Category Archives: Anatevka Girl On Architecture and Design

Kitchens I Have Known and Loved: The V House

BY VALERIE BELDEN WILDER
Columbia County, New York  I  Friday, 13 April 2018

Food is memories.
Hassan Kadam, The Hundred-Foot Journey

It’s hard for me to write about this kitchen, now my mother is no longer puttering around in it.

This is the downstairs kitchen at the V House. Even though the place has been in our family for 50 years now, we were still calling it by the previous owners’ last name, to distinguish it from the other houses my parents used to have.

Finally, 1 1/2 years ago, when I moved here, to the upstairs loft, I decided to rename it the V House. My father’s first name starts with V, and so does mine, so why not? Plus, the people who built it, a German family, their last name starts with V.

Growing up, I always thought this kitchen was…not so great. The counters were a yellow-and-white Formica, and the walls a kind of strange-colored tile. Is it salmon? Or coral? I’m not quite sure, but I’m leaning towards coral. And to make matters worse, the tile was trimmed at the top with a deep purple tile, I’ll call it eggplant.

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Kitchens I Have Known and Loved: Anatevka

BY VALERIE BELDEN WILDER
Columbia County, New York  I  Sunday, 11 March 2018

The kitchen really is the castle itself.
This is where we spend our happiest moments
and where we find the joy of being a family.
~Mario Batali

This is the first kitchen I remember, in our old colonial house called Anatevka…

The picture above was taken by my mom, Carol, when she photographically documented the house, sometime before it was torn down in 2002. So, what you see in this photo is quite an emptyish kitchen, one not being used at the time of the photograph. That’s why it’s so clean and uncluttered.

My family moved from Anatevka after I finished fourth grade, so I don’t have many memories of the kitchen, really. I do remember, though, it had a built-in spice cabinet, and also, a pantry off the kitchen, which we never used because it was in pretty bad shape. I seem to remember there once being a box of Moon Pies in there…Strange, what we remember, all those years later.

In my memory, this kitchen was not particularly cheerful, since it had only one small window, facing north, over the sink. Whoever was washing dishes at that dark brown sink would’ve had a view right over to the V house, where I live now.

The stove was to the left of the sink, but I don’t remember what kind it was, and the fridge was located in the kitchen corner closest to the bathroom, with no cabinets or counters around it.

The white door you see on the right side of the photo was a swinging one, and led into a rather gloomy bedroom, with a north-facing window.

There was also a door on the right, leading to a mudroom-type porch, which then led to a cement pad with easy steps, and then out to the horseshoe-shaped driveway. Right where Grandma Sweetie, the maple tree I love so much, where she sheds her golden leaves.

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The Welcomed Guest

BY VALERIE BELDEN WILDER  I  Ghent, NY  I  Friday, 6 October 2017

Recently, my father, Thing 2, and I spent the night at my friend Tina’s house so we could be closer to the airport for an early-morning flight back to New York from Salt Lake City.

(You may remember Tina as my friend who always had me over on Sunday nights for her famous Summer Spaghetti. Our kids were sooo excited to get to play together again! They terrorized the basement with Nerf guns, Legos, and then sat down to computer games.)

Anyways, Tina graciously said she had plenty of room and all three of us could spend the night at her house! I was very relieved, since this meant we could avoid taking an early-morning (4 am, nooo thank you!) shuttle to Salt Lake International Airport from my parents’ house in northern Utah.

I stayed downstairs, in Tina’s lovely French flair guest bedroom. On the wall was a huge poster of Audrey Hepburn in a straw hat with two wide pink silk bows.

Below the poster was a white desk, with drawer handles made out of silky floral ribbons, an idea I’ve never seen before, and am going to swipe, for sure. Tina said she bought the desk secondhand and it was missing its hardware, but replacements were $10 apiece, and the desk has eight drawers. (You do the math. Again, no thank you.)

On the desk was a super cool Eiffel Tower lamp. I’m imagining a soft pink bulb in it…

There was also a bookcase, conveniently left empty for her guest’s belongings, except for an extra blanket, a plush purple Vellux one. (I love Vellux. It’s soft, never pills, and dries quickly. I used to have a blue Vellux blanket, until Thing 1 took to it with a red Sharpie.) And above said bookcase, on the wall, were two Paris fashion prints.

I adored the guest bed ensemble, all pink and purple and red watercolor flowers, with a striped dust ruffle, and nice, crisp white sheets with a high thread count. Next to the bed was a nightstand with a lamp and an alarm clock, and plenty of room for little things like my earrings and bracelets I took off just before bed.

After the stress of some unexpected travelling this past week, Tina’s guest bedroom was a delightful, peaceful haven, like spending a night at a bed and breakfast. Clean, uncluttered, and oh-so-pretty. Thank you, Tina.

I remember, many years ago, my friend and fellow Rocket Julie told me she would know she’d “arrived” when she got a home with a guest bedroom. Eventually she did get her wish, and dressed the guest bed with a Martha Stewart blue-and-yellow wedding ring quilt, which she purchased at KMart, after admiring mine on a visit to Salt Lake.

(Hers is probably still intact. Mine, not so much, after my rambunctious Thing 1 destroyed it.)

So now, now, I guess I’ve arrived, too, because for the first time in my life, my place has a guest bedroom! I wonder, what items should I put in there? What should I do to make my guests feel welcome, like they’re not imposing, and relaxed and comfortable, not having to ask me for every little thing? “By any chance do you have (fill in the blank)?”

Let’s check out some fun links to learn more! Scroll past the bed below.

[RECOMMENDED LINKS]
http://www.stonegableblog.com/10-essentials-of-cozy-guest-room/

https://styleblueprint.com/everyday/10-essential-guest-room-items/

https://www.allthingsthrifty.com/2014/10/guest-room-essentials.html

[MORE INFORMATION]
https://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/product/vellux-original-blanket/316789

[RELATED MCK POSTS]
http://mycopperkitchen.com/tinas-summer-spaghetti-sauce/

http://mycopperkitchen.com/anatevka-girl-on-architecture-and-design-my-secret-water-garden-bedroom-redo/

 

The History of Haint Blue

BY VALERIE BELDEN WILDER  I  Ghent, NY  I  Monday, 31 July 2017

The haint blue ceiling on our screened-in porch.

This summer my sister painted the ceiling of the front porch a light blue, which was no small feat. The porch ceiling had previously been white, and it was looking a little bit grey and mildewy in spots. So she scrubbed it with bleach water and painted it a pretty color known as haint blue.

Haint blue is a color commonly seen on porch ceilings in the south, but also used in many other areas. “Haint” is another name for haunt, or ghost, and down south the superstition persists that if you paint your porch ceiling haint blue, it will ward off evil spirits.

Haint blue is also rumored to scare away insects, probably stemming from the fact that old-fashioned milk paint used to contain lye. It’s also suggested that insects will avoid landing on a haint blue ceiling, thinking it’s the sky. It hasn’t really been proven, but it’s interesting to think about, right?

A haint blue ceiling is also thought to make the days seem just a little bit longer. I suppose once the real sky has turned to grey or black, you still have a soothing canopy of blue overhead on your porch…

This is a house I pass on my way to church. Look closely at the haint blue ceiling on the little porch. And make sure to admire the fanlights, too!

Anyways, once the porch ceiling was done, we decided to have a party to celebrate! We cooked up a storm: crab rangoon, rumaki, and shrimp cocktail, along with punch, fruit, and mini pudding pies for dessert. Our parents and their favorite neighbor couple had a great time, eating, talking, and relaxing under the new haint blue ceiling.

Punch and pudding pies. This was my first attempt at an ice ring for punch, using raspberries and rose petals.

[SUGGESTED LINKS]
http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/pretty-and-practical-the-history-of-haint-blue-porch-ceilings-206959

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5645263

 

ANATEVKA GIRL ON ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN: Fanlights

BY VALERIE BELDEN WILDER  I  Philmont, NY  I  Friday, 3 February 2017

This building is on Warren Street in Hudson, NY. I love the wrought iron railing and how two sets of stairs converge in front of the door. There is also a beautiful wrought iron finial on the railing. Look closely, you might be able to see it, right in the middle.

One of the myriad of reasons I wanted to move back to New York was the beautiful, historic architecture. Some houses have fanlights over their front doors, and I love to ooh and ahh over them.

Merriam-Webster defines fanlight as “a semicircular window with radiating bars like the ribs of a fan that is placed over a door or window”. Fanlights, as well as transom windows and sidelights, are used to bring additional light into an otherwise dark hallway. Plus, they’re just plain pretty!

Here are some examples of fanlights from around Columbia County, and there are many more to be discovered!

Here’s the front door of a private residence. I love how they’ve framed it symmetrically with planters.

 

Here’s another front door on Warren Street in Hudson, the Daughters of the American Revolution building in the Robert Jenkins House, circa 1811.

 

This is a private residence. Notice the pleasing symmetry of the left wing and the screened-in porch on the right.

 

This building is situated at a busy intersection in Hillsdale, NY, and is currently the home of C. Herrington Home + Design. When I was growing up, it was home to L’Hostellerie Bressane, a French restaurant. The building dates to 1783.

 

The two photos above were taken at Roeliff Jansen School, where I attended junior high. When the school moved into a new campus in 1999, Roe Jan was vacated and has since fallen into disrepair. The gorgeous brick building was built during the Great Depression and the front facade is graced by five beautiful fanlights over the doors. 

 

[MORE INFORMATION]
http://www.dar.org/national-society/historic-sites-and-properties/robert-jenkins-house

 

ANATEVKA GIRL ON ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN: Light It Up, Part Two

BY VALERIE BELDEN WILDER
Philmont, NY  I  Saturday, 7 January 2017

This is the Gill Glass light fixture in my bedroom. Parts were assembled from three different places to complete the fixture.

My sister and I share a mutual love (read obsession) with lighting. Right now we’re working on replacing all the light fixtures in the upstairs apartment of the V house with gorgeous, historically accurate lights.

It all started with the little bedrooms, last summer. There are two of ’em on the east side of the house, wonderful little under-the-eaves bedrooms, the mirror image of each other and joined by a connecting door. The first thing I noticed though, was the light fixtures were all wrong. The north room had a clear, pressed-plastic fixture, and the south room had a black, wrought-iron chandelier. My OCD kicked in immediately. (I mean attention to detail. Attention to detail!)

I casually mentioned to my sister I’d like to see the rooms match each other exactly, right down to the light fixtures. Well, then. She went online and found these blue fixtures. There were three, actually, so now there’s a spare in case the kids get cray and break one.

Here is the type of light fixture we’ve used in the boys’ rooms. Yep, I know there’s still tape over the screws. Have you ever tried holding all this stuff together over your head while balancing on a precarious, too-short step stool? Help!

And then she put together an absolutely smashing fixture for the Winter Bedroom, the one facing west, the one with the pumpkin pine floors and the French door. (It’s the first photo in the blog.) And we know it’s historically accurate, because it’s very similar to the fixture in the downstairs bedroom I had while growing up, which was pink and had baskets of flowers on the sides. (See last photo in the blog.)

Just look at that cobalt blue pendant. Squeeee! You KNOW how I feel about cobalt blue glass, right? And the amethyst crystal bells were discovered at an antique shop we were browsing at the Hudson Winter Walk, attached to a more masculine fixture of the same kind. Apparently, those bells are pretty hard to find, and fixtures like this which are intact can be pretty pricey.

When I wake up in the morning, it’s so fun to stare up at this light, the cool, powdery blue contrasting with the white ceiling. It’s like looking up into heaven, really.

This fixture used to be in the living room, but has been moved to the hallway. The leaf pattern perfectly matches my piece of Scandinavian lace.

 

This is my living room chandelier. It’s a bit hard to see, but there are a bunch of crystals hanging from the top, too. The bottom crystal looks amazing when the sun shines through it in the afternoon.

Replacing light fixtures and restoring homes is a little bit like solving a good mystery, figuring out what would have been originally used, and then trying to track down more authentic fixtures if things have been replaced. And most of the time, when people modernize their homes, things get very…interesting and mysterious.

And I’ve been enamored with mysteries since I was a kid, devouring Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden and Vicki Barr and Agatha Christie books by the dozens. All while staring up dreamily at this fixture with the flower baskets…

This is the light fixture I had in my bedroom when I was a teenager.

There is a large and strange cabinet in my kitchen, which is over the stairs. Guess what? When I was cleaning it out, I found another fixture just like this one, shoved waaay in the back. It’s slightly chipped around the top, though. Speaking of mysteries, I wonder where it originally hung? As I said, mystery.

[RECOMMENDED LINKS]
This guy has spent his life searching out and restoring antique light fixtures.
http://www.theoldabove.com/

And this guy has been selling and restoring lamps since 1979.
http://www.hoylelamps.com/

[RELATED MCK POSTS]
http://mycopperkitchen.com/anatevka-girl-on-architecture-and-design-light-it-up/

ANATEVKA GIRL ON ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN: The Gift of Light

BY VALERIE BELDEN WILDER  I  Valatie, NY  I  Monday, 5 December 2016

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.
-Edith Wharton

At night, I like to drive aimlessly around and look at people’s houses, especially at Christmas time! I especially love the ones which have an electric candle in each window, so simple, so striking, so beautiful.

It makes me happy and gives me a little spark of hope. It lifts my mood to see a home lovingly cared for and decorated. The gift of light and beauty is a generous gift, to not squander your home, but to share it with the world.

When I was a child, there was a neat little ranch home on our street, and it had two sets of plastic, light-up lawn ornaments at Christmas time: a manger scene, and a Santa, complete with sled and reindeer. I will always remember it.

Generosity. Decorating your front door, your yard, and windows, it truly is an act of giving. Instead of keeping all the beauty of your home inside and to yourself, why not share a little of it with your neighborhood and people passing by?

[MORE INFORMATION]
http://www.history.org/almanack/life/christmas/hist_candles.cfm

http://westlakebayvillageobserver.com/read/2012/03/06/the-tradition-of-burning-a-candle-in-the-window

[AUTHOR’S NOTE]
Sigh. I know this blog is positively days overdue, but not for lack of trying. The two houses below look beautiful at night, with candles in the window. I’ve been trying and trying to get nighttime shots of them which would look as lovely as they appeared to my eye, but I’ve about given up.

The first photo in this blog was captured around dawn, but some of these houses turn their lights out when they go to bed, I guess, and even though I’ve driven by many times in the dark and have taken multiple shots, they all look ghoulish. Like Halloween and not Christmas. I might try again at dusk. We’ll see.

So. How about you look at the photos and picture these houses like it’s nighttime, with candles in their windows? They’re gorgeous, trust me.

 

 

ANATEVKA GIRL ON ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN: Welcome to German Settler Road

BY VALERIE BELDEN WILDER  I  Philmont, NY  I  Friday, 4 November 2016

dscf5518Photos of Anatevka, placed on a 1980s map of Columbia County, New York. The thick blue line on the left is the Hudson River. The thin blue line on the right is the New York-Massachusetts state line.

Pretend you’re in the car with me, and we’re driving east on Route 217, past Philmont, an old mill town, Philmont with its wonderful little library and sandwich shop and the closest place to get milk and gas. Let’s keep driving, up up the hill and then down into a little hollow with cornfields flanking either side of the road, cornfields autumn-shorn, stubble where herds of deer graze.

We’re definitely playing some 80s music way too loud, and probably driving a bit too fast, since the speed limit is 55 MPH here. It feels a bit like a rollercoaster, all these country hills.

Now, up the hill we go again, and at the crest, a green sign on the left: German Settler Road. Because that’s who first lived there, you know, German farmers who built beautiful center hall colonials and big red barns, some of which survive today, begging for their stories to be told, fascinating.

I lived in one of these center hall colonials, Anatevka, through fourth grade, and I loved the mysterious old place. I’m convinced it was the first house on the road, which would place its construction in the late 1700s to early 1800s.

dscf5506The brick labelled Empire came from remnants of the Anatevka chimney. Photo on the left is me with our cat, Albert, sitting on the steps to the kitchen porch. Photo on the right is me on the still-remaining concrete slab of Anatevka’s front porch, with two missionaries from our church.

I loved the weather-worn old front porch, with the built-in white benches, and the blue front door with the transom window overhead. I loved the side porch, off the kitchen, with its easy-stepped entryway made of huge slabs of cement. Nearby, there was the round well cover which we lifted up to prime the pump when we used too much water.

I loved the sunny little glassed-in room in back of the house, and remember reading Charlotte’s Web and The Voyages of Doctor Doolittle there.

The kitchen, however, was not especially cheerful, as it only had one window, over the sink, and it faced north, with a view of the V House. It was in this kitchen where we gathered around the radio to listen to Richard Nixon’s resignation in August of 1974.

There was a moldering and unused pantry off the kitchen, and I was as creepily fascinated with it as I was the dank, dark, this-is-where-you’re-going-to-die basement with its bare bulb, rickety stairs, and old tins of food-storage wheat on the shelves.

The kitchen had a dark brown sink and white counter with gold flecks. I know it well. I’m becoming reacquainted with this sink, the one my mother washed so many dishes at, long ago, because after my father and sister tore down Anatevka, somehow that sink and counter and its encasing cupboards found their way into my red kitchen at the V House, right now.

I loved the tall windows in the upstairs bedrooms, with their pull chains with circular ends. I loved the creaking, crooked, painted-over floorboards. I loved my little Snoop Coop bedroom upstairs, just big enough for my little bed, with its window over the front porch and a view down to German Settler Road.

Welcome to the road I grew up on, located in beautiful upstate New York. I moved here again, arriving a mere two weeks ago, and I’ve been driving up and down the road as slowly as possible, looking at these houses I loved as a child and love still. Over and over again, looking at these homes.

Analyzing the road and its domestic architecture, it appears there were various phases of home construction:
the earliest center hall colonials, starting around 1805, including Anatevka
homes built during the Great Depression, including the V House
several homes built in the 1950s through 1970s
and then, finally, a few built in this century.

Today, I’d like to take you on a very quick pictorial tour of the earliest phase, the center hall colonials.

dscf5454The G House: A beautifully restored colonial, rising a full two stories high. Notice the sidelights and transom windows around the orange front door, and the sidelights flanking the upstairs center window. When I was a child, this house was painted red, and its barn was closer to the road.

 

dscf5448The I House: a fully restored and lovingly cared for house as the road bends around the corner and heads up the hill. Notice there are no upstairs windows in front, so skylights have been added to light the upstairs. The front door has sidelights and built-in benches. There are also two lovely decks: one in back, overlooking a pond, and one on the right, with Chippendale-type fretwork, with views to the barns. When I was a child, this house was white and had not yet been restored.

 

dscf5451The B House: A nicely restored 1805 Colonial. Notice there must have been a front porch at some point, and the unusual double sidelight windows, along with tiny eyebrow windows upstairs. The house was white when I was growing up, and had not yet been restored.

There is still much to discover about these houses, even though I’ve known them my entire life. I wonder when each one was built and by whom, including, and most importantly, my beloved Anatevka. Maybe a trip to the county historical society is in order? Yes, I think so.

And, because I love mysteries so much, let me throw in a mystery house from my road, even though it’s not a center hall colonial. I just can’t resist a good mystery.

Mystery House

dscf5445The A House: This house, built in 1930, was lived in and well-loved when I was growing up, and I went to high school with one of the boys who lived there. I loved to drive by at night, looking up at the pretty little house on the hill, because there was always a lamp turned on in front of the living room window, giving it such a cozy feel. Notice the gracious screened-in porch on the right and the beautiful rock chimney on the left. For some reason, the owners converted their nearby garage into a cabin and moved out of this house. Rumor has it renters trashed the inside. Sadly, it now sits empty, in a state of overgrown disrepair.

[SUGGESTED READING]
http://www.historicnewengland.org/preservation/your-older-or-historic-home/architectural-style-guide#

[RELATED MCK POSTS]

http://mycopperkitchen.com/tinas-corned-beef-casserole/

ANATEVKA GIRL ON ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN: Where My Heart Is

BY VALERIE BELDEN WILDER  I  West Valley City, Utah  I  Thursday, 6 October 2016

dscf1575

The kitchen is the heart of the home.

I’m so pleased to announce I’m relocating My Copper Kitchen to a beautiful RED kitchen! A kitchen with a red Formica counter and a vintage stainless steel cooktop and matching wall oven. A kitchen with cheerful red scalloped valances over two windows which overlook a wide expanse of green lawn, with deer who visit, a giant forsythia bush, a driveway with bunnies who frolic, and cars that crunch up the gravel, bringing friends!

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a kitchen which wasn’t cookie-cutter-boring, beige-and-white, built in the bland 90s, absolutely devoid of any personality. In fact, three apartments in a row, I had the exact same sheet linoleum, off white with beige diamonds. What are the odds of that? It must have been cheap, cheap, cheap. So, it’ll be nice to have a kitchen with some built-in personality.

I’m looking forward to moving into my new red kitchen, decorating and remodeling. There will be much to do.

I have an absolute ton of dishes and there’s not a lot of cupboards. There’s not a big counter either. It’s an old house in the country, and I’ll need to figure out how to store food so the little critters don’t get into it. Where will I put the microwave without ruining the vintage look? And so on and so on…

There are some puzzling things about the kitchen. The dark brown ceramic sink isn’t original to the kitchen, and neither is the cabinetry housing it, nor is the white-with-gold-fleck Formica counter on either side of the sink. No one seems to remember how it got this way, even though my family has owned the house for nearly 50 years, since I was a six-month-old baby.

I know my father must have moved that dark brown sink there, because I’m positive it came from Anatevka, the old center hall Colonial which used to be next door, and I have the photos to prove it.

I hope someday, after I’m settled, I can put in a white ceramic sink like the one downstairs, some red Formica like the rest of the counters, and silver cabinet handles to match the other cupboards. Oh! And I’m convinced the sink’s backsplash should be silver. Think 50s diner!

Then, there’s the matter of flooring. Growing up, I remember it was square linoleum tiles, some green, some blue, with no method to the madness. I always thought it was a bit strange, what with the red valances and countertop, but since there are some non-matching things going on in the downstairs kitchen, too, I chalked it up to the original owners not having a real flair for design, or maybe not a lot of money during the throes of the Great Depression, when the house was built. 1930, to be exact.

Now, since the adjacent bathroom has been remodeled and shifted a few feet towards the west, the tile is irrevocably marred and has been covered up with blue low-pile carpet. Carpet in a kitchen? Not my favorite idea.

But this past summer, when I was visiting, I solved the mystery, the mystery of the original kitchen flooring!

I was digging around under the sink, looking for a bucket. That’s when I made an amazing discovery and started acting like a lunatic!

It. Was. Red.

Under the sink was the original linoleum tile, and it was red, red and beige! I got super excited when I saw it, since I’d always known the blue and green tile just wasn’t right. Suddenly, things started to make sense and seem cohesive. I grabbed a sponge, wiped down the small area under the sink cabinet, and started taking pictures. It makes me so happy to know the floor was originally red.

In this new old kitchen, there will be just enough space between the two windows for my little table for two, the one I bought at Best and first had in the Clark Apartment. The matching chairs are broken and gone, a shameful story, but I’m a fan of mix-and-match and unexpected combinations, anyways. I’ll either get some stools which will slide under the table, or use the cute little fold-up Chippendale-inspired chairs I got at a yard sale this past summer for $1.25 each. Yup, you heard me right, $1.25!

Over the table, between the windows, there’s a small shelf with silver trim and fab pink Formica, and I’m debating which cute knickknacks to display, as the focal point of the kitchen. I have an old flour sifter with a pattern of red tulips, some new-ish Jonathan Adler red tulip bookends to hold my vintage cookbooks, a red Pennsylvania Dutch tin, and a red clock. Hmmm, we’ll see what works when I get there…

It’s going to be such a fun journey, fixing up the red kitchen and making it the heart of my new home. Would you like to tag along?

 

ANATEVKA GIRL ON ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN: The Welcoming Entrance

DSCF2906

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.

DSCF2884

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!

DSCF2818I 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!

DSCF2828This 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.

DSCF2836Beautiful 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?

DSCF2844I love the peach front door and how it subtly ties in with the orange flowers in the planter.

DSCF2864The Adirondack chairs really brighten up this facade and turquoise is a very appropriate color for an MCM home.

DSCF2867I love the chevron pattern of this front door. And look at the period light on the right facade!

DSCF2868Metal artwork adds interest to a plain facade.

DSCF2874More cozy Adirondack chairs and a beautiful, shady walkway.

DSCF2900Love 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,

Anatevka Girl

DSCF2794

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…

[MORE INFORMATION]
Articles on Ron Molen:
http://archive.sltrib.com/story.php?ref=/sltrib/neighborhoodvalleywest/54899627-129/homes-designed-neighborhood-molen.html.csp

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/home/50426975-76/molen-westshire-neighborhood-community.html.csp