Much Ado About the Frenchies

While we keep finalizing our kitchen plans – lots of back and forth still on the details of the layout, we have started the research on french doors. the first time you hear the figure of $3,500 its certainly a shock. but as that turns out, it is actually quite a reasonable figure for an 8 foot tall door, and estimates can get much much higher.

Research was tough at first, as most show rooms carry just a few manufacturer names, and i haven’t really come across any sales people that were keen to share their knowledge on french door essentials. I finally came across this primer which was very very helpful -and even more amazing Richard, the ‘door guy’ was very kind to answer in detail the questions i left in comments section.

So with all the research and showroom visits, here’s what i learned in the last 2 weeks – the short story: i like expensive things – not cool. the longer bits:

Part of the problem is that a true historic door has divided lites (separate glass panes), which money wise is far out of reach. Simulated divisions applied atop the single glass pane is the way to go, if I want them. The difference between the former and the latter in pictures:

1) 2) 

But here too, I do not want a standard grill pattern, but would rather go for four or five rectangular lites. of course not standard = added expense. uff.

Then there is an issue of the hardware. locks, pulls and handles. all the major manufacturers insist on the tri-lock system for doors as tall as eight foot. which also means pretty standard (non-appealing to me) handles. which means i can’t add crémone bolts that just look so much better.


source: first and last pictures – custom-made and installed cremone bolts from Al Bar-Wilmette Platers; cremone bolt detail from Van Dyke’s restorers

Last weekend we found these beauties at the Loading Dock salvage store in Baltimore. These are 8 by 4, which was just fine with me. And a pretty good condition, with true divided lites. for $100.


source: our own salvage doors and french doors in lynda reeves kitchen

Remarkably similar to the look I am going for, no?

Alas. we should have listened to our architect who warned us about storm doors, which are too thin and the single glass panes do little for insulation. Not much in terms of energy efficiency or security. sad.

back to the drawing board. trying to customize a standard door to the right look. i am not sure where we will come out in the end.