Imposing. Rustic. Playful. Transparent. Front doors set the tone and expectation for the rest of a house. While providing protection – and keeping sometimes blustery Rocky Mountain weather at bay – doors designed by JLF Architects provide the first exclamation point of the entry procession for a house while serving as sculptural works of art in their own right.

The beautiful and unique individual pieces of salvaged wood – treated with different finishes and hardware – create doors that clearly own their specific roles yet work together in a medley of color, texture and pattern in the front entry of this Jackson Hole house (photo: Audrey Hall).

An elemental building component, doors need to be able to be taken for granted functionally, working smoothly and intuitively to welcome in and usher out. Beautifully detailed hardware – hinges, handles, knobs, strike plates, locks and bolts – become the door’s jewelry, enhancing the experience with tactile appeal. Working with Design-Build partner Big-D Signature and local artisans who painstakingly finesse every detail of construction and hanging, JLF creates doors, whether interior or exterior, that are an extension of a house’s overall palette. From beautifully repurposed antique wood, reveling in the character and imperfections of individual pieces joined to create an authentically rustic bulwark, to contemporary glass and steel that blurs the line between indoors and out, these portals are carefully curated reflections of a client’s personality as well.

Double wooden doors on the Wyoming house at left are highlighted as a work of art, their solidity emphasized by glass sidelights. At right, the glass-and-steel door becomes part of a window wall’s contemporary approach to the house’s rustic materials (photos: Audrey Hall).

Shape, too, connects doors to the architecture of a house – or allows them to stand out unexpectedly. For JLF, curved doors often reference stone arches. Large and tall doors suggest grandeur. Side lights offer a preview of the architecture within – and provide a sliver of a cardinal view beyond. Straight lines play with curves, solid wood offsets glass in a dialogue that delights. For an unassuming farmhouse bathroom, a porthole-like circle of glass contrasts with an unexpected peaked door; on imposing double doors, heavy round knockers counter a layered wooden grid. Strong horizontals – whether tone-on-tone wood dividing the door like a “waist,” or bands of dark iron or wood dotted with bolts telegraphing the door’s construction – suggest solidity and strength.

L to R: Deceptively straightforward, this Jackson Hole house’s door combines surfaces, grains, textures and shapes in a beautifully complex pattern; a large transom light above contemporary doors in this award-winning house floods the entry with light and invites the outdoors in; a four-square window offers pleasing contrast to this door’s curved top, precisely set in its stone arch (photos: Audrey Hall).

At once separating and joining, hiding and revealing, providing and denying passage, doors hold a place of fascination and power throughout history. And for JLF, some of that symbolic magic and mystery lingers in each of the doors carefully designed and crafted for its unique purpose wherever it occurs in a house. Open sesame!

In an upstate New York farmhouse, a traditional weathered wood door welcomes, offset by the unexpected size and boldness of glass sidelights, foreshadowing the surprise and whimsy of interior features like the cunningly peaked bathroom door with porthole-style window (photos: Audrey Hall).

jlf architects

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