Perhaps because they're small, entry foyers are often designed with little thought. That's a mistake, because a foyer has an important effect on how a visitor or homeowner feels about the rest of the house. Instead of seeing it simply as a small space for greeting guests and storing coats and boots, try thinking of the foyer as the introductory chapter of a good book — a well-thought-out space that sets the stage for what lies ahead, without giving away the story.

A set of plans that we recently revised for one of our clients provides a good case in point. The original plans featured a two-story glass entry (see Figure 1). It's a common feature among recently built homes — especially where the homeowner's real entry is the door leading from the garage to the kitchen — but the result can be cold and...

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