The arch featured in the picture below is unique in that it is actually over 2 feet deep so you can walk through it. This depth allows you to stand within the arched space. It gives quite an entrance to a family room. When this client’s home was finished and they had a house warming party a guest commented “I thought arches like this were only for Libraries. I didn’t know it was possible to have one in your own home!”
By having the arch in a “thickened wall” it creates an arched hallway. The family room is also 2 steps down from the main entry hall so the steps are tucked within the arch space adding more interest. The thickened wall was created by having the coat closet and cabinets built between the entry and the family room. You have to walk through what is really a tiny hall but add an arch, make sure it is wide enough, add a few steps and it is a dramatic space unique from anything else in a home. Also unique from most homes as the guest noted!
Sometimes I think of homes and their rooms as of walls made of planes and edges other times I think of rooms being carved out of a bigger block. When I was at the Architecture andDesign CollegeatKansasStateUniversity, one semester we had a great studio design project. We had to create a home in cave, by carving space not building walls. Although these were “pretend projects” with our professors for clients and we couldn’t visit the proposed site it was an “ah ha” moment for me as a student. Carving instead of making space with skinny 2 x 4 or 2 x 6 stud walls was a new idea for me. I began to think about making room shapes, and how rooms could ‘talk” to each other and the space that could be between two rooms.
Today I look for opportunity to create thickened walls by having closets, cabinets and storage between rooms. It adds richness to a home, instant depth plus a new experience as you walk through these deep doorways. It can make a house feel larger and even more substantial with the feel of sturdy thick walls. These details are meant to be used sparingly. Sometimes a client really likes a feature or great detail in their home while it is being built and wants to have it repeated everywhere. Use restraint and avoid repetition to keep the wow factor and uniqueness. Having one “thickened arch” in a homes makes it special if it is repeated too many times it begins to be the norm and the “coolness factor” begins to fade!