Common Door Styles of American Homes:
While getting familiar with windows is helpful, doors are arguably more important for many homeowners, and something any weekend warrior can handle replacing. That means knowing some basic door styles can only help you as an agent. Here are the most common exterior and interior door styles in America.
French doors, sometimes referred to as dual doors, are sets of two doors that are hinged from the right and left to open in the middle. French doors usually feature paned glass, and were traditionally used indoors to separate common rooms without sacrificing light. Sometimes, French doors are used to open onto a deck, patio, or back garden, but are rarely used as entry doors.
A common feature in turn of the century brownstones and mansions, pocket doors are similar to French doors except, they slide on tracks instead of opening on hinges. Each of the two doors in a set of packet doors slides into the wall. This gives the homeowner the choice between
totally closing off rooms for privacy, or keeping them totally open without any visible doors at all.
Popularized on Pinterest and many home renovation shows, barn doors are generally repurposed sliding front doors from barns. While some barn doors have windows, many do not and only feature minimal panels, or even just planks. They are almost always made out of repurposed vintage barn wood, or new wood that has been weathered to look like vintage barn wood. Like pocket doors, barn doors allow homeowners to put furniture very close to them without worrying about the space required to open the door.
Very common for interior and exterior doors, panel doors are doors with either decorative or structural panels on both sides of the door. While there are many different patterns and sizes
of panels for panel doors, most interior doors have only two or three panels. Panel doors are very common in any pre 1950s house style.
Flush doors on the other hand are most often found in midcentury or contemporary homes. Unlike panel doors, they have one solid plane of wood on either side of the door. They can either be one solid piece of wood, or made with wood veneers on either side of hollow constructed frame.
Dutch doors are almost always found in vintage homes and rarely found in homes built after the 1960s. They have one unique feature that sets them apart from other entry doors. There are two hinged sections of the door rather than just one and each section can be opened or locked independently. Dutch doors are great for pet owners who want a breeze but don’t want their pets to escape.
Interior Design Elements of American Homes
Now that you’ve talked your way inside, it’s time to learn about some of the trickier interior design elements that are common in American homes. While most of these elements will be found in historic homes, you will find them in newer homes as well.
Crown molding is the decorative trim at the corner where the top of the wall meets the ceiling. Found in many historic homes, crown molding was originally made from plaster with molds and returned to the wall. Today, crown molding and other decorative elements traditionally made from plaster are made from wood, MDF (Medium-density fiberboard), or PVC (polyvinyl chloride). The benefits of using wood or synthetic materials is that they are much easier to work with and require fewer skills to install.
Chair rails are a type of molding that is attached to the wall at chair height in dining rooms or eat in kitchens. The idea was to protect delicate plaster from being constantly bumped into by people pulling out chairs and hitting the wall. Chair rails are frequently installed along with wainscoting, decorative panels installed below the chair rails in order to protect the plaster wall.
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