Unusual Archway?

I have an archway between my kitchen and living room that is kind of lack luster. I would like to rebuild it into something better and really spend some time doing it. My house is rather unique though in that its non-traditional inside...a lot of highly detailed stuff. So I was thinking what if I made the archway into a heart shape?

The problem is, you obviously could not connect the heart at the bottom so it comes to a point. That would leave you with a darn hatchway...no good. But if you formed the lobes of the heart at the top, and then sloped the sides at a slight angle (say 15º) would you get enough of the heart shape to see the intent and yet allow unrestricted access which is what an archway is all about?

Now this is just an idea. I would entertain other ideas on unique archways as well. What do you guys and gals think?

Bill Arnold

Staff member
Thomasville, GA
The first thing that came to mind is, for lack of knowing what else to call it, a stepped arch. I'm thinking something with a Southwest look like the bottom edge of the front of the bench below.


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I am wondering about the width of the opening. Am thinking that it would take a fairly wide and tall opening to be able to give the perception of a heart. The wider the heart would be, the deeper the center point at the top would need to be (head banging issue). Also to keep the proportion's correct, to me, it would seem that the doorway would need to be about the same width as height.

Keep in mind the when people go through a passageway, that they are usually looking straight ahead, and the natural inclination is that where their shoulds can fit, is safe passing...with a doorway slanting inward at the bottom, tripping may be an issue. If I were going to build this, I would incorporate some sort of drape that would establish the opening based on the foot area....or maybe some inset panel that would still show the shape, yet give safe passage.

I'm thinking that maybe going for an oval would still make it unique, yet get rid of the middle point issue at head level. Something like an old picture frame with the bottom cut off...almost like it's buried in the floor.

Just some thought's....am anxious to see what you come up with.
Have a look at any historical architecture book, egyptian, greek, roman, gothic and renaissance buildings are full of different solutions for arches and doorways.

Chuck Ellis

Tellico Plains, Tennessee
I'm not a particular fan of arches and frankly in my opinion only and with full knowledge that opinions are like another particular part of anatomy and often both smell... If I were to change an arch, I would rather see a traditional arch and any embellishments done in the trim work. That said, we have what is basically an arch between our dining room and the kitchen... it is just a squared opening and trimed out. It's not a true arch in that it's almost the full with of the kitchen and the kitchen has a flat ceiling where the dining room has a catherdral... low at the outside of the house and slanted up to the peak of the rood. Also keep in mind we live in a double wide modular home with a "beam" celing across the highpoint of the living room where the house is joined... Living room and Dining room are actually a great room that is the width of the entire house.
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