Stepping into a historic home is a bit like stepping through a time portal. Every floorboard, bit of intricate molding, and unique feature whispers the tale of a time when houses were just built differently. Historic homes are nothing short of architectural treasures, standing as a testament to the past, but behind that charm and character lies a number of historic home remodeling challenges awaiting those brave enough to undertake the restoration and remodeling process. Those challenges were front and center in our most recent Saint Clair remodel project, as the two front doors of the home presented quite an issue for us.

Why Two Front Doors?

You may notice many historic homes feature two front doors, and it’s a puzzling idea to most people these days. When the homes were built, though, there were several reasons to include a second front door. One of the most prominent reasons was dictated by architectural style alone. Many historic homes were built with Georgian architectural principals in mind. One hallmark of this style is visual balance, which means fairly strict symmetry when it comes to windows and doors. Often that dictated two primary first floor rooms. One was a formal sitting room where guests could be received at any point in time. The other was a family sitting room. Because of those two front rooms, a single front door would have created issues of imbalance. Thus, double entry doors were created so that both front rooms could be easily accessed.

This, though, is not the only reason behind the idea of double front doors. The other reason is a fairly clear one – some homes were either built as or eventually converted to duplex style living to house two families. Each duplex would need a front door, thus creating a space that now has two front doors, even if the living spaces have once again been rejoined.

Maintaining Old Traditions in the Face of a Historic Home Remodeling Challenge

Our recent Saint Clair remodel project included two front doors because it had been a duplex, and our job was to work with the idea and create an amazing, cohesive single family home from that historic duplex structure for the homeowners. The Historic Preservation Commission in Indianapolis requires that we maintain key front façade elements like door and window locations to help preserve a home’s historic charm when it’s in protected areas like Saint Clair. In this case, we were able to do just that, adding two matching doors to showcase this old tradition on such a beautiful home. While two doors may not be ideal for every homeowner, often working with these traditional features is a must when renewing older homes, and in this case, it certainly adds to the exterior appeal of the home. It’s a historic home remodeling challenge we face frequently, but one that’s not too difficult to overcome.

Ready to Renew or Remodel an Historic Home?

If you’re ready to invest in beauty from another time, let us help. Give us a call, and learn more about what we can do to renew, remodel, and refresh older homes while maintaining all of the charm of a bygone era.