cramped entryway

newebbie001June 18, 2013

I'm gutting and remodeling a small, dark apartment with 8' ceilings. The original layout has oddly-sized closets, a coat closet far from the door, wasted open space in the very dark back, a cramped eat-in kitchen, and a claustrophobic entryway with a short wall facing you 3'2" from your nose when you enter. I'm trying to address all these issues and adding a bathroom, so I will have to make do with smaller guest room and study.

I'm stumped by the entryway.

1. I could add a coat closet there, so you enter to a closet, not a blank wall, which I believe would be (slightly) less offputting. What sort of doors should the closet have to soften the impact of the very close quarters?
2. I could move the wall back 1 foot, losing the valuable new coat closet. I'd make this wall 3' high solid, topped by white lattice to give an illusion of space but still allow some privacy in the kitchen.
3. I could do as #2 above, but instead make the top of the wall transluscent glass.
4. I could do as #2 above, but instead make the solid wall 6' high and have the last 2' open to the kitchen, so the entry area at least is a little airier and gets some light from the kitchen.

Anyone has any better ideas? Or at least any opinion as to which of which of the above would work best?

The original floor plan is below.

Thank you, all, for your help!

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Here's the floor plan with the added coat closet.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 2:47PM
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Here's the floor plan with the entryway wall pushed back a foot.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 2:49PM
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I like the entry push back plan. It gives the entry it's own space rather than just another door in the hall.

Do you need an eat in kitchen, or could you rearrange it so it's open more so you have a workable kitchen and one dining space? I know it's tough to do much in an apartment if you have support walls for the units above.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 7:33PM
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Thanks, Marti8a, for your quick response.

I do need the eat-in kitchen, as this apartment is for an elderly couple (my parents), and it's much more comfortable for them to not have to walk to the dining room. Unfortunately, for the same reason, I'd love for them to have a coat closet right by the front door. That's why I'm trying to get a feel for whether most people would rather gain the closet or rather gain the roomier entry. Obviously, you'd vote for the latter :-)

If I'm pushing the wall back a foot, anything else you think might work to make the area feel bigger than it is? Paint color, lattice wall, transluscent glass, open on top, etc.?

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 7:44PM
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what do your parents want - closet vs table /seating space in the kitchen?

Is this in a state with weather requiring a lot of coats etc?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 8:39PM
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Is there anyway to just reverse the swing of the front door to swing into the hallway?
This would allow anyone entering to basically step into the main living area.
Also, for me, I would switch the "guest" room with the study and frame a door between the linen closet and the door into the current study. This would provide an owners "suite" with a private bathroom-all separate from the more public areas.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 5:23PM
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Thanks, seaandsand. Lovely idea about the guest room & study. It never had occurred to me. Unfortunately, I ran it by my parents and they nixed it because they want to be able to put an additional guest in the study in a pinch, and they specifically have reasons they do not want an en-suite bathroom. We also thought about either moving the door to open towards the living room rather than towards the kitchen, but hate the idea of having snowy feet automatically moving towards the (carpeted) living room. We also thought about it swinging outward, but that can't work because it's too close to the next apartment's door.

Thanks, desertsteph. They want eating space in the kitchen for at least 3 people, and -- as they live in a state with long winters, they prefer to have a coat closet at the door. (And extra storage space never hurts!) I think the compromise solution will be as per Version 2013-06-24A below, with 4 to 6 pretty coat hooks at the left of the entryway. Not great for formal guests, but fine when friends or grandkids stop by. I'd want the hooks on the left so 1) They are not visible from the formal living room. 2) They are not "in your face" when you walk in. 3) It allows for a little more wall space in the living room.

Do you think this entryway will be more comfortable, or must I remove the short wall (the one that has the coat hooks) on the left?

I'd love to hear your takes on this idea.

Again, I appreciate you both generously taking the time to help!

Here is a link that might be useful: Version 2013-06-24A

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 1:29AM
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I like closets without doors. it can have a coatrack and some built ins shoe storage. how about shuttered doors? they give a more open feel. a bistro table instead of a larger table?

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 7:05PM
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Thanks, angiepangie.

I prefer closed closets because they are better than hooks or racks for hanging heavy wool coats which easily lose their shape, but pretty hooks or a rack will have to be the way to go. I'll go with a standard-height larger table because my Mom is short and therefore often likes to work at the kitchen table rather than at the counters.

Your suggestion of shuttered doors indicates that you have a good feel for what will make a small space feel more open, so I'd love to hear what you think of this:

The wall I've marked in red in the diagram linked below is questionable. I'd prefer to have it, IF it's not a problem.

Pros: 1. Because the door opens towards the kitchen and you cannot get into the living room without partially closing the door behind you, the layout leads deliverymen and grandkids towards the kitchen (which is what we want) rather than towards the living room. When greeting formal guests, you'd welcome them in, close the door, and then walk to the living room. 2. It provides more much-needed wall space in the living room. 3. It "hides" the coats from the living room.

Possible con: Because you can't get into the living room without first partially closing the door behind you, I wonder whether this entryway would feel like walking into a box for formal living-room guests? Or is 5'6" deep by 4'3" wide a big enough area, even with the wall there?

Can I leave the wall, or is it a problem? If I remove it, I would add one shuttered door across the entire 5'6" opening to the living room. The shutter would fold towards the right-side wall behind the door and would be pushed open only when having living room guests. When it's closed, visitors still would land in the kitchen. Of course, I'd lose the wall space and the "screen" for the coats.

I appreciate for your input.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wall highlighted in red

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 11:17AM
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To be honest with you I would loose the wall in red, and I would also loose the wall it attatches to, the one left of it, the one that the table backs onto. Also, I would make the wall that the door opens up to, half height. So when you walk in the front door, you see right into the kitchen. This will also be a good place to put a small shoe resting area and possibly a coat tree for the most often worn coats. I think this will give to entire place better flow, open it up, and make it better all around.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 1:11PM
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My apartment has a very similar entryway. You open the door and you are at the end of a hallway, facing half wall and half the door into one of the bedrooms (which I use as a study). The hallway is 3'6" wide.

It's a little cramped, but not so that anyone has commented on it. One of the reasons is that the front door swings completely open--so that it rests on the wall. This allows people to enter and easily move in either direction. Is there any way to re-hang the entry door to allow this? Different hinges, perhaps? Then your parents could open the door all the way for guests that are headed to the living room, and only open it part-way for guests that are headed for the kitchen.

If this were my apartment, I'd opt for a closet with doors, because I prefer closed storage.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 10:59AM
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Thanks, camlan.

The door can open flat, and I think we will change to an offset hinge to accomplish that.

Also, I agree... I dislike coat hooks, especially for heavy winter outerwear. I've decided, however, to stick with only the back-hallway coat closet (for now) because the apartment has more than enough storage for an elderly couple (more, in fact, than they have today), and the entry will be more inviting without the front closet. Next time we repaint, in a few years, we can revisit whether to add the closet then.

Thanks for taking the time to give me some feedback. theGardenWeb community is great!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 6:45PM
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I wonder how you get furniture into that home. Does that porch entrance work for that, or is it a second storey porch? It has got to be a PITA to get things in there. The extra room will help.

I agree that the wall in red should go. With it gone, your parents can welcome a guest in a wheelchair or walker (if the rest of the entrance is accessible) that needs the extra room to turn after entering the door. I know that you then need to use the back wall for your coat hooks, but that can be okay. Here is a search I did at the Houzz site. 1200 foyers and hangers to look at! You can make it look good. Be creative.

And look at this one, a place for wallet, keys, cell phone, or gloves inside the "bowl" and then you hang your coat around the large diameter "bowl" and it does not deform your coat!

I will link you below to the list of 498 products they show that you can buy that are creative coat hangers that I got that last one from. Go way to the bottom of the page to turn the page. Sorry I cannot make those links above click-able. My HTML notes have misplaced themselves.

One idea I like is to go to your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore or local junk or thrift shops and get a few old doorknobs. For a classic look, get black metal ones, or the clear glass ones. If your mom prefers, there are pastel glass ones, too. You can also buy them new. Mount them on a board, then mount the board at a good height. Again, the doorknobs are less likely to deform the coats. We all know how good doorknobs work as clothes hangers!

Here is a link that might be useful: Products for foyer hooks

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 8:31PM
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Thank you so much, Nancy! You've given me lots to work with. I see a few coat hooks and racks that interest me on that site, more than anything I've seen in stores.

BTW, furniture always got into the living room through the front porch, which is not much above ground level.

I appreciate all the input I've been getting from you all.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 3:04PM
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'My HTML notes have misplaced themselves. '

I love that! Will have to use it myself.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 8:07PM
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