The Main Entry.
You have been using them all your life, yet, have you ever thought about the impact that a main entry has on all who pass through it?
It is the first thing a visitor sees when entering a space. It is the last thing seen when leaving. It makes the first and lasting impression of what lies beyond.
What makes a main entry
Several reactions need to take place
for a main entry to be effective in
communicating a positive message
to guests. It must...
• invite you into the space beyond
• make you feel welcome
• make a statement without being
strong or offensive to the visitor
• just look right!
How do you make these reactions happen in your main entry?
In this E-book you will learn step-by-step, how to create the well-balanced front entry that your home deserves.
We begin by determining the style of your home.
Next, we look at the architectural balance of the house front And finally, the house setting.
Then, using your house data, you will be able to create a plan to make the most of your homes features.
Every home deserves to look it’s best, while telling a story about the owners.
Your new main entry is just a few steps from becoming realty.
Let’s get started
TABLE OF CONTENTS
DETERMINING HOUSE STYLE
HOUSE FRONT DESIGN
LOCATION AND SURROUNDINGS
ANALYZING THE DATA
CHAPTER 1 – DETERMINING HOUSE STYLE
In this section, you will evaluate your houses style.
Begin by determining the predominant style of your home.
Your home may very clearly be one style, or a combination of styles (in which case you should choose the most prominent style).
Examples of the most common house styles.
Floor plans feature a center hall with living room on one side, dining room
on the other, kitchen and private
rooms in the back. Colonial design includes a symmetrical exterior styling, multi-pane, double-hung windows with
shutters, dormers, central front doors, shutters, and pilasters. The exteriors are generally wood or brick.
Victorian floor plans are free form and rambling, having features of brightly painted exterior, wrap-around front porch and detailed ornamental elements. Bay windows, wide verandas, turrets, and
grand towers may be incorporated into a Victorian plan. The floor plans are com-posed of one or two levels having an
asymmetrical layout and an irregular roof-line in which gables face several direc-tions and roof pitches vary. Front doors are four-paneled with no or narrow side-lights, and windows are long and narrow, sometimes with bays.
EARLY 20th CENTURY STYLE
In the early 1900s, builders discarded the elaborate Victorian styles. Homes for the new century were compact, economical, and informal. Frank Lloyd Wright revolu-tionized the American home when he be-gan to design houses with low horizontal lines and open interior spaces.
BUNGALOW / CRAFTSMAN STYLE
With features of low-pitched shingled roofs, exposed beams and wood, stone
and/or stucco siding, the Bungalow
home became popular in all regions of the United States during the 1910s and 1920s. Welcoming front porches and lots of windows invite you into the open one to one-and-a-half story floor plans. Bungalow floor plans usually cluster the kitchen, dining area, bedrooms, and
bathroom around a central living area.
CAPE COD STYLE
Generally one to one-and-a-half
story dormered homes featuring
steep roofs with side gables and a
small overhang. Bedrooms are
tucked on the second floor and
Cape Cod homes are typically
covered in clapboard or shingles
and are symmetrical in appear-
ance. Cape Cod homes are de-
signed with a central door, multi-
paned, double-hung windows,
shutters, a formal, center-hall floor plan, hardwood floors and little
exterior ornamentation. .
Farmhouse plans vary according to
the regional where they are located.
Typical features are an open kitchen
and living room, wood-frame con-
struction and finishes. Farmhouse
floor plans are usually square or symmetrically shaped, sometimes with
side wings. Farmhouse designs often
include deep and wide wrap-around
LOG HOME STYLE
Early log houses were sturdy, rain-
proof, and inexpensive. The frontier
style log cabin was one room 10
feet wide by 12 to 20 feet long, had
at least one glass window, and in-
cluded a loft area for sleeping.
Modern Log house plans are de-
signed in a variety of styles with
wood logs being the primary build-
The Tudor exterior is diagonally
placed heavy dark beams set
against light, whitewashed plas-
ter, and a patterned stone or
brick chimney. Tudors are typi-
cally one and a half to two sto-
ries with second-floor cladding in
contrast with cladding on the first
floor. Plans may include tall, nar-
row multi-paned casement win-
dows, rounded doorways, a bay
window cantilevered over the
first floor, high ceilings under
steeply pitched roofs with gable
Introduced in the 1920-1930s, ranch
style became the dominant Ameri-
can home style in the 1950s-1960s.
Ranches are typically one story
though split-level designs with few
decorative elements except shutters
or porch-roof supports. The exterior
is faced with wood, brick, or a com-
bination. Key rooms open to the out-
doors. The classic L-shaped ram-
bling Ranch floor plan combines the
living and dining areas into one, with a short hallway or exterior gallery
that leads to the family room and
CONTEMPORARY or MODERN STYLE
homes of the 50’s, 60’s, and early
70’s broke away from conven-
tional design. Characteristics in-
clude simple, clean lines with
large windows devoid of decora-
tive trim, and flat or gabled roofs.
Contemporary exteriors are usu-
ally siding, stucco, stone, brick or
Many new homes borrow details
from historic styles and combine
them with modern features. These
designs have an Old World look
that's not specific to any one style.
Features include high steeply
pitched roofs, tall windows, and
traditional details like pediments,
keystones and shutters
CHAPTER #1 ASSIGNMENT
DOCUMENT YOUR HOUSE STYLE
After studying the various house styles, decide which style is the most like your house.
Record the style of your house.
This will determine colors, placement of color, and next steps to designing your front entry.
CHAPTER 2 - HOUSE FRONT SYMMETRY
Now let’s look at the front of the house.
There are two different designs of houses, symmetrical and asymmetrical.
Simply put, symmetrical means that if you draw a line down the middle of the front of the house, whatever is on the right side is exactly what is on the left side (Diagram 1).
The two sides match each other perfectly. The entry door is in the center or the front wall.
Asymmetrical, on the other hand, means that windows and doors are irregularly placed in the front wall of the house (Diagram 2). The door will generally be off to one side. The windows can be in any of various configurations.
CHAPTER #2 ASSIGNMENT
DOCUMENT HOUSE FRONT
SYMMETRICAL ? or ASSYMETRICAL ?
After viewing the various house front styles, decide which style is the most like your house.
Record the front style of your house.
CHAPTER 3 -
LOCATION , SURROUNDINGS AND HARDSCAPE
Just as no man is an island, no house is an island.
Every house will look it’s best when it compliments it’s surroundings, and it’s surrounding compliment it.
Simply, your house needs to be viewed as part of the whole neighborhood.
This includes the man-made and the natural environment that surrounds your house.
The following exercise will make you look closer at your house in relationship to it’s setting.
Ask yourself these questions about your house
Is your home an attached house or a single house?
Do the other houses that are beside or attached to it, have the same exterior material as yours? Are they different? A different color?
Is your house in the country or a city setting?
How much of the area outside your house is “man-made”, such as concrete, deck-ing, etc. and how much is plantings and plant materials like trees and bushes?
You have determined the architectural style of your house. Are the neighboring houses the same or different styles form yours?
Do you belong to an “association” in a development and have restrictions on changes you are permitted to make?
What are your likes and dislikes for house colors?
CHAPTER #3 ASSIGNMENTS
After answering the questions on page 14, record them below.
Next, visit your local paint store,
gather paint swatches that best match existing colors and finishes on the front of your house.
Attach the color samples to a white poster-type board so that they appear in similar size and position as the front of the house.
Now, a complete picture will begin appearing about your house.
CHAPTER 4 - ANALYZING THE DATA
This is the fun part where all the information you have collected starts to make sense.
GENERAL DESIGN GUIDELINES
The following are only guidelines. They are meant to assist you in developing a plan for your front entry. The most important thing is that you create a space that is and ex-tension of you and your family. Never allow a design rule keep you from personalizing your space. Most of all, have fun with your new entry.
Exterior house paint and finishes are best if kept in neutral paint tones. This does not mean only white or beige! Far from it. Every color has a neutral version that is muted and would work well on a house exterior. Select a color you like if painting the front of your house.
The front door should compliment the other front finishes, while making a statement. It would be impossible to review all the color options, as they are as unique as you are. Gather pictures of house fronts from magazines that appeal to you and use them for inspiration.
Work with what you have! To play down an unattractive feature, paint it a tone that is similar to the main house color. To highlight a feature, paint it a contrasting color.
Symmetrical house fronts should be decorated in a symmetrical manner. If a planter is on one side of the door, there should be an identical one on the other side. The goal is to repeat the balance of the house.
Likewise, asymmetrical house fronts allow more design freedom. The front is randomly balanced and allows more flexibility for groupings to be placed.
Groupings should consist of uneven numbers. Instead of 2 flower pots, use 3
placed together. Uneven numbers are more pleasing to the eye. After all, nature doesn’t design in even numbers.
Keep accessories to a minimum, less is always the best choice in designing a front entry. For greatest visual impact, and safety, it’s better to have one large scale piece than three small pieces.
CHAPTER 5 - THOUGHT STARTERS
All you need now is a bit of inspiration to get your creative juices flowing.
Browse the following examples of front entries, then start creating your own unique message to visitors of your home.
http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/photos/0,,1222138,00.html http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gordon_House_entry_exterior_2007-12-23_16-01-22_0105.jpeg 17
It has been my goal, in writing this book, to guide one person at a time,
to improve the appearance of their houses front entry.
I hope you have enjoyed learning the design process, as much as I have enjoyed sharing my knowledge with you.
If I have motivated just one improvement, this book has served the purpose for which it was developed.
May you and your visitors enjoy your new entry for many years to come.
I would love to hear how you used tips, contained in the book, to create your own personalized entry.
Share your before and after stories and pictures at with me at dnw@coloraide.
Helping you Introduce Color to Space