Making a Grand Entrance
Because you only get one chance to make a first impression
Wreaths, roping, and consoles decorated with candles, evergreens, and shining ornaments: Our homes’ main entries, passageways, and staircases get the star treatment during the holiday season. But what sort of first impression are these much-used—yet frequently underappreciated—interior spaces making during the remainder of the year?
If your halls have become nothing more than dumping grounds for umbrellas, keys, messenger bags, strollers, and miscellaneous clutter, you’re missing an opportunity to make your best impression on everyone who travels through your home.
The character, quality, and style revealed in these “best foot forward” spaces speak volumes about what to expect on elsewhere in your home.
14 Ways to Make a Grand Entrance
Set the Mood
For the Kips Bay Decorator Show House this year, our colleagues at Best & Company worked with designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard to conjure a sense of welcome in the architecturally grand hallway of the historic Villard Houses. Bullard’s bold use of color, pattern, and orange-silk upholstery—combined with the classic black-and-white checkerboard floor—reflected the glamour and fun to be found throughout the show house.
In Small Spaces, Keep It Simple
Custom furniture and built-ins, designed to your specifications, can make the most of every inch.
Smoke and Mirrors
Designer John Douglas Eason brought luxury and life to the grand staircase of this historic staircase with silver and gold metallic and a custom wall of smoked-mirrored-glass panels that both brighten and expand the space.
Never Underestimate Good Lighting
Whether simple or dramatic, lighting that is scaled to the space is essential to creating a well-defined—and safe—passageway. John Douglas Eason used a dramatic Ingo Maurer chandelier in his Kips Bay staircase to spectacular effect.
Making the Most of Wasted Space
A built-in bar in the passageway between the dining/living space and kitchen? Yes, please.
Choose Pale Colors
Designer Alexander Doherty and the team from Neue Atelier created a cool, contemporary interior in a classic Upper East Side prewar with an ephemeral color scheme of whites and pale grays. The bleached oak floors reflect all available light.
Illuminate the Runway
Let’s face it, the low-ceilinged hallways of New York’s classic prewar apartments can exude all the charm of the Holland Tunnel. Making overhead lighting part of your overall design plan—not an afterthought—can make a dramatic difference in the mood of your home’s interior passageways.
Whether you line the walls with antique prints, vintage photographs, or a single contemporary painting, your entry halls and staircases are places where art is guaranteed to be seen and enjoyed every day.
Secretary to Eliminate Clutter
Stacks of mail, magazines, and newspapers are inevitable in our busy lives…but they are not the first thing we want our guests to see when they walk in the door. Foster a sense of calm by keeping papers sorted, organized, and tucked away.
Small Space, Smart Splurge
Katherine Whitcomb custom-designed the hand-painted and –gilded Gracie wallpaper that Design Development hung in the entry hall of her Upper East Side pied-a-terre, which she illuminated with an antique chandelier and custom Nanz hardware. Little touches turn the small space into a jewel box.
Capture Some Star Appeal
A high-contrast palette, tone-on-tone wallpaper, and starburst mirror inject some well-disciplined drama and comfort into the halls of an Upper West Side prewar.
Love Color? Share It
If you don’t want to go with bold walls in the entry (though dramatic color can be an inspired choice, here), consider a single piece of custom-lacquered furniture. This piece, inspired by a vintage chest by T. H. Robsjohn-Gibbings and crafted by the artisans at Bespoke Millwork functions as both organizer and focal point.
How About a Bench by the Back Door?
If you have a sliver of square footage, it’s a great place to rest the groceries, or pull on your rain boots before you head out the door with Fido. A custom built-in can have the added advantage of stowing sports gear.
If You Do Just One Thing…
...resolve to make quality millwork a priority. Nothing says “welcome” more beautifully than well-crafted and finished doors, fitted with fine hardware.