One of the fascinating things about design is that it speaks without words. Interpreting what a design says is up to the viewer, of course (“beauty is in the eye of the beholder”). But whether deliberately or not, design expresses something beyond its utilitarian function. A fence, a roof, a door – these speak to us, even as they perform a necessary task in our everyday lives.

Something as common as how your property meets the street or sidewalk ­– how the private space meets the public – expresses “This is mine.” Design can add, in all caps, “Come on in,” (or, “stay away”), or, “I’m into gardening,” or countless other signals about who you are.

The site for your threshold is the stage on which you make your statement. Is it sloped, or are the sidewalk and the property at the same level? Is there even a sidewalk? Are you right on a busy street, or set back a ways? 

Take our Slide Show tour of some Portland thresholds. What do these thresholds say to the outside world? What does your threshold say about you? Do you have a favorite, or least favorite, threshold to add to our design gallery? Send in your photo!

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