Its been a few weeks since we found out we’ve been approved for borrowing to finally get our home extension underway. Honestly? I’m excited but also feel a small case of stage fright. This is something we’ve been talking about, dreaming about for so long that now it’s finally here it’s almost impossible to know where to start.
One of the decisions we will have to make though is a pretty big and expensive one – external doors! Whilst we don’t yet know whether we’ll extend all the way across the back of the house, or simply work on a ground floor reconfiguration of the existing space, we are definitely replacing our current delightfully unattractive uPVC leaded patio doors and I absolutely cannot wait.
The question is though, what to go for? It’s a topic that I’m not yet ready to ask advice on, and even when we get closer to these decisions, I probably won’t because it feels like something people get very heated about (akin to what to feed your dog!) But I can still use this space to ponder out loud. I’ve been furiously saving inspiration ideas on both Instagram and Pinterest and there seem to be 3 main contenders so let’s take a look at them.
Bi-fold doors have definitely become a status symbol along with hot water taps and log burners. They’re sleek and stylish answer to external doors and really enhance the flow of our homes to create that seamless transition from inside to outside living space.
As we’ve spent more time than planned at home over the past 18 months, making the most of our gardens has become increasingly important (even though we’ve had a pretty raw deal with the weather this year). Clever tips to extend living space outdoors include using the same flooring inside and outside and an ability to fold back the doors to almost disappear creates such a wow-factor look.
Typically available in either timber or aluminium, they will always be a perennial popular option – the only con I’ve been warned about is ensuring a kitchen/dining area also has a window that can be opened in winter to avoid needing to open the door in colder months.
Once shunned entirely in favour of bi-folds, sliding doors were seen as old-fashioned and unadventurous. We had sliding doors in many different houses I lived in when I was little and they were always so heavy and unwieldy.
Just like everything though, sliding doors have also had sexy, modern makeovers and have seen a bit of a resurgence giving bi-folds a run for their money. The advantage over bi-folds is that when closed, there is less frame and more glass enabling more light and enhanced outdoor views. The downside of course is that they don’t open completely in the way bi-folds do so you can’t achieve the same seamless indoor-outdoor space. You could argue though that with our climate how many times a year would you open a bi-fold fully? Food for thought!
Last but by no means least, I have to confess that I’m a bit of a sucker for French doors. Prior to buying this house, we rented a lovely Victorian terrace in a different part of southeast London. Our landlady had completed a ground floor extension creating an open-plan, L-shaped kitchen/diner and it was absolutely stunning.
Rather than doors all the way across the back, she had a counter-top with sink and large window facing the garden across one third of the extended space, with the remaining two thirds being timber French doors and they were both stylish and practical. They still folded back in the way the bi-folds would have done, a sort of concertina effect like shutters. At the same time, it was very convenient to just quickly open a door when we wanted to pop into the garden.
Whatever external doors we decide to go ahead with we’ll most definitely have to factor in what is most convenient for Maddie and future dogs, as it will be the main access into the back garden, and of course a cat flap but we may look to fit one in a wall instead of the door.
Decisions, decisions! At the same time we feel very fortunate to be in a place where we can even think about these things, exciting times ahead…
Post in collaboration with Kloeber