In my last post, I talked about my initial meeting with our client and her home, Villa del Greco, and how we made a list of issues to address, chief among them creating a welcoming and unambiguous approach to the front door.
When I first visited the site, I found – literally – that you couldn’t find the front door when you approached the house from the street. There was a vehicle gate but no gate for pedestrians — surprisingly, an all-too-familiar challenge. (One of my pet peeves: cars should be secondary to people, NOT vice versa!)
The driveway gate – a somewhat foreboding, dark and solid object – had become the entry point by default, a design challenge caused by the dissecting of the original estate.
It didn’t get any better once inside, as the entry door was mere steps off the path of vehicular travel and the whole front entry area was comprised of, well, driveway. What was needed was a separation of vehicle and foot traffic, a dedicated people gate and a lovely and inviting entry court.
The solution? We carved out a separate space from the driveway. Using a Star-Jasmine-cloaked fence – with its intoxicating scent – as a vegetated screen, we created an intimate entry courtyard.
We designed a new gate, which echoes the Moorish star element and color of the adjacent driveway gate, and had a local artisan craft it. A new gravel and paver path, nestled within landscape mounding to separate it from the nearby driveway, leads guests to the new gate.
The secure but see-through gate provides a framed view of the new courtyard within.
Inside the gate, gravel gives way to travertine stepping stones, leading to the pre-existing travertine entry stoop.
Plantings, pots and the home’s name above the door complete the enchanting new space. Problem solved!
We’re exploring some other topics in our next few posts, but we haven’t left Villa del Greco behind altogether. In a few weeks I’ll post about the redesign of the garden’s stunning water features, complete with before-and-after pictures and details about how we developed their design and how we built them.
Sneak peak into our next blog post…