Making a Grand Entry

By Amy Mangan • Photos By John Jernigan

Deanna Crimi knew she wanted something different for the entryway in the home she and husband Michael had purchased. While their Mediterranean style residence was already inviting, Deanna wanted to add something special. She enlisted the help of designer Roger Bills who granted her wish and then some.

Elegant wrought iron, rich granite, and hints of gold encase the foyer matching that of any grand hotel, exactly what Deanna desired.

“I’ve visited hotels like the Ritz Carlton and loved the feeling of a nice entry,” she says.

Deanna also knew what she didn’t want — an area rug to cover up the foyer floor. So in classic Roger Bills’ design, he created his own solution — an ornate creation of black galaxy granite with gold flecks among a tumbled marble floor.

“The Crimis requested a higher level of elegance and sophistication,” says Roger. “So we renovated the adjoining living and dining areas at the same time as the foyer in order to have continuity with those rooms with a dramatic first impression.”

Roger says the most challenging part about this project was finding the right craftsmen who could translate his scale drawings and color renderings into three-dimensional elegant works of art. Adding to this challenge was finding the right balance in using a diverse group of materials including limestone, granite, marble, brass, and wrought iron. Yet, the finished product gives the sense of subtle understatement.

“Roger taught me that simplicity is good to avoid too many elements competing with one another,” adds Deanna.

The renovation included replacing a drywall half wall dividing the foyer from the dining room. Roger replaced it with the stately iron railing and a limestone column. Chip VanPelt of Art Metal Studios brought Roger’s ironwork design to birth. But the piece de resistance is the 48-inch round tumbled marble medallion that came from an ancient Italian design. That same design is also represented in the new railing and a fireplace screen in the adjoining living room.

Now the dining room, living room, and foyer take better advantage of the open space between the three areas, giving guests an impressive view upon stepping inside.

“Friends love it and say they feel the warmth of our home,” says Deanna.

Roger says this is the exact intent of an entryway.

“The foyer is the point at which you welcome friends, family, and guests into your home,” he adds. “Their valued first impressions are seeded at this instant so it should say, ‘Welcome! This is how we live, this is who we are, and this is what we find important.’”

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