Front Door Fashions
In 1980 my family and I spent our summer vacation traveling around Ireland. What I remember most vividly about visiting Dublin were the famous “Doors of Dublin”: the eponymous poster was for sale everywhere and sparked a host of similar designs in other cities and countries. The Dublin phenomenon dates back all the way to the 1700's during the Georgian time period (1714-1830). New chic Georgian homes were being developed beyond the medieval town and initially, they were given strict architectural guidelines. Each building had to maintain the same uniform look and any originality was discouraged. To break away from these strict structural rules, residents eventually began adding their own personal flair to their doors. Colorful painted doors with ornate knockers and elegant fanlights above the door was a result of this push for individuality, and to this day the Doors of Dublin remain an absolute must-see.
It made absolute sense to me that, many years later, HGTV dedicated an entire show – Curb Appeal - to the design of a home's initial impression: front door, yard, and overall outside appearance. What our house looks like on the outside speaks volumes about the inside. Keeping up your home's curb appeal is important and not just for resale value: there's nothing more welcoming than a house that shows off its best “face” to the outside world.
One of my favorite tips from the show's host John Gidding is “If you’ve got one bold color on your home, it should definitely be on your front door. Why not orange for a green home, or purple for a gray one? If you step out of your comfort zone, people will take notice and be drawn to the entrance of your home.” I could not agree more, so I collected a whole range of front doors ideas: from old to new, modern to traditional, there's a front door idea for everyone.
Let's start our search for inspiration in Paris, where most of the doors on the classic haussmannian buildings are painted some shade of verdigris, a bluish/greenish mix with decidedly cool overtones that works beautifully with the patina of older stone buildings. Formidable!
Next stop Marrakech, where cobalt blue is considered a neutral, the best use of this color is of course on display at Yves Saint Laurent's famous retreat Le Jardin Majorelle. This cool electric shade is the perfect complement to the warmer tones of a brick building. Don't forget the finishing touches: an artful door knocker, ornate keyhole, polished mail slot and brass kick plate.
No front door is complete without a touch of greenery: from a pair of neatly trimmed topiaries to an overgrown jungle of wildflowers and ivy. Cacti and succulents are the perfect pairings for mid-century modern doors.
You may never consider these crazy brights for an entire house, but on the front door they look chic and strong, especially when off-set by whites.
Of course the classics are always in style: high-gloss black and lipstick red. Or how about stripping a brass door of all its paint and polishing it up to a gleaming all-over brass?
Last but not least, let's look at the artful door. While I am personally not a big fan of stained-glass – the opportunities to veer into the land of tacky kitsch are myriad – these examples are restrained and contemporary, and the sprays of colored light beams they throw around your hallways are nothing short of spectacular. The same can be said for the intricate shadow pattern play created by artisanally wrought iron doors. How remarkable that one single design element can change the entire appearance of a house, time to rethink the front door…