For homebuilders planning a Georgian or Victorian style home, one of the most important element decisions will be choosing a grand entrance door, the distinct signature of a home's character. Whereas windows are considered the eyes of a home, the grand entrance door is the open, welcoming embrace, the gateway to the warmth within. Of course, the entrance door also must serve to be a barrier of a kind, to both unfriendly visitors and unkind weather, and the need for strength and security is just as important as a stylish appearance. Before choosing a period door, consulting with a bespoke joinery that specializes in period reproduction style doors would be a wise decision. Both Georgian and Victorian style doors are meant to give a grand first impression, and they are designed to enhance the overall appearance of an entry.
Georgian architecture is a broad term defining all styles created during the reign of the first three King Georges of England between 1750 and 1820. The three most important elements of the period of design and construction style were proportion, symmetry, and elegance. The elegance leaned toward simplicity, however, and ornamentation was muted. More emphasis was placed upon solidarity, and Georgian dwellings tended to be so sound constructed that many remained standing in their near-original state centuries later. In keeping with a balanced façade, great attention was given to the doors and windows. The grand entrance door was especially important as the principal feature of a Georgian home.
Doors were usually set back at least four inches from the brick, stone or timber front. They were very sturdy, thick-timbered doors, but usually simple in design with four or six panels, and they often had a semi-circular or semi-elliptical fanlight above the door, which is a window with glazing bars that radiate out like a fan. Later Georgian doors became more ornate, with more intricate transom windows and sidelights adorned with tracery. Fine examples of Georgian style grand entrance doors with beautiful fanlights and sidelights can be found in London on Portland Place, in particular on the west side, numbers 27 to 47, south of Devonshire Street.
Victorian style architecture broadly encompasses any building or style created during her reign from 1837 to 1901, and much is constructed in brick, stone, and timber incorporating an eclectic mix of other architectural styles and motifs. The Victorian period designers and craftsmen were quite fond of ornament, patterned details, plenty of trim, and bold colors. The homes most often had bay windows, ornate string courses, decorative gables and keys, interesting brickwork, and elegant grand entrances. Stained glass became popular, especially among the affluent, and soon became a standard inclusion of many Victorian doors. The carved panel work became more stylish, divided into four to six sections, and great attention was given to gleaming brass door furniture. The mortise lock, developed during the Victorian era, replaced the rim lock. Fanlights and glazed upper panels replaced the above-door fanlights, but sidelights remained popular.
Both Georgian and Victorian grand entrance door styles have their own unique features and historical significance. When building a period style house, it is important to research and understand the architectural elements inherent in the period door design to match the home's architecture accordingly. A respectable bespoke joinery can assist homebuilders in choosing the right grand entrance door and in keeping true to history.