By John D. Adams
The old trope “you never get a second chance to make a first impression” is never more appropriate than when talking about a Perla Lichi interior design. One of the hallmarks of Perla’s work is that the home should imbue the owners’ personalities. And there is no better place to make this personal introduction than in the foyer. This is your “big entrance,” your “welcome to the family,” your sneak preview of what your home represents about you and your loved ones.
To help usher you through her design concepts, we turn, once again, to Master Interior Designer, Perla Lichi. Always enthusiastic to impart her experiences, Perla guides us through some of her entryway design choices.
Tell a Story
“In home design, the overall goal is to tell “the design story” in complete balance and harmony,” says Perla. ”Think of each area as a different scene of the play, where we are always working to create rooms that flow visually from one to the other. The foyer or entrance hall is the prologue. To tell the design story correctly it is essential that the details and furnishings in the entryway reflect the overall design of the entire home.”
In other words, if the residence is designed in a modern style, the theme of the entryway should communicate this genre. When the goal is Art Nouveau, the entryway should showcase one of the client’s most magnificent pieces of Art Nouveau artwork and the design should introduce Art Nouveau refrains that are then repeated throughout the main living areas.
Dimensions and Details
In a residential setting the entryway serves as a passageway and like all good design should not be cluttered. In general, an easy flow of traffic is essential. And this lack of additional design cues allows the designer to play with size and texture to help convey the narrative.
“When you are setting the scene for your foyer, you may want to experiment with color,” remarks Perla. “Wallpaper or a wallpaper trim is another way to express yourself through décor. The foyer is also a good place to showcase special faux painting effects ― perhaps an all over pattern or a trompe l’oeil. Trompe l’oeil literally means ‘fool the eye’ in French and this type of painting is a delightful wall treatment.” When you begin your deign story, consider the dimensions. ”A long, narrow foyer can easily be made to appear wider by adding mirrors,” suggests Perla. “Should the foyer be spacious enough to accommodate furniture, a bench or console are two common selections. Even larger foyers can accommodate a central table to showcase a magnificent floral arrangement or a work of art. Depending on how you place the art and accessories, your foyer is the ideal place to try a dramatic lighting effect to highlight your objets d’art.”
From Dark to Light
For many designers and residents, foyers can prose unique problems not found in other parts of the house. Perla addresses a common stumbling block. “One of my clients had a very dark and narrow entryway. This tunnel-like room had high ceilings, a long, narrow window and no space for a lamp or table. With a little vertical thinking, we knew that this foyer could sparkle.
First we selected striped wallpaper with light background color and reflective finishes. To reflect even more light and add a feeling of spaciousness and since it was in perfect condition, we selected high gloss paint for the ceiling.For the walls, Perla selected an oversized mirror, which was hung on one wall flanked with wall-mounted lighting sconces. The mirror was placed opposite a window, which was creatively draped along the top and down one side only. “This created the illusion of having two windows and added some much-needed depth. A very narrow shelf under the mirror was added to create a place for a few pieces of art and a practical space on which to drop keys. Finally, we installed bright tile on the diagonal to help visually widen the space,” she said.
Go With the Flow
Finally, Perla reminds us that the foyer is a very unique space and needs to be treated as such. “You want your flow to be easy, breezy, and welcoming,” she said. “Furnishings that we often use in an entry include a console or narrow table, a mirror and accessories. Mirrors add sparkle, create the illusion of more space, and can be framed in a style that suite any décor. Choose accessories wisely. Personalize the space with family photos, a portrait or a personal collection that says something about you. This is your big entrance, your chance to preemptively introduce visitors to you, your family and your space. Don’t be shy to tell the story of “you!”
John D. Adams is an award winning writer and photographer.