welcome home

February 12th 2015 Comments: 6 Topics: , ,

What makes a house feel welcoming? It’s certainly more than a mat lying at the door with the word “WELCOME” emblazoned on it’s dusty surface. We all know the key is hidden there but what causes one to actually want to go in?
UntitledOften, knowing the inhabitants as cordial and convivial folk will make you at once feel welcome; their inner warmth transcends any surroundings. But suppose you don’t know who lives behind the facade you’ve just approached. Can architecture be as welcoming as a warm-hearted host? I assert it can be – and should.

As you drive through any neighborhood, look around and you’ll find yourself unmistakably drawn to a “welcoming” house. A good house is like a good person: upon first meeting, you want to know more about them. Part of “feeling welcome” is being intrinsically drawn to a kindly and tender spirit. Conversely, a bad house is just like a boorish person: there’s not much else behind that cloddish front (I’m looking at you, McMansions). One quick glance and you’ve got the whole story. What draws you to or repels you from a certain house? I’ll bet it’s similar qualities that initially attract or repulse you from a person.

The careful composition and arrangements of a well-designed entrance can bolster that feeling of invitation.  And geniality is not a matter of style; a formal entrance can be just as beckoning as a casual one. Whether dressed up or down, a house (just as a person is) can be heartfelt clad in either garb. Consider an entrance as built arms, amiable and outstretched, gathering and bringing you in from the cold.

Now, what may I get you to drink?



Camberg 057





5-30-14 3042 copy


Greg Tankersley for McAlpine Tankersley

The winner of last week’s giveaway, an autographed copy of “Art of the House”, is Courtney Czarnecki. Congrats, Courtney! You can welcome this book into your home. Thanks to all those who entered.


  1. I have recently “discovered” McAlpine Tankersley on the net. I live in South Africa and the name McAlpine Tankersley is not well known. All I can say is that I am in awe of your architecture but more importantly I am excited by the very human ideas behind the designs. Many years ago I read a book by Christopher Alexander called Pattern Languages and ever since then I have tried to apply those “patterns” in my designs …very often in conflict with my peers and clients. Today’s blog about the “welcoming home’ is music to my ears. I also notice that your last image is in the style of our Cape Dutch architecture….. a style often imitated but not always understood.

  2. Gerry Comninos says:

    Not so ironic. Your firm handles cape Dutch better than anyone I have ever seen or known. No doubt your fame will spread in SA !

  3. Please please keep us posted.

  4. Asta says:

    So very true Greg! Choosing custom door hardware can also enhance an entrance.

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