Q: What does the architect say? A: Enfilade

You may have seen the curiously captivating "What does the fox say?" viral video created by Ylvis, a pair of Norwegian brothers. It may have gotten you wondering in earnest, "What does the fox say?" Or, "Why don't I know what the fox says?" I'm not trying to get existential on you. The song got me thinking about another creature whose method of communication may seem elusive to others. Yup, the architect.

So with this post, I'm starting a new House Enthusiast category to help demystify and clarify some of the more elusive terms that residential architects bandy about. I don't want to squander time delving into esoteric archispeak. I want to focus, instead, on terms that are actually meaningful and might benefit you to know as you work on your residential or other creative architecture project.

Let's get started. Today's word is enfilade. Rooms are enfilade when openings (generally doorways) in a series of rooms are arranged along a continuous axis such that there is a view through the openings, ideally to a distant vista. This can be both a useful way-finding circulation device and an enticement to draw occupants through connected spaces to a rewarding view or daylight. In the example above at the Yarmouth Port Antique Cape Renovation/Addition, we positioned the new doorway to the new kitchen addition, which is a couple of steps below the main living level, so that folks in the now more distant original dining room would be visually connected to the kitchen path and the backyard view. In general, circulating through openings in rooms, rather than hallways, offers a more rewarding, expansive experience to those making the journey. Interestingly, dictionary.com informs me that in french "enfilade" comes from "enfiler" meaning "to thread on a string, pierce from end to end".

Stay tuned to House Enthusiast in coming weeks for future posts about other meaningful architectural terms, and don't hesitate to email me Katie@katiehutchison.com about a term that you'd like me to address in What does the architect say?.

by Katie Hutchison for House Enthusiast