What front door for my period home?
If you live in an old house you will already know the struggle of shopping for interiors. Considering which furnishings will complement the historic features of the building takes a lot of time, and even more effort goes into making sure that the interiors not only look appropriate but are historically accurate for the year that your home was built in.
So, to save you the hassle of researching which entrances and doors are perfect for your pre- 1950’s property, we have all the answers you could possibly need right here. No trawling the internet for the right information and no contrasting opinions, just some excellent advice from some of the country’s top home design experts.
Front doors for Tudor houses (1485-1603)
‘Tudor Doors ironically were huge, solid and usually made of oak (as there was plenty of it in England and Northern Europe at the time). Why ironic? Well, England had just started to be ruled by these Tudors (Welsh folk) whom bought peace after 150 years of war, so were these big thick doors required for defense? No, they were simply to highlight the occupant’s wealth!
Other features of these doors include:
• Embellishment with hand crafted, iron hardware.
• They were often surrounded by stone. (The door surround is, after all, part of the doors makeup.)
• These stone settings were often decorated in motifs and flowers, amongst other items too.
• The internals of these doors could be complex in order support such weight, which takes craftsmanship very rarely seen these days. (Tudors believed that the door took central focus of the front elevation and so it should be given due respect and priority.)
Now, the less wealthy Tudors wouldn’t have considered such solid oak complexities, just putting food on their plate took priority. Any old piece of wood was okay for their door and, dependent on your local Listed Building Planning Officer, may well be just fine for your property too!’
- Chris, www.celesteinteriordesign.co.uk/
Front doors for Georgian houses (1714 – 1830)
‘The Georgian doorway is one of my personal favourites and is the most ornamental design feature of the otherwise minimal facade from this era. The doorways blend the Palladian simplicity of columns and pilasters (ornamental columns) with carved supporting hoods and brackets carved with animals, foliage, cherubs or sometimes just plain consoles with scroll brackets.
The doors themselves were always panelled in two vertical rows with rectangular fanlights to start, but the semi-circular fanlights soon became popular throughout the period. Black and dark green were the popular choice for colours and occasionally bright Blue. Just think No.10 Downing Street’!
Front doors for Victorian houses (1837 – 1901)
'Choosing the correct internal doors can enhance the look and feel of your home. It is wise to know the date and style of your property and select your doors accordingly. Beautiful four panelled doors found in Victorian properties add character. The style elongates the door making it appear grand and tall. The detail reinforces the elegance of the Victorian style.’
Four panelled doors were also popular for exterior doors in the Victorian era, but it was common for the top two panels to be glazed glass. Later in the century stained glass became popular in these panels.
Front doors for Edwardian houses (1901 – 1910)
‘The Edwardian doorway moved away from the more formal look of its Victorian predecessor and the design was influenced by the Queen Anne Revival and the popular Art Nouveau style at the time. Untreated oak or teak were used for the doors in grander residences along with dressed stone or terracotta surrounds. Painted softwoods were the less expensive choice, and glazed top panels were used to allow extra light. Glazed sections may have been plain or bevelled, but often they would incorporate flowing art nouveau designs through various sections.’
- Deborah, http://www.dddesigns.co.uk/
Doorways from the First half of 21st century (1910-50s)
‘In the early to mid-part of the 20th century, popular door styles tended to be hardwood with a glazed panel in the top third and a static glass panel above to allow more light into the interior hallway of the house. These were particularly suited to the rows of semi-detached and terraced houses that were popping up all over the country. Although much plainer than previous eras, many still featured stained glass art deco panels, a throw-back to more ornate periods.
'Entrances were often recessed, and later in the century the trend was to have them enclosed usually with UPVC doors and windows to create an internal porch, which added extra space and insulation.'
– Diane Sofer, Interior Designer
Here, Natasha from Candy Pop focuses on making the above mentioned terraced house doorways appear more grand:
-The larger properties of the 1930's also boasted paneled doors but these tended to have one large panel at the top and three smaller below. This style seemed to widen the door frame and compliment the slightly more open and spacious feel.
Pre-1950s homes are renowned for being beautiful yet complicated to adorn. It is also quite obvious from what you have just read that the difference in design has altered over the ages, but sometimes only slightly, and so the key really is in the detail! With that said we hope that, armed with the advice from Chris, Deborah, Natasha and Diane, you can begin your search for the perfect door with both ease and the knowledge you need for historical accuracy.