Back Door Search Begins

I’m suppose to be researching back doors but I came across this stairway in Thomas O’Brien’s book American Modern and kinda stopped there. In the back of the photo he has two different doors painted black that look like they could be dutch doors? And I love that table with the brass drawer pull but let’s stay focused on the doors.

I thought about doing a solid wood door with a screen door but we can’t open the door in because we have a stairway in the way. If the doors open out then a wood door and a screen door really don’t work? Did everyone got that? Open in bad, open out good.

So what about a dutch door? Can they pivot both ways? Or can the bottom go one way and the top the other? I have room for the top to open in when the bottom is closed because it will swoop over the stairway. But when I want to open the whole door both pieces need to swing out. Is that even possible?

But then how historically accurate is a dutch door for my house? I found this site showing a hundreds of different configurations with glass and without. But then I remembered how much I loved this blue door I found back in 2009 with 12 lights (windows) and a panel below. Again the historic society is not so keen on glass but I love this style and feels back door like? And the more I think about if the panel came below the window frame next to my 12 light window wouldn’t that look nice?

I really need to keep looking and do more research…

obviously we have a long way to go

Related Posts:
Thanksgiving Weekend Renovations
Blue Doors
Painted House Number

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

You may also like


  1. Wow Katy,

    I drove by your house today. You have a long way to go to get tightened up for winter…. I so totally admire what the two of you so lovingly are doing to your house!!!! It will be wonderful!
    Hang in there….

    A Fellow Header


  2. Forgot to mention, the exterior door would have to held open either with a great hook system or a rock, planter, etc.


  3. Hi Katie! We have an exterior door that opens out and use a screen door in the summer. We mount the screen door inside with hinges that have removable pins so the door can be removed easily for storage in the colder months. Just pop in on when you see the first daffodils !


  4. Tokyo Jinja – nice link – that blue “Item: DR2124” is nice.

    Katy – The Dutch door (although neat and interesting) is not practical unless you live in a place that doesn’t have winter for 5 months a year. The “divide” between the doors will never be totally weather proof and the draft be bad. The Dutch Door is also probably never installed on an exposed wall without a porch roof above it. Something to think about. Also, exterior doors don’t open both ways unless you live in mud hut.


  5. Oh, I just adore that house of Thomas O’Brien’s. I think it’s his finest work: Everything is perfect, including that entry way you posted.


  6. I grew up in a 1782 colonial and we had two Dutch doors. On one the door halves open in and on the other both halves open out. Both have screen doors. One on the inside, the other on the outside. (both have storm door inserts too).


  7. I installed a wood dutch door several years ago from this company, item # DD236 (make sure you check out the photo they have it painted in red and I have my door in midnight blue). It looks great and it very high quality.




  8. Unfortunately 95% of my house is visible from the street. I’m on a very prominent corner. So the historic society does have to approve.

    Both doors have to open out. The stairs are less then a foot away from the door. A pocket door wouldn’t work because it’s between a corner and a window–not enough room. But good thinking!

    So the only thing I can get away with is a top portion of door opening in.


  9. Aren’t dutch doors historic? I’m no expert, but I associate them with colonial homes (perhaps mistakenly…). With a bit of clever engineering I’m sure you could get a dutch door to open the way you need it to, plus you have the benefit of the light from its glass.

    So, in summation, I vote for a dutch door. They are lovely and are on my “wish list” for my future home.


  10. Is your back door visible from the street? Here in Spfld, Mass, the hist.comm. can only make decrees on what’s visible to the naked eye from the street.
    Some neighbors have a regular screen door sawed in two (down the middle) to solve the opening problem. If you want to see it, shoot me an email and I’ll photograph it and send it to you — so their screen door opens out and their door door opens in.
    You can make hinges operate any way you want, I think. Not sure.
    Is a pocket door a possibility for the screen door?