Fabulous New England Style Foyers
What Your Foyer Says About You And Why It Matters
As we navigate our hectic lives, many of us don't think much about our foyers. It's that in-between space where we spend very little time, other than dashing through the door on the way in or out of our home, but just like that first chance impression when you meet someone new, our foyers also offer the opportunity to share a little of who we are and welcome our guests.
Did you know the word foyer actually hails from France? In France, the word for hearth or firebox is foyer and became associated with the welcoming space by which an audience would warm themselves, by the firebox, while at the theater. During cooler weather, the foyer was the warm and welcoming space used right before the curtain went up, during intermission, and to prepare for the walk outside, just as our foyers are used today to warm and welcome those who enter or leave our homes.
So while you may see it as the place to throw your hat, foyers actually set the tone of the entire house. It hints at the journey ahead, the fantasies, thoughts, desires, relationships, likes, and interests of the inhabitants who live within the home. It doesn't matter if your style is classic or contemporary.
The foyer is the entry to a journey of life.
As the saying goes, “first impressions count,” and this is the first impression your visitor will register about you, your home, and the life you live. So what do you want to say? Where do you start?
As with all design, start with the flooring. It should be durable above all else as it gets the most wear. Stone is ideal, but dark stained or painted hardwood flooring works as well. If the more formal classic harlequin marble floors speak to you, but the cost is prohibitive, consider faux painting the wood floors to get the feel without the formality.
Next, the walls. Again, it’s a sneak peek of what is to unfold so incorporate the colors you have applied from the color palette you’ve chosen. Also, keep your exterior architecture in mind. If the house is a classic New England colonial, this would not be the time to do a black Art Deco foyer with hanging disco ball. People will think they have entered the wrong theatre!
Lighting is also essential in the foyer and should speak to your style preferences. Louis XV or Frank Lloyd Wright? It's amazing how something so relatively small in scale, to the overall space, speaks volumes when we add that special iconic bibelot with light. Fascinating how the eye registers in seconds what would take hours to explain.
Once the backdrop is in place the fun begins with the foyer “necessaries”. A decorative chair for a waiting delivery either coming or going. A table to leave one’s keys and provide a writing surface to jot down a note or sign for a parcel. An umbrella stand may seem decorative, but is de rigueur for any respectable foyer. What you add beyond the “necessaries” adds visual layers to your style. Vases, flower choices, pictures, stacked books, statuettes, mirrors.
The stage is set. Let the show begin!
By Lesley Potter & Linda Smith Davis for New England Fine Living's Luxury Lifestyle Print Publication in 2015