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Foyer Consideration: How to Make an Opening Statement in Your Entryway

From cozy to grand, your entryway is your home’s opening statement.

By John Roark

No matter the size, your foyer should set the design tone, feeling and mood that you want to express for your entire home, interior designer James McIntyre explains. “Your guests should get a sense and feeling of what the home is going to be like the moment they arrive.”

Color and texture palettes, architectural detail, lighting and the furnishings’ stories should all begin the moment a guest enters. “The entry also acts as a place for a momentary pause, a spot to absorb the mood and to appreciate what’s about to come,” McIntyre continues.

Below, top Valley architects and interior designers share their favorite openers.

Photography by Eric Hausman


Interior designer: Julia Buckingham
Imagine your surprise upon entering a home, and the foyer is a tad bit unexpected. “This is what makes an entrance grand for me: elegantly colorful, unique and conversation-starting,” says Buckingham of this design/build project. “When we design a large entryway that opens up to multiple rooms, we are laser-
focused on making the home feel holistic in its mood and feel. The entry as a reception area must feel welcoming, bright and light with some neutral, classic-yet-whimsical elements.

“We were not able to change out the limestone flooring, because it had already been installed upon purchase by our clients, Buckingham continues. “This material became the inspiration for how to not settle with the idea that all homes must look alike. Case in point: No one ever comments on the floor—just on all of the wonderfully unique pieces that surround it.”

Kuda Photography


Architect: Jon Bernhard, AIA
“A successfully designed foyer provides an intuitive arrival experience and an opportunity to set up a procession into adjacent functional areas,” observes Bernhard, whose client craved a calming, Zen-like space marrying nature with light, materials, and resortlike qualities. “The integration of a mature tree as a major interior design feature is not something I had done before or considered doing—before or since designing this home. However, the tree became a central ingredient for creating the experience that the client was looking for.”

Laura Moss Photography


Interior designer: Amy Klosterman
“I like to think of a foyer as a place to pause and welcome guests, and also a place to hug them goodbye,” Klosterman says. “It’s a special place for a brief human connection, and it’s also an introduction to the home, a summary of its story.”

This client entertains frequently, so this was an important space for those “connection” moments, the interior designer says. “It needed to be spacious, but also feel warm and welcoming.” The elements within the room are textural and natural, with a clean, traditional style. The beamed brick ceiling and custom brass-inlaid walnut parquet wood floors are show-stoppers. Sculptural pots and custom art glass windows are additional details that transcend trends.

Gary Campbell


Interior designer: James McIntyre
With a core influence of art deco style, this entryway features black, white and gray tones found in furniture, finishes and art—not only in the foyer, but throughout the home. “The arrival experience is unapologetically bold,” McIntyre says. “It is both inviting and showy and entices the visitor to explore what is to come just around the corner.”

Modern deco-influenced pieces blend in with the palette and dramatize the room. The architectural geometry of the home is seen not only in the clerestory windows and high volume of this area, but also in the inlaid pattern of stone in the stylish and practical flooring. The gray tones of the floor are both soil-hiding and impactful, and the central gold-leaf lighting fixture acts as a bold arrival statement. “There’s no question on the style of home you’re about to enter,” the designer observes.

Key Elements For A Successful Foyer | By James McIntyre

  • A landing spot, such as a console, credenza or small wall shelf, functions as a drop spot for keys or handbags and can double as a place to display flowers, decorative objects or a textural arrangement.
  • Impactful and practical flooring. Making a statement with the floor is great as long as there is no worry it will be damaged or soiled. “Don’t step here” is the wrong opening statement.
  • Artwork can always create drama.
  • A seat, such as an accent chair or bench, that is chosen to express the tone for the home and as a place to sit for those who need a spot to do so.
  • Controllable, artful lighting from a few sources: lamplight, down-light from ceiling or up-light from the floor. If there’s height and space to work with, a dramatic light fixture can be beautiful.
Phil Crozier


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