A front door is far more than an entry point into a house. Done right, it's a focal point for visitors to a home, a window into the personalities who live there and a statement about the structure itself.
The first impression of any home, a front door done wrong can impact the overall style of the nicest of homes. An arched Tuscan-style door with Victorian hardware might make an odd statement, while a Craftsman door with dark hinges goes together like cookies and milk.
"The front door says a lot about a home," says Medford building designer Dave Fisse. "Basically it's the panel styles of the door that dictate its style and the hardware. It either works with the style of the home — or it doesn't."
Most common in the Rogue Valley, Craftsman-style homes, known for detailed woodwork and roof dormers, are best served by a wide, hefty door.
Traditional Craftsman-style doors feature six to eight narrow panels and plenty of Craftsman's signature corbels, stained glass windows and details like popular dentil moulding.
Hardware for Craftsman doors should be "massive," Fisse says, usually black and not flashy. For color, embrace the Craftsman emphasis on beautiful woodwork. Doors are usually stained, rather than painted. A suitable porch light for a Craftsman door is dark, sturdy metal, often iron, with a pointed top and ornate smoked glass.
A classic favorite, Victorian homes exude charm and style. Victorian styles span from the late 1830s to the turn of the century, including a range of variations from Italianate to Queen Anne.
Most Victorian-style doors are "tall and skinny," says Medford building designer Mark Decker, sporting four to six vertical, slightly raised panels and plenty of "gingerbread." Painted in high-gloss paint, Victorian era doors were typically solid oak and painted white, dark blue, brown, dark red or olive-yellow green. Hardware should be finely detailed, more delicate than Craftsman, and of shiny brass or other metal.
Often dubbed a rustically beautiful style that's cozy to live with, Tuscan brings to mind a beautiful Italian countryside, colorful, dried flowers and linens blowing in an evening breeze.
Tuscan doors, most often, are arched at top with fluted column moulding on both sides and a transom above the door. An exception to the rounded top doors, more modern rectangular Tuscan-style doors feature four panels on which the upper two panels are arched.
Colorwise, Tuscan doors are earthy and rustic. Simple basic earth colors, such as azure blue or deep red, are painted in a muted satin finish. Two-tone painting is not common in this style. For hardware or lighting, opt for rustic iron or distressed brass. Imagine horse gear in an old country barn. For an earthy touch, stonework around the door is a nice effect.
An "anything goes" kind of style, contemporary-style doors are everything but classic, yet difficult to define. Just as Victorian and Craftsman styles are viewed as architectural "eras," perhaps one day styles developed today will be dubbed New Millennium classic or 21st Century eclectic.
Most forgiving in terms of mix-and-match style, a contemporary style is an artistic license for color and hardware.
"Contemporary could mean anything not traditional, defined by what it's not (historical), rather than what it is," says Decker.
Modern doors typically lack decoration, divided lights and panel construction common in older styles. Look for single panel, all glass or carved design doors. Enjoy a range of modern-style hardware and try for a custom look. Consider a quirky gargoyle door knocker, a colorful light fixture with colorful glass or a brushed chrome door handle.