French Doors

Let There be Light
Adding French or casement doors to your home is like adding extra windows -light comes flooding in and suddenly the home is extended to the outside world. Apart from this practical purpose, the doors themselves add an old world ambiance to a home. Traditionally they come in many elegant, ornate styles, with various numbers of panes, timber details, wrought iron work and elegant fixtures. Imagine the balcony in the picture at right with a solid door...just wouldn't look any good would it? Since I've never heard the term French door, without an "s" on the end I'm assuming their has to be two.

French doors began in the 17th century as casement windows that were extended to floor level on the upper storeys of houses. Once they'd be invented, no doubt the home dwellers would have put two and two together and realised how convenient it would be to have a window-like door you could slip in and out of. Balconies were added to upper floors and French doors placed at ground level. These days, if space and the position of the sun allows it, some houses incorporate whole walls constructed of French doors.
Image by finsbry at Flickr
Eternally in Vogue
Interior French doors. Image from Wiles Windows
While French doors work wonderfully well opening out onto a garden or terrace they're also a great idea for dividing rooms where you may wish to seal off the sound or keep in the heat but not lose the light. They can also make smaller rooms appear larger and less claustrophobic, though obviously not ideal for rooms where privacy is an issue.

Owing to the universal  popularity of French doors, there's a vast variety of styles to choose from, including  the conventional multi-paned, hinged door to contemporary bi-folding or sliding walls of doors in timber, steel and aluminium, with or without panes and embellishments.