People should have some sort of transition when entering their homes. An exterior door that opens abruptly into a living space, with no accommodation for incoming “stuff” that we carry in and out, is simply – inadequate. And in areas where there is snow and cold weather, the incoming door should have places for coats, boots and shoes.
This brick bungalow in the Midwest had very an extremely small front vestibule (A) that offered no space to greet visitors or even to move bodies to access the tiny coat closet. The fact that the front door is vestibuled is good because it potentially can keep out some cold air when the door is opened.
The exterior door most used is the one on the side (B), just off the driveway. This also is less than ideal for many reasons: 1.) people have a view of the basement stairs (C) which is not usually attractive 2.) one must negotiate steps immediately upon entering the house 3.) all traffic passes through the kitchen, which can disrupt activities in the kitchen 4.) incoming “stuff” usually gets dumped on the kitchen counters and the floor, creating more chaos 5.) the kitchen (D) is small and is usually reduced to being just a hallway.
The dining room (E) is also a pass-through room but is usually dormant and not used so passing through is not a big issue.
The living room (F) is large and is the room most used in the house.
There is a sunroom (G) right off the dining room. This should be an asset because it has windows all around with great views of their expansive backyard but somehow it became the “junk room”, a place for furniture and stuff not used. You could live in this house and not even recognize there is a room there.
The remainder of the house is two small bedrooms (H & I) and a full bath (J). the finished half story (K) has one large room.
I determined that the kitchen (D) needed to be moved and that space should be used as a family entry (L). I saw the side door (B) as a liability, but it stayed put to access the basement in one straight shot. A door was added (M) to close off the view of the basement stair. A new exterior door (N) is now the main backdoor that people use when coming in from the garage (O) or the driveway. This new family entry has everything…a “to go” counter and cabinet for items coming or going, a bench, a shoe tower, a coat closet and even a pantry (P) for the new kitchen (Q). We built a small deck (R) that ties to the backdoor (N) and has French doors from the kitchen for direct from the garage or for serving food outdoors.
The kitchen (Q) is a simple L shape with expansive counters. The corner sink gives views in two directions of the backyard. The island is perfect as a prep space, eat-on feature, and even as a staging spot for grilling out or buffet surface. The kitchen brings lots of light into the house, however, occasionally it would be nice to close it off because of cooking smells/noises or private conversations. We added white glass barn type doors for that purpose.
The dining room (E) got larger by eliminating the china cabinet. Some people like them but they are no longer a ‘must’ to display fine china and crystal.
MARCIA LYON is a professional remodeling designer and freelance writer, producing projects locally and several other areas across the US and Canada. Like Creating Spaces on Facebook! Reach Marcia at firstname.lastname@example.org; or phone 515-991-1300. Her website is http://www.creatingspacesdesign.com