When I first set eyes on our house, the moment I set foot inside the large entrance gates I fell in love with the driveway lined with a flowering hedge and the sweep of lawn and garden beyond. But that day I fell in love twice, the second time was with the front doors, and both have been love affairs that have not lessened in the slightest, each and every day I still get the same feeling every time I come and go. Read more
I have blogged about (and photographed) gates, secret gardens, many houses and also châteaux, but I’ve never exclusively concentrated on front-doors. Here in France there are so many styles, colours, choices and different patinas showing wear and tear that it becomes quite a choice when it’s time to find a door – does one go for modern technology and all its advantages or do you choose a very heavy antique door that has lasted for centuries and doubtless will continue to do so for many more to come? I think my choice becomes apparent fairly quickly……
With very old doors come very old keys; huge, heavy keys, which are antiques in their own right. They don’t fit very neatly in a pocket but on the other hand they are much harder to lose and they always add a certain je ne sais quoi.
First and foremost one has to remember that the front door has normally been built as the main entrance to a house, even if many of us actually use a back door, a side door, perhaps the garage or the boot-room instead! Usually the very first thing we see when arriving at someone’s home is the front door, and it creates that all important first impression, giving us a hint as to what the rest of the house may be like.
But the front door has to play many other roles too – it must deter uninvited guests, it must keep out the cold and quite often it needs to let in some light to the entrance hall itself.
Everyone knows what our front door looks like, it’s a door that is delightful but not immediately practical for it can be a little drafty. Fortunately we have shutters, typical of French houses and so for added security and to keep out the very cold nights we can shut the shutters and keep what is outside, out!
I wonder what would be your choice, if you were able to choose? Would you stick with a very old plain door that has been a part of the house for decades?
Even better if they have a small leaded window above
Or would you paint it a bright colour?
Perhaps a little bit of cottage style?
And what about plants, do you like them around the door or would you cut them back?
So many choices, so many decisions. I think unless a door is very ugly I would do just as we have done and live with it as part of the history of the house. It sets the character of the home right from the start and defines a style quite perfectly.