PARTS OF THE WHOLE
The Rise of Open Concept Floor Plans Has Created New Needs in Home Design
By Katricia Lang
Open concept floor plans have become all the rage over the past 25-30 years, but now the tide is turning as homeowners rediscover the need for smaller dedicated rooms, additional storage, and a way to control the noise from the kitchen or television. The good news is that many of these problems can be solved with interior doors, room dividers and decorative windows.
Homeowners can turn plain closet doors into a sliding glass dry-erase canvas for the kids, use a partition to carve out space for a home gym, and even employ a folding screen to hide those storage boxes until there’s time to sort through them all.
But where to start? “It’s really going to depend on what you’re trying to do with that space at that moment,” says Romni Cain of Chateau Domingue and its subsidiary, Atelier Domingue Architectural Metalcrafts.
For example, for homeowners living in an open concept home but who want to entertain in a formal dining room, Cain suggests a sliding pocket door or bi-fold door system. Both save more space than a traditional swing out door, and the bi-fold system creates a wall that can be extended or retracted at will.
Another way to create a sense of division and to break up the space is through the use of translucent fixed windows along a second floor. Durango Doors can install those where a low wall or railing would normally go; their folding units also work well for expanding the view and creating an entertaining space to the back yard or patio area.
To get the creative juices flowing, clients often look to magazines, their friends’ houses, and the websites of professionals. Think about what you want to accomplish and communicate those needs when consulting with a pro.
“It is all driven by the client’s needs,” says The Sliding Door Company’s Sheryl Hai-Ami. “Let me know, ‘I have kids. I need closets that lock.’ I need to know that so I can make sure we get an accessory that works for you,” says Hai-Ami.
Material options such as aluminum, steel and wood each have their own advantages. Aluminum is durable, eco-friendly and energy efficient, says Hai-Ami, whose company exclusively uses aluminum and glass. Steel is similarly durable and energy efficient and can be matched with any decor or time period. After all, metal smiths have been crafting steel doors since before Cleopatra was born.
Interior doors are undeniably “in” according to Michael Stinson, owner of Cambridge Doors, Windows & More. “Now people are wanting to put a man cave or a media room in,” says Stinson. Cambridge’s line of interior French doors comes in a variety of styles, including with clear or knotty pine, mahogany, beveled glass or triple insulated safety glass.
It’s easy to get caught up with the latest fads, but wood never goes out of style. “Solid pine, alder or mahogany doors are our most popular in various panel designs and sizes," says Southern Front Doors' Jesse Salinas, adding that wood is a better material for soundproofing. Jason Salvaggio of Door Clearance Center says that, “traditional six-panel molded doors are still the most popular interior door. But trends are shifting and solid pine wood doors and modern shaker styles are gaining in popularity.”
When budgeting for an interior door or divider, be sure to factor in the costs for shipping, installation, and upgrades such as designer finishes and hardware.
Installation is a daunting task and best left to the pros, but once in place these features yield more than steel frames and hinges. “Room dividers add value to a home beyond doors,” says Hai-Ami. “They help you create relatable moments.”
Durango Doors Houston
7026 Old Katy Road #300
Door Clearance Center
8245 North Freeway
Southern Front Doors
11234 Jones Road West
The Sliding Door Company
3601 West Alabama Street