With two kids and sometimes a dog in tow, coming and going from our home can be either full of joy or full of stress. Our entry and exit take place just outside the front door. Getting home at the end of the day often involves setting down lunch bags, backpacks, shopping bags and mail so that we can remove our shoes before unlocking the door and going inside.

More often than not, my husband and I remark to each other that this space could use some work. Not only is it drab in terms of aesthetics, but it also comes with a handful of hazards including hot pavement and steep drop-offs on the sides. It turns out that we are not alone.


“Homeowners are looking for safer and more convenient methods of entering their home without giving up on aesthetics,” said Bonnie Oda of Graham Builders. “In addition to security, many homeowners are also focused on providing themselves and their loved ones a residence that they can grow old in.”

Oda recommends considerations for both style and function in what Graham Builders has tentatively labeled “Safe Space,” the company’s concept for a secured entry space directly outside of your front door. This area would include considerations for everyday routines like shoe removal and placing parcels down. If you want to revamp your entry by making it safer, consider these things:


Illuminating the area will help you to navigate as you walk to your door and retrieve your keys. A smart light bulb will let you do things like set it to turn on/off at specific times and control it while you are away.



Oda recommends installing decorative grillwork on at least three sides. This will help to designate the area and may also serve the purpose of helping to prevent accidental falls for elevated spaces.


A locking gate or screen door at both your front door and at the foot of your entry will add an extra layer of protection. Not only will this help to keep little ones or pets at bay, but it may also help to ward off potential intruders.


A bench, table and/or shoe rack will not only make your space more inviting, but it will also offer you a place to remove your shoes and set your items down safely. Having a place for everything (and having everything in its place) will keep your space tidy and free of trip hazards.



Consider the amount of light that shines onto your space throughout the day. Ours gets full-sun exposure in the afternoons. Not only does the pavement heat up, but so does our shoe bin/bench, making it difficult to touch or sit upon. To combat this, add a soft outdoor rug and replace plastic or metal shoe storage with something that won’t feel hot to the touch, like wood or upholstered furniture with outdoor fabric.

Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email thefixisinhawaii@gmail.com.