We’ve settled into the clutches of Autumn which means brisk walks, fading light & turning leaves. Strolling through Sherwood forest this weekend, I spent the entire day mesmerised by how the sun tinges the tops of the pines into an almost hypnotic sea of warmly lit leaves – or to describe it in 21st century terms, it felt like walking around with an Instagram filter placed permanently in front of my eyes.
Autumnal colours are deeply satisfying as they give off a warm, fuzzy air that reminds you of snuggling into your warmest jumper & sipping on a steaming cup of tea. The muted, sophisticated tones have a degree of calmness that’s perfect for following the frenzied, brightness of summer.
For doors, these tones are classy & smart. Dark greens, deep reds, mulberry & orange tinges all look great, particularly in the early evening with the shadows forming around them.
Another thing of beauty to look out for is doors with stained glass features that allow warm light to seep out on a dark evening. There’s something comforting & almost romantic about this sight which gives you a peek into each home and makes you imagine what’s happening behind each door.
Of course, Autumn’s pinnacle is Halloween when your door will receive the excitable rap of several trick or treaters’ knuckles. If your door isn’t particularly Autumnal in-style, take the opportunity to at least get some spooky décor out there, or perhaps a token pumpkin or two.
Alternatively, Halloween could be the perfect time to get that black cat that’s been subject of much debate at the family dining table. A cat will often rest beside your front door, elevating your house front to something similar to a sphinx-protected pyramid.
Finally, some of you may have features on your door which means you’re ready for Halloween all year round – take this door with the overarching cobweb-style detail. I’m sure spooky wasn’t the intention behind this door but the gothic style does make you shudder slightly. This type of detail isn’t common in modern housing so the only thing to feel spooked about is whether you’ve opted for the best Autumn shade…
For someone who spends a lot of time looking at doors, I can assure you that there is one small feature which is often overlooked but can give an entrance a real sense of character. If you’ve gone to the effort of choosing the exact material, colour & panel layout you really want – then it would be foolish to miss out on the opportunity to throw in a humble knocker.
Tragically, knockers are becoming more and more uncommon. While there is a lot of excitement (and rightly so) about the use of technology, from all-seeing doorbells to apps that can check if your door is locked, there is something quite appealing about a traditional door knocker. I have managed to spot some real beauties around, so without further ado, here are my top 10 (trust me – this was very difficult to narrow down!):
10 – The Love Heart
It may be a while until Valentine’s day, but this soppy knocker has a certain romance to it.
9 – A Daring Dragonfly
The first of many animals on this list – a dragonfly is definitely top ten material. The dragonfly symbolises change & transformation which go hand in hand with the idea of opening new doors…
8 – Swanning Around
A swan might typically be seen as graceful & serene but I think there’s almost a snooty air from a swan knocker. Nevertheless, a bit of arrogance has quite an allure…
7 – Prickly Pineapple
It’s hard to tell whether this is actually meant to be a pineapple but there’s no denying that when paired with the vibrant yellow door, it makes for quite an arresting front.
6 – The Regal Lion
As far as knockers go, the lion is a common feature – and with good reason. Its majestic features make a fantastic front.
5 – Stop Rabbiting On
Halfway through the top ten & perhaps you thought I wouldn’t be able to rabbit on about knockers for this long? Think again.
4 – A Wise Elephant
The age, wisdom and kindness of a giant elephant knocker propels it to a high place on this list. For anyone wanting to reminisce their travels away, this trunky knocker could serve as a daily, happy reminder.
3 – It’s Absolutely Rammed in Here
It’s worth getting a ram-shaped knocker and throwing a housewarming party, for the pure joy on your friend’s face when he pulls out the dad joke of it being ‘absolutely rammed in here’.
2 – A Man’s Best Friend
Where would we be without our furry guardians by our side? For any dog lover, the knocker is a great place to pay homage to their endlessly cheerful spirit.
1 – Shakespeare in Love
I absolutely adore this knocker – it’s truly unique and as the daughter of an English teacher, this simply had to take the coveted top spot.
Nothing says British Summertime like long afternoons whiling away the hours in a local boozer. As I’m bumbling from one beer garden to the next, I’ve been keeping my (slightly blurred) eyes peeled for some stunning doors & it is with huge lamentation that I have to say – I’ve been sorely disappointed.
Now, don’t get me wrong – it’s not all doom and gloom. There are some beauties out there. But on the whole – a vast number of pubs seem to be underestimating the allure of a dreamy door – perhaps under the false impression that the door is only useful when open to be stumbled through by the general public.
Today, there are more pubs, bars, cafes and small businesses than ever to choose from. Each place pays a healthy chunk to have their premises and an even heftier sum on marketing – often completely forgetting the most visible thing about the store will often be the front door!
So I thought I’d pull together some examples of businesses that are making a great use of their doors and hopefully inspire others to put this valuable real estate to good use!
The Smart Art Approach
Every business wants to be memorable and an easy way to do that is going for bright colours – or better still, turning the entrance into a piece of art. Us Brits tend to be quite reserved when it comes to our doorways, so in a street full of plain Janes, why not go wild with a splash of colour and be the exotic Tarzan in town?
The Dream Theme
Perhaps you’re trying to specialise and be known around the block as the true connoisseur of something. One option is to really hammer home that message with a themed door. Don’t wait for people to get inside, show the world what you’re about!
Pass the Glass
Just because you’ve got glass doors, doesn’t mean you should pass the opportunity to make a statement. Some simple sticker designs are a really cheap but effective way of making you stand out from the rest of the street.
Back-door Escape Equally, don’t just think of your fire-doors as a place to look at whilst rolling your eyes during the 10th fire drill of the month. Make sure you’ve got all the right signage and then try using the space to show a bit of your business’s personality.
Celebrating Years Gone By
If you’re lucky enough to have a building with an old wooden door that still works, then do everything you can to highlight its beauty. They don’t quite make them like they used to!
It’s a Door World After All
As you can see – there are great ways any business can make use of their doors. But what if your business is actually selling doors themselves? A brochure can only go so far & doesn’t provide the excitement that I believe door shopping should. Instead, some businesses are providing a more memorable experience which allows customers to see the doors up close and personal. Formby Composite Doors & Coffee Lounge have taken this approach and set up a small coffee shop where you can sip on a latte, surrounded by Vista & DOORCO doors (heaven!) and be confident in whichever one you choose.
So there we have it – the humble door has many uses and although a business’s success might not hinge on it – an appealing door goes a long way to locking down against competition.
British Summertime is officially here which means donning those white linen trousers you bought on holiday and heading to the park to sip on Pimms and debate whether our beloved Andy Murray is grumpy or just Scottish.
It’s that beautiful time of year when the sunshine stretches out until the late evening and we’re surrounded by leafy greens. With Wimbledon just around the corner, I started thinking about how green and white together make a brilliantly summery facade but there are some simple do’s and don’ts to bear in mind when it comes to doors.
1. Don’t Go OTT
Maybe you love your rolling meadows, find peace reclining in the shade of tall oaks or strolling through the nearest countryside. The thing to remember is that whilst being surrounded by natural world greens is extremely tranquil – it can be overbearing if you apply too much of the shade to your house. So don’t go over-the-top… think light touch – not leprechaun.
2. Do the Green, White, Green Sandwich
Okay, so admittedly the ‘green, white, green sandwich’ isn’t one that you typically see in a Sainsbury’s meal deal. What I mean by this is having a green door, surrounded by white features and then some nearby shrubbery is always a great combination. The white paint is a really subtle way of drawing the eye into the door, making its hue more memorable.
3. Don’t be afraid of injecting some personality
Most doors I see in Britain are fairly plain. Collectively, I think we’re quite a modest bunch and don’t like to draw attention to ourselves. However, the door can be a perfect opportunity to add some character. Adding some distinctive features incorporating a green nature-based tone is likely to leave a really positive impression on visitors.
Kind Charity’s green door with playful bumble bees was one I spotted whilst being toured around Liverpool with Vista. It’s a small touch that made me smile and had a lasting impression.
Similarly, I loved the simple pop-art approach of ‘Barber Shop Adam’, spotted in Yarm (North East England). The green & white pairing combined with a simple graphic is definitely one of the most striking doors on a busy high street.
4. Do keep it clean!
If this season’s cricket or tennis kits have got you inspired – then take a leaf out of the dentist’s book and make sure you keep your whites pearly clean. Just like scrubbing your molars, a white door needs love and attention to keep it looking at its best.
Ultimately, both green and white doors are great options in the summertime as they imbue a natural lightness whilst retaining a classy feel. Plus, if done right, they’re both subtle enough that you can be sure they won’t be a hot topic around the BBQ and you can rightly concentrate on shouting ‘New balls please!’ at the telly.
Yesterday, I was minding my own business taking a photo of a red door with absurdly large lettering for the house number when a couple of women cautiously approached me. I immediately thought my luck was up – I was finally going to have to confront the conversation I’ve miraculously managed to avoid so far as to why I’m taking a photo of someone’s doorway. Fortunately, I was wrong. They were wondering if I wanted to be a hand model for their nail salon. Relieved and somewhat bemused, I decided to go along with it.
I followed the ladies to their salon where they sat me in a chair and offered me a whole array of different colours to choose from. Just like with doors, nails are an opportunity to add a splash of colour and show a hint of personality. It took me about 10 minutes to decide what colour to go for – even when the choice is far from permanent. I completely understand that choosing a colour for a front door, particularly a bold colour, is even more of a difficult a task. What if you don’t like it? What if the neighbours think it’s ridiculous? Naturally, I settled on fluorescent yellow.
There are a number of things I’d recommend doing if you fancy a bold colour but aren’t sure which…
First thing’s first – get the brochure. Have you ever ordered something online and then it turns up looking like an entirely different product? The lesson is – colours look different between print and online so get the brochure to see the real colour you’re ordering.
Secondly, try the ‘Design Your Door’ feature on the DOORCO website. It’s easy to think that you love a particular colour when you’ve seen it somewhere in the wild but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will look good on your door. The biggest thing I’ve realised through my photography is that the story does not end with the door – it’s about the whole façade. The colours you love might look fantastic on someone else’s house, but perhaps with your surrounding brickwork… not such a pretty picture. With the Design Your Door feature, you can choose literally everything you want about the door and then visualise the end product by uploading a photo of the front of your house. A truly digital ‘try before you buy’!
Or, if you have a shed and fancy a more hands on approach, my recommendation is to get a bunch of sample paint pots and try out your favourites. This is a safe spot where you can try out your most wacky ideas. I like to think my dad pioneered this technique by painting the shed door a lurid, fluorescent green and then after clearly determining it to have been a success – moving on to the living room radiator (much to my mum’s dismay). DOORCO can paint any RAL colour so you should be able to match your chosen shade.
If you are a developer or landlord with portfolios of properties, I envy the options you have in front of you. Rather than having to choose which colour to go for, you have enough doors to have a whole rainbow. What a fun way to avoid the frustrations often felt by residents of the uniformity of houses and being unable to put a unique stamp on a home. In fact, the property on my road has done this really well – turning an otherwise fairly non-descriptive set of flats into something eye-catching, memorable & full of life. I find the different, bright coloured doors reminiscent of rows of beach huts by the seaside in summer and immediately feel happy when I see them. Consumers regularly say that colour is a key factor in purchasing and I would bet that anyone viewing a bunch of houses in a short space of time will remember the ones with a bit of character.
Thankfully, there is a huge amount of choice when it comes to choosing door colours. My personal advice is that being bold pays off – I haven’t stopped admiring my fluorescent nails.
Until next time,
DOORCO’s Creative Consultant
The 21st century world can sometimes feel like things are changing exhaustingly quickly. The moment your mum finally learns how to decipher cryptic text language, the world has moved on to conversing through bizarre emojis, witty gifs and topical memes. One industry I thought I could rely on for a slower, steadier course through time, was doors. Turns out, the world of doors is undergoing a whole lot of change too…
KNOCKERS vs BELLS
Back in the day, the most common way to find out you had a visitor would have been a good old-fashioned bang on the door. Perhaps you took particular pride in your door and took the time to have an iron-cast knocker made – saving the visitor’s knuckles from a sharp rap. There’s still plenty of these wrought beauties dotted around, but for the most part, we’ve upgraded to the digital bell to announce the arrival of someone on your doorstep (usually just a simple ringing sound but there are plenty with painstakingly cheerful tunes to choose from as well).
However, through consumer demand, lots of door companies have gone down the traditional route instead, offering a Victorian-style knocker with a handy peephole so you can eye up the arrival and make a judgement call about whether those fluffy PJs are suitable for the outside world.
CORRIDOR vs COUCH
Recently, a number of apps have sprung up to disrupt the world of door opening. Not only can you have a customised tone, but many also come fitted with video cameras and microphones & enable you to unlock the door remotely so you no longer even have to stop watching Gogglebox & trundle down the corridor in order to let someone in – couch heaven.
I spoke to one London-based company, Kitt, who have even gone a step further to join door entry with facial recognition technology so tenants can enter the building just by peering into a camera. I am assured it even works if you tried to enter bleary-eyed after a few too many beverages…
And then there’s the world of Smart– this clever system doesn’t just offer keyless entry but will tell you via an app if you’ve remembered to lock your door (no more irrational panic and trek back to the house!) or even sound an alarm on your phone if there’s unexpected force placed on your door.
LETTER BOX vs ROBO-DOOR
What could possibly replace the humble letter box? The metal flap has certainly stood the test of time – even the heavy ones that trap your fingers (which I’m sure postmen and women everywhere must long for the demise of).
But this year, I was introduced to what I can only described as robo-door. This whizzy door has protruding compartments which means you can have deliveries brought into your house, even when you’re not around. Mind blown.
What’s the catch? Well, if this truly is the future of doors then although it may be cool, it’s also going to take more than a few piggy banks to buy. In the meantime, you can always keep it classic with no frills flaps.
So, as you can see, although the world of doors might not be as crazy as other industries – you wouldn’t be unhinged to say there is plenty of technology innovation in this space.
This month, I left the smoky abyss of London to explore the door scene up North, as suggested by Vista, DOORCO customer and creator of XtremeDoor. Vista felt their hometown of Liverpool showcases a real mix of old and new styles and wanted to personally demonstrate to me how their composite doors work well in both environments.
The day got off to a bit of a tricky start due to my interminable travel sickness and of course, the torrential North Western rain. So, Ian Smith from Vista and myself decided the best option was to wait it out with a cup of steaming tea and headed to the cafe in the Anglican Cathedral.
I tend to find church doors awe-inspiring – towering over their residential peers and boasting impressive iron-wrought knockers. As you might expect for the world’s second largest Cathedral, the Anglican was no exception. On top of enormous doors, the interior is adorned with gorgeous stained glass & intricately carved architecture which forms a vision of the kind of beautiful design I’d love to see mimicked in doors.
It became apparent that the downpour had passed and Ian, myself and my trusty camera were no longer in danger of being drenched. Time to begin the real door hunt.
First stop was a block of student housing overlooking the Cathedral, which Vista had fully kitted out with smart black DOORCO composite slab in XtremeDoor’s York design. I thought back to my own days at University and the rubble-filled streets we bizarrely chose to live in; this block looked practically palatial by comparison.
From there, we began a beautiful tour of the Georgian Quarter of Liverpool which admittedly was almost overwhelming for a door geek like myself. As we headed down Rodney Street, I found myself crossing back and forth, over and over, barely able to decide which side of the street to admire the doors from. Each door is grand, brightly painted and framed by interesting architecture. For those who like their symmetry, this street (and in fact entire area) is perfection.
We were totally inspired by the beauty of the Georgian Quarter doors and the variety of colour and style shown in one place. In a way, it was a reminder that before Britain got white-washed with PVC-U, it was a more colourful place. For a door-geek like me its reassuring that the composite door market is helping revert back to this level of individuality by drawing on the colours, designs and timber-feel of these original forefathers, but without having to compromise on the modern benefits of high security and low maintenance.
After the elegant Georgian quarter, I had a somewhat sobering experience going to the Welsh Streets – an area of old Victorian terraced houses which had been left abandoned for years following the Blair government’s condemnation to demolish the area under the housing market renewal initiative, wiping out an area steeped in history and childhood home to Ringo Starr. Eventually, after a lot of pressure & poor publicity, the demolition plans were stopped and the council kicked off a project to refurbish the streets. Before doing so, BBC’s Peaky Blinders gangster clan descended in order to film various scenes at the infamous ‘Garrison’ – apparently leaving the ladies of Liverpool swooning after having both Cillian Murphy and Tom Hardy in town.
After the dishy duo left the pitted neighbourhood, the redevelopment work continued and the end result is a really refreshing set of houses with modern fittings (including doors, of course) but original brickwork. Ian was proud to point out Vista’s award-winning refurbishment scheme here for Place First.
After that, Ian drove me to a few nearby houses where I could see the contrast between a door Vista had provided against their neighbours’. The difference each time was stark, with Vista’s installation being a clear winner if there were ever to be a ‘Who’s Got the Best Door’ competition.
There was only one thing left to do before my door tour of Liverpool was complete – the obligatory nod to the Beatles history. No trip should ever be made to Liverpool without paying some kind of homage to the almighty band and so we dutifully headed over to see the doors of John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s childhood homes. Each door had me thinking, as I always do, what you can guess about the person behind a door.
In the words of Ringo Starr…
Peace and Love,
Jeyda, Chief Doork
Creative Consultant for DOORCO
P.S. Keep a look out for a continuation of this story with some upcoming case studies
Valentine’s Day can be quite a divisive subject matter. Perhaps one angle you haven’t considered yet is whether a door can be romantic? This month, I’ve been reflecting on how you could take advantage of the evocative symbolism of love through the charm of a beautiful door. Just call me cupid.
You might think that a penchant for doors is a tad eccentric but let me assure you – it makes for perfect dating material. Classically, when you first meet someone an early question tends to be – what do you do? Telling them you take photos of doors normally raises an eyebrow, but intrigue is piqued. I tend to follow up that opening line by whipping out some of my finest photographs. Usually, the person takes an initial moment to assess my level of sanity and then admits that they hadn’t realised it until now, but perhaps they too, are into doors.
Since there’s now common ground, the natural step is to go on a date and why not continue the shared interest through a door walk? Even if you’re not a door-obsessive, it’s a perfect date as there’s no distractions from getting to know each other aside from the occasional ‘Phwoar, there’s a cracker!’.
The key is picking an area where there’s bound to be plenty of interesting doors, punctuated with regular watering holes for refreshment along the way. In London, you’ll find classy doors in Kensington & Chelsea, bright ones in Notting Hill & Kentish Town and arty numbers in Shoreditch & Hackney. Add a Valentine’s twist by keeping an eye out for pink and rouge – two of my favourite colours on a door, particularly when coupled with a white painted wall.
In case you’re not convinced yet by the virtues of this line of dating, I’ve collected some feedback on a door walk date I went on earlier this year. We settled on Highgate as the perfect place for a gentle stroll and the only thing that stopped us walking all night was the pesky sunset. In his own words, “This date was the feel-good hit of my summer” and it “rocked my world”.
For those already happily coupled up, you may be scratching your head thinking of what present to express your love for the other person. Again, I urge you to think of the humble door. If you know your partner’s favourite colour, why not surprise them by giving the front door a makeover so they have something to smile at when they return home? Nothing says ‘I love you’ more than a personalised present and a public declaration of your adooration.
So whether you’re already lucky in love or on the prowl, unlock the metaphorical door and embrace the opportunities it brings.
A new year, a new beginning. I hold my hands up and admit that every year, I’m firmly in the camp of people who start up an entire timetable of relentless self-improvement initiatives. Daily yoga, reading more and thinking more about the environment are the type of activities that tend to feature heavily in the self-promised list. Another job for January is of course, planning the year’s holidays. If you’re the same and wanting some winter sun inspiration, here are my top 5 finds from around the world in the last couple of years.
5 – Picturesque Prague
In fifth place, the capital of the Czech Republic has an astonishingly large collection of gorgeous doors. It’s bizarre that this fact hasn’t been heralded by the multiples of men who’ve descended upon the city as part of a boozey stag weekend! I walked around mesmerised by all of the architecture and the ornate doors to match.
4 – Sizzling Seville
If you’re in the market for a scorching holiday with excellent wine, mouthwatering tapas and exquisite doors then Seville has got to be on your list. The old town in the centre boasts row after row of streets adorned with outside restaurants and bars who gently sprinkle water on their guests to stay cool. If you’ve sufficiently rubbed in the factor 50, then just a short walk around will give you the chance to see hundreds of beautifully elaborate doors.
3 – Maze-like Marrakech
There’s nothing quite like the hustle-bustle down all the winding alleys in the centre of the Moroccan city Marrakech. The tiny streets are filled with markets full of the most intricately designed clothes, art and amazing herbs and spices. The colourful doors are absolutely dazzling and often covered in hand-carved designs that look like they would have taken years to sculpt into perfection.
2 – Grandiose Gdansk
The Polish city of Gdansk is definitely one that sits in the shadow of its more well-known siblings, Krakow and Warsaw. Like any younger child, it has qualities that shouldn’t be underlooked. The Old Town, which comes in the form of an extremely long street, is full of spectacularly transformed architecture. About 90% of the city was destroyed during the war but over the last 70 years much of it has been rebuilt and fortunately the design of doors was a detail that hasn’t been missed.
1 – Funky Funchal
When my family announced their next planned holiday was to Madeira, I have to confess I was initially fairly sceptical. Upon hearing about a street in the centre where artists from around the world have been commissioned to paint art onto every door, I got straight onto Skyscanner and booked flights to surprise my parents and join them. I was in for a treat. The painted street didn’t disappoint and even better still – hundreds of doors across the whole island blew me away. There’s a Cuban-esque feel to the crumbling back streets with shutter laced houses and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such a high number of bright, vivid and exotically coloured doors in such a small radius. For that reason, Funchal has to be crowned the top destination for door lovers to head to this year.
If your budget doesn’t quite extend to any of these places, why not use some of these photos to help inspire your colour choices and decor for your door at home? We might not have the same weather, but you can still create a ray of sunshine with a bold choice of colour on your front door.