Imagine having a 14-foot-tall door as the front entry to your home. A door that is this scale is a dramatic design element that makes a big statement when welcoming friends and family. It is grand, sophisticated, and modern. My firm specializes in custom designed architecture for individuals who want a home with high-style and unique-to-you qualities. For a recent project in Beverly Hills, we were able to design and then build a large wood door as the perfect entry point to the major addition and renovation project. We designed a pivot door system to meet the client’s needs due to both the weight of the proposed door and the aesthetic goals we were trying to achieve.
Dealing with the Weight of a Large Door
Very large doors can be very heavy. So heavy in fact that hanging the door on hinges either becomes impossible or undesirable. You would need to reinforce the entire frame around the door to support the door’s weight if you were to use hinges. Even then, you are not guaranteed that the hinges can support the weight without binding or failing over time. Because of these considerations, a pivot door is a far more sound and stable choice.
Pivoting doors have an ease of operation that make a heavy door seem lighter. This is due in part to the physics of the design and the weight distribution of the door. Rather than being hung by hinges on the side of the door frame, pivot doors have hardware that is located on the top and bottom edges of the door. The hardware is installed at the center point of the thickness of the door and is generally inset on the door about 8 to 12 inches. (This can change depending on the size of the door and the effect you are trying to achieve.)
Seamlessly Blending the Door in with the Walls
Pivot doors don’t need a frame around the door or a threshold. The clearance area is also reduced from a swing door because having an offset pivot reduces the distance the door swing will project into the space. The door can be designed to go edge-to-edge with the wall to seamlessly blend together. For our client’s home, we used Douglas Fir on the door to mirror the size and pattern of the boards used on the adjacent board-formed concrete wall. The entry door also has a soft-closing mechanism, so that our client’s children do not get their fingers jammed.
Center Pivot Doors
If a door is wide enough, it can have a center pivot point. Instead of having a right- or left-hand swing, a center pivot door effectively swings from the center of the opening. When fully open, people can walk on either side of the door for entry or exit. A point of consideration for center pivot doors, the pivoting hardware will need to have the ability to hold the door in a fixed position. This allows people to walk safely through without the door closing.
Our clients appreciate bold style and expect unique designs for their luxury homes. They appreciate that because our firm is design and build, we have the ability to execute custom crafted designs. We don’t just turn in the paperwork and walk away. We work directly with manufacturers to craft custom solutions and to ensure that the design is spectacular, but also that it is installed and functions beautifully over time. We consider things like weather-sealing of pivoting doors, which can be trickier, so we work closely with the door & window manufacturer to make sure the door is fully sealed. We consider materials and function. We thoughtfully consider the project as a whole and how to best deliver the quality and craftsmanship expected in a luxury home.
The next time you are thinking about a grand entry or want to install a hidden door and feel like a secret agent, a pivoting door may be the solution for you. Contact us to discuss your project.
Learn more about this Benedict Canyon home in the Portfolio.