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Windows and doors are designed to keep out intruders and protect your home from the elements. However, their appearance offers an insight into the interior of the house too.

Front door fashion

Front doors have always had an important role to play in the appearance of a house. In Victorian times a fine front door was considered a statement of wealth and prestige. As with any fashion, door, and window designs change with the era. During the 1800s, doors were mostly panelled with carvings. Victorian doors were made of softwood, so they would be painted or grained to give a hardwood appearance and make them look more expensive. Stained glass would often be added to doors as well as brass door handles, knockers, letter boxes, and hinges, which servants would spend hours polishing.  

In Edwardian times, front doors were larger and usually had a side window to let in more light. It was popular during this era to paint the front door in red or green. Most homes no longer employed servants to maintain the look of the fixtures and fittings of the door, so door furniture was coated in a maintenance free black coating.

By the 1920s and 1930s, doors were heavily influenced by the Art Deco movement. Doors were made from softwood and painted, but they usually featured leaded and stained glass. Geometric designs of coloured glass were used, often made into patterns of sunrays and chevrons. Door furniture was usually made from chrome.

Vintage window trends

During Georgian and Victorian times, sash windows were a feature of most homes. A sash window comprises of one or more movable panels which form a frame. The panes of glass are separated by glazing bars. These windows were usually painted in the white “Queen Anne” style.

In 1894 the Building Act changed its regulations so windows were no longer required to be flush with the exterior wall. This allowed windows to be designed in Bay style. These windows projected outwards from the main wall of the house forming a bay inside the room. Bay rooms make rooms appear larger and let in lots of light.

Casement windows became popular in the 20s and 30s. These were framed glass attached to a set of hinges in a frame made of wood or metal. Roland Tanglao who writes for explains:

“Very early casement windows were mostly constructed using iron, with lead used as lattice work across the glass. Over time, this fashion died out and manufacturers started transitioning to timber construction. It was during the Victorian period that we eventually saw a full conversion to using timber, with oak becoming the highly preferred wood type. For well over a century the casement window remained in its original form, with a structure of six rectangular panes. However, as architecture changed, so too did the casement. With the dawning of the Gothic age in the nineteenth century, we saw a shift towards incorporating the instantly recognisable Gothic arch in the uppermost panes, for example.”

Today these vintage window and door designs are as popular as ever. There is a strong demand for reclaimed doors from the Victorian era right through to Art Nuovo and Art Deco. These classic designs give an interesting and retro look to any home, whether old or modern.