22 January 2015

Designing An Entryway in a Period Home

The entrance to every home is an opportunity to make a first impression, and, ideally an inspiring place where you pause before taking in the rest of the rooms stemming from it. For us, it’s often the space we devote the most time scheming. And for our clients, it’s usually the space they find hardest to commit. In a 1920’s Georgian home we’ve been decorating over the course of the last year, our creative minds have touched many of the rooms including the living room, the sun room, the library, dining room and master bedroom suite to great effect. And finally, we are about to make decisions about the entry way, which up to now, has remained woefully unfinished. We always start with inspiration photos of rooms we admire, and with the benefit of Pintrest and Instagram, it is easy to keep a file which we can return to when we need to. This Georgian style console, in an entry designed by Markam Roberts thrilled us, but our client had an aversion to the ball and club feet. Still, we all loved the idea of a marble top console table paired with a delicate side chair (or two), and a spectacular mirror.
MR_009This dramatic entryway has many of the same elements, with the addition of wall brackets on either side of the mirror. It’s old school, but it works, especially on this unexpected vibrant pink painted wall. The updated swirly textile on the chair adds to the feeling of whimsy and modernity even in the context of the other very refined furniture pieces.
McCabeInspiration1Here are the wall brackets again, paired with mini artwork and blue and white porcelain platters and urns. This image is from the home of Furlow Gatewood, an antiques expert and longtime associate of John Rosselli, who has just published a beautiful book, One Man’s Folly with Rizzoli.
McCabeInspiration2Our search for the perfect pairing requires patience and more leg work than you can imagine. We troll online sources like 1st dibs and others, attend auctions here in New York and elsewhere, and visit trusted dealers in New York and Connecticut to comb their inventory for the pieces with the perfect proportions, and the best value. We try to come up with as many alternatives as possible, (somehow it usually ends up being lucky three)-before we present them to our client. Here are three of the best combinations we presented for this particular entry.
McCabe BLOG copyWe show our recommendations in photographs first, then once we’ve all agreed upon our favorite pairing, we create renderings in CAD of how the pieces we favor will look in the clients rooms. These renderings are not perfect, as they have no perspective or depth, but they are accurate depictions of scale, so it can be a wonderful guide, and a tool to help one imagine how the pieces will look assembled in the real space. Below, we’re proposing having our decorative painter apply a stippling, or mottled treatment to the walls, in a soft, but cheerful robin’s egg blue. The vintage mirror is an Italian hand carved gilded wreath mirror. The table is an antique English mahogany console with very elegant, yet simple lines. The English reproduction sconces are the owners own. It’s okay to use what you have, especially if it suits the space well in proportion and style.
/Users/suzannegrua/Desktop/MCCABE/MCCABE ENTRY ELEVATION.dwgIn this rendition, the walls are covered in a pale blue and beige damask wallpaper. A bone inlay mirror, modern light fixtures, and a Karl Springer style lacquered console push the envelope for this home, which is otherwise furnished with more traditional pieces in updated colors.
/Users/arielfarmer/Documents/Drawing2.dwgAnd in this third composition, a reproduction of a Parisian paneled mirror is paired with a new two tiered console table, and updated custom sconces.
/Users/arielfarmer/Documents/Drawing2.dwgLastly, the floors. In the home of our client, the floors are currently a flat mahogany, but to bring the entire space into a new light, we worked with our decorative painter and many hours at CAD to devise a pattern and interpretation that would bring the floors to an equal level of synergy. Below, an inspirational photo from a Markham Roberts entryway, guided our vision.
entryway1In another home, we admired the combination of the multi-color wood floors, with a dark ebony stripe criss-cross pattern embellished with and floral pattern.
jan13portfolio_19The boldness of the decorative floor pattern in this interior, with alternating white boxes, was another launching point.
Here are the patterns we developed in CAD for the floors. They are the actual dimensions of the entry of our client. It’s an exercise in geometry figuring this out!
MCCABE FOYER FL BLOGWe’re meeting with our client today to come to final decisions on all. Just thought it would be fun to share with you what our design process is like. It’s an adventure every day. Follow us on Instagram to see how this entry progresses!

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Great post! I agree that the entrance to a home can make a huge impact on people's perspectives of the rest of the house. Your pictures show great examples to follow!
LOVE seeing a behind the scenes peek at your process. I've never seen a post where someone shows the incredible amount of legwork that goes into every step of the design process. Thank you for bringing that to light! So much more interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes rather than just the pretty finished product.
I love them all! These spaces look great! Thanks for sharing! The Office Stylist www.theofficestylist.com
I loved this article and the different mix and matching in this home. When redecorating an area I think it's important to mix and match new furniture along with reusing some furniture within the home. Lovely Georgian console!
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