you have one), numbers on your mailbox if it sits close to the street, and numbers by the front door, preferably right under a light. And while we’re at it, the numerals should be large enough, well-lit at night, and the appropriate typeface for the era of the house.
There is seating. This one is optional, I guess, but some of the entrances I liked best had benches, Adirondack chairs, little bistro sets, or even a couple of red camp chairs, along with one little table just big enough for a potted plant or a drink or two. Something about a couple of chairs on the porch or in the front yard just says you’re friendly!
I adore what they’ve done with this house, even though it’s no longer MCM. I love the minimum of steps and the clean, open feeling of the front porch. And the color! Perfection!
This house only has camp chairs, but the fact they’re red and matching makes it okay, somehow. And I love the decorative block wall which screens the front door from the elements.
Beautiful flowers make up for the fact the front entryway is recessed and therefore rather dark. Wouldn’t a pink or red wreath look great on the door?
I love the peach front door and how it subtly ties in with the orange flowers in the planter.
The Adirondack chairs really brighten up this facade and turquoise is a very appropriate color for an MCM home.
I love the chevron pattern of this front door. And look at the period light on the right facade!
Metal artwork adds interest to a plain facade.
More cozy Adirondack chairs and a beautiful, shady walkway.
Love those chairs, the patterned cushions, and the vertical siding of the entryway.
All it takes to get started is one little door wreath, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. But you’ll be surprised how much it lifts your spirits upon coming home, to see that cheerful, tasteful wreath gracing your front door. And then, after that, how about a nice doormat?
If you own your home, you could paint your front door in a bright color, researching to see what colors are appropriate for the era your home was built. Pay close attention to what style of door is fitting for the time frame, as well.
If you rent your apartment, you may not be able to choose what color your door is. But you can decorate it and get compliments from the leasing office, like I always do. (Yep, I’m bragging here.)
If you live in a student apartment with doors facing out into a hallway, there are lots of inexpensive options to think about, since your door isn’t subject to weather. At Christmastime in college, we used to cover the front door with wrapping paper and put a big bow on it.
Several springs ago, I visited the building where we lived in college and was delighted with the creativity of the girls who lived there. Our old apartment front door was sporting a large wreath made of loops of burlap, and the apartment across the way had a heart mobile with a funny diagram helping you to decide whether or not you should knock. And there was a great, fluffy heart rug out there, too.
Start with sweeping up all the dirt and dried leaves by your front door, and then place even just one decoration on your front porch or walkway or door which makes your heart happy, makes it sing, tells people someone who lives there cares. And then, go from there…
From me to you with love,
This is my favorite entryway I saw today. Because it’s the door to my cozy nest, and it’s autumn, and my heart sings with joy when I can bring out the fall decorations…
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