The UK is a patchwork quilt of design styles, architecture and local culture. Centuries of immigration from different parts of the world have made the UK what it is today: a unique and fascinating mixture of styles and tastes.
Each wave of newcomers has brought something different to these shores, with the Romans and Normans being obvious examples of outside influences in the field of architecture. Even today, some of our most historic buildings bear the hallmarks of Roman, Norman, Gothic and countless other architectural styles.
However, the focus of this article is French doors. In case you don’t know, a French door is characterised by its glass panes that often run from floor to ceiling. They often come in pairs, opening into the outside world. They are usually made from wood and single paned glass, although there are no strict guidelines on what exactly constitutes a French door.
They are believed to have originated in France in the 17th century when it was at war with Italy. The doors originated as long windows that opened onto small balconies, heavily influence by Renaissance architecture – utilising symmetry and geometry. It wasn’t long until they started to become very fashionable in the UK and they remain so today.
These days, everything from stately homes to new builds can benefit from French doors. It’s a natural and elegant way of bringing the outside into the house and connecting the two when the weather is suitable. They allow plenty of light to enter and over time have evolved to be more elaborate, incorporating many different materials.
There are no hard and fast rules about when a French door can be used. If you have an outside space and want to utilise it better, either as a dining area or to open up a kitchen on sunny days, then French doors allow that to happen organically.
Architects always love to use timber French doors as they are versatile, flexible and classical. They rarely look out of place and have become an accepted staple of British architecture up and down the country.