Front door less than 8ft tall ok if flanking closets are 8ft?

threeapplesJuly 6, 2012

We have a header at 10 ft so our door, fanlight transom, and molding cannot exceed 10ft and door guy says front door should be less tall to fit in. Architect had a discrepancy in plans and we are left with this situation. Any advice on the door height?

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palimpsest

You have several options if these doors have not yet been fabricated or ordered

A)Make them the same height as the vestibule door.

B)Make then distinctly shorter than the vestibule door because they are closet doors and lower in the hierarchy of used, and they are also narrow

C)Leave them at eight feet.

I would probably do C, because they will balance each other and you won't then have to worry about the adjacent study door. The fanlight will also contribute height to the opening as a whole.

I would probably not do A, because then you have to decide what happens to the study door, which would then be the only 8 foot door.

I would not do B, because then everything would be a different size.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2012 at 2:40PM
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threeapples

We were thinking to do the vestibule door exactly the same as the front door, both in size and fanlight, side lite treatment. It's the vestibule door that is flanked by the closets. Should we have both vestibule and front door less than 8 ft if closet and library doors are 8 ft? Should we not mirror the vestibule door like the front with the window surrounds (transom and side lites)? I'm having a hard time de using what to do. I want it historic and it'd be nice to let light in, but price is a factor as well and they are quoting us $15,000 for just the front door with transom and side lites. Doubling that is crazy, right?

    Bookmark   July 6, 2012 at 3:30PM
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nini804

We had something similar happen with our build...our ceilings are 10ft and all of our doors are 8ft...we have double doors with a transom for our front. BUT, since the way our staircase is designed it is cantilevered over the stoop with a barrel vault...there was no room for an 8 ft door with the big arched transom, so the front doors are standard size with the transom. Dh was very worried how this would look on the inside since all doors and cased openings are 8', but it looks fine. And from the front, it looks just right.

One option dh considered before architect and I talked him out of it, was to send the doors back and have new, arched topped doors with no transom. Besides the waste and significant cost...I really didn't want that. I wanted that pretty arched transom! Anyway, that's a thought if you want those doors 8'. But I wouldn't do it, especially not with your historic house.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2012 at 4:31PM
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palimpsest

I went back and referred to the plan, when I was thinking of how I would do it.

It becomes an issue of starting and stopping points. If you change the closets, what about the study door? If you change the study door what about the dining room opening?, and so on.

Remember, the overall "opening height" will be almost ten feet, because of the fanlight.

I think it would be beautiful to have the front door and the vestibule door a matched set. Do you think the interior door will be as expensive as the exterior? The exterior door has to hold up to weather conditions and the glass and such needs to be insulated. What happens if you use and interior grade door and single pane glass? Should be a little less, I would think. (But one of the quotes I got to make a square operable window with a round spoked pattern in it to put in my bathroom where a window had been bricked up was $8000, so who knows)

The other thing you could do with the interior door is do a plain elliptical fanlight, or a tall square topped fanlight with simple vertical rectangular divisions, essentially filling the whole width and most of the height over the door with glass. Some of the vestibules in houses around here have the inner glassed door done in a slightly different "Order", or in a simpler manner than the outer.

Not to cloud the waters about the door but unless that inner door is going to be closed at all times, perhaps it should be a PAIR of glass doors so they can rest open somewhat symmetrically. That is another thing I've seen around here.

You have one more option with the closets, and that is to make the doors VERY simple, smaller and with cupboard like hardware, like cupboards, really, and match them to each other and treat them as part of the trim work rather than separate "doorways".

    Bookmark   July 6, 2012 at 5:24PM
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threeapples

so are you saying it's ok to have the front door and vestibule door shorter than 8 ft even if the closet doors are 8 ft?

a pair of doors for the vestibule is a very interesting idea. would that mean we don't do side lites or transom and just a set of divided lite french doors?

we decided to do 3 panel doors on the closet doors, stained cherry. not sure what you mean by cupboard like hardware, but that sounds interesting. how does that work on very thick doors?

    Bookmark   July 6, 2012 at 11:03PM
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palimpsest

"so are you saying it's ok to have the front door and vestibule door shorter than 8 ft even if the closet doors are 8 ft?"

Yes, because the fanlight makes the door opening as a whole close to ten feet.

I would probably include the transom and the sidelites with the double doors. However, if you weren't matching the fanlights and just doing a rectangular transom on the inner you COULD have the inner double doors 8 feet and the rectangular transom could fill in the rest. You are not restricted to shortening the door to accomodate a stilted elliptical fanlight which is what I am assuming the problem was.

If your closet doors are going to essentially match the study door I would use the same hardware.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2012 at 11:29PM
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threeapples

the study door will be divided lite.

hmmn, ok. i have some thinking to do.

thanks for the great ideas.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2012 at 11:31PM
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palimpsest

"the study door will be divided lite."

Ah...why not do paired divided lite doors, 8 feet tall, like the study door, but with the addition of sidelites?

It is not quite as impressive as a double fanlight but it would solve a lot of issues. What to "match", sizes, budget, etc.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2012 at 11:50PM
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palimpsest

Actually it could be really interesting to do the closet doors in matching divided lites, but with mirror or antiqued mirror.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2012 at 11:52PM
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threeapples

mirrored doors, interesting. i'll have to do a photo search for this. is this in keeping with the historic aesthetic?

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 9:49AM
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threeapples

So if we did the closet doors in antique mirror would they be 3panel still? They are 24 in wide and 8 ft tall.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 10:06AM
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threeapples

Here's a photo.....
Would we have the mullions stained like the vestibule door(s)?
Or, since the doors are tall and narrow might this be too much "pattern" with all the rectangular lites on the closet doors and those of the vestibule double or single door(s).

Eclectic Living Room design by San Francisco Interior Designer Jerry Jacobs Design, Inc.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 10:24AM
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palimpsest

I would consider matching the closet doors to the study door. Since, they will be more similar to the study door than the front door. I think you would have to sketch it out and see what you think.

It would be a lot of pattern. I don't know that it is completely historic, but a fair amount of mirror was used by those who could afford it, to bounce the limited light around.

I put fake sidelights and a horizontal transom around the entry door to my apartment, mirrored them and applied a lead pattern based on the windows in the main stairwell. I was afraid it was going to be hokey, but it fools people into thinking you can see into the exterior hall, and people seem to like it. I think this picture is before the final perimeter lead was added.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 12:36PM
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threeapples

Wow. That looks amazing! Would it be odd to do that for transom and side lites on interior and exterior of the vestibule door if the caming on front door transom and side lites are wood and thicker?

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 2:16PM
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threeapples

Now I'm wondering how it would look if we did a single divided lite door as the vestibule door and did the transom and side lites in leaded glass instead of mirror with lead or regular glass with wood mullions. Would it be strange that the pattern might look slightly different since the lead is a little thinner than the pattern of the wood would be? And, if we did this would it be too much to do the closet doors in divided lite mirrors?

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 8:54PM
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palimpsest

I think I would do paired doors with regular sidelights. I showed the mirrored sidelights as an example since I suggested mirroring the closet doors.

The interior doors should coordinate with something, so I would probably make them the same style as the closet doors and the study door.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 9:38PM
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threeapples

so french doors for the vestibule, but can sidelites and transom be leaded glass, or do they need to be the wood? i ask because leaded is a lot cheaper.

i'm leaning toward doing the closet doors in just three panel wood because i'm still nervous about all the "pattern" on the french doors, transom, side lites, checkered flooring, library door, etc.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 10:26PM
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palimpsest

Can you get an appropriate pattern in leaded off the shelf? They all seem so Victorian, but maybe that's just what people usually pick.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 10:38PM
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threeapples

not sure about off the shelf, but there is a leaded glass guy near our next house and i think he can do leaded with wide caming (still not as wide as the wood though). i'd do it without sandwiching it between panes of glass as, at least to me, that looks really ahistoric.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 10:57PM
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palimpsest

I would probably do either exactly whats in the front door sidelites or plain divided lite sidelites that matched the den door divided lights.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 11:01PM
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threeapples

What about the transom? It needs to be exactly like the front door in terms of material if we do the same pattern?
I love your mirror idea, but don't know how to best use it in this area.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 11:15PM
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threeapples

What about the transom? It needs to be exactly like the front door in terms of material if we do the same pattern?
I love your mirror idea, but don't know how to best use it in this area.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 8:15AM
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palimpsest

I would say that the transom could be the same material with the same pattern, it could be the same shape with a single lite (which would be transitional really but that's ok) or it could be rectangular with upright rectangular divided lites.

The mirror idea, to me anyway, is only effective if you are doing it where you actually Couldn't or Wouldn't Want to have real windows.

I think the important thing to maintain with the number of openings that are adjacent here (5?), and the number of doors to be used here (5-6?) is some sort of consistency or logic behind the choices.

I think if you don't have a leaded surround right at the front, you probably should not do it on the inner doors because it adds another material. Likewise the solid doors should have some kind of pattern relationship with the other solid doors, and the doors with glazing should have some kind of pattern relationship with the other glazed doors...and ideally they should have a relationship with each other as well.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 8:53AM
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palimpsest

Shape-wise, this is what I was thinking, and it could go as high as you could put it:

And for simplicity's sake (and budget) you could do this, as long as the lites in the transom work out vertical:
(horrible rendering). This skews a bit federal.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 6:27PM
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threeapples

palimpsest, do you think your first example here (the top blue door) has a transom shape that is more ideal to the elliptical we've been thinking of?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 10:00PM
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palimpsest

Georgian would have a true elliptical transom on the front most likely, it a house of your stature.

That's probably why the house I got this off of, mimicked the ellipse. This still looks stilted though, which is good.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 10:05PM
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