Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The View Through the Door

 When we are designing and decorating a room, we are usually visualizing the space from inside the room. 
But what does the room “say” in the approach….walking up and looking in?
I think the view from the doorway has the potential to take your breath away….to set the tone for the room and bridge one space to the other.
It is my design philosophy that we need to have some mystery in the space.  Don’t show it all at once!  Give the viewer the opportunity to experience bits and pieces of a space in small, carefully orchestrated moments.
Do you pay attention to the view through the door?
Did your jaws drop the first time you saw this ad from Schumacher?  Mine did.
Copy of Schumacher Schumacher
What is it about doorways that is so dramatic?  I love the way the stylist draws the eye from one scene to the other….the curved moldings, the pillows, the gold sofas, pulling the eye further into the scene…..such a calculated journey!!
Cath Kidston for Lonny Mag Cat Kidston seen in Lonny Magazine
Color, color, color…..can you imagine what lies around the corner in the other part of this room?  Certainly that bold painting and the antique chinoiserie chest are only a taste of what’s to come…..Delicious!
Gerard butler in Arc Dig 8
Gerard Butler’s loft as seen in Architectural Digest
Look beyond.   What a chair!  Perfect height…great contrast to the textured wall, and a beautiful compliment to the glow of the stately lamp.  Are you drawn in? 
House beautiful
  House Beautiful
Love this vignette!  I’m almost sure that the ocean is right outside that window!
Melanie Elston Interiors 2
Melanie Elston Interiors
Check out the walk-up to this library!  Just try to take your eyes away from the mural.  Talk about setting the mood!  But check out the white chair… it is a focal point too. Contrasted against the dark, rich paneled walls, it’s calling you to come and sit a spell.
souther accents riverhills kitchen
Joseph Minton – Riverhills Showhouse for Southern Accents
I walked up to this kitchen in person at the Riverhills Showhouse.  My heart skipped a beat!
What draws you in?  Is it the thick walls of the arched doorway, the deep color and sheen of the metallic backsplash or the shape and patina of the amazing light fixture?
Tria Giovan photo   Tria Giovan
I’ve shown this pic before, but the first time I saw it, It knocked me over!  I’m not even a big fan of that shade of green, but I was compelled to stop and 
 take it all in. 
Melanie Elston Interiors 5Melanie Elston Interiors
This hallway has to be the epitome of planned drama.  I wonder how long it took to find exactly the right chair and sconce for the end.  I want to check out each space on the way down the hall….teases of zebra on the floor and tone on tone wallpaper, great black and white photographs….Lots of eye candy here!
Miles Redd Hallway
Miles Redd
As if the green leather, nail-head studded doors aren’t enough, Miles Redd hides this amazing chevron rug amid a caramel and white color scheme.  I don’t even care that I don’t know the function of this room!  Is it a powder room?  an office ? or a foyer to another space?  Who knows?
  But I want to go in, and that’s the important part!
spaces designed Austin tex  It’s a Zig Zag from wall to wall.   An open room divider crosses over to the stacked stone wall.  Then you’re hit in the face by the bold orange and huge mirror before you turn into the drama of black and white damask wallpaper.  How gutsy is that?  But the designer has totally led me to see exactly what she wants me to see. 
tory burch vogue larger 1 Tory Burch seen in Vogue Magazine
Who’s got the nerve to imitate Tory Burch’s apartment?  Green velveteen walls leading into a burnt orange dining space.  The chandelier,centered on the fireplace, matching sconces on either side, twin mirrors and benches underneath, set a formal tone and direct the eye all the way through the space to the mirror on the back wall. 
Ok….you have an assignment if you’ve read this far. 
Walk from room to room in your home, and see it with new eyes.  Study the first viewing you have of a space and then decide if you’ve created something memorable.  Have your enticed someone to walk in with interest and curiosity?  Is there drama, beauty or even whimsy?
I’d love for you to email pics of your space where you’ve improved the view.  I’ll post them if you send them.
Let me hear from you !  sally@sallyjdesigns.com
Sally J. Designs helps you to LOVE your home! 
Contact the team at Sally J. Designs for personal and on-line consultations.


  1. Such a provocative post...it really is important to think about the approaching view! Great examples too!

  2. Lovely post and offers us a great perspective of connecting spaces. There is something about an arched doorway which frames the view so beautifully! Loved your post, Sally!

    All my best,

  3. fantastic post, Sally! such good advice. This is one of the biggest things I work on when I'm staging, leading the eye into the next space, making them all relate.. so important to keep "the flow"!

  4. Sally, this is a great post and I so agree, we do need to take a look and see if our rooms beckon us to come in. Great images and examples, Kathysue

  5. Fantastic Sally! "calculated journey" that's wonderful wording. I love that scenic wallpaper. Have always wanted to do that in the room since seeing it in the British edition of House and Garden. Love! XOXO

  6. Fantastic post Sally! I always think of this too, what is the first think you see when walking into a room. I definitely used this approach when I decorated my entryway, and it is the main focus of my living room too. Walking into a room should be part of the "experience" =)


Blogs are all about the dialogue. I'd love to hear your thoughts!