Mountain House & Home: Amazing entryways
When guests enter the Mount-Dustrial home outside of Telluride, they are at once absorbed in a fusion of natural features and industrial materials that reflects the owners personal history.Architect Gerald Ross, who has crafted homes from Breckenridge and Telluride, created a T-shaped entryway that maximizes views of nearby Mount Emma, while simultaneously showcasing the homes stunning interior design.Entryways like this one are indicative of a greater level of attention being paid lately to what people see first when they enter a home. It can set the stage, architects and designers say, for how the entire home is experienced. It also offers a great way for owners to put their personal mark on a home right off the bat.In the case of the Telluride home, the owners father worked in a furniture warehouse, an industrial space with big wooden columns and metal collars. Ross employed those materials in the entryway so it would resonate with the owners childhood.Drawing on the clients personal experience was a way to find new materials in a market thats moving away from a tradition of modern cabins.Most people came here to live in the mountains, but weve kind of passed that log cabin feel, he says.Although the entryway wasnt the first thing on the owners mind when he asked Ross to draw plans for the mountain retreat, he loves Ross creation for its explosion of views and the outside-in design, which employs ample amounts of another modern material: glass.The large windows on the entrys sidewalls create a seamless blend between the outdoor walkway and the interior foyer, which overlooks a waterfall that welcomes visitors as they approach the house.Similarly, Summit County architect Tom Connolly had a client who wanted to expose something personal in the entryway: his wine cellar. So Connolly created a glass floor that peers down upon the wines. In the ceiling, he used a skylight to direct a column of light through the entry floor into the wine cellar.
Working with a homeowners personal flair is one way to add character to an entryway, but sometimes its the lot that dictates the design.Connolly is currently working on a house on a steep lot in Breckenridge in which the entryway is the only room on the top floor. The stone and timber design must capture the visitors eye, as there is no view directly beyond. Its a space that has to stand there and be itself, because it doesnt have the views, he says. There has to be enough intrigue and interest, and you can do that with materials and shapes and light.The garage and front door take visitors into a foyer with a glass elevator and a timber-framed staircase to lead them to the house below. A shaft above, inspired by the mining history of Breckenridge, is ringed with windows that add another area of visual interest and allow light in.Visitors can also cast their eyes downward, as the foyer overlooks the living room. Looking through the timber trusses, Connolly says, gives the feel of sitting in the rafters.
Pam Hinz installs glass artwork across the Western Slope, using different kinds of colored glass to brighten entryways with artistic flair.Hinzs glasswork is often designed to let in light without giving passers-by a window to the owners private world. Many clients ask her to replace the panels of heavy wood doors with stained or smoked glass, allowing more sunlight to stream in while maintaining a private view.Etched entryways also offer light with design, but Hinz says she has the most versatility with overlays. Similar to stained glass, she says, an overlay gives you more artistic design, because it doesnt have to totally support itself structurally.Overlays allow Hinz to create more geometric shapes, like arcs and curves, to craft different scenes.She created two skiers going down a mountain for the entrance to a mudroom in Breckenridge, brightening the entryway without exposing its contents.Hinz has also used digital photos to create laser etchings for windows, offering a level of detail she says is difficult to achieve with some other methods.
Aspen-based architect Charles Cunniffe, who has designed homes around the world, says different locations dictate different functions for the entryway. Private settings away from town allow for a pure glass picture frame through the house to beyond, but city homes often require more privacy and security.That doesnt mean outsiders cant see into the entryway. In one Aspen home, Cunniffe used the decorative fireplace to block the view from a glass entryway to the rest of the house while still engaging the visitors sight. Views are exposed only beyond the fireplace.The view is sort of kept a surprise, he said.Regardless of function, all the designers agree the entryway should be intriguing.Its the face of the house to the public from the street, Cunniffe says, adding its a great place to add a personal touch.Whether through materials or by design, a well-designed entryway can reflects who you are while setting the tone for the entire experience into the home.