9' ceilings w/ french doors AND transoms.. to squished?

tinker_2006October 15, 2010

I really am so torn about window and doors.. it is making my head spin! I thought that the draftsmen would have been able to advise me on details.. like the windows and doors! But I guess I as the customer needs to determine what will look the best!

My concern is that with the transoms (or 8' doors) it will look squished at the top. I'm sure using 10' ceilings would have a nicer look, but we are sticking with 9' ceilings.

Here are some 3D images from my program, please give me some feedback! I do desire the home to have a cottage feel..

9' ceilings with standard door/transom From Drop Box From Drop Box

9' ceilings with 7' doors From Drop Box From Drop Box

9' ceilings with 8' doors From Drop Box From Drop Box

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IMO the shorter doors plus the transoms are the look you want. We have a more formal home: 9' ceilings and the taller French doors.

I don't know how *costs* compare, but shorter doors (and their screens) should be cheaper. The shorter doors should weigh less, possibly making them easier to open and close.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 11:00AM
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Hi chisue, now seeing all three ways posted on the screen, it does look like the shorter doors with transoms my be our best way. You have 9' ceilings with 8' doors? It gives you a formal look? I like the formal look, however, I am striving for a country cottage look.. just wasn't sure the transom did that!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 11:15AM
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I agree with chisue. i'd go for the regular height doors with transoms first, the regular height doors w/out transoms second, and the taller doors last (actually i wouldn't do them at all). the first couple of pictures is a great look.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 11:18AM
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I don't like the 8 ft doors with the 9 ft ceilings at all. The doors look too tall and skinny. The 7'0 doors without transoms looks fine. But, the first image with a standard 6'8" door with transom window above is wonderful and looks very "cottage". That is definitely the look I would go for.

Are you planning for your interior doors to also match the header heights of windows in the room? Interior transoms look so cool and, if you don't insist that they be operable, you can frame them up easily and fill the "transom" space with either a simple piece of glass or a "stained glass" window. Somewhere I have an email address for a woman on GW whose husband offered to make operable interior transoms for me tho I wound up not being able to take him up on his offer.

It might not make any difference to you in your decision but do be aware that 7'0" interior doors no longer seem to be available as a "standard" size. You have to have them special ordered and the prices for special ordered doors are out of sight.

I know b/c when we were designing our house three years ago, we designed 10' ceilings downstairs and planned to use standard 6'8" doors with operable transoms over both the interior and exterior doors down there. The downstairs if very "open" so there were only four interior doors that would have needed transoms and I planned to have them built and then have a friend who makes stained glass do the glass inserts.

Upstairs where we had a lot more interior doors, doing transom over all of them was out of our budget. So, thinking we would save a little money, we went with 9' ceilings and planned to have 7'0" doors with no transoms.

At the time we were designing the house, 7'0 interior and exterior doors were available standard from Jeldwen and the 7'0' doors cost only a tiny bit more than 6'8" doors.

But, during the build, after the house was dried in (exterior walls and windows installed and interior framed) we wound up in a major dispute with our builder and had to fire him. By the time we could get back on track nearly a year later with me as the GC, Jeldwen no longer offered the 7'0" interior doors except as a "special order" item. Nor could I find them anywhere else.

I had planned all my windows and doors (interior and exterior) on each floor to have the same header height. The windows upstairs had already been installed (by my previous builder) with 7'0' header heights and the interior doors framed up for 7'0" doors - which were no longer available. The cheapest option at that point would have been to drop the headers over the upstairs interior doors by 4" inches but I knew I would NEVER be happy with my upstairs interior doors being 4" shorter/lower than the windows. You can bet I looked everywhere for 7'0' interior doors. NO luck. I finally sprange for the special order interior doors and each one wound up costing me almost twice what the 6'8" doors with inoperable transoms I used downstairs cost. (I had to give up the operable transoms to save money but fortunately, plain glass painted with glass paints looks pretty darned good. Eventually, when I can afford it, I'll replace the painted glass with real stained glass. I might even go ahead and have operable transoms made someday tho, at this point, I kind of doubt it.)

Anyway, before you make your final decisions, you might want to research what sizes of windows and doors are available "standard" and what would have to be special ordered. It can make a huge difference in the overall price.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 11:54AM
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bevangel, what a nightmare!! Odd thing is.. we decided on Jeld-Wen custom wood, aluminum clad windows. I have all the latest books and have been looking at the doors online as well, they clearly show 7' doors - both interior and exterior! What the heck..?

Thankfully, as far as my situation, (that has been causing me to lose sleep)... seems as maybe I have been agonizing over nothing. Seems that both here and on the decorating forum, people feel that my first choice (standard doors w/transoms) looks the best overall. I was afraid that maybe I was making it to modern or formal looking.. just second guessing everything! I haven't thought about transoms over the interior doors, but will play around with the idea!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 12:20PM
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Have you considered your crown moulding length on the wall?

I think 9' ceiling would call for 7' door w/ transom if crown is 4". If you are installing a tall moulding, I would omit the transom.

I have 11' ceiling, transom, & 8 ft doors. It gives me just enough room at the top of the transom for "not squished look" considering the depth of the crown moulding.

This advice also takes into consideration that at my build the wall (ceiling support to slab) is 11'. You have to subtract out the ceiling drywall (5/8") and the flooring height (in my case 1.5").

    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 12:22PM
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I love your first choice...transom all the way! I love transom windows - I'd never seen them (or knew what they were) until I started living on GW :)

    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 12:37PM
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Here are a few pics of inside transoms over interior doors - & also used as 'arches'. These are from Jay's (jolsongoude) home which is absolutely stunning.

I love how he uses transoms between rooms

I'll link his blog below if you'd like to see more.

Good luck in whatever you do - looking forward to seeing the finished pics! :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Jay's use of transoms

    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 12:46PM
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Also think about how you will drape these windows/doors. We have 4" wide casings that 'frame' our doors and have the between-the-glass shades (Pella), so have left them undraped. I dislike most window 'treatments' anyway. Ceiling moulding is 11".

On reflection, I think the most cottage-y look is the double-hungs and the door with a transom. The French doors with transoms are a step towards more formal. I suppose you could put transoms over double-hungs too.

If you use a lot of French doors you can save by deciding which doors you will use and making the rest stationary.

BTW, we are very happy with our JeldWen entry door and surround.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 12:55PM
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I like the transoms since I think it gives you the look you want. As bevangel said, 7'-0" are likely special order and costly.

If it were me, I wouldn't do the 8' doors with 9' ceilings. I'm including two pictures so you get what I mean. The 1st is of the kitchen so you can see what 8' doors/cased opening looks like with a 10' ceiling. For you, that is equivalent to 7' doors with 9' ceilings, so it gives you an idea of the proportions. (And, yes, that is a lemon-lime soda bottle and dirty rag on my marble countertop. I'm cool with the fact that the marble will etch and get a patina, but I would prefer to be the one to do the etching. I still might do a Meg Ryan on that marble.)

The 2nd picture is what they did for the sitting area in the master bedroom. For some reason, it got framed at 9' feet & you can see how it looks squished up at the top. I haven't seen it in person, but I don't like it. DH says it's fine for that one spot and he thinks the sitting area would feel more closed in if it had been framed at 8'.

I like that you have kneewalls that are actually bookcases. That is what we did between our kitchen and keeping room. You can't tell from this picture, but the half walls in the foreground are book cases on the other side:

Again, it is hard to tell, but the height of the bookcase is about 6" above the countertop. You might want to play around with that in your renderings because it would help to block the view of the sink from the family room.

Also, I think I know what program you are using and it might be tricky to do this in the program, but if you have a view or plan to look out those windows much, you might think about making them with lights in the upper portion but one pane below. I had them simulate that even though the back of the house is all casement windows. We haven't lived with it, yet, but the idea is to have the interest of the lights (feels "cottagey" to us) in the upper portion, but have an unobstructed view at eye level when we are sitting down.

Sorry, for the wordy response, but I hope some of it helped.

Best of luck - Jo Ann

    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 1:08PM
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Jo Ann, excuse me just a moment.... Be right back... there, that's better! I had to go get my towel to wipe the drool again! Those pictures really help, and hopefully once I show hubby, your windows, he might change his mind! We have been battling this one issue! I love the cottage style with the plain glass, and I even like the double hung with just a center grille (old farm style) he just likes the 6 over 6 or 9 over 9.. I don't hate him and since I've pushed in in most other areas.. I haven't pushed on this (yet!!) I actually like the sitting room and think it adds a lot of interest! I planned on doing NO ceiling things (trays, vaults, etc..) hope I don't regret it!

Are your counter-tops along the wall soapstone? If so, which one did you choose? I just received samples.. love them!

chisue, since we are on a nice private, wooded 5 acres most windows will have no treatments, maybe some sort of roller/rattan shades to block the sun when needed. Great to hear you're happy with Jeld Wen!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 3:00PM
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Hi tinker~~
Just changing the subject......do you have a sketch or floor plan for your new build? Everything you do is wonderful, so know this home will be also. Post when you have it....I'd love to see what you are coming up with this time using your "cottage" style.
Thanks...and good luck to you~~

    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 9:35PM
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I think option 1 looks ok. This is our music room french door with transom under a 9' ceiling.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 10:08PM
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I used inside-hung roman shades in our MBR and guest room and shutters on our larger library window -- nothing - zip! -- anywhere else. Can do that because of the between-the-glass pleated shades.

Re: 'Skinny' taller French doors. Ours don't seem too narrow for their height. They're almost three feet wide and the muntins give them 'heft'.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2010 at 1:49PM
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One way to avoid squishing between the transom or header molding and the crown molding is to tie the door or transom molding into the crown molding using a rising piece similar to what is shown between cabinet top and crown molding in one of the kitchens above.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 4:48AM
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dyno, that looks very nice.. so I hope I can pull this off as well! Your transoms look like 12" .. or maybe 14" height wise? I think what we will do is use 10" transoms, and we'll be using no more than 4" moldings

chisue, can you post any pictures of what you have? I do think that a door that is almost 36" wide would not have that skinny look. The pic I posted with the 8' skinny door would be much more narrow.

hadley, I know exactly what you are referring to.. and I DO like that look as well. Just so much to think about..

melaska, I have seen pictures of Jay's home - just beautiful! I really think he did a fantastic job, however, it looks more modern to me, not the cottage-y look, or "old home" look that I am trying to achieve, but always nice to look at again!

phoggie, you just too sweet! Now I only hope I can pull it all off.. you would think after building so much, I'd be a pro- but my head is spinning! I do know that some people "think" I should have gone into decorating, but NO WAY.. each little decision I agonize over, and second guess EVERYTHING. It's amazing I subjecting myself to this again.. but I swear - LAST time till I'm old and just want a small apartment or condo!

We will be having a bedroom, bathroom and bonus room on the 2nd floor (attic space) but having got that far yet! From Drop Box

we are still finalizing outside details.. but it will be more of what I call a cape cod style.. DH and I had a hard time coming to agree on the exterior.. he won THAT battle! This is somewhat along the lines we are going.. From Drop Box

    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 6:45AM
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Tinker, I KNEW I'd like it....in fact, I LOVE it!! With my cataracts, I have a hard time reading the print on the floor plan, but think I can make it out.

Also really like the outside pic....in fact, those are the exact colors I have chosen when/if we get to build again...love gray,white,black and a hint of red (maybe the front door)....

Please keep the pictures coming....because I always follow your decorating...you do a GREAT job, even if you do agonize over doing it.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 2:01PM
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Hi Tinker.

The french door is 36" wide, 6'8" tall. The cap on top of the transom is 5". Transom glass is about 10" (seems to vary a bit door to door...not sure why). Painted space above cap is about 5" as well.

Hope this helps. You'll pull it off no problem. The door people pulled it off so we can take no credit. lol

    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 6:11PM
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I have 9 ft ceilings. My house plan called for the windows and transoms. I did not want transoms, so I eliminated the transoms and made the windows taller. So, I had to decide how to handle the french doors. Well, as someone said above-- I do have 8 ft tall skinny french doors (in the family room). And I am not crazy about them. They look just OK, I think. But, I have two little boys that are always running in and out of that door and slamming it. Even though it is a good brand, it sounds creaky. I would have been better off doing the regular height with a transom on that door. That's what I did in the dining room. And it's prettier.

I was afraid to use a transom on the door when not using them on the windows. But from your pics above, I think it looks great.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2010 at 12:58PM
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Thanks again everyone for your help, I was really stressing over this and now feel okay with the plan... can move onto other decisions now!

    Bookmark   October 21, 2010 at 6:03PM
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So Tinker...what did you decide to do?....I can't wait until you do more to share.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 11:38AM
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phoggie, I'm going with the first set of images I posted, regular 6'8 doors with transoms! Our plans are still in the drawing phase.. and we leave for vacation Sunday, so trying to put the design stuff on the back burner! I thought I'd be a pro now after building 5 houses, but it's almost just as confusing!

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 5:06PM
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I have 9' ceilings. I used the shorter doors and transoms - they look good. I didn't use a transom in my dining room, because I was afraid it would look "squished" from the exterior. Now I regret it - it's about the only decision I made that I regret now. I know you can't see it that well in this pic, but it's the only one I have right now. BTW, the crown is 6-7"

    Bookmark   November 24, 2010 at 8:41AM
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Laurie, prefect! That is exactly what mine should end up looking like, and I think it looks great! Your fireplace, floors look wonderful too! Thanks for sharing!

    Bookmark   November 24, 2010 at 9:16AM
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I ran across your posting about door height and transoms with pictures which was awesome to see the comparisons! We are building as well and I've been struggling with door sizes and window sizes as well. What did you end up going with? I loved the normal door size with the transom. And the taller windows to match at the top. Do you know what your measurements were and how high from the floor were you windows set?

Any size suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!
Thanks so much!
Struggling with non standard 9' ceilings

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 8:54AM
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Lori (loribug26_gw) Wagerman_Walker

Tinker, what program are you working with to do your 3D designs??

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 10:21AM
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Found this earlier post and had the same question. Love the look with transoms. Going with those.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 4:29PM
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Transoms look great, but what do you do with your interior doors then?

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 8:03AM
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