No Foyer Entry – We Walk Straight Into The Living Room

freaking-out-over-your-paint-colors

 

Dear Laurel,

I love that post about the entrance to one’s home! However, I have just one little problem.

 

Our new home has no foyer entry whatsoever!

 

You open the front door and now you are in the living room. My husband and I just purchased this home and love it otherwise. It’s a darling cape built in the 1930s. Oodles of charm, but at only 950 sq feet, it is pretty small. The living room is downright tiny!

 

And furniture placement is quite awkward.

 

front door opens to living room - no foyer entry

I mean, who builds a house where there’s no foyer entry and you walk straight into the living room?

 

Is there a solution to create that lovely sense of entrance short of building out the front entrance? Maybe one day, but right now, we don’t have the funds for that project. I just hate not having a proper entrance into our home.

Sincerely,

Nada Rien-Hall

*********

 

Dear Nada,

In answer to your question: Who builds a house with no foyer entry? A lot of builders do this.

Why? The only answer I can think of, is because they can. Unless there are some substantial structural issues requiring load bearing beams; it’s far cheaper to put up a house without walls, than a house with walls. That might be why; not sure.

 

But before we go any further…

 

Nada is a fictitious character this week, but based on real-life issues. And I need to say that especially this week since we’ve had a lot of very real and very nice people share their homes recently. You can see these posts, here, here, and here

Someone did write me last month about this issue of no foyer entry, but she did not send anything in.

Over the years, I’ve seen some variation of this situation of not having a real entrance into the home, a number of times. Most of the time, these were interior design consultations, not full-fledged clients.

 

One thing to consider when buying a new home is this:

Just because something isn’t there, doesn’t mean that it needs to stay that way.

 

We will get into some variables and viable solutions, but one of the most obvious ways to deal with no foyer entry is to create one.

But, let’s begin with some relatively inexpensive solutions to create the illusion of a foyer area when there is none.

 

 

However, If there’s enough space and funds I would consider putting up a wall or partition to create an actual foyer entry

 

The rest of the post is focusing on structural changes one can make when there is no entrance foyer

 

Let’s look at that floor plan again

 

front door opens to living room - no foyer entry

 

It’s missing a wall on two sides. However, I am presuming that the measurements of the room include what is necessary for the hall. And there are two halls in this case. Yes, that is one itty-bitty living room.

Therefore, if the space isn’t very large, it’s way better to keep things open.

One solution that I don’t have an image of for this post, would be to have some columns, to act as a divider. I would probably do about four– two perpendicular to the fireplace, one in the corner and then one perpendicular to the front of the house.

 

Option Number two is the very popular “pony wall,” sometimes called a “knee wall” or a half-wall.

 

They can have columns or not. But I love columns and usually prefer square, but it depends on the house. The columns below taper very slightly which is fine for this craftsman-style, but I’ve seen some that look like pyramids which I think looks a little weird. But that’s just me.

 

entry-david-papazian-gphoto by David Papazian

I don’t think that it’s ever wrong to do a square non-tapering column. Sometimes I see some that IMO, too thick. How thick is too thick? Well, I think it depends on the size of the room and ceiling height.

A six-inch square would be the minimum on each side and I probably wouldn’t do more than one foot for most homes. But, for a small living room, one foot would probably be overwhelming. This is when it’s important for your builder to draw an elevation so that you can see the proportions.

no entry foyer solution - source unknown

Here’s another pony wall. I’m not totally in love with the design as a whole, but I think that the columns and half-walls are in good proportion. And, it gives just enough separation of the spaces. Plus, the architectural interest is a crucial component.

 

Greg Griegler no foyer entry solutionGreg Griegler

 

This pony wall creates a vestibule before coming into either a hall or a room

There are also a couple of lovely pony walls with columns in this post.

 

Another huge problem with having no foyer entry, especially in parts of the country that are freezing in the winter.

 

If the door is opening a lot, then it’s going to be very drafty, so sometimes it’s good to have a way to block some of that arctic blast.

And that would be with an enclosure or partition.

 

entry-douglas-design

Douglas Design Studio

 

Most likely an old vestibule was taken down and a more updated one was added, still in keeping with the Victorian architecture. This is a great solution for those “polar vorticies” ;] and to claim a space to store wet boots.

 

I love the partitions that are really like interior windows and doors.

 

These seem to be very popular in Europe, but here in the US, they haven’t caught on yet. At least not in a big way.

 

So, let’s take a look at the many beautiful options I found. Not all of these are by a front door, or even a living room, but they certainly could be.

 

Fixer upper interior window wall separator

This is from the show Fixer Upper and is probably the most traditional example.

 

glass partition wall - no entry foyer - photo Anders Bergstedt

Entrancemakleri.se

 

One of my favorite glass partition walls – photo Anders Bergstedt – The post in the link is lovely too.

 

Fantasticfrank.wordpress - wonderful partition - no foyer entry

Fantastic Frank – wonderful partition

 

beautiful glass partition wall for kitchen - or when there

That’s reminding me of this amazing partition in a kitchen in one of my favorite posts.

 

No Foyer Entry - Glass partition wall - source unknown

Sorry, original source unknown. This one requires a high ceiling. These of course, also work in loft spaces. I also love them when they have drapes.

 

Alexandra rae - entry foyer - sliding French Doors Alexandra Rae

 

Love what Alexandra did to create a vestibule that has the versatility to be more open or closed.

 

And of course, the Gracie wallpaper is sublime.

 

Please check out Alexandra’s website. She’s a young, super-talented interior designer. And her site is gorgeous! She also has a beautiful instagram account. So, please be sure to follow her on insta.

And while you’re there for a sec, if you’re not following me, please do so. I don’t care that much, but other people do. haha. And I’m just a few away from the 10,000 follower point. Something magical is supposed to happen when you reach that number.

I’m looking forward to finding out what that is. ;]

 

Next up is the dreaded front door in the middle of the living room.

 

Blue Door living blog- no-foyer-entry-front-door-opens-directly-into-living-room

In my internet research travels, I came across this charming home of Corbin Thomas of the Blue Door living blog with a not-so-charming front door, as I said, smack dab in the middle of things. The link above will take you to her post, so you can see more of the room and her floor plan and ideas.

Corbin also has a beautiful instagram account, so please be sure to follow her as well.

And that made me think of yet, another solution. It’s not a solution necessarily for the furniture arrangement, in Corbin’s case, but it comes close to working with what she’s done.

Glass window partition-no foyer entry - source unknown
What if we had only a small wall in front of the door. There would need to be a steel header and steel beams on the sides as well. The bottom part could be like the image above or it could be taller. And of course, it could be painted white. And depending on what works best, it could be a little wider.

 

My last idea is these wonderful iron windows and doors that make beautiful partitions.

 

via 1st Dibs

 

The partition in front of the door could be something like this. Or more plain and probably with the wood muntins.

 

Fantastic Frank

This would be great if there was very little room. But, it is more industrial looking.

 

© Frederikke Heiberg glasvaeg-skandinavisk-kokken-invita

via

These partitions are more contemporary but could also work in a variety of situations. I think that they are beautiful!

We saw this in this post about wonderful, classic kitchens that aren’t white.

 

There’s also another wonderful iron and glass partition in this post.

Well, I hope that gave y’all some good ideas for making a foyer entry even when there is none.

 

No Foyer Entry - No Problem

please pin to a pinterest board

 

xo,

PS: Please be sure to check out this week’s hot sales if you have not done so.

The One King’s Lane “Private Sale” is still on. Get 25% off EVERYTHING with code: OKLPREFALL (shhhhhhhh, they obviously made a boo boo)

plus– free standard shipping!

But please click on the hot sales link for more offers and to see my favorite picks of the week.

 

5th edition rolodex-post-graphic - November 2018 - A unique shopping guide with hundreds of sources created by Laurel Bern

  • Linda Leyble - November 4, 2018 - 8:23 AM

    Hey Laurel…great post! I’m in love with the partition ideas you’ve shown here! As a home stager, I come across this problem a lot – the front door opening into the living room. I can’t always get the investor/builder to alter anything in a new construction or a homeowner who is selling to remedy this.

    So, many times it’s a matter of re-arranging the furniture to create an entry. Sometimes it works to have the sofa back and a sofa table to create an entry. In homes with very small living rooms, this has worked for me.

    Love all your posts…you always manage to make me laugh, swoon, think and more!!!ReplyCancel

  • Hollie @ Stuck on Hue Pillows - October 8, 2018 - 2:36 PM

    I didn’t have a proper entryway in my first three homes. Now I’m in a 1916 four square with a traditional center hall and an official entry. I have to say it’s a treat. The best thing is that I installed a fun wallpaper in the entry, which makes a huge visual impact. I’ve always dreamed of having a round table in the entry too, but I can’t quite fit one here, so I’ll have to set my sights on that in a future home!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah McGee - October 7, 2018 - 5:36 PM

    The iron partitions.
    Oh
    Mah
    Werd.ReplyCancel

  • Jayne - October 3, 2018 - 8:25 AM

    Having lived ina brownstone first floor with an entry you couldn’t turn around in, a French style home in Westchester with a cramped entry, CT with classic entries, I am now very happy to open my front door to guests in coastal low country home and wave my guests into a large open space that leads directly into living room and dining room. I must be getting old…I want everything open and easy! Loved this post!ReplyCancel

  • Pamela Smith - September 27, 2018 - 1:29 AM

    I LOVE that you are actually in favor of partitioning rooms when everybody else seems to be knocking them down in favor of “open concept.” I just know “open concept” is a fad that will, hopefully, soon be over. Who wants to sit in their living room staring at a messy kitchen?ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth - September 14, 2018 - 12:50 PM

    Sorry, I did read your contact form and found out you do not do individual consultations. Should you ever I would love to hire you. Perhaps that could be something in your future, 1 hour phone consultations!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 14, 2018 - 4:07 PM

      Hi again. Verrry doubtful, that I will do that and here is why. I did do consultations for about a year and a half. It is never just one-hour. It requires me looking at what people have going on. I don’t do well with descriptions that have more than one or two sentences. After that, I kind of go south. So, I have to look and hopefully, the photos I’m receiving are okay. Usually, they are horrible. Sometimes they are so confusing that they make me feel like I’m losing my mind.

      Sometimes the people have already made a ton of mistakes that I can’t fix. Well, not without them spending a ton of money. And then it’s awkward.

      And the final reason I don’t do it, are the the chain-jerkers which is about 3/4s of the people contacting me. I’m sure that most don’t mean to, but it can be a dozen or more email exchanges and promises of payment. It never happens. Now, I’ve spent 2 or 3 hours with nothing to show for it. And, even if they come through, the one hour is really 3-5 hours.

      In order for me to make it worth my while, that “one hour” would need to be a minimum fee of $750.00.

      But, it’s not worth it, because I’m already stretched to the max. To have any possibility of it working for me, I would actually have to farm the entire thing out. And just look it over briefly. I don’t know how other designers do it, but that’s the only way I could make it work, without killing myself.ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth - September 14, 2018 - 12:47 PM

    Laurel, Just curious do you do design consultations? If so I would love your advice/help on a space.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 14, 2018 - 3:49 PM

      Hi Elizabeth,

      I don’t do actual consultations. Recently, however, I have been taking some reader’s dilemmas and posting them here with some possible solutions. These are rather loose and meant to help many readers and get us thinking in new and different ways. That is usually the caused of being stuck. That goes for everything in life, I have found.

      Some people have kindly sent in their plans, but sometimes they are so specific to that home that the vast majority won’t be able to relate it to their own home. If you are a subscriber, you can send a few images and a scale drawing in response to any email I send you and I will get it.ReplyCancel

  • Amy - September 11, 2018 - 10:28 PM

    I have this same problem, thanks for the post! My Front door opens on a corner of my living room, one wall is entirely windows, the other wall is the only place to have a living room.

    I will probably do nothing until I give up the idea of turning the front porch into an entrance, but a window partition could be a lovely solution. It would turn a smallish living room into a tiny living room though. (I only have three chairs though so that’s not as big of a deal as it might be – eventually, I’ll add a sofa or chaise).

    The closet is all the way across the room from the door so I need to do something because with our busy lives and kiddo coats never make it to the closet. And shoes are just a pile under the ‘bench’.

    Another option that I’ve been thinking about is more open (I live in Seattle so it doesn’t really freeze). Add a long coffer to separate the space on the ceiling, and use a long rug under that coffer.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 11, 2018 - 11:17 PM

      Hi Amy,

      I can’t say if the coffer will help or not. I definitely love them for large rooms where there’s a huge expanse of uninterrupted ceiling.ReplyCancel

      • Amy - September 24, 2018 - 9:40 PM

        We’ve decided we want to do a partition with windows! (Thanks again for this lovely post). I’m trying to find some information for how a contractor would be able to make them as thin as the photos you’ve linked.

        I am confident most contractors could make a partition that’s as wide as a 2×4, but these look about an inch wide- (I’m guessing possible because they are iron).

        Where would those be sourced? If I have to ask does that mean I can’t afford it?ReplyCancel

        • Laurel Bern - September 25, 2018 - 5:05 AM

          No, you can’t afford it if you have to ask how much it costs, but only for some things. There are probably companies that make it, but I would discuss it with a local iron smith, perhaps.ReplyCancel

  • Donna B Oliphint - September 11, 2018 - 3:20 PM

    Love some of the beautiful partitions and columns, but with a room that small any kind of partition would seem claustrophobic for me. Instead, I would float the sofa opposite the fireplace. I would put a narrow console/cabinet on the long blank wall with a large piece of artwork over it. I would place a long runner in front that reached from just inside the front door to the “hall” in order to elongate the room by repeating the peak in the ceiling and the fireplace wall. To further separate the living room, I would use a large-ish rug that all of the living room furniture sits on with the front feet. Just my thoughts. I have a large open concept home, and the entry, front stairwell, dining room and living room are one big room. There are a couple of strategically placed columns and a dropped ceiling to separate the dining room from the “entry” and a couple of steps down to the living room. I have a nice chest, chair and rug in the entry part against the stairwell. Love your posts! They make me think.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 11, 2018 - 4:27 PM

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment Donna.

      That’s a good thing. I didn’t get as far as doing a floor plan and I agree, for this particular room, I would not do a wall of anything down the entire length. However, that would need to be a skinny one foot deep console table, as we need at least four feet until the back of the sofa, or three feet with no table. It’s a little tight and there’s no room for error. :] Sometimes when I had that situation with a client, I left out the item in question to see how we felt about it, once the essentials were in.ReplyCancel

  • Corbin Thomas - September 10, 2018 - 8:52 PM

    Laurel – Thanks for sharing my home!! Finding a way to decorate my living room with the front door opening directly into it was SO difficult. You’ve shared a ton of great tips here!

    CorbinReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 10, 2018 - 9:47 PM

      Hi Corbin,

      I love your blog post and especially how you showed the process of “exploring the possibilities.” That’s in quotes due to a particularly draconian professor, if one can call her that when I was in design school. But, ironically, her words while abusive to her students back then, often come back to haunt me with an obvious truth not to be underestimated.ReplyCancel

  • Shannon - September 10, 2018 - 7:28 PM

    Thanks – some of the dividers are beautiful – I have a similar issue – no formal entry the door just opens into the living room but our door is on an angle..what do you do with that?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 10, 2018 - 9:43 PM

      Hi Shannon,

      Wish I could say but, without being able to see anything else, it would be impossible to give any advice. Or, maybe you were just thinking out loud?ReplyCancel

  • Michelle Marceny - September 10, 2018 - 5:29 PM

    Hi Laurel,
    I love these ideas! I had not thought about a pony wall or a partition with windows. Love it. 🙂
    MichelleReplyCancel

  • Danielle - September 10, 2018 - 11:49 AM

    BOTH the door from the garage & the front door open into the same corner of my living room- and the previous owner actually removed the foyer wall that had been there! In rural Montana- what were they thinking?! Piles of boots, coats & gear are in full view of the entire great room, including dining and living room. Ridiculous!

    For now, I have defined the entry with a large custom seagrass rug and a table beside one door, a bench and a boot tray between the doors, but really there’s no hiding the mess- the closet that’s in the corner there is far too small. A pony wall wouldn’t be enough, so I plan to make part of the new wall 8ft for coat & gear storage, and then the rest counter height so it doesn’t block the light & the view as much. My builder had suggested glass block to fill in the upper portion of that segment, but these ideas are so much nicer! Thanks, Laurel!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 10, 2018 - 1:11 PM

      Hi Danielle,

      Arrrgghhh, glass block. (tell us how you real feel about it, Laurel?)

      Yes, of course. ;] It’s one of those elements from the early to mid 20th century that needs to stay there. That is unless it’s a subway station or something of that nature. I think that the interior windows are the way to go and if privacy is necessary, then one can use a frosted film. Or, in some cases, a drape. But, that looks better in a loft-type space. And then, maybe in that case, the drape is all that’s necessary, unless it’s the iron and glass wall and a sheer drape is used for softness.ReplyCancel

      • Danielle - September 10, 2018 - 3:57 PM

        I think the iron and glass would be striking, and would go with the iron fittings in the timbers just above it. The entire entry from the sidewalk/driveway through to the foyer is going to be redone, so it’s an opportunity to do something nice as we have some wonderful metal artisans in this area. I just love how you go into such detail with your blog posts, so much food for thought!ReplyCancel

  • Mary - September 9, 2018 - 6:39 PM

    Hi Laurel,
    If you didn’t put up a knee wall, could a console table serve the same purpose?
    It could hold a tray for keys & mail. Maybe a basket underneath for shoes.
    I realize it would depend on the floor plan.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 10, 2018 - 1:03 PM

      Hi Mary,

      Absolutely, one could do that. While I mentioned it in the post, I didn’t post an image of it. It’s actually a pretty common solution and I wanted to focus on something more permanent. I feel, ultimately, if one owns the home, then it’s very important for resale. Some people won’t purchase a home without a proper entry.

      Of course, if it’s a rental, then something less permanent is needed. Another solution that I’ve talked about in other posts, is that of a drape. Sometimes that can work to create more separation of spaces, as well. William McLure has done this in his loft apartment.ReplyCancel

  • Diana Bier - September 9, 2018 - 5:36 PM

    Great post, Laurel! I find it interesting that many homeowners have this problem, some stemming from the builders, and others from renovations gone awry. The current thinking is to knock down all the walls, so your home resembles an aircraft hanger. Ironically, this “open concept” craze is causing the very problem you so thoroughly described today, as well as so many others: annoying echos from cavernous spaces, no walls to delineate living spaces, nowhere to place furniture and artwork, and where to begin and end different paint colors.

    Many years ago, one of my clients had the same problem in the entry to her small apartment. We purchased a wooden room divider and sectioned off space for an entry foyer, adding a dining chair and a console table. The room divider was kind of a peek a boo effect, not totally blocking the view into the living room, but not totally open either. Worked really well.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 10, 2018 - 12:47 PM

      Hi Diana,

      Your first paragraph sums up perfectly the issues with “open concept” and why, in the end, it’s largely a massive fail. And I am not talking about the common kitchen, dining, family room configuration, where there’s still an entry and a living room, den/office, etc. The apartment solution sounds terrific.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer Thomson - September 9, 2018 - 1:37 PM

    The house I just bought has a ridiculous entry where the front door is on the wrong side of the vestibule. And the previous owners actually had it built this way in a remodel! I wish I could post a picture to show how bad it is.
    They created an entry way, 3’ x 5’, inside the living room, put a storm door on the outer wall, and put the front door on the inner wall. They cut away the foundation to make the inset area lower than the floor, but it slants towards the front door making a big puddle when it rains;-( When you open the front door it partially covers the kitchen doorway.
    We plan on moving the front door to the security door location, returning the entry to inside the house.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 9, 2018 - 3:45 PM

      Hi Jennifer,

      That sounds awful! You can send a photo to admin at laurel bern interiors dot com.ReplyCancel

  • Julie S - September 9, 2018 - 1:28 PM

    One of the most exciting things about moving to our new house was finally having an entryway! We live in the San Diego area so coats and boots are rarely an issue for guests, and I decided to tear out the sliding coat closet doors on the left of the entryway to put a bench with a large piece of art over it in the resulting nook (I needed some prettiness over practicality on that side), and the other side has room for a shoe rack next to 6′ of upper and lower cabinets for storage, with a countertop that of course collects detritus of various sorts despite my attempts to corral things in trays – thanks, family!!

    Anyway, so much better than our last house where the front door dumped you into the living room. At least there was room to the side in that house for a long low chest of drawers to create a landing zone.ReplyCancel

  • Susan - September 9, 2018 - 12:19 PM

    Yes today’s the day, 59
    I’m still plotzed from cake
    Thank you for everything 😍
    SusanReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 9, 2018 - 1:16 PM

      Oh, a sweet young thing, you are! And plotzed. hahaha! Made me laugh out loud for real!ReplyCancel

  • Susie - September 9, 2018 - 10:08 AM

    In my case, I’ve never lived in a home without a foyer that had enough room to install walls. One opened into a staircase and the other into a tiny living room. Although the one with the tiny living room had a back door that opened into a very large laundry/mud room combo.

    Classical architecture has rules for column widths based on the height of the column. It depends on which order (ionic, Corinthian, Doric, etc.) but it ranges between height = 7-10 times the diameter.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 9, 2018 - 10:57 AM

      Hi Susie,

      Thanks for pointing that out. You are correct about the proportions. Usually, those are round columns, or maybe always. Not sure about that. I don’t think that in classical times, they made square columns. And, generally, most of us are doing a simple cap/base in the Doric or Tuscan manner. Sometimes, I’ve seen those mouldings wildly out-of-proportion too. When it comes to interior columns, when in doubt, smaller is always better, IMO than too big. That always looks bad, to me.

      And of course, the columns can also be round. They do taper very slightly which all classical columns do.

      This company makes some columns that look pretty good to me. https://www.elitetrimworks.com/Square-Columns/ReplyCancel

  • Susan - September 9, 2018 - 9:21 AM

    Hi Laurel,

    Wow you guys are up late… I passed out from Chocolate Cake
    Laurel…All I can say is…Oh Dear God! And Thank You!

    Cake was a big hit.

    Everyone loved the moulding idea too, I think We started a trend over here.
    I’m loving these ideas for entry even though I don’t currently need them, I will keep them in mind for future reference.

    We looked at a house just like this floor plan…Except the kitchen and family room were switched. You walked right into the kitchen. Sink and stove were where the fireplace are, and the table was in the middle. You actually brushed the back of one chair as you walked through the room. I’m sorry I just can’t 🙄 Thank you again!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 9, 2018 - 10:45 AM

      Oh wait! Happy Birthday Susan! It’s today, right? Thank you too. I very much enjoyed working on the post about your lovely home!ReplyCancel

  • Tracey A Putnam Culver - September 9, 2018 - 8:56 AM

    Thanks, Laurel. Very helpful…except I have a ’40s cape, and the stairway is exactly across from the front door. There are only 3 feet 10 inches between the door and the first step up. I absolutely hate it, and can see no solution.

    At this point in our lives, we’d actually happily get rid of the whole second floor (two bedrooms) since we only use them to store furniture, etc. Oh, well, too old to make any huge construction plans!

    Thanks again for your blog – it’s fabulous!
    TraceyReplyCancel

    • Eleanor - September 9, 2018 - 1:56 PM

      I am in the exact same situation except mine is an 1800 sq ft 1990s cape. We have a large front porch so that kind of gives more of an entryway but I would love a vestibule. I have seen some lovely exterior vestibules added onto capes without porches. We are in our mid-30s and planning to stay here for good but we’re probably going to have to just deal with it too. Sadly, my house was built by a builder as his retirement home and he still didn’t use good design…ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 9, 2018 - 10:42 AM

      Hi Tracey,

      I know. I’ve seen that one a few times too. Why, anyone thinks that’s good design is a mystery. In a small house, the stairs should begin perpendicular to the front door, or at least off to the side.ReplyCancel

  • Celeste Greco Kotuby - September 9, 2018 - 8:38 AM

    I’m not sure how I came across your blog, searching for paint colors I think!, and I love what you do! The ideas you have here give so many options for this foyer-less home. There are only a few blogs where I actually take the time to read, and yours is one of them! My daughter and I both have “difficult rooms” (I have a beautiful 15′ high fieldstone fireplace, on an angle, she has a brick fireplace that faces the front door, and is 8′ from the front door!) Are you intrigued by the possibilities? How do I go about commissioning you? Have a lovely Sunday!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 9, 2018 - 10:40 AM

      Hi Celeste,

      I once figured out via google analytics that approximately half of the people visiting this website are looking for information about paint colors. And yes, those posts still yield high daily numbers which is really cool.

      This website is now my life and I no longer take on clients. People ask me if I miss it and I say no, because I’m still designing! In fact recently, more than ever. The only difference is that it’s all conceptual and I’m not getting paid for it, directly. The website itself, is profitable as a sum of it’s entirety, not any one post. I earn a living through the products I sell, ads and products people purchase through affiliate links.

      If you’d like to be considered for a post on the blog, I need a room layout at 1/4″ scale with the measurements clearly delineated and a couple photos to start. I can edit photos, but if they aren’t up to snuff, I sometimes ask for them to be retaken. That is more for after images when I want things to look their best. You can send that to admin at laurel bern interiors dot com. Written that way to keep away the spammers.ReplyCancel

  • mrsben - September 9, 2018 - 8:13 AM

    Love the solution ideas of a pony or window wall but am going to add; exclusion of an foyer entry way given your reasons and what ‘Morgana’ pointed out, is proof that we certainly need more woman architects/builders … 🙂 Also; re the 2nd photo (with the pear green sofa) do you know Laurel if that is a custom made linoleum runner/mat or is it tile? (To me it appears to be sitting on top of the hardwood but perhaps it is just a transition illusion.) -Brenda-ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 9, 2018 - 10:29 AM

      Hi Brenda,

      I had to look really hard at that for a few seconds and believe that to be tile. The pieces that run parallel to the runner of tile are actually the doorway saddles.ReplyCancel

  • Parnassus - September 9, 2018 - 3:54 AM

    Hello Laurel, You have provided quite a few elegant solutions to the no-vestibule problem. Many of them are architectural enhancements, which while beautiful, can also be expensive. My apartment has a similar problem, which I solved by creating an entry area with furniture–a chair for tying shoes, and a small table for parcels (which also holds a statue of Kui Xing). The back of a bookcase creates a line of demarcation and provides space for a few decorations. You are right about the importance of securing/anchoring bookcases–most can be tied to a wall somehow. Even though part of the “vestibule” is still open and contiguous to the room, it visually forms a self-defined area. For example, guests tend to stay within its boundaries until invited into the apartment proper.

    Even in a very small living room, it is ok to sacrifice the area next to the door since that is not a comfortable spot to be in socially or otherwise, anyway.
    –JimReplyCancel

    • Pat from Wisconsin - September 10, 2018 - 3:24 PM

      Jim, I agree–my first thought was, “this is fixable with furniture.” A shortish sofa facing the fireplace with something at the back (console, bookcase) and then a couple of chairs pulled forward toward the fireplace would leave a clear track to both the closet and the kitchen. The niche by the door could be a good spot for a little bench, chair, or chest. I certainly agree that a vestibule would be nice, but if it’s not possible, and if it’s not practical to add partitions like the gorgeous ones Laurel posted, furniture placement could do the trick. Laurel, I’m thinking of that small living room post where you worked the path around the sofa grouping.ReplyCancel

      • Laurel Bern - September 10, 2018 - 3:42 PM

        Hi PFW,

        Yes, it’s true. Some rooms, like the one you’re referencing are so small and the pathways, such that any kind of permanent partition is not going to work very well. In that case, a front door was added later on as there was none. I can’t say that would’ve been my solution, but I can’t see the entire house.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 9, 2018 - 10:22 AM

      Thanks so much Jim. I’m wondering if your apartment opens from outdoors since it’s in a tropical area. I think that it’s a little different if one’s apartment has an interior entrance. But, have to say that the favorite part of my apartment is the vestibule. It really is the heart as it has three exit points. What I love is that I don’t have to walk through any room to get to another room and that is more the exception than the norm for a one-bedroom apartment.

      I actually googled the architect, H.I. Feldman about a year and a half ago and found some articles by his daughter which were very interesting. He put a tremendous amount of thought into his designs and it shows. Out of curiosity, I just googled him again and found his obit!

      When I discovered his daughter, I wanted to contact her, but couldn’t figure out how, so I went so far as to track down two grand-kids (or maybe great grand children) on FB and messaged them but did not receive a response. I don’t know if she’s still alive or not, but the article I had read, talked of not being able to find any of his earlier work before 1940. Since my building was finished in 1927, I thought that she would be most interested. Most of his buildings are in Manhattan, so she may not have thought about looking for anything in Westchester County.ReplyCancel

  • joanna pearson - September 9, 2018 - 3:25 AM

    Well ! this article is another triumph. You are obviously a fabulous interiorist ( is that a word ?) not just because you can make fabrics, colours & furniture sing but you have that ‘eye’ for architecture & space that some decorators lack . You are a wizard at making space work.

    Thank you for the research & fabulous illustrations that cement your points.

    Hats off Laurel!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 9, 2018 - 9:51 AM

      Hi Joanna,

      Thanks so much for your kind words. I think that “eye” is something that one is born with. My brain craves the classical, be it ballet, music, art, architecture… That doesn’t mean classical, as in a museum and never changing, but it is the basis for everything that I love.

      And, if interiorist isn’t a word, it should be. :]ReplyCancel

  • Lorri - September 9, 2018 - 2:44 AM

    I love interior windows to separate areas.

    I was recently looking at a floor plan and photos of a house with a very long narrow living – dining – kitchen combination and vaulted ceilings. It’s beautiful, but I was wondering if interior windows could separate a space like that without going all the way to the ceiling.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 9, 2018 - 9:43 AM

      That’s a good question Lorri. Well, the windows are really on a wall and so I think that it should go all of the way to the ceiling. But the windows themselves wouldn’t need to go all of the way up. And also, I’m not an engineer, but if building a heavy wall, it needs to get attached above and below in a way so it won’t fall down. Of course, it would be framed like any other window-wall, but I would think might need some additional reinforcement if being built later on. However, that’s something that needs to be discussed with the builder.

      In my practice, I did designs where we added some small walls and/or moved doorways or made them smaller, so that we could fit the furniture in the room.ReplyCancel

  • Katy Harbin - September 9, 2018 - 2:24 AM

    Wonderful ideas! Thank you for addressing the pony wall proportions. I’d love to reconfigure my living to build in some character like you’ve shown. PS. I did send an email mentioning the issue of the living room entrance last month, but perhaps my pics didn’t attach. Thank you for another wonderful post!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 9, 2018 - 9:27 AM

      Hi Katy,

      Thank you, so much! I did get your email and photos of your furniture makeovers which are fabulous. That will be coming up. But, I see now that you also mentioned the front door issue. I think a few people have. But it was someone else who sent in a note after I asked if anyone had a very difficult home layout and the exercise includes sending in a scale drawing, plus images of the space. She didn’t send them in, however.ReplyCancel

  • Morgana - September 9, 2018 - 1:35 AM

    And, your solutions are sublime.ReplyCancel

  • Morgana - September 9, 2018 - 1:34 AM

    I agree, these are common. Even worse, there’s no place to put winter coats/rain gear/guest coats/umbrellas/winter boots. I throw up my hands at these, what can you do except trek back to the garage while trailing mittens scarves and wet footprints?ReplyCancel

    • Joanna Pearson - September 9, 2018 - 3:18 AM

      Morgana: What can you do ? throw them all on the floor like my kids used to do.ReplyCancel

      • Laurel Bern - September 9, 2018 - 9:44 AM

        haha! Our “coat closet” was the backs of the dining area chairs, sad to say.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 9, 2018 - 1:42 AM

      yeah… haha. It’s true.ReplyCancel