Historic Doors | Fine Craftsmanship in Woodworking

Adam Style
A style named for British architect Robert Adam, who introduced the use of fanlights to accentuate the doorways of London townhouses. Also often referred to as Federal Style, it was popular in North America from 1780 to 1820.
A member fixed to one of a pair of doors or casement windows to cover the joint between the meeting stiles.
A board fastened across two or more boards or planks, used to hold them together and stiffen their structure. Used in board-and-batten house construction as well as doors, panels and window shutters.
Batten Door
A wooden door made of vertical planks or boards fastened together with horizontal boards (battens), which are usually nailed to the inside of the door. Decorative nailheads can be used for ornamentation, as well as distinctive strap or metal hinges. Exterior doors are usually constructed with two layers of planks on either side of the battens. Also referred to as a board-and-batten door, plank-style door, or unframed door, this style was found in early American Colonial architecture in New England.
Carriage Door
A door designed to allow for the entrance and exit of a horse-drawn carriage or automobile. Seen in the carriage houses and garages of private residences, and in public buildings such as firehouses.
Classical Door
A general term referring to a door constructed according to an architectural style based on classical Roman or Greek forms. Examples of classical door styles include Federal, Georgian, Classical Revival and Greek Revival.
Classical Revival Style
A style popular in American architecture around 1790-1830, that was based on the use of Roman forms and distinguished by its simplicity and purity of design. Closely associated with Thomas Jefferson and his home, Monticello, this style is also called Jeffersonian Classicism.
Collegiate Gothic Style
A style of architecture typical of Oxford and Cambridge colleges in England, and adapted by many American colleges and universities in the late 19th and early 20th century.
A pillar or vertical support. In classical architecture and doorways, most columns include a capital (the top of the column), a shaft (the long vertical portion) and a base (at the bottom of the column). Columns are freestanding supports, while pilasters are attached to the wall.
Cottage Style
A style of architecture for houses, usually of wood construction, made popular in the 19th century by architects Andrew Jackson Downing and Alexander Jackson Davis, who created pattern books for standard house designs.
Cottage Door
A rustic door design used in homes, garden walls or other locations, based on an architectural style typically found in rural cottages. A cottage door can incorporate different style elements, including frame-and-plank construction and the Dutch door style in which the top and bottom halves can be opened separately.
Custom Door
A door that does not fall into a standard category or period of architectural style, designed specifically for a client or home owner. All construction by Historic Doors is custom to a degree, since every door is designed and built to meet the unique specifications of a particular home or building.
Dutch Door
A door style introduced by Dutch colonists who settled in the Hudson River Valley in the early 1600’s. Typically a wooden batten door, many (but not all) Dutch doors were separated into top and bottom halves — a practical feature that kept livestock outside while allowing light and air in through the top half.
A semicircular window above the door, often with distinctive radius work and glazing that suggests an open fan. An identifying feature of Federal style architecture, fanlights allowed light into the entry hall as well as individuality to the facades of urban rowhouses in the mid-1700’s. Sometimes accompanied by sidelights, fanlights were also found in Classical Revival and Colonial Revival houses.
Federal Style
A style of architecture popular in post-colonial America, around 1780-1820. Both the Federal style and the Classical Revival style came into favor following the American Revolution, symbolizing the new republic and replacing the earlier Georgian style and its association with England. The Federal style, also often referred to as Adam style, is characterized by an elegance and lightness compared with the Georgian style. It is often identified with the use of semicircular windows, called fanlights, above the door.
A style of door construction that features vertical wood stiles and horizontal rails that form one or more frames around thinner recessed inner panels. Doors usually have between one and eight panels, and the door is often referred to by the number of panels it contains. Introduced as a technical improvement over earlier plank-style doors, this method reduced the seasonal expansion and contraction of wood doors. It came into fashion during the Georgian period in the early 1700’s and remains the dominant method of construction today. The common six-panel door, in which the top four panels are proportioned to delineate a cross and the lower two panels represent the open Bible, was popular in colonial America and is often called a Colonial door, or Christian door, or cross-and-Bible door.
A rustic door construction style in which vertical planks or boards are fastened to a supporting frame that is made of vertical wood stiles and horizontal rails. A sophisticated form of the basic plank-style construction, frame-and-plank doors are often seen in Collegiate Gothic and Gothic Revival style doors in universities and churches. Sometimes planks clad both sides of the frame, thereby hiding the internal frame from view.
Georgian Style
A style of architecture that took its name from the Kings of England and that was prevalent in the American colonies from 1700 until about 1780. Georgian houses usually displayed a strict symmetry with a paneled door as a centerpiece. Typically the door was capped by an elaborate crown or pediment, and often bordered by pilasters (flattened columns) on each side. The style lost favor after the American Revolution, when the Federal and Classical Revival styles gained more widespread use.
The panes of glass that are set into windows, doors and other openings. Also can refer to the putty compound used to seal the glass.
Gothic Revival Style
An architectural style found in America in the 19th century that drew its inspiration from the Gothic style architecture, especially cathedrals, prevalent in Western Europe in the High Middle Ages. Seen in American churches and universities (where it is also called Collegiate Gothic), Gothic Revival buildings often feature a paneled front door set into an arch, partially glazed with Gothic motifs, tracery or a simple rectangular or diamond-shaped pattern.
Greek Revival Style
A widely popular style used throughout America from about 1820 to the 1860s, which based its design on ancient Greek architectural forms (and the distinctive Doric, Ionian and Corinthian orders). The use of porches and porticos supported by stately columns was reminiscent of Greek temples. Often seen in banks, courthouses and other public buildings as well as houses, the style became known as the National Style during its period of greatest popularity.
A covering above a door or window that provides shelter as well as adding a decorative element to the doorway.
The vertical support on either side of a door, window or other opening.
The art of joining wood in a structural and durable manner.
An individual pane of glass in a door or window.
profiles cut into wood or stone designed to capture light and shadow to enhance of give texture to an architectural composition. - (needs a better definition)
Mortise-and-Tenon Joinery
A woodworking method used to join two pieces of wood. A mortise (cavity, hole, notch or slot) is cut into one piece of wood. The tenon is created by shaping the end of the second piece of wood so that it can slide into the mortise. After fitting the tenon into the mortise, the joint is made secure by drilling a hole through both the mortise and tenon and driving a wooden peg (also called a treenail) into the hole.
A low-pitched triangular gable over a doorway or other opening, often seen in Georgian and Greek Revival architecture. In a version known as a broken pediment, the peak of the triangle is interrupted, often with an ornamental curve and/or decorative element in the center.
A pillar that is attached to a wall and projects slightly from it, either to provide added support or for ornamental decoration. Like a column, a pilaster often has a capital (at the top of the pillar) and a base.
A wide piece of square-sawn timber. Today, planks usually must have a width of at least six to eight inches, with a minimum thickness of one inch (for hardwoods) to two inches (for softwoods). Plank-style doors (also called batten doors) can be found in early 17th century colonial homes, as well as in Cottage and Gothic style door treatments.
Porte Cochère
A covered entryway for vehicles, attached to a home or building, that projects over a driveway to provide shelter for people arriving and leaving by carriage or automobile. Also, a large entrance gateway into a courtyard.
A covered entryway with a roof supported by a series of columns. Sometimes called a colonnade. A style that began to appear in colonial America after 1750, porticos in the South were generally larger than in the North, and often extended two stories high.
The pattern or design of a molding.
Radius Woodwork
Woodwork that involves curved elements, requiring special techniques to shape or bend the wood. Examples of radius work can be seen in fanlights, Gothic tracery, and the arched or rounded tops of many carriage doors.
A horizontal bar of wood that connects the vertical bars, called stiles, in a door or window frame.
A project that typically involves more significant changes to an existing building than either restoration or reconstruction. Examples include adding or extending a door or entryway.
A project intended to return a building to its original design. Restoration often involves rebuilding an entryway that has been modified over time.
Rustic Door
A general term used to describe a simple door typical of those constructed by early American settlers or often found in rural homes and buildings. Plank-style doors, Dutch doors and Cottage doors are examples of rustic door styles.
The framework of a window that holds the glass.
Shop Drawing
A measured drawing that details the design specifications of a proposed door or entryway before construction begins.
Vertical framed areas of glass or glass panes, located on either side of a door. Often associated with fanlights or transom lights, sidelights gained popularity after the American Revolution.
A vertical length of wood in door or window frames, connected to other stiles by horizontal bars called rails.
A decorative structure around the doorway. The term is also used for decorative elements around other openings such as windows and fireplaces.
The strip of wood (or other material) that lies directly beneath a door and covers the joint between two different types of flooring. A threshold can also serve as a barrier against weather and/or light. Sometimes referred to as a doorsill, or saddle.
Ornamental curved patterns in windows, doors and other openings often made of wood, stone or cast iron. Tracery was especially typical in Gothic Revival and Collegiate Gothic style architecture.
A window or panel positioned directly above a door or window, often hinged to the horizontal crossbar across the top of the door. The term can also refer to the fixed bar of wood or stone that separates a fanlight or other panel from the door below.
Transom lights
Small fixed panes of glass located above a door or window opening. A feature often found in Federal and Georgian style architecture, sometimes accompanied by sidelights.
A molding used to frame an opening.
True Divided Light
A door or window sash divided by solid wood bars to seperate one pane of glass from another.
Any variety of materials used to slow the infiltration of air around a door or window.