September 16, 2015

Posted in doors, interior design

Opportunity Knocks

When opportunity knocks, which door will you choose?

Ancient pictorial records reveal doors of wood and metal used to block off and allow access, both to interior and exterior space. Often referred to as gates, similar structures are used to access courtyards, gardens, cemeteries, parks and pools. Styles can be as simple or elaborate as the designer imagines.

Generally, the functional purpose of an open door is to admit people, animals, ventilation or light. When designing a space one must consider the building aesthetics, who will use the space, what purpose will the door or gate serve and how formal should the design be.

Stiles, rails, panels or planks, hinges and other functional components of a door have remained similar over time. However, door styles have changed throughout history revealing doors both primitive and elaborate, functional and decorative. Typically speaking, most of us identify with the traditional door – rectangular in shape, swinging inward or outward. The design becomes interesting with the pairing of materials, architectural style and embellishments that bring life and purpose to the door.


PANEL DOORS, often called “stile and rail doors” are built with frame and panel construction. Panels may be flat or raised.

PLANK DOORS can be similar to panel doors, but with panels made of large vertical slats or vertical boards filling the width of the panel space.

ARTS & CRAFTS DOORS also called “Craftsman” or “Shaker” consist of stile and rail frame with simple square “sticking”.

BARN DOORS once thought to be utilitarian in purpose have become quite widely used in rustic and contemporary settings. Often space is a consideration. Perhaps a hinged door impedes functional space; but, when placed on a sliding hardware mechanism the barn door is both functional and an artistic aesthetic in the space. The materials chosen will set the tone for your personal space. To achieve a more contemporary look, try frosted glass with polished nickel hardware.

FRENCH DOORS – Looking for grandeur? Who isn’t awe struck by the elegance of all things French in style? The look is in the Old World craftsman skills adding moldings, arches, handsome hardware, glass, intricate iron grills and beautiful, fine woods. When viewed from the curb one imagines what beautiful interiors lie behind these doors. Also known as French doors, homeowners may choose to have a more simple style double door leading to a patio. Each door may have a solid glass panel within the door frame or be divided by muntins.

POCKET DOORS often used for small water closets, these doors slide into the wall, saving space while providing privacy when needed.

CONTEMPORARY DOORS are making a pivotal change opting to turn away from traditional hinges for a cleaner look accomplished with an off-set pivot that runs thru the entire door. Another alternative for bringing the outdoors inside is the use of doors that slide into the wall for a completely open concept.

DUTCH DOORS are sometimes referred to double-hung doors or stable doors. The lower half can be closed while the upper half is open for ventilation or simply to have a view into another place. Dutch doors evoke memories of Colonial or Early American lifestyle.


All doors have to have the capability to swing inward, outward or both directions. Most doors are mounted with pin and barrel hinges. Depending upon the height and weight of the door you may need three and sometimes four hinges per door. Traditional hinges are visible on the opening side of the door. More recently, concealed hinges are being used to create “Invisible Doors”. When combined with Kerfed Flat Jambs, case-less interior door openings provide clean, contemporary styling. Pivot hinges, previously discussed in contemporary door styles are becoming more widely used in contemporary settings. With the rod running the length of the door, pivot hinges are engineered to function according to the specifications of the door.

In commercial settings, we experience additional choices and building codes that must be taken into consideration. Rotating or revolving doors have several wings or leaves forming compartments allowing people to be entering and exiting simultaneously while forming an airlock between inside and out.

Automatically opening doors, powered by electricity, spring or both, detect approaching traffic by sensor, can be opened by remote devices or operated manually. These are often seen in gated communities, hospital settings and office buildings.


With more than 30 years’ experience honed to perfection, John and Thad Walton founded Sun Mountain Custom Doors in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Their work merges master wood finishers and old world craftsmanship with modern woodworking technology to produce sophisticated, custom designs for each customer. Expanding to meet the demand, Sun Mountain Custom Doors is proud to welcome customers into a beautiful showroom just a short drive away in Asheville, NC.

Ask me about a personal tour and consultation to discuss your next project.

Terry Gillespie, Owner & Designer

Hennessee Haven, LLC
Interior Design and Lifestyle Boutique
820 S. Main St. Suite #101
Greenville, SC 29601

Terry Gillespie
Terry Gillespie