Hints for Home Builders: Entrances

The sequence of spaces leading to an entrance requires as much careful consideration as those spaces internally.


The entrance defines a sense of belonging, creating a transition into more private spaces and providing natural surveillance. At its most basic an entrance is often a door in a wall from a street, but will often be defined by a change in level.

It is also a moment to pause. How about a front door bench, or flowerbeds and a low wall to sit on, watch the world go by and daydream, near enough to the street to talk to someone but far enough away to feel protected? Can you shelter from the rain while you find your keys, or wait for the door to be answered?

Once inside, a lobby between the front door and the inhabitable spaces, creates an air lock to help keep drafts at bay.

It is also desirable to be able to view anyone who is at the door, so you can take a moment to compose yourself before greeting the person on the other side.

Lay a hardwearing floor finish in an entrance, possibly a mat to wipe your feet on, a rack to lay muddy boots and somewhere to hang sodden outdoor clothing.

Finishes should reflect the progression from public to increasingly private spaces, by becoming characteristically more sumptuous, more intimate.

In many country houses, the back door is used more than the front, traversing into a small lobby, a utility area and boot room to the side and then on to a large kitchen.

In urban areas Victorian and Georgian houses traditionally had raised ground floors. Reached via steps, they create a sense of anticipation or arrival and define a heirarchy between street and house.

A car-port may be more appropriate than a garage in the country and can form part an ancillary group of structures to house logs and tools and define one side of an enclosure, like a farmyard.