Freshening the welcoming areas

happyintexasSeptember 23, 2008

I'm on a mission to have a cleaner, emptier, prettier house by the holidays. I lurk here more than I post. I'm a regular on the Cottage Garden forums.

This week's goal is to declutter, clean, and freshen the welcoming areas...the entry way, both porches, and the pesky entrance from the garage to the kitchen.

Hopefully a good first impression will make me feel more at home in my own house.'s the condition of your porches, doorways, and entry ways?

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Well, I just added to my foyer entrance and it is almost the way I want it. It does feel more welcoming. The porch is small however I do need to sweep.

Good luck

    Bookmark   September 23, 2008 at 5:18PM
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Good idea! My back breezeway/entry is a mess right now, and tackling that would make a nice difference in a short period of time.

I just decorated the front porch for fall after a good sweep-out of summer cobwebs and debris. It does make a good impression and is very nice to come home to.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2008 at 10:52AM
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Well, hubby just swept last weekend, and we replaced the welcome mat for Halloween. The paper person must have liked it, he arranged the two sections of the Sunday paper very neatly in a cross pattern to match the bones on our "Jolly Roger" mat. :-)

Unfortunately, my "basket" that hangs out there is still done up with summer decor, and I haven't changed it out because I didn't want to rush the neighbors with Halloween too early. And of course the petunias are still blooming, but they won't be for long since it froze here last night.

So our entry is in "flux" right now...but definately due for a makeover soon!

    Bookmark   September 24, 2008 at 11:16AM
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I try to keep twop things always neat: my car, can't stand wrappers and clutter. And my front door entryway-no wet boots or scarves allowed!

    Bookmark   September 24, 2008 at 6:16PM
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I agree. An appealing entrance makes it pleasant to come home, and serves as a psychological transition between the outside world and our sanctuary. Plus, just as clutter seems to attract more clutter, it seems to me that a nice uncluttered entrance stacks the deck in favor of keeping the rest of the house that way.

Which is why I am surprised that so many people use those "pesky garage entrances" for everyone and everything even when the front door is closer. IMHO it's worth extra steps to use a nicer entrance.

We use our front door almost exclusively. We enclosed an existing porch, making it into a tile-floored foyer with plenty of closet space for coats and other stuff. It is usually clutter-free mostly because it has little furniture, and gets its visual impact from the tile floor and the artwork on the walls. It's always nice to come home to, and gives us a space to put away outerwear, change out of wet or dirty shoes, dispose of the junk mail, etc., without bringing that mess into the rest of the house.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2008 at 7:28PM
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I cleaned the windows in the front when I was putting up blinds last week but do have to go out and clean the entry way again. I never use the door and I have to make a habit of it as it has been windy here the last week and I get all kinds dirt.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2008 at 9:14PM
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At our house, all you can see from the driveway is our garage! The previous home owners never bothered to do anything about a walkway to the front door. So we don't have one -- just a mowed lawn. Hubby is willing to spend the money to have a walkway installed -- in the spring.

So we have this garage entrance that everybody seems to prefer, even when we have junk cluttering the inside of the garage. We are in the middle of fixing up the mud room, and they'd rather walk through all the paint cans, etc. than go around to the front!

Why is that?

We have decided to keep that garage door locked from now on, hoping they'll take the hint. But my neighbor came over a few days ago, and stood at the door and KNOCKED, and only came to the front door because I didn't hear her.

Why is that?

Should we just REMOVE that door? But I am sure that there must be some safety rule that requires a human-sized door in addition to the big door for cars. We can't just move the door to another wall of the garage. The gas line runs along the wall that would be the logical place for the hidden version of the door. It was expensive to move the gas meter and install the gas line. (The gas meter had been in a really stupid, ugly place -- right next to the walkout door where there is no patio -- only dirt! This house needs a lot of work.)

I know it's hard to give advice without photos. Would anyone like me to start a new thread and post photos? Is anyone willing to try to help me figure this out?

    Bookmark   September 25, 2008 at 9:08AM
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Maryliz, put a sign on the door to go to the front door. After a while it will sink in.

My brother always has his garage door open and he wants people to go through that door. I always knock on it and he always says to just come in. I don't feel right about that even though he is in a gated community and gets the call that I am there. I always go to the front door unless I am told differently.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2008 at 9:39PM
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It's funny the way some people fixate on the garage as an entrance, even with a paved walkway to the front door. And even when the garage is not attached to the house!

Our garage and house are clearly separate buildings. While our original front door was not visible from the driveway, there is a wide paved walkway leading from the driveway to the front of the house, plus a second walkway with steps leading up from the street. It's all of about 30 feet from the garage to the front door. To get to our house you have to pass other houses of the same design, and you can even see the driveway and front door of one of them from our driveway. And yet some people still couldn't find our front door. When we remodeled the porch/entry, we moved the front door so that it is visible from the driveway.

I think a directional sign or two would be a good idea.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2008 at 6:52PM
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How funny! People are so used to using the "servant's entrance" that they look for it even at other peoples' houses. Americans love to be casual, but I think that is taking it too far. (And I am a dyed in the wool American.)

For my own home, I plan on a "welcome" sign, as part of an arched trellis over the future walkway.

But sometimes, I wish I could make a sign that reads, "Yo! Hey, you! Yeah, you! The front door is THIS WAY!"



    Bookmark   September 27, 2008 at 6:26PM
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There you go. That will work.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2008 at 8:34PM
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The kids and I decided to neaten our house before Dad got home from an upsetting day (his friend had died, and he'd gone to help the man's wife).

I wanted our home to be more welcoming.

We concentrated on the foyer and the area just inside it.

It's amazing how much nicer the whole place feels from that effort.

MaryLiz, I think once you get that walkway, and once you spend a little effort landscaping, lighting, etc., that door, you might be people to pay more attention to the door. Be sure it's painted an attention-getting color, and put some flowers in pots outside it, etc. That might help a lot.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2008 at 9:50PM
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I love all the responses. My week went well. Both porches are tidied and the windows washed overlooking the same. (Sparkling windows make me happy.) I repainted the door from the garage into the house. That looks soooooooo much better.

My big sticking point was a coat rack just inside that garage entrance. In addition to winter work jackets, we hang animal gear on it--leashes and stuff. On the middle hook was my mare's bridle. Sigh. She died three years ago and I couldn't bear to move the bridle. Partly because I didn't know what to do with it. Finally, this week, I decided to put it in a nice shadow box with some other memorabilia. Now it's waiting in my back closet until I have the dollars for the frame. (So, two steps forward, one step back.)

Anyway, the entrances and exits look much nicer and more welcoming.

Thanks for your support!

    Bookmark   September 28, 2008 at 5:29PM
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I love how this forum always manages to inspire me! I think starting with organizing, decluttering and freshening up with your entrances is a great way get inspired for other rooms . . . not to mention giving you an instant pick-me-up everytime you enter or leave your home.
DS just called me this afternoon to ask if he can bring a few friends home from grad school (8 hours away) to introduce them to our annual Albuquerque International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta and I need to get moving on my Fall cleaning quickly! I'm going to try the same thing to get me going with it.

BTW, talking about people using the wrong entrances, we had that problem for years. We have a large, wide and (we think) very prominent flagstone walkway from the guest parking area to our front door, which isn't visible from the road or the parking area, unfortunately. Way off to the far side of the house, far away from the guest parking area is a long, narrow dirt path that leads to the back of the house, where our bedrooms, family room and kitchen are located. I can't count the number of times I've looked up to find salesmen, delivery people or repair folk at my bedroom or family room doors! Once, when I was 6 months pregnant with DD, I walked into my bedroom from taking a shower, naked, and there was a salesman knocking at my patio doors! Needless to say, he ran off to a screaming tirade from me! It was the hormones ;^P
For a while I took to dressing in my miniscule toilet closet, as it's one of the only rooms in my house without a window. Finally, in desperation, we had the sign below made. We posted it for all to see before they even set one foot on that side dirt path. It's about 2-feet tall and (I think), hard to miss, although a few OTL people still manage to miss it. It is working, though. (LOL!)

    Bookmark   September 29, 2008 at 8:04PM
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My husband got a chuckle from your sign. Thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2008 at 9:31PM
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Great sign!

    Bookmark   September 30, 2008 at 12:44PM
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