Mixed Messages: Replacement Doors at Odds With Their Context
We’ve all seen them. And with the proliferation of both Big Box home “improvement” stores and infomercials posing as television programs about restoration, renovation and design, we’ll continue to see even more of them: entry doors which are stylistically inappropriate for the house that surrounds them. Numerous examples follow:
The simple lines of this Mid-century Contemporary are a good clue that the original entry was similarly minimalist. Today, a faux “Victorian” door with leaded glass panel is paired with a six-panel Colonial style door. This is nothing short of architectural psychosis.
The door of this Craftsman style house is inexplicably Neo-Victorian.
This 1950’s split level house has been “updated” with a “Craftsman” door, porch light, and tripartite windows. Shutters are not a part of the Craftsman aesthetic.
A house nearly identical to the one above has received a paneled door with an arched, leaded glass, insert – likely from the early 90’s.
This early 20th-century Craftsman style house was given a broken pediment and crossbuck storm door in a presumed effort to Colonialize the exterior.
This 1950’s Contemporary retains its original entry – a blonde slab door paired with a sidelight of ribbed glass. It just looks right. Even the wood storm door is of the period! Now compare to the following two houses:
An identical house in the same neighborhood has been altered with oddly-proportioned Neo-Victorian sidelights flanking a centered door.
A third house of the same design as above. This one sports a pair of vaguely Colonial paneled doors.
This architectural equivalent of an identity crisis has been years the making. The form and upper window sashes confirm modest Craftsman bungalow origins. Now, a mid-century modern door with diagonal glazing, underscaled Neo-Victorian porch components and replacement siding have combined to extinguish any architectural integrity.
This 1950’s Contemporary split level retains its original entry – complete with classic globe pendant light! A similar house below has not fared so well…
This 1950’s Contemporary has had a Mediterranean Revival entry set (c. 1970’s) – complete with sidelights – imposed upon it. Note that the top three panels of the door form a segmental arch – completely antithetical to the surrounding architecture.
The message is clear: Houses look best when architectural integrity is present. Introducing elements of other styles can only dilute integrity and create visual discord.