Doors, doors, doors! There are SO many choices for exterior doors these days! You can choose to have a large sliding glass door, french doors, bi-fold doors, sliding walls, windows with or without grills, metal or wood interior, the list goes on and on. When our architect asked for the type of door to draw for the loggia access…I knew I had some homework to do!
We designed our farmhouse to have two perpendicular walls that open to a covered loggia with a terrace. The loggia is an extension of our living room and kitchen area and will serve as an everyday gathering retreat for our family. Whether we are cuddling on the couch in front of the fireplace reading a good book, enjoying a glass of freshly squeezed lemonade in the breeze, or floating in the pool taking in a late summer sunset… this is the place I envision our family spending a lot of quality time! The perfect door to access to this space is essential for our everyday functional living as well as entertaining guests.
Since the loggia will serve as an extension of our living space I wanted these doors to feel like a passageway and not so much a road block. The only way to achieve this type of feel is to use a lot of glass. Having large panels of glass will allow the eye to capture the surroundings beyond the door when the doors are closed, causing you to feel as though the inside and outside spaces are joined. I also want to enjoy our breathtaking view of the lake. As I have mentioned before, I am a water baby and feel a sense of calmness when I am able to gaze at a large body of water. There are many ways to achieve a “wall of glass” look. First, let’s get some basic window and door vocabulary down…
Transom Window – a transom is a horizontal structural beam or bar set directly above a door, the transom window is the window set above this large beam allowing additional light to filter into a space
Sidelight Window – these are windows that run vertically next to a door to allow additional light or viewing on the side of the door
Grills – the lines on the glass, inside two panels of glass, or often times a raised panel piece on the exterior of the glass which creates divided light appearance or paneled look on the glass.
Now that we have some terminology under our belt…let’s get to the details….
I began to research with all of the door options that made sense to use in a modern farmhouse style home. I narrowed my choices to the classic french door, large sliding door, a bi-fold door, or the sliding wall system. I wrote a list of pro’s and con’s for our particular home and the envisioned use for this space. Keep in mind these are MY pros and cons for our farmhaus loggia area. Each home has a unique set of requirements and not all doors are going to work for every home or in every space. Here is what I found…
1. The Classic French Door –
- Farmhouse Style – I love the look of a classic french door with a large open window. I have also seen black french doors that look amazing and would work perfectly with the windows I chose for the farmhouse.
- Grills on the window are optional. They do add a charm to the farmhouse style.
- Familiarity – We currently have these doors in our home so I am familiar with the function and locking mechanisms.
- Plenty of Custom Options – you can design the wall as you wish by adding sidelights, transom windows above the door, grills on the glass, and they come in a variety of color options, etc.
- If the doors are in swing they will block a hallway in our home. If I chose an out swing option then they will interfere with the usable space on the loggia.
- One set of doors will not span the length of our wall, thus we would need to install multiple doors on each wall.
- Multiple doors would create a pieced effect causing the eye to focus on the door system instead of being drawn outside…. not the look I was envisioning for this space!
- If there are two sets of french doors side by side the two doors in the middle will collide when opened simultaneously. Due to the fact that we love to entertain, there will be times when these doors will remain completely opened and this could cause damage to the doors!
2. Large Sliding Door –
- The doors do not swing! Instead, they are on a track and slide laterally. This allows the space inside and outside to be completely usable since there will not be any doors to maneuver around when coming in and out of the space.
- Farmhouse Style… especially with added grills
- This system allows for A LOT of glass which is exactly what I am looking for!
- These doors can be easily screened to allow the cool delta breeze to blow naturally into the house in the evenings and keep the pesky bugs out!
- Plenty of Custom Options – you can design the wall to look as you wish by adding transom windows above the door, grills on the glass, and they come in a variety of color options, etc.
- The doors are always on a track so there is no way to completely open the entire wall.
- One system will not span the length of our wall! One option would be to center the sliding door on the wall and have thick wall sections on each side which will completely lose my “open wall” feel. An alternative option would be to add sidelights on either side of the door which could cause confusion on which panels actually slide and which are fixed.
3. Bi-Fold Door – an accordion folding door
- Single track guide on the floor making the threshold nearly invisible.
- This option will span very long distances…. whole walls! Yeah!
- The glass wall panels are in a straight line on a single track so they do not stagger when closed.
- This option is VERY easy to unlatch and glide open.
- Plenty of Custom Options – you can design the wall as you wish by adding a single functioning door for every day use, transom windows above the door, grills on the glass, and they come in a variety of color options, etc.
- Once the doors are open they need to nest folded against a wall, otherwise they are in the way.
- Takes time to unlatch each door before sliding open.
- It is really difficult to screen these doors.
- Much like the French door option… the doors will either fold inside or outside, but either way you have a thick bank of doors to try to maneuver around.
4. Sliding Wall System –
- These doors will span the length of our walls!
- The panels of glass come in large sizes so we will not have too many panels across the wall.
- The doors can nest inside a built in “pocket” to be completely out of view and out of the way of walking areas when fully opened.
- These doors can be screened for every day use or to allow the breeze to blow through in the evenings without all of the bugs.
- Plenty of Custom Options – you can design the wall as you wish by adding transom windows above the door, grills in the glass, and they come in a variety of color options, etc.
- The guide track they use to slide can get rather wide on the threshold of the floor if there are many panels.
- The glass panels are slightly staggered when closed due to the fact that each piece is on its own track.
So there you have it! The pros and cons of each door system!
The moment you have been waiting for…. and the winner is….
THE SLIDING WALL!
The sliding wall just made sense for our space. I wanted the wall to essentially feel non-existent and that is what this system allows. We were able to get large panels of glass to keeping the track on the threshold to a minimum. We had enough wall space to add pockets for the doors to nest completely out of view when they are open which will create the feel of having a flowing space indoor to outdoor. Since I chose black windows for our farmhaus, these doors will also be black. I am not going to add grills to the glass panels so that the eye will be drawn out to the loggia rather than you view being halted at the door threshold. I can already feel the breeze blowing through my hair as I listen to faint laughter coming from the pool area… this will be a very pleasurable space for our family and friends!
Now I am off to select the rest of the exterior door package…Fun, Fun!
Stay tuned friends~