Unlike today, during Goethe’s time the house was entered through the imposing oak portal on the street side. The transom window above the door is decorated with richly ornamented iron latticework. From outside you can see that it bears the initials of the master of the house paterfamilias, J C G – for Johann Caspar Goethe. On the doorframe above it can be seen his coat of arms with the three lyres, which gave the house its name, “zu den drei Leiern”.
We children, that is, my younger sister and I, liked the spacious ground-floor entrance hall best, for next to the door there was a large wooden latticework frame that jutted out into the street and the open air. Many houses were equipped with „birdcages“ of this kind, which were given the name „Geräms.“ The women would sit in them to sew or knit, or the cook to sort her salad greens. The women of the neighborhood would carry on conversations from them, and in the warm season these frames gave the street a southern look.
Goethe: From My Life. Poetry and Truth, part 1 , book 1