The “before” of this midcentury modern house made guests want to turn right around. Rather than greeting visitors, the driveway and parking area that were jammed up right to the front door felt like a dead end. When visitors can bulldoze their way right to the front door without pause, it not only isn’t a pleasing welcome but it misses a big opportunity.
I almost always, when possible, create a two-point entryway for my clients or an outer gate to pass through before reaching the front door. Doing that directs the flow of energy through a space and it makes people SLOW THEIR ROLL before barging right into my client’s personal space. You get a much different energy flow going with a two-point entry.
By slowing down the reveal, one’s personal space is preserved as the private area it is. It’s not only that uninvited visitors are prevented from having ready access to your indoor space, but it injects a little mystery by making people curious to see what’s on the other side of that wall, around that corner, behind that gate or tree.
What’s Behind the Wall
When working with landscape design clients, we like to get to know them beyond favorite colors or furniture styles. How do they take out the trash? What do they do in their free time? Are they readers or do they binge-watch Real Housewives and Big Little Lies? Do they entertain, and if they do, is it cocktails and everyone home by nine or all-night throwdowns? Entertainment from built in sound system or a live band?
How about their neighbors? Do they want to look at them or pretend they’re not there?
With this mid-century gem in the Southwest, we reclaimed the front yard for a courtyard, created the two-point entry, and opened up secluded space for lounging and entertaining.
Outdoor spaces are a series of vignettes. In the courtyard, we made a little reading nook and custom-designed a big sectional for lounging.
Our furniture manifesto:
Indoors or out, you should want to sink into the seating and never get up. If you want to have parties, it’s helpful if the furniture is moveable and modular. Everything here is. The sectional can be taken apart and the fire pit moved. Plants are in containers and can be repositioned. The only permanent components are the walls and the bamboo that softens their hard surfaces.
A Word About Walls
They can snuggle you in or shut the world out. Maybe you want to screen a partial view, but you want to see the mountains. There’s no reason why a wall has to be the same height for its entire length. At this home, we varied the height and the materials. The courtyard wall mimics the mountains beyond to create a sense of place and the smooth portions provide a calming effect.
To stay on budget, the flooring is a salted concrete finish that will wear well.