In­te­rior doors can add light, per­son­al­ity

The Daily Courier - - HOMES - By MELISSA RAYWORTH

Clients are some­times sur­prised when home builder and de­signer Marnie Oursler starts talk­ing about bed­room doors.

They ex­pect to dis­cuss things like win­dows, wall colours and where a built-in book­case might fit best.

But many of Oursler’s clients hadn’t con­sid­ered that cre­atively de­signed in­te­rior doors can add per­son­al­ity, im­prove the flow of nat­u­ral light, and also serve as flex­i­ble par­ti­tions to break up an open floor plan or con­nect two rooms.

“I’ve been us­ing doors to add char­ac­ter in houses for a long time,” said Delaware-based Oursler, who hosts Big Beach Builds on the DIY Net­work. “Mix­ing up doors through­out the house is re­ally im­por­tant,” she says, “and it’s easy.”

We’ve asked Oursler and two other in­te­rior de­sign ex­perts — ar­chi­tect Ta­mara Gorodet­zky, an as­so­ciate with GTM Ar­chi­tects in the Wash­ing­ton, D.C., area, and Caleb An­der­son, co-founder of the New York-based Drake/An­der­son — for ad­vice on us­ing in­te­rior doors to el­e­vate a home’s style and func­tion.


Bed­room and bath­room doors can eas­ily be swapped out for a dif­fer­ent style, and you don’t have to stick with tra­di­tional wood.

“If you look at the mag­a­zines now,” Gorodet­zky says, “peo­ple are do­ing re­ally cre­ative things like us­ing a lot of steel in their doors in­stead of wood to give it an in­dus­trial look.”

An­other op­tion is re­fin­ish­ing doors with paint, up­hol­stery or other cov­er­ings.

An­der­son up­dated tra­di­tional wooden doors in a client’s en­try­way us­ing a metal­lic faux fin­ish that turned “this pair of dou­ble doors that were very tra­di­tional and stuffy” into some­thing eye­catch­ing. “You im­me­di­ately walked into the apart­ment and there was this unique fin­ish,” he said. “It was pretty spec­tac­u­lar.” For an­other client, he had a set of piv­ot­ing doors made and up­hol­stered in leather, with nickel nail­head de­tail­ing.

“You don’t have to be afraid to do some­thing bold or dif­fer­ent,” An­der­son says.

Gorodet­zky agrees: “I def­i­nitely like the idea of do­ing a fea­ture door in a place where peo­ple will see it,” she says. “If you have an of­fice flank­ing your front foyer, it’s a nice op­por­tu­nity to do a French door.” DOORS AS OP­TIONAL WALLS By adding a slid­ing barn door or a set of piv­ot­ing doors, you can break up an open space with­out adding some­thing as per­ma­nent as a wall.

“For so long we’ve been in this world of open, open, knock down this wall,” An­der­son says. “I’ve seen a lot of peo­ple grav­i­tat­ing back to­ward the abil­ity to close a din­ing room off ... it adds this level of for­mal­ity.”

Slid­ing doors can be ca­sual, rus­tic barn doors with heavy hard­ware, or some­thing sleek and for­mal. No mat­ter which style you choose, Oursler says, “they add a lot of char­ac­ter, open or closed.”

For one client, Gorodet­zky’s firm com­mis­sioned an artist to cre­ate a huge, dra­matic piece of art­work made of steel and plas­ter, and then hung it as a slid­ing door that could close off one sec­tion of their home. LET IN MORE LIGHT Most of us have solid wooden doors through­out our homes. But th­ese de­sign­ers all say glass doors — clear or frosted for pri­vacy and beauty — are a great way to help nat­u­ral light flow through a home.

For bed­room doors that lead to a hall­way, con­sider bright­en­ing the space by switch­ing to ones with frosted glass win­dows.

In large master bath­rooms that have a sep­a­rate en­clo­sure for the toi­let, or in small pow­der rooms with no win­dow, a frosted glass door brings nat­u­ral light and makes the enclosed space seem a lit­tle less tiny.

An­der­son worked with a client who wanted a sep­a­rate din­ing room and kitchen. The chal­lenge was this: The kitchen lacked nat­u­ral light, while the din­ing area had plenty. So rather than put up a wall, An­der­son added in­te­rior par­ti­tions and doors made of tex­tured, mot­tled glass. It was, he says, the “so­lu­tion to al­low nat­u­ral light in, but to be soft and this nat­u­ral el­e­ment.” WHAT TO AVOID? If you’re re­fin­ish­ing or up­hol­ster­ing doors, An­der­son says, keep dura­bil­ity in mind.

“If you’re wrap­ping it in a wall cov­er­ing, some­times you just have to be care­ful you’re not choos­ing a ma­te­rial that’s go­ing to peel or fray,” he says. “Doors move and they func­tion, so any­thing that you’re do­ing with them needs to be able to with­stand that.”

Also, Gorodet­zky says, don’t go with too much con­trast un­less it’s truly your style.

“I don’t re­ally like the idea of do­ing dif­fer­ent doors in every room,” she says.

You may be hap­pier with a care­fully cho­sen, con­sis­tent style through­out your home, with one or two more dra­matic doors mixed in.

Lastly, if you buy a vin­tage door that was painted, be aware that paint used be­fore 1978 prob­a­bly had lead in it.

You can buy a lead-based paint re­moval kit, Oursler says, or sand the old paint off in a well-ven­ti­lated space. On­line: drake­an­der­ gt­mar­chi­

The As­so­ci­ated Press

This photo pro­vided by Marnie Cus­tom Homes shows a door with tiny win­dows that can be per­fect for a young child's bed­room, bring­ing whim­si­cal style and prac­ti­cal­ity. Nat­u­ral light can en­ter the room and par­ents can check on sleep­ing kids with­out dis­turb­ing them.

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