When we think of a home, there are several rooms we always expect to find present. The kitchen, bathroom and bedrooms are all necessary components of any home. Since they are such common rooms, with common names, the purpose of each is immediately clear. However, several more specialized rooms have names with more opaque origins. Here are a few rooms that you might include in your log home, and the interesting history behind them.
As now, a foyer has always been essentially a small room that serves as an entryway to the rest of the home. Usually, the other public rooms of the home are near to the foyer. Interestingly, foyer comes from a French word of the same spelling which means hearth, and in turn derives from the Latin focus which has the same meaning. While one may thus infer that a fireplace was present in the room, in fact the opposite was true. Early foyers served as a buffer room between the cold outdoors and heated interior of the home.
While early foyers were fairly utilitarian, it quickly became a room that received great attention to detail. Since it is the first room guests see, it became heavily decorated. As is the case now, the foyer was a place where art was put on display and staircases became highly ornamental as well as functional.
As it suggests, the study is a private room in the home, to be used for business work or private reading. However, while a study today may be used by any member of the household, in Victorian times the study was solely the domain of the male head of the household. These rooms were typically smaller, making them easier to heat and less prone to having servants interrupt.
The lady of a Victorian home was in charge of the household staff, so she also needed her own desk. In larger homes she may have her own study; otherwise she would manage affairs from the library or bedroom.
The word parlor (or parlour) entered English around the year 1200, from a French word meaning to speak. It was first used in monasteries, to denote a room where monks could converse without disturbing fellow clergy, or conduct business with outsiders. Later, it was used in homes to refer to a primary room in the front of the home for entertaining guests. Since it was the most seen room by guests, this room was routinely the best decorated in the home. In the 20th century, the living room grew to take over most of the parlor’s functions.
If you’re looking to incorporate a foyer, study or parlor into a new log home, please contact us today. Our team of designers will work with you to make sure your home contributes to the rich and evolving history of these rooms.