I need to discuss the front entrance with you a bit more. The two doors are big. They are essentially garage doors and both of them open wide, which is nice when we need to bring in building materials, or trailers for hauling debris.
What you wouldn’t know unless you’ve been to the house is that these doors don’t open into the interior of the house. Instead, they open into the “garage”, and then, there is another door (that also feels like a formal front door), that opens to the interior.
In the olden days, these gates would open wide, and then a carriage would pull in and go through what is almost a tunnel, and then through the garden, straight to the carriage house. (We’ve been cleaning out the carriage house if you’d like to check out my garden highlight.)
Here is a quick sketch to give you an idea:
At the moment, the “garage” section is full of building materials and piles of old pipes and electrical supplies from recent demolition work. I put “garage” in quotes because it’s not really big enough for a car — maybe the little blue Fiat 500e we drove in California, or a Mini Cooper, would fit — but that’s about it. For parking, the residents of this neighborhood park on the street, or in a small public lot across the street next to the church.
I’m not in love with the idea of people coming to the door, giving a knock or a ring, and then being welcomed into the garage. So our plan is to convert the current garage into interior space — an entry and possibly a dining room (or maybe a music room or study — still working that out). That way, when people come to the front door, they will enter the interior of the house, not the garage.
And happily, we aren’t likely to miss the garage area for storage, because we still have the carriage house to keep the typical things we might put in a garage — like bikes, or camping equipment, or yard tools.
Anyway, back to the front doors: I really like the look of them. They are heavy and bold and very handsome. But they are definitely way bigger than usual for a daily front door — and as you may have noticed, there isn’t even a door knob — the only way to open them is with a key and a hefty push. The key required is one of those big, brass, old-fashioned versions. They can be challenging to manage especially for smaller people — sometimes Flora June has a hard time of it.
So we are thinking about whether the front doors might need to be replaced or modified.
One idea we’ve had is a door-within-a-door. This is something we see around town on lots of older homes. Here’s an example — it’s a big, garage-size set of doors, but it has a regular-size door set inside one of the bigger doors:
You can open the full big double doors when needed, but mostly, you would just use the single smaller door when coming and going.
I’m not sure if something like this could be cut into our current door, or if we’ll need to order new doors to completely replace ours.
Also, our current door is metal — very heavy and solid — but most of the door-within-a-door examples we see are made of wood. So if we do have to replace the entrance doors, I’ll need to consider materials as well. We’re trying to reuse as much as we can, so hopefully, if we do decide to change things up, we can figure out a fix with our current door.
On the other hand, we may decide we really like having big oversize-doors as our front door and just leave them as is. I think if we can put a push-button digital lock on the door, so the kids don’t have to carry a giant key around all the time, it’s possible that could be all the adaptation we need. My instinct at the moment is try to live with them (once we’ve eventually moved in), and see what it’s like using them on a daily basis. If it’s not good, we can switch things up at that point.
What are your thoughts? Have you ever lived with a giant door as a front door? Was it difficult or unwieldy? Or was it grand and a bold statement? And have you ever lived in a house where the main entrance was through another entrance? It can feel like a tricky thing!
84 thoughts on “Tall House: Do We Need to Replace the Front Door?”
The doors are gorgeous and I vote trying to keep them somehow. Question though – this is also the pass through to the garden. How will you do that once this pass-through is interior? How will you store bikes in the shed in the back?
I second that
I like that a bike question came from someone in Amsterdam, JA — I have never seen more bikes in my life than in Amsterdam. : )
To answer your question: Yes, there is another pass through to the garden, though I think we would mostly use this one. I’m not too concerned about bikes. I know I mentioned them in the blog post, but the reality is we rarely if ever ride them — currently, we have them out at the cottage in the countryside.
But if someone in the family does end up embracing a bike in a big way, getting through to the carriage house shouldn’t be a problem — we are planning on traditional French tile floors in this space, and a bike won’t bother those. Or if we need easier access, we could add cool bike storage right in the entry — like they might in a NYC apartment.
I love those doors! Can’t wait to see your solution. Perhaps replacing doors with doors with windows, giving your new entrance more light? I would definitely reuse the old doors as a feature elsewhere, though. That color with that stone! Sigh. Loving your adventures!
Yes! For the doors at the back of “garage” (the doors that lead into the garden), we would like to make them floor-to-ceiling glass, so that it feels like a wall of windows when the doors are shut.
For the front doors, I’d be open to adding windows too — probably not to the current doors, but if we end up replacing them someday, I would love to design/choose something with glass at the top.
I love the idea of leaving them, but maybe they are open 90% of the time and you put a proper front door to the house. The covered area seems like a gem of a space to create a year-round outdoor area. A cozy wood stove, loungy furniture. Plants you could help survive the winter.
Yes! Don’t enclose it! How valuable is a covered outdoor space on a rainy (or hot) day.
Maybe you are picturing a different climate, Sabrina? Keeping doors open in Normandy 90% of the time isn’t an option. Sunny days in the 70s (or warmer) are the exception for sure.
Here’s a description of Normandy weather: “Normandy, lying in the northwestern part of France, has a maritime-oceanic type of climate humid and rainy for most of the year, with a marked variability, very windy, especially along the coast, with heavy rains in every period of the year, with intermediate seasons mild but rainy and cool summers.”
In our case, we know adding the square footage to the interior would get far more use by our family. But we do plan to have fully glass doors looking out into the garden, so that we can bring some of the outside in. And when we do have a lovely, sunny day, we can open those doors wide and enjoy an indoor-outdoor situation.
I understand. I just love allowing the energy of the elements to move through the house. I’m the kind to hear a storm and open every door & window in the house.
Big glass doors would be amazing too!!
Do you have access to the garden from a different side? Having access only from the interior is not practical for big garden work, like cutting a tree (speaking from experience).
The big door opening to an outside space is standard in rural Europe, so I think you should embrace it. Many people decorate it with outdoor plants that need a little more care or that cannot be in the rain. And then you add a proper front door that opens from that patio area to the inside (often that door is upstairs, as the ground floor is not considered living space, just storage space).
This (and Tracy’s similar response, below)! 100 percent agree. We stayed 3 months in Paris and had a similar arrangement in the house we rented–although it was really a set of apartments, and the large front door was communal, with a tunnel like this to the communal central garden space, with doors opening off for access to the interior spaces. It’s so common, and so traditional, I don’t think you should mess with it. I also agree with other commenters that if your garden and shed aren’t accessible through any other external means, are you really going to want to trek bikes and equipment through your *dining room* or music room to get them out to the street? I love the idea of making this into a sheltered patio-like space, but leaving the actual access as it is.
In Germany this set up is quite common. The “garage doors” are your gate. The back doors opening to your garden are your garden gate. It is the place your friends park their motorcycles, vespas, and bikes off the street and dry while they visit you. You can keep your neighbours’ packages that you accept for them there until they get home from work. Call it the breezeway, not the tunnel! Also, that big heavy gate would give me a feeling of security.
Hmmm. I don’t see our setup (garage as front entry) as a common feature anywhere we’ve traveled in Europe, Iris, so I’m not totally sure what you are picturing. Maybe some other variation of this? But yes, we do have access to the garden from a different side.
I think that might be because you see the space as a “garage” rather than a passage to the garden. It is actually very common in older houses throughout Europe (and elsewhere).
Usually, it’s used as an indoor outdoor, semi-private area – we used to play in ours when it was raining, paint, do woodwork or other things you need to do outside while being sheltered from the elements. It’s also a great place to put plants in winter. Typically, you leave the main heavy door unlocked or even open during the day and lock it for the night.
I don’t think closing it is a bad idea if you have another entry to the garden, but I would worry about humidity. Often, even if paved, these areas are not insulated or reinforced (no cellar) and need the passing air in order to remain dry.
Es, I totally know what you’re talking about. We stayed in a place just like that last time we stayed in Paris, and I can only tell you that our situation, is not the same as the one you are picturing.
Happily we have several other options for over-wintering plants should that ever become an issue — there are currently two green-house type rooms off the garden. And the walls of the “garage” are as insulated as any others in the house. There is no cellar in the house at all — I don’t know how common they are here, but in all the houses we looked at when house-shopping (or the houses we’ve stayed in ourselves), I’ve only encountered two.
I’m not sure about the rest of Europe but as JF mentioned this “tunnel” sort of feature you have is quite common in France, especially Paris where I’ve spent alot of time. Often you don’t realise the door opens up to another outdoor space (I didn’t for quite some time) but it certainly is common. I also think each to their own but I do quite like the feature and if it were me I wouldn’t enclose it. If it is as rainy as you say maybe it could be a good space for your younger children to play outside where its protected from the weather to keep them dry??
Also I forgot to mention, because its quite common and because you’re not actually using the space as a garage I don’t think anyone would think twice about it. Plus, how practical, if you come home wet/muddy etc etc you don’t have to get all the mess inside you can just take off your boots and jackets etc outside before going inside to warm up :)
Hi India, I just replied with something similar to another commenter, but what you’re picturing in Paris is not the same as what we’ve got at our house. Now that it no longer needs to be used (and remain empty) for a carriage/vehicle to pass through, it truly makes more sense as an indoor space.
I know lots of people reading are having a hard time believing me (I guess based on the photo they’ve seen?), but I’m not lying, I promise. (Hah!) In fact it was a selling point that our French real estate agent kept pointing out — that we could easily convert the “garage” to indoor space.
If it makes you feel any better, we’ve given in-person tours of the house to many French friends and tradespeople, and not a single one has thought it was important or useful to preserve the tunnel. Even the architect, who frequently challenges us about some of our thinking regarding the house, didn’t hesitate about this idea and agreed the space is basically a waste as it is now.
As for having a place to take off a coat and wet boots when coming in the house, I definitely want that. When I mention wanting an “entry” space, that’s what I’m picturing. There will be a bench to sit down, hooks for coats, a table for mail or deliveries, etc.. I want a warm, pleasant place that feels very welcoming as soon as you walk through the front door.
What if you leave the big doors open most of the time and make the little tunnel a sort of garden/patio area. Then you could use the regular front door.
But in case of storms etc. could close the large doors. Beautiful house. And I am loving the remodel.
I really like that image, and I can totally see how that might work in the South of France weather-wise, but Normandy’s climate is much more wet and cool — I don’t think a tunnel patio area would get much use.
I know I would also be very uncomfortable privacy-wise, having those doors open for significant amounts of time. You know? If we didn’t live right in town, I would be fine with it, but there are way too many people that walk and drive by. We have a hair salon next door, a cathedral, bakery, and the police station is across the street. It’s not Paris, but it’s not a farm either. Hah!
I’m also a fan of the idea of having an indoor/outdoor room and keeping the big front doors – they’re so very French!
I hope we can keep the big front doors too!
Hmmm. I think I’d vote for keeping the doors, adding the digital lock so your younger kids can manage, and turning the space into a mudroom, storing things that like coats and bikes. I’d still put yard tools in the shed.
I’m really enjoying watching this happen in real time.
We will definitely include coat storage in the entry, but luckily, we actually have a mudroom in another part of the house. And really, I suppose I don’t want to greet people in a mudroom any more than I want to greet them in a garage.
I would vote for keeping the door somehow. Either door within a door, or replace the door with something the same size that can have door within a door (similar to your inspiration photo). If you have to replace the doors, I would keep the metal doors and use as decoration (perhaps on the wall directly to the right when you come in the tunnel)! Also, like others, I am wondering if there is another way to get to the garden for storage of bikes etc. If now, you might want to keep at lease a small “tunnel” to the back if you do end up reclaiming that tunnel space as living space.
There is a second entrance to the garden, but even so, I think we’ll most often use this one to get there. I’m picturing a tile floor (the terracotta hexagon ones that are common here in older homes). We can layer the tile with area rugs if we want, but it will also be a practical surface when needed.
I think your idea of living with the doors as-is after you move in is a good one. It’s hard to know how it will really work day-to-day until you’re there. I love watching all this happen. It’s a wonderful distraction.
I hear you. Whenever possible, I really appreciate the chance to live in a space and see how we use it, before I make a major change.
love the doors¡¡ i grew up in a colonial city in central México and is very common among the old houses (talking about 1500´s homes, you know, spanish colony) as a child, i never found difficult or onerous to use this type of doors…
That’s good to hear.
I love the doors, everything about them; the form, the color, the wear and tear. It matches the home. If you choose to change the “garage” as a full time interior room, for me I would want some form of natural light in the new repurposed room. So if you could rework the doors so they can open more easily and let in some natural light, I would definitely want to keep them.
I wouldn’t be interested in re-working the current front doors to add light (I think they are handsome as is), but if we decide to replace them, for sure I would want to design something that adds light.
The good news is we can add light from the back of the house more easily, and we plan to make the back doors to the garden (which are just as big as the front doors), glass from top to bottom.
I love the look of the current door and space too. Am also curious what’ll happen and LOVE watching this process. I haven’t moved in 26 years and for some reason, watching other people move, renovate, etc. is so enjoyable…especially right now! Love all your instagram stories too!
Thanks for following along!
I would keep the doors and I agree with the others who have suggested some sort of patio for the “garage”. It could be a lovely indoor/outdoor entryway. A covered outdoor space can be quite nice on sunny summer afternoons.
The example you showed seems to be much wider than your doors. How big would the door within the door be relative to the existing doors. It seems like it would be shorter, but not much narrower.
Sorry to repeat info from my responses above, but sunny summer afternoons are the exception in Normandy, and an interior space will definitely get more use.
And yes, the example of a door-within-a-door I showed is wider than our doors. Currently, in our doors that open to the garden (which are the same size as our front doors), there’s a door-within-a-door (it’s hard to see in the photos). It’s a very small one — smaller than I would want for a front door. So I guess I would be aiming for something in-between.
If we totally replace the door, I would definitely consider splitting the overall large doors differently, instead of right down the middle, which would give us more options.
I love the current door as is too. If you convert that room into an interior space maybe you could have the doors converted with shatterproof glass in the the triangles? Or just have them worked on to make them easier to open? So lovely! I love your ideas to convert that olden space! I would love a video tour of getting in so I can picture it better.
I do love the idea of more natural light in the space — and we can totally do that with the back doors. If we decide we want more light from the front doors, I think I would replace these doors and design exactly what we want instead of messing with these, because I think they are handsome as is, and I’m sure they would work well for someone else if they don’t end up working for us.
But really, I have high hopes of making them work (even though they don’t let in light). We’ll see what we can do,
Thanks so much for sharing this! Such a lovely space. I’m thinking you should leave the “garage” space exterior space – if it’s narrower than can fit a standard car, that means it’s also too narrow to be dining space, even if you built seating into one side.
Well we’ve mapped it and though our round table wouldn’t be right in this space, a long narrow table should work fine. Though I imagine we would keep the table to one side sometimes to keep the space more open, because we don’t always use the dining room — we prefer to eat-in-kitchen if there’s space for it.
And I should note: “dining room” is maybe not the best term for what I’m picturing because it sounds so formal, but this wouldn’t be. It would be much closer in concept to the situation we had in Oakland, where our dining table was essentially part of our indoor/outdoor space, and very casual.
But again, we may decide this isn’t the best spot for the dining room. We’ll be making the big doors into a the garden fully glass, and it will bring a lot of pretty light into the space. I like the idea of putting some reading chairs and bookshelves by those doors and creating a beautiful spot to read. So maybe a sort of study/reading room instead? We’ll see.
Please don’t get rid of those beautiful doors! I love them!
I love them too, and don’t worry, if we can’t use them we’ll make sure they go to another lovely home where they will be appreciated. : )
I think it will somewhat odd to try to make an actual room from that space. And if you were to do so, you would need to replace the doors to have them insolated, both around and the actual pannels. There is a lot of space around them, especially at the bottom, and such large metal doors would make the room an ice cube in the winter if not insolated in the back.
Maybe a way to make the house more welcoming and also gain some living space would be to actually remove these doors and build a wall further back in the “garage” space. You would get kind of a covered porch and the house door would then be right there accessible but not directly on the street.
I’m not worried about the insulation. I think if you saw the situation in real life, you wouldn’t be either. : )
The idea of moving the entrance back is definitely interesting, but ultimately, I don’t think it’s necessary, and I would rather not disrupt the facade of the building (also, I’m not sure we could get a major change like that approved!).
They are beautiful and I would definitely keep them! I love the idea of turning the tunnel into what would otherwise be your front porch – a garden-esque breezeway with a little bistro set, potted plants and maybe even some cheery wall hangings. Then you could open the big doors every morning when you open your shutters.
Of course I’m not sure how that would work during the winter months, or if it’s an area where things might get stolen … but it sure sounds lovely. The door-within-a-door idea is really cool too.
Yes, you guessed correctly — we definitely would not want open doors all day, every day, for several reasons. Weather and privacy being the biggest two.
I do love the doors too, but what if you remove both sets of them, and take advantage of the unique pass-through space with light coming in both ends, as a sort of covered patio, as someone else mentioned? You could shift the visual appeal to focus on lighting within that space. Although I do see why this would be untraditional and therefore somewhat unwelcome.
Can’t wait to see what you decide
I can picture what you’re imagining, but we are right in town, so privacy is also a factor and we would definitely not want to remove both sets of doors. (I’m guessing we couldn’t get a change like that approved in any case.)
I love the giant doors and would keep them. They’re so iconic and the color is so French. I like your idea of using another entry keypad for the younger kids and definitely incorporating the area inside into your house. BTW, these kinds of posts are the best right now as I need something to take my mind off the new world order.
I’m glad I can provide a happy distraction!
I agree, I am craving this type of post – thank you!
Side note, I keep chuckling to myself picturing your kids, especially June, carrying a huge key to and from school every day in her backpack. Probably just a slap-happy, I’ve been alone at my computer for too long image, but it makes me chuckle.
I agree with the others as to keeping the doors, and creating an indoor/outdoor space rather than an interior room. What about a climbing wall? Giant beanbag chairs for easy mobility or hanging chairs? Breakfast or tea nook?
Hahaha. I think everyone is picturing a different climate than we actually have here. Unless we make it an interior room with heating, it will rarely if ever be used — and I’d much rather add the square footage. But we are thinking about a possible climbing wall in the garden — we have such great walls there!
I like the door as is but also like the smaller door inside the larger one ( full disclosure I’m French :)). I don’t know how easy it would be for a metal shop to work it out for you ( my uncle had such a shop and they did beautiful work on doors and balustrades etc). You may have such a shop locally.
For the other side how about a garage style glass door or bifold that can open fully? so you could have the choice of closing it or opening fully to the garden while keeping an easier access to the back from the street in case you need it for yard work, etc.
We haven’t talked to a metal-worker yet, but I have the same questions. I’m not sure what our options are. And yes, we want the back doors to the garden to be fully glass — I think we can keep them the same style they are now (they fully open already), but the idea of a garage style door that pulls up and down is very appealing.
The doors are beautiful! It would be sad to lose them, but I can see the size and weight must be a challenge. Is it possible to get some kind of expert craftsman to switch out the hinges to something that really supports them sufficiently? When our old church got new, huge doors (like, 12 feet tall or more), they still ended up as easy to open as could be, because they were perfectly weighted and hung on specialized hinges. Is that possible for your doors?
That’s a good question and I have no idea what the answer is. I think we should consult with a door expert to see what our options are.
This idea seems best to me. It will solve so many problems, allow you to keep the gorgeous doors and move forward with your plans. Perfect.
I just like the imposing iron doors “so chic”. I find that it has a crazy charm, and I imagine that behind the door there is a superb house to which the owners give access only to their guests.
I never had a problem with a big key, it sure does not fit in the pocket.
I do not know if my feelings and my experience of French will help you to choose.
Your comment made me really happy.
oh wow, what a wonderful problem to have. I think it would be neat if the doors to the back yard could be glass so there is light in the tunnel, then you could make that area a little garden entrance, with stones (or flagstone/tile) on the ground to segue between the street and the house, instead of entering straight into a small sitting room or whatever. It would also keep the function of being able to move equipment, bikes, supplies, etc from the street into the back garden. As far as the two big front doors, I would live with it for a while and see what speaks to you.
My husband and I recently looked at a house online about 3 hours directly south of you…oh my goodness, such amazing bones, so affordable and actually livable right now….SO TEMPTING.
Yes! It sounds like you are picturing the same thing I am. We are planning fully glass doors to the back garden (you can see the note in the second sketch), and we are planning traditional French-tile floors (I linked to a photo in an earlier comment).
The doors are so beautiful! I’ve seen metal door-within-doors in France, I thought, but now I’m not sure whether they were metal. There must be a way! Also I’d probably keep the covered area open as a tunnel, just because of the nostalgia of it – I lived in France in college and I loved the mystery and hidden wonder of those back gardens that you reached through a tunnel!
I hear you on appreciating some mystery — luckily this house has lots of it. In fact there’s a second house in the back that’s part of the property that I haven’t even talked about yet. Hahaha!
Oh gosh! You mentioned it briefly before (maybe on Instagram?!?!), and I just can’t wait for the tour of that mystery house!
Love the doors and hope you can keep them, but I know you’ll come up with a beautiful alternative if you can’t. I think that adding some more livable space seems like a really smart decision for your family, especially based on the climate in Normandy!
I love your approach of living with the doors for a bit and seeing how it actually works for your family! I also remember from high school exchanges in France that I was really surprised by the differences between how French vs American homes related to the outside. On my street in the US, everyone had a welcoming front porch, the house interiors were for the most part visible from the street, privacy and safety were frankly less of a concern. Whereas in France the families I stayed with were very strict about locking down, shuttering their windows, keeping everything hidden from sight. Not in a bad way, just a very real cultural difference that your “front door” question reminded me of.
I’ve observed the same thing — privacy here is approached differently than in the States. I don’t know where I read this, but one theory on why privacy is bigger here, is that early on in France tax collectors used to look inside the windows and then demand a tax based on belongings, so shuttering the windows became important. Not sure if that’s just a myth!
We have doors within entry way gates in Pakistan where I grew up as well. And a very similar set up to the front door. And I would totally vote for that option as well.
I also like the idea of keeping a firepit and chairs in this space. Good luck with whatever you decide.
Thanks for the good luck wishes, Shazia.
This setup, with the big doors, pull-through ‘garage’ and carriage house reminds me so much of the house in Roma, which also seemed like it should only be able to fit a tiny little car. I think keeping some sort of large doors with a smaller every-day-use door cut into it seems like a great idea. I love that the example you showed looks so seamless with the continuous windows and such. So beautifully designed. I’m excited to see how you guys personalize the space for your family.
I’m excited too. I know these are silly questions in the grand scheme of things, but it’s been nice to have something to think about that helps me from falling into a pit of depression.
Oh gosh, yeah. I sew, so I’m working on a capsule wardrobe for myself during quarantine. Even though I wear leggings literally every day. Anything to distract myself from the news.
I like the idea of the door-within-a door but the example you show does not look appealing to me. I can’t figure out where to focus when I’m looking at that picture. It’s like I don’t understand what I’m seeing! I don’t know if that makes sense. It just looks busy and confusing.
No worries. There are lots of examples of doors-within-a-door in our town and each one has their own style and design.
Living in a northern climate I understand what you mean when you say that space would not be useful unless incorporated into the interior and properly heated. I agree with the previous comments to see if the existing doors can be rehung with improved hinges/hardware – they are so classic. And I love your idea of creating a small enclosed foyer (perhaps another door) just beyond those doors. We do not have that and when our front door is opened in cool weather I get cold legs sitting in our living room which is at the back of the house – and it’s not a lovely old house like yours :)
I hear you. I’m such a fan of a good entry space — they offer so many practical solutions. A place to set a bag or keys, a place for jackets, a place to sit and put on (or take off shoes), a table for flowers or something pretty.
The original doors are GORGEOUS. I would definitely live with them and only change them if they turn out to be a real nuisance.
I agree they are beautiful.
I guess I’m the anomaly, but I say get new doors, with a smaller door and the touch pad! HA! Kids and keys are a pain:)
The current doors are beautiful, but not very practical. And with your creativity I’m sure they could be of use somewhere else or to someone else:)
I think your idea of moving in and living to get a better idea of exactly what you want is great, but I believe you’ll then want to quickly replace that door! haha!
Also I love the idea of an entry and music room/seating area. Especially with a big back wall of windows. I assume that means you’d get rid of the current “real” entrance and just make it a walkway too, yes?
Yes, the current “real” entry is a set of smaller double doors. We could have them removed, or we could just leave them open. I’ll have to show another sketch so people can see what I’m picturing.
(And I’m glad to hear someone likes my plan for the space. Hah!)
Use the space as it suits your family 95% of the time. I’m in NE USA and have a good sized balcony. I would trade it in a heartbeat for the equivalent indoor space. It’s either winter, hot, humid & mosquito, or wind & rain 3/4 of the year. I don’t mind being out & about in unpleasant weather but to just sit outside on a less than comfortable day holds no appeal. Our family could use our balcony space better for kid’s bedroom or home office. Even an enclosed 3-season space would have more use (but is not permitted.)
Yes! You totally get it, Melissa. I understand the appeal of an indoor/outdoor space, but the reality is, in our case it would get very little use. It makes so much more sense for our family as an indoor space. And hey, we can always open those big doors to the garden if we want to create an indoor/outdoor feel once in awhile.
We have 2 entrances to our small Berkeley condo and have always used the one that went through the carport. But it was dirty and cluttered and not an enjoyable space to welcome guests (from carport, the entrance goes straight into our tiny kitchen). We made that carport space an interior space 2 years ago. Technically it’s a garage so we put in wide wooden doors with upper lights in them. They can open all the way but we only use one side as we don’t park a car in this space (only a very tiny car would fit). We put on a keyless lock and I love it. The kids can come and go without keys and I don’t have to take keys on a walk to the store or walking the dog. I was worried that a 4 foot wide door would be too heavy for everyday use but it’s ok. It does require a bit of force to get it truly closed but we’re used to it now. It’s so nice to have a more inviting entry though we use our “rumpus room” for so many different purposes that it’s not gorgeously Styled or anything. It’s a mudroom, entryway, laundry room, Pantry, workout room (especially now!!), extra office, indoor soccer and hangout room. Multi purpose indeed. The walls are cheery yellow and there’s lots of light. I love it. So much better than coming and going out of a carport, even if we have had to figure out bike storage elsewhere.
Is there an option for a code and an automatic door opener for these doors? Similar to a front gate with a code on a gated community? Then it would eliminate the need for a giant key (cute, but impractical) and also solves the issue of a heavy door for younger (or older) people that may struggle with it