Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Exterior French Doors: Which would you choose?

If you are like us, then you love a good French Door.  Over the years, we have collected nearly 100 photographs of some of the most gorgeous doors to use as inspiration.  Today's photographs show some of our favorites.

Not only are these French doors to die for, but so is the entire entry!  Love the glass detail and traditional French door hardware.  The transom above lets in so much light into this otherwise windowless space.  A great old world look in a new space.

This wooden door features an arch and glass.  It is surrounded by a beautiful stone entry, with a Napoleon arch to top it all off.  I would take this entry in a heartbeat.

This door is also found on the home above.  You can see that they continued with the same arched wood door theme.

I am really starting to like black doors and black trim.  There is something about it that looks so clean and upscale.  While this six panel door is not French, it does have a French look when you add the arched transom and black light fixture.  The black railings also help to frame it all in nicely.  We all have said the difference is in the details.  Well this entry features boxwoods above the entry, lots of great hardware on the door, spiral boxwoods (in pots of course), and window boxes.  I wish I could read what the little black sign says!

What an impressive entry!  These french doors trick the eye a little while saving a few bucks.  From a distance, the glass appears to be arched (a costly feature).  When you look close, you see that they are actually square framed doors with three quarter curved glass panes (less costly).  The design then carries over to the arched stone entry and second story arched window.  I love seeing those little round windows off to the side.

These French doors are simple and elegant.

Now this wood door just may appear at our front doorstep.  The arch is smooth and not too round.  The panels give it a high end elegant feel.  It features a small glass panel to allow visibility to your guests, while still providing privacy and security.  We currently have glass down the side of our entry door that extends to the floor.  Bad mistake if you have a King Charles Spaniel and  Lhasa Apso, unless you like barking of course.

When we planned for a large grand entry, this style was a possibility.  So much light is allowed into the space through the use of glass transoms.  We have since downsized the entry space because of the style of home we chose.  Still, anyone wanting a spacious entry would appreciate these doors.

We will share our final door options as we build our French inspired home.  Until then, we invite you to become a follower. There will be giveaways during the entire building process so join us now so you don't miss out on something great later!

The next post will feature photographs from the future building site!


  1. I love Option 6 --they're the perfect country French doors--welcoming and homey, yet classy.

  2. Definitely option 5. Love a black door, and add an arch and I'm sold!!

  3. Each door has a distinct style. I say whatever you pick.... let the light in!
    I am a new follower!

  4. I like option 6. YOu could also paint it black if you want. Simple is better. Not a fan of an elaborate door with leaded glass or scroll work. It looks faux chateau to me. That's why number 6 shines. It isn't trying to hard! I agree with Yvonne, whatever you pick, let the light in! ~Delores

  5. I like 5 or 7. Would love either one of those on our house, but that won't be happening. I don't care much for our door and sidelights anymore.

  6. I was interested to come across your blog. We are English and living and building a house in France. It is a long, hard process as it is just my partner Brendan building it and me labouring to him.
    Like you I would like the final result not to look too 'new'.
    We are nowhere near the shutter stage yet, but I have to decide on the paint colour as I need to paint the windows soon.
    Good Luck with your project.

    1. Hi Deorah, Depending on where the house is located in France, blue is a very traditional color for shutters, windows, wooden doors, wooden gates and wooden outdoor furniture. In the old days, copper sulfate (a preservative) was mixed with the white wash to produce a clear, brilliant blue with a very faint hint of green. That color looks best in Provence. However, you can start with Robin's Egg Blue and add white or grey to produce a more subtle version. Where I live, we use blue with a tinge of violet to compliment the lavender flowers. It all depends on the quality of light in your area.

  7. Love option number 6, in fact I had similar ones on my last home and as simple as they were, they were breath taking.

    Love all you inspire.
    - Dore

  8. We have a Country French home now and have been researching the contruction of a new one. When you really want to say "French", the Segmental Arch (1/4 of a circle) is, in my opinion the way to go. (Options 5, 7 and 8.)

    The Gothic arch, Roman Arch (1/2 of a circle)and Eyebrow Flat arch are all used in French domestic architecture. However, they are also used in English, Italian and Spanish architecture. This can give a mixed message to the viewer.

    The Segmental Arch is quinessentially French. It has the gentle arch of the eyebrows of someone who is happy to see you. It looks to me like a smile or a flirtacious wink. All of these things say "French" to me. Just my 4 cents worth!

    I think you are sophisticated enough to know this, but do not mix your arches! Check out a book called "What NOT to build" by Edelman, Gaman and Reid. The pictures of real homes are sometimes hilarious and sometimes sad. No one wants to make the next edition!

    1. Hearing others ideas and thoughts is one of my favorite parts about blogging. As you mentioned, all of the variations are used in French architecture. I think it’s a toss up between the 1/2 and 1/4 arch. When looking at Château de Versailles or the Louvre most French doors are flat with no arch at all, however; many of the windows feature 1/2 circles arches. When looking at L'Arc de Triomphe, it too features arches of 1/2 circle. These are structures that I think couldn't be any more French. I will certainly look up the book you reference. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    2. It really depends on how large and how formal you wish your new home to be. The designers of the L'Arc de Triomphe intentionally used the Roman arch (1/2 of a circle) to suggest the glory of the Roman Empire. A Roman "Triumph" was a formal parade celebration that followed winning a war. L'Arc de Triomphe created a permanent triumphal parade in stone. If you will note, buildings with large spaces to span and/or very heavy roofs, like Versailles or Notre Dame, use Roman arches or Gothic Arches.

      There is no question that the segmental arch (1/4 of a circle) is less grandiose. It also cannot support as much weight as the other two types of arches which is why it tends to be reserved for residential architecture. If you like the look of French doors with flat tops, there is no reason why you cannot have a transom that is a segmental arch.

      It also depands on how much money you have to spend on creating a French look. If the house does not clearly say French, you will need to spend more money on furnishings to keep it from drifting into an English or an Italian look.

      However, that is the joy of designing your own home - you can do whatever floats your boat!

  9. It all depends on the front of the home but I personally would choose option 5. We had similar doors on our Baton Rouge home and we miss them to this day.

  10. It’s definitely option no. 8 for me! I’m a morning person and I love my front porch soaked in the sun when I wake up. The transparent glass panels maximize the light coming in. And the hanging night lamps and the two huge clay jars are a perfect finish to this classic French country home style.

  11. French doors will always be my favorite! Oh! I really love all those French doors especially option #7! Our entry door looks like this one, it’s just that I think our door is a smaller version of it. What I love most about French doors is that its glass paves way for natural light and breaks the barrier between the house and its surroundings!

  12. I’d have to say #8 for its overall style, but if I were to choose a simpler one, I’d go with #2. I just goes well with our house, particularly since ours roughly match the one in the picture, though with different windows and doors.


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