Design Matters: If Doors Could Talk
Door construction contains lessons on proportion and visual weight.
by George Walker
The directions to Thuya Garden in Northeast Harbor, Maine, were on a scrap of yellow paper held tightly in one hand. I craned my neck out the car window, searching for the hidden lane.
My wife, Barb, wondered aloud if someone wanted to keep the garden a secret or whether it was a test to weed out all but the truly dedicated. We finally turned onto a narrow gravel road that snaked up the hill and out of sight.
Suddenly two large, carved wooden doors standing like sentinels at the entrance came into view, and all was right with the world. We looked at those doors and said, “This is gonna be good!” Like a well-set table before a feast, those magnificent wooden doors spoke volumes about the quiet beauty waiting just beyond.
Doors play a big part in many of our woodworking projects, from a lid on a jewelry box to the barn door of a backyard shed. Much has been written about how to design a door that’s strong and works flawlessly. There is no getting around the fact that function is a huge factor in door design. That smart-aleck brother-in-law of yours may not know a lick about woodworking, but he’s still quick to point out a door that’s sticky or doesn’t snap shut.
A poorly functioning door throws a bad light onto a project, no matter how well the rest of the design is executed. But I want to step back from function and focus on aesthetics. Traditional doors contain valuable lessons about proportions for modern builders.
Blog: Read more from George R. Walker on his Design Matters blog.
In Our Store: George Walker’s DVDs “Unlocking the Secrets of Traditional Design: Moldings” and “Unlocking the Secrets of Traditional Design.”