Design Details: Transition Spaces

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    Maxwell MacKenzie

    This covered walkway’s warm wood complements the main home’s cedar shingles and is extended onto the adjoining outbuilding’s façade, which connects the two structures without disrupting the original historic structure.

    Project: 308 Mulberry, Lewes, Del.; Architect: Robert M. Gurney, Washington, D.C.; Builder: Ilex Construction, Easton, Md.

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    Maxwell MacKenzie

    A glass bridge over a pool joins this modernist home’s two main sections, which gives those passing through the feeling that they are suspended in the air.

    Project: Bloom House, Glen Echo, Md.; Architect: Robert M. Gurney, Washington, D.C.; Builder: Bloom Builders, Bethesda, Md.

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    Chuck Choi

    A pair of slatted barn-door style partitions allows for natural light and breezes through the back entry of this family retreat, providing a gentle transition from the main home to a trail that leads to the lake beyond.

    Project: Lakeside Camp, Boston area; Architect: Tom Murdough, Boston area

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    Joe Fletcher

    Extra space was carved at the top of the staircase to make room for an intimate sitting area, adding an element of surprise and the perfect place for owners to catch their breath during a hectic day.

    Project: Palo Alto Residence, Palo Alto, Calif.; Architect: CCS Architecture, San Francisco; Builder: K Welton Inc., Palo Alto

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    Jason Schmidt

    Saving space for a foyer at the front door helps this Manhattan apartment live larger than it is.

    Project: Private Residence, New York; Architect: Deborah Berke, New York

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    Jonathan H. Jackson

    Even the walkway to the carport can be a beautiful space, as evidenced by this Austin, Texas, home, which incorporates a gate of woven raw steel and a metal-clad sliding barn door.

    Project: Private Residence, Austin, Texas; Architect: Gregory Thomas, Jacksonville, Fla.

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    Lara Swimmer

    A large cutout in this entryway’s ceiling leaves the emphasis on inviting nature in—a fitting message for this LEED-Platinum home that focuses heavily on recycled materials and green features.

    Project: Ellis Residence, Bainbridge Island, Wash.; Architect: Coates Design Architects, Bainbridge Island; Builder: Smallwood Design and Construction, Bainbridge Island

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    Robert Brewster

    This covered walkway links the main house with the sheds and makes a strong statement with exposed beams and matching doors painted a bold green.

    Project: River Point House, South Coast, Mass.; Architect: Albert, Righter & Tittman, Boston; Builder: Roger Wilkie Builder, Tiverton, R.I.

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    Greg Wilson

    With its ceiling treatment worthy of any interior space and abundant square footage, this outdoor living and dining area captures the best of both indoors and out.

    Project: Osprey House, Osprey, Fla.; Architect; Sweet Sparkman Architects, Sarasota, Fla.; Builder: Michael K. Walker & Associates, Sarasota

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    Elliott Kaufman

    Linear floor planks that allow light to pass through them are mirrored by a surrounding railing and ceiling beams that allow this porch to ease the visual transition from indoors to out.

    Project: House for Locavore Farmers, Sonoma, Calif.; Architect: Cooper Joseph Studio, New York; Builder: Red Horse Constructors, San Rafael, Calif.

In an age of right-sizing and value engineering, carving out space for an elegant transition—from indoors to out, downstairs to up, or even house to garage—can feel like a luxury reserved for homes with room to spare. But like careful stitching on a well-crafted garment, thoughtful transition spaces can impact the feel of a home’s design much more than the square footage they use might suggest. These examples offer ample inspiration to help plan for a smooth transition.

Claire Easley is a senior editor at Builder. Senior editor Amy Albert contributed reporting to this article.