Homeowners and designers are finding new ways to make spaces more welcoming.
Homeowners shouldn't be closed-minded when it comes to interior doors. Doors are now considered vital parts of homes under construction or undergoing makeovers, thanks to builders and designers, who are paying close attention to how doors separate spaces and 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 single-family homes and condos can add to the grandeur of residences.
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. And people notice the difference.
"Instead of having this expansive space between the top of your door frame and the ceiling height, it makes your home look bigger and more stately," said Art Rountree, operations director for Kairos Development Corp.
Designers say three-panel doors are a good fit for the transitional style of many of today's homes. Door manufacturers are coming out with these options, which create cleaner lines, instead of the traditional six-panel door, Mathis said.
Designed to save space
Traditional doors that swing out or in can take up valuable space. Some door decisions are focused on open space and creating a flow for entertaining and everyday living, causing people to consider pocket doors and 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 range from 36 to 60 inches wide, and almost all are 8 feet tall. (Johnson Hardware and Hafele are two companies they use.)
Pocket doors can work between bedrooms and living areas, living areas and offices, bathrooms, closets and other spots in modern and traditional homes. 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 from the tub to the mature white oaks in the back yard.
"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."
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, breakfast room or keeping room, to the back yard. Minnesota-based 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.