Here in the UK it’s been snowing this week, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to let up anytime soon! It’s worth noting that generally, houses here don’t really give you much space for the hanging of coats and placing of snow-covered boots anywhere that’s out of the way and won’t cause a nuisance. It’s a given that in a few days this will probably all be over, spring will truly arrive and these winter-themed pieces of apparel will return to the darkest depths of the wardrobe. That being said, entrance halls can be nice to have, if space will allow they can function as more than just a vestibule for storage and keeping the cold draughts out.
When you invite friends into your home it’s more practical to have a designated space for hanging and storing outerwear. This often takes up a significant amount of storage space; but most UK homes lack this and so when visitors come we end up stepping back into the main house to allow space for people to walk in. As the host you often find yourself taking the guests outerwear and placing it over the bannister or onto a chair, of course, of all the things that we have to consider and the spatial challenges we face due to our undersized houses the entrance hall is quite low down on the list of priorities for most. However, even where the opportunity is available it’s often not considered.
It’s good to always consider the future, potential buyers who come to view your house will judge based on their first impressions.
Recently, I was talking to my friend who is currently redecorating his hallway. I asked him about the colour scheme, and how he will decorate it to which he replied:
‘I don’t know, it’s just the hall.‘
This made me think about how our attitudes towards certain rooms has changed over time. How specific rooms once held an air of importance and were respected in a sense, to now holding no real meaning, and in most cases being regarded as just another room in the house.
As I’ve already mentioned it, I’ll use the hallway as our example.
Through history the hall has lost the meaning that it used to have associated with it; before Medieval times it used to be the only room which the house consisted of, referred to as the ‘Great Hall’. It was used for everything – sleeping, eating, entertaining guests, you didn’t have privacy in those times. Privacy as we know it didn’t come about until around Medieval times when the chimney was invented, because then they could begin to think about building liveable rooms upstairs.
The concept of having an upstairs living level was not really feasible before the chimney came about due to the fact that in the hall (or Great Hall), they would have had an open-hearth in the middle of the room to keep warm, but the fumes and smoke from this would gather around the roof space, therefore making it inhabitable. But with the chimney to get rid of these fumes, the roof space had cleaner air, meaning rooms could be built upstairs, which in turn, brought about real privacy.
It saddens me to think that a room once filled with so much history, and grandeur is now used as a passing place to take your shoes and coats off, and venture on into one of the other rooms.
Written by Jade Turney – Building Tectonics Ltd.