And you thought I might be talking about an old rock group. Nope. Just in case you didn’t get enough of a workout trying to figure out which window options were going to be best, here’s your chance to think about doors, too. Three entry doors need to have decisions made about their surrounding frame. We’re not even talking about the actual door itself yet, just the way we finish the hole. And yet…this too is important.
Door number one is the main entrance. Door number two is right beside it, and leads to the old torre (which will remain a garden shed at ground level). Door number three we’re not even looking at yet, because it’s the one off the kitchen. Yes, it’s that one that used to have a bathroom attached until Marcia became a demon with a sledgehammer and removed the room. We’ll deal with that later.
The main entrance (middle), with the shed/torre entrance to its left.
The shed doorframe magically holds together with very little mortar, like old teeth you expect might pop from their gums at any moment.
The main door. Those slabs of stone at the sides used to constitute the frame, but on their skinny edges (you can see it in the top photo, where they are still intact). They fell out, and revealed a nice curve at the top. I like the width of them the way I’ve set them on either side here to check proportion.
Now for some examples of what other people have done with their doors, to see how confused we can all get.
The width of this surround gives the door a great presence and balances it. I like the roughness of the old stone, which looks like it’s seen a thing or two. Beautiful, subtle details in the little groove and the rounding of the inner edge, as well as the wedge in the centre of the lintel section.
Another door with the edge detail.
This place, showing off again (it’s in Varese Ligure). The lintel shape is similar to Godzillavilla’s with that slight curve, but our doors have a more stout proportion (dare I say short and wide?). The wedge detail looks good here, too.
A rough stone frame, also on the thinner side. I know people say one can never be too thin (or too rich), but I’m not sure the rule applies to door frames. Might work for the shed.
And last but not least – although a little too rustic for the main entry, this has gobs of charm for the shed. Its framing stones are ten times the size of our shed’s puny little old-man-teeth stones. We do have plenty of larger chunks on the property if we wanted to remake it, though.
That’s it! Comments, please. Someday we will even get to agonize over what kind of doors go inside these lovely holes we’re working on.
I think that first of all you have to decide if your main entrance door will be one piece or two pieces (sorry for my rough english). This may seem a technicality, but it can actually be an important item: if the opening is not slender, as it seems from picture n.1, I would recommend a two pieces door.
In this case I would choose the arrangement ad in picture n.7 (with number 37A).
This is very typical for such buildings, and not excessively diminutive of the role that the main door must have. It also offer an advantage when the walls are very thick as Godzy’s are: you can place the main door very near to the wall outer surface, and install a second door, light and with glass panels, near the inner surface.
In this way you can leave the main, heavy door open during the day, and just operate the second, that also provide some light through its glasses.
In winter the double door will help insulation.
The door in photo n.7 is quite typical of old country houses, and on my opinion is a good compromise between simplicity and importance.
In any case I hope that your budget will allow you to install a solid wood door, and in this case pay attention that your craftsman will even not pronounce the word “glue”.
My contractor used this word and even worse used glue to join our entrance door oak boards: I was puzzled, but unfortunately I did not firmly opposed to his statement: the result is a solid, beautiful but warped and checked oak door that soon or later I have to replace.
Traditional style doors must be manifactured in traditional way: with nails and sometime with screws: NEVER WITH GLUE !!!
About frame, I believe that if you want a decent stability and ease of installation, you can hardly avoid it; and in this way you will prevent quarrels with your craftman.
About wood species, I would recommend oak or chestnut, if you want to have a natural wood finish (oil or non-glossy varnish).
Second choice can be larch, if you will apply paint, or maybe elm or ash
A very complete and thoughtful comment, as always Luca – thank you! I had to laugh at your comments about the glue (even though I know they’re to be taken seriously). I have a good door maker in town who does them the old way, thank goodness – but I will make sure he can’t pronounce the word!
Also loved how you call the villa Godzy…
Wow! This is the kind of work that would frighten me with a stone property. I like the idea of having the frames within the rough stone work. That gives you something substantial for door attachments. I would suggest a similar style to your window frames with more substance. It appears that both doors are arched, so I would follow those but with a simple frame.
The walls are a metre thick where the doors are (they built ’em solid back in the day) so the ornamental surround, I think, holds up the outer arch but does not necessarily hang the door. That part – and you make a very good point – is set further back within the whole opening. I’ll have to look more closely at how all that works.
Hi Shelagh! I am definitely a fan of the last image, in terms of direction. I love the idea of remaking the opening from chunkier stones as need be. Or leaving them be if that’s an option. I don’t think you need a frame within such a beautiful drystone opening – for any of the doors. For me, simpler the better. Especially when it is such a rustic, homely property. And when the stones just make you want to reach out and touch them…. It’s that feeling of coming home I’d want every time passed through the doorway. I’ll stop now! 😉
I appreciate your good eye, and your understanding that it’s as much about emotional feel as it is about aesthetic. I want the finished villa to look as though it’s still an old farm house. Many people recommend concrete floors, straightening the walls, etc but I actually want it look as though it ISN’T overly renovated. It’s a kind of fantasy place.
Follow your heart Shelagh. For me, you’re on the right track with the fantasy thing. Understated fantasy…. A new genre perhaps? 😉
I want it to reflect its history, because that’s what I find really special about it. A new house is a lot easier to build, but that’s not what attracted me.
I like the one in the arched doorway. That little wedge is called a ‘keystone’. Traditionally, it is the last stone put into the arch and makes the whole thing able to support the weight of the wall above it. Thanks, so much for sharing.
Keystone – I had forgotten the term. Thanks for the tip and the door vote.