From the Architect's Desk
Transition spaces – porches, vestibules, foyers, mudrooms and hallways –are the design links that make the difference between a home that’s spacious and gracious or awkward and tight.
They allow for graceful movement from out to in, or from public to private spaces. These rooms may not have a specific purpose, but they play an important role in creating a better living environment. Yet they’re often left out of the design conversation.
I like to think about transitional spaces and give them purpose. Take, for example, an entry porch or portico. Isn’t it better when there is space to greet visitors, when it is covered so there’s a place to stand out of the rain as you enter? Similarly, an entry foyer can be just a pedestrian traffic area or it can expand into vistas encompassing both living spaces and the outdoors. Perhaps the front foyer is even a place for the holiday tree or seasonal decorations.
The most overlooked transition space is one of the most essential: the mudroom. Too often this space becomes a dumping ground for boots and backpacks when it can be a spacious rear foyer for family comings and goings. For many families, the mudroom is the main entrance to the house – doesn’t it deserve to be as beautiful as it is practical?
Transition spaces exist upstairs, too, linking semi-public family spaces to the private domains of bedrooms and baths. I love to turn an upper hallway into an open room with a space that is big enough for reading, studying or even playing the piano. Programmatically, transition spaces might seem insignificant, but they make all the difference to how one lives in a home.