Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Entering Our Personal Sanctuary - bring back the Vestibule

Many of us on the west coast of the United States live in modest houses built after WWll.  Mostly designed by developers with their draftsmen to execute the drawings necessary to construct, little or no attention to the elemental principles of good house design were attended to.  These houses were driven by the demand of the post war boom in providing quantity at the expense of quality. They vary in square footage , but are basically the same - cookie cutter houses - 2 to 3 bedrooms with 1 & 1/2 bathrooms.

Typically they are very simple, moderately decorated boxes with little - if any relationship with their natural environment in which they were set. Almost all of these houses did not take into account the primary human need of transitioning  into and then entering a home. These houses were affordable at the time and now relatively expensive to purchase requiring varying degrees of  modifications depending upon your needs and desires as you have experienced.

Besides the lack of insulation, inefficient windows, small kitchens and outdated bathrooms that we are quick to fix and remodel - there is the first moment of engagement we tend to ignore - the place of arrival and transition - the entrance into our personal sanctuary.  

There are minimal roof coverings at the entry - typically just at the front door landing and no internal vestibule or space to welcome us home. There is little, if any accommodation of making the necessary transition from the hectic external world into the refuge of our private realm. We abruptly enter right smack into the middle of the living space without any time or space to make the needed transition to shed our external skins. There is no place to put our bags down, dry the dog, hang our coats or maybe take our shoes off to put on our slippers - let alone welcome a guest in. If we're lucky we have just enough space for a coat rack.

Whether we live in an apartment or house we need this essential transitional space both physically and spiritually.  In an apartment we're not allowed to build anything permanent, so the use screens and furniture can do a lot. If you own your home you can do so much more depending on your budget. A modest investment to remedy this condition will transform your daily experience,  add privacy and increase your home's street appeal. There is value to be added right at the front door. Consider starting at the beginning and then moving your way through as you make the necessary adjustments and updates to your home. You as well as your neighborhood will benefit by this investment.

Here are a few ideas:
Front door placed perpendicular to street
Roof covering to shelter 2 to 3 people min.
Interior vestibule to accommodate a bench, shelves, coats, etc.
Additional windows to allow light in

Your living room will now feel more spacious and restful. The front door no longer staring you in the face as a reminder of the world you left behind.