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Entrance Envy

A home’s front door serves as a vital design element that can make a significant impression, much like a smile. Architect Chaser Gaffney discusses the importance of front door design in custom residential architecture.

Vineyard House, Brigantine

Like a great smile, your home’s front door can and should make a great impression. As a focal point of a house’s exterior, the front door is more than just a portal into your home, it’s a peek into your life and style. To get some tips on how to create an unforgettable entrance, New Jersey Lifestyle Magazine interviewed architect Chaser Gaffney of Chaser Gaffney Architecture, dedicated to designing high-end, custom beach houses throughout New Jersey.

How important is a home’s front door?

In custom residential architecture, the front door is not merely an entrance, but a crucial element that complements and enhances the home’s overall design. More than providing security, the entry door serves as a gateway from the outside public world into your private space.

Is the front door always the main focal point of the home?

Sometimes, the design aims to make the front door the focal point of the house, but an understated door can also be a powerful design element. It all depends on the architectural character of the house. In some cases, a simple door with a pop of color will do the trick.

Are there any design basics to consider when choosing a front door?

Regardless of style, the front door must seamlessly integrate with the architecture of the residence. 

Do you have any style tips for front door design?

For a traditional Dutch Colonial home, characterized by its gambrel roof and symmetrical facade, a solid wood door with traditional detailing and classic hardware can echo old-world charm and craftsmanship. In contrast, a modern home, with its emphasis on clean lines and simplicity, demands a sleek, minimalist design to maintain its contemporary appeal.

Can you update the entrance on an already-built house?

Sure, simply changing up the material or color of the door can offer a major style update. Materials and colors play a significant role in the design of high-end entry doors. For traditional styles, wood offers warmth and a sense of history, often enhanced with classic details. Meanwhile, modern homes tend to benefit from simple, clean door slabs with minimal detail. 

Here at the shore, fiberglass doors can provide a sleek look while offering the durability needed for our humid, salt-air environment. Glass elements, whether in the door itself or the form of sidelights or transoms, can bridge the gap between different styles, adding a touch of elegance and allowing natural light to filter through the entrance. 

Do you have any final tips for front door design?

Ultimately, the front door should reflect the home’s architectural style and the homeowner’s taste. In my architectural practice, I view the front door design as an opportunity to create a welcoming statement that sets the tone for the entire property.

Chaser Gaffney Architecture was founded in 2015 with a focus on the design of high-end beachfront and waterfront homes. Growing up at the Jersey Shore provided the foundation of Gaffney’s design aesthetic. Rooted in the natural beauty of the barrier islands, Gaffney strives to seamlessly integrate home and environment. Gaffney’s designs are deeply influenced by traditional coastal architecture worldwide. “While I draw inspiration from coastal architecture, I infuse each project with a fresh, innovative approach specifically tailored to the unique requirements and locations of each site,” Gaffney says. As a Jersey Shore local, Gaffney also has an innate understanding of the requirements of a shore home. Gaffney’s designs ensure that every home not only enhances the beauty of its environment but also withstands the diverse climate of the New Jersey coast — from serene, paradisiacal summers to harsh, wind-battered winters.

All the homes and entryways shown are designed by Chaser Gaffney Architecture.