Opening the door to a new look
Homeowners shouldn’t be closed-minded when it comes to interior doors. Doors are vital parts of homes, thanks to builders and interior designers, who are paying close attention to how doors add architectural appeal. “Doors are becoming a feature in the home,” said Donna Mathis, owner of Suwanee, Ga.-based DMD Studios.
Door heights are expanding, and the use of 8-foot doors in homes and condos can add to the grandeur of residences.
“Over and over again, (buyers) want 8-foot doors within the main level,” said Jennifer Crosby, owner of Atlanta-based Crosby Design Group.
Traditionally, homes and condos use doors that extend 6 feet 8 inches, but taller doors dramatically improve the look of the space, builders and designers say. People notice the difference.
Traditional doors that swing out or in can take up space. Some door decisions are focused on open space, causing people to consider pocket doors, folding doors.
“We like doors to disappear. So when they’re closed, they’re closed, and when they’re open, they don’t exist,” said architect Jose Tavel, co-owner of TaC Studios in Atlanta.
Pocket doors can separate public and private areas in a home. The doors can be 8 feet tall, ranging from 36 inches wide to 60 inches wide, almost all are 8 feet tall.
Pocket doors can work between bedrooms, living areas, offices, closets and other spots. Tavel says another option is putting a pocket door in a bathroom; in their home, it allows east light into the bathroom in the morning and a view to the mature white oaks in the backyard.
“I have a lot of requests for pocket doors. Pocket doors have made a comeback,” said Maricita Hughes, director of interiors for Isakson Living, creator of retirement communities including Park Springs in Stone Mountain, Ga. “They’ve come a long way from where they used to be.”
People frustrated with pocket doors that went off their tracks may find that today’s pocket doors are sturdier and less likely to malfunction. Hughes estimates that pocket doors cost about 30 percent more than traditional doors, but homeowners often are willing to pay when space is at a premium.
A row of pivot doors also can create an architectural element that can function as a wall when needed.
For patio doors, homeowners can replace a double set of French doors to the outside with stackable, or folding doors, Mathis said.
“It is the whole concept of bringing the outdoors in,” she said.
Some manufacturers offer patio doors that retract or fold up, opening up interior rooms such as the family room, to the backyard. Manufacturer Andersen’s outswing folding patio doors come in 21 colors and seven types of wood, and can be customized up to 48 feet, and open from the right, left or center.
Retractable screen door makers include the Clear View Systems, which work vertically or horizontally and differ from the traditional doors that swing out and can hit furniture and people. Steve Kaplan, owner of Peachtree Blinds of Atlanta, based in Alpharetta, Ga., says more people are seeking retractable doors. (Costs start at $395 for a single door and $775 for a set of French doors.) A speed reducer makes the retractable door safer for children and pets.
An option for condos is the NanaWall, which can open up a wall spanning 8 or 10 feet wide, Crosby said. Homeowners also can take a cue from restaurants created out of old gas stations. Crosby said a garage door can be used in place of a wall to open up the space to the outdoors.