Wednesday, January 12, 2011


an enfilade is a suite of rooms formally aligned with each other ... The doors entering each room are aligned with the doors of the connecting rooms along a single axis, providing a vista through the entire suite of rooms. The enfilade can be used as a processional route ... as it facilitates the movement of large numbers of people through a building.
---Ask Jeeves Encyclopedia

Exactly what we want. Because we had the effect of an enfilade in our 1946 center hall colonial we know how this opened-up perspective adds to the sense of architectural space. The two wide square doorways on either side of our center hall were aligned and offered vistas beyond the room you were in  through the hall and into the room beyond. The dark-stained wood floor was continuous from the dining room through the hall and into the long living room with the fireplace at the end wall as the focal point. This continuity of flooring and continuous vista achieved by the room openings off the hall really gave the rooms flow. When we entertained we could have a buffet set up in the dining room and a large crowd of guests could move through all three spaces and still hear and see what was happening in the entire space. Here is a composite photo of this space with reverse views from the living and dining rooms. I hope you agree that this perspective lends enchantment.

Strictly speaking, enfilade is an architectural feature referring to connecting rooms. I realize our center hall is not a "room", per se, but the perspective effect is the same. There are no doors to close off the view, either, as in the classical definition, but my point here is that we have a modest enfilade that achieves the same impact on human scale and vision as a grand one. Here are examples of the classic French version and a modern adaptation which are both more "correct" in the architectural sense, but I don't like them as much as my modest home-grown version. 
OK, I dug up a photo of the perspective with holiday decorations. This is not the best photo to illustrate the magic but I don't have all my photo collections on hand here in my new temporary home. This is a Christmastime version with holiday decorations and lighting.  I can illustrate in later posts how beautiful the view was with a Christmas tree and holiday decorations in both rooms, lit at night, aglow with Christmas magic.

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