By Kate Burt, Houzz
A bank of sliding or folding glass doors is a lovely way to open up the back of your house to the garden, but there are reasons for choosing an alternative approach. Try the following ideas if, for example, you want to retain wall space, build in a window seat or keep some period character.
Supersize the windows. Maximizing light is often a big factor in the decision to open up the back of the house with wall-to-wall doors. But this cleverly designed living-dining space is wonderfully airy and bright, even with its traditional size and style of doors to the garden.
To the right, the addition, originally part of the side yard, was glassed in vertically and horizontally, flooding the dining area with light and creating a cozy window seat.
It’s important to talk to your designer about the orientation of your addition toward the sun if you’re considering this much glass. He or she can suggest provisions to ensure that you don’t create a greenhouse-like space.
Go deep. Rather than extending the glass doors across the entire back wall of this contemporary addition, the designer stopped short, using just three panels. The rest of the wall features a large window with a deep sill for a pleasant perch (especially for the resident feline).
Be repetitive. With all three sets of these pretty double doors open, you’d definitely be letting the outdoors in. This addition also features a skylight running left to right across the back of the room, bringing even more light into the space.
Although these are modern-style doors, the horizontal beading between the panes gives them a decidedly traditional look. This is a subtle way to highlight your home’s vintage or to draw attention to antique pieces.
Employ paint. One decorative benefit of choosing a more traditional exit into your garden is that wood will be an option —meaning you can paint it!
For a coherent exterior, consider painting your window frames to match your garden doors (or your doors to match your windows if you’re not ready for major redecoration).
Focus on the view. Who says thin-framed bifolds are the only way to highlight the view of your garden from indoors? This long, slim and contemporary kitchen has a sleek, monochrome color scheme. Choosing white for walls and doors makes them almost disappear — but not quite, which also adds character to the space.
Where light is limited, opting for reflective surfaces helps boost what you have by bouncing it around the room.
Consider metal frames. For a hit of character, think about steel door and window frames.
These windows, popular in the 1920s and 1930s, are a great choice for a house built between the wars. But don’t let yourself feel restricted by the idea of period authenticity — Crittall steel windows were invented in the late 19th century and are enjoying a revival of popularity across a raft of architectural styles.
Free up wall space. Restricting floor-to-ceiling doors to just one section of the back of your home also offers another opportunity: to use part of the wall for cabinetry. If you enjoy washing the dishes while gazing out the window, the benefits of this layout are obvious. It’s also a valuable consideration if you’re short on space — a whole wall of potential kitchen, for most of us, is a lot to give up.
If you prefer your frames to melt away visually, which can help expand a small or busy space, you might opt for having them made or painted in the same color as your walls.
Build in a dining nook. This split-level back room is a good-looking example of how traditional-style doors to your outdoor space can help you build a feature. The width is perfect for this circular dining table, and the view down on the garden below makes it a lovely spot for breakfast or lunch especially.
If your kitchen-dining room is raised and you have a balcony, consider installing a glass balustrade to ensure an uninterrupted view, as these homeowners have done.
Streamline your separation. The French doors in this double living room have a partner pair of doors to their right, in the kitchen-dining room.
Painting the bifold doors and the woodwork the same gray connects the elements of this room.
Maintaining two separate routes into and views across the garden gives your living space the opportunity to be a peaceful haven, with the kitchen-dining room a standalone household hub. To ensure that you retain two (or, as here, three) distinct lounging zones, be inspired by the way this homeowner made her dining area as comfy and cozy as possible, encouraging household members to linger for a while.
Choosing not to go totally open-plan is also a nice way to celebrate a house with pretty period features.