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A Look at the History and Evolution of French Doors

French doors are an elegant and timeless feature that has graced homes for centuries. From their origins in the 1800s to modern-day, let’s explore the history of French doors. Plus, how they have evolved over time. Was it the 19th century or the Roman era? Lets explore this together.

Ancient Double Doors

The earliest precursor to the modern French door can be traced back to ancient Rome. In ancient times homes and public buildings were equipped with large windows and doors made of glass. Possibly even with thin sheets of marble. These doors allowed for natural light and ventilation, and were an important element of Roman architecture.

Ancient Roman or Renaissance French Doors

In the Middle Ages, glass making techniques improved, allowing for the creation of larger and more intricate glass windows. These windows were often used in churches and other public buildings. They eventually made their way into private homes as well.

The modern French door as we know it today began to emerge in the 16th and 17th centuries. Especially during the Baroque and Rococo periods their popularity rose. These doors were often used in grand, ornate buildings and featured intricate details and decorations.

What Is a French Door?

French doors are a type of door that is typically composed of two or more individual, hinged panels. These panels are most commonly glass and span the entire length of the door frame, allowing natural light to enter while still providing security and privacy. French doors were originally designed to provide connection between two separate rooms in a home, but can also be used as exterior entrance points.

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French Door that swings outward
French Door that swings outward

Early Usage in Medieval France.

The use of French doors dates back to the Middle Ages in France, where it was used in grand homes and castles. Back then, these doors were made from wood and iron bars, as well as glass. In addition to providing a connection between two separate rooms, they were also used for aesthetic reasons, often featuring intricate designs and carvings that served as conversation starters among visitors.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, the French door became more popular in residential architecture, especially in the United States. The popularity of the French door can be attributed to several factors, including the rise of the suburbs and the trend towards more open and airy floor plans.

Adoption of the Swing-Out Doors by Europeans.

One of the most significant changes to the French door was the adoption of swing-out doors. This allowed for more flexibility and space in between rooms, as now instead of having two separate doors that had to be shut completely, one could just swing outwards, allowing for more casual movement. Swing-out doors were adopted in other parts of Europe and quickly became a popular choice for grand architectural designs.

Adoption of Sandy’s Passage Doors in America.

Sandy’s passage doors were also popularized in America, and as people from Europe started to settle into the new area they adopted the use of this door. Classic Georgian-era homes often feature French doors as an entrance way but also for connecting rooms. The grandeur of these French doors often speak for themselves, making them a timeless feature to any home. From their rich history to their modern construction, one can appreciate that French doors are here to stay.

French Doors Are Reborn in the 20th Century.

French doors experienced a resurgence in popularity in the late 20th Century. As homeowners become more conscious of energy efficiency, manufacturers focused on creating traditional-looking French doors. They made sure that were insulated and structured for improved performance. These new iterations had wider frames which helped make them more secure. Plus, alongside modern bonus features like lock systems capable of remote operation. Nowadays, one can find various materials used to construct these beloved entranceways, such as wood, metal or vinyl.

Inward swinging french doors
Inward Swinging French Doors

Today, French doors continue to be a popular choice for homeowners looking to add natural light and a sense of openness to their homes. They are often used to connect the interior of a home with an outdoor space, such as a patio or garden. They are also a popular choice for commercial buildings, especially in hospitality and retail settings.

Overall, the French door has a rich and fascinating history, and continues to be a popular choice for homeowners and architects around the world.

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