Maybe you have a new stone patio and want to open a sunny passageway from the living room. Or you’d like to see your garden from the kitchen while also ushering in more light and air. When the French crossed doors with windows back in the 1600s, they had something similar in mind. Exported to North America a century later, pairs of the multipaned doors could be flung open to catch a breeze in summer while inviting in the sun year-round. Thomas Jefferson installed several pairs of them at Monticello. Today, French doors come in a wide variety of styles, from uninterrupted panes of glass to ones crisscrossed with diamond-shaped grids, and they slide as well as swing. New engineering means greater energy efficiency, wind resistance, and security, freeing the mind to focus on what counts: light and air. “One of the nicest things in a room is a splash of sunlight on the floor,” says interior designer Mally Skok. “Unlike windows, French doors let light in low, and create a sense of always being able to step outside, which is cheering.” Here’s how to bring this now very American tradition home.
Similar to shown: 7010 Thermal French doors, from Simpson