And the Times..They are a Changin’: Architecture and Front Door Trends

Since the 1800’s, the world of architecture has seen numerous trends come and go; like all fashions, architectural elements change. Now, because of the internet and great formats like Houzz and Pinterest, how frequently they change and how they change has become a revolution. Here is a history of architectural trends from the 1800’s to now and an overview of the development of rapidly changing trends in the 21st century. Hope you enjoy!


During the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, very ornate Victorian styling was the thing. Ornate fretwork was crafted on sprawling front porches and in-between hallways and parlors. Fancy, heavily carved newel posts at the staircase, carved mantels, elaborate stained glass and huge carved beveled glass front entryways were the most popular trend all across the united states.

The Ranch

Of course, trends change, and somewhat abruptly at that. After World War II, thousands of servicemen were released from the Army. Most servicemen were in their mid 20’s and anxious to start a family. The demand for new housing was tremendous. The old Victorian styles were from their parent’s era and considered “old school,” and nobody had time to build those old detailed ornamental homes anyhow. So up rose the 50’s ranch; fast, cheap, and easy to build, they became all the rage. Plain flush doors, plain 2” teardrop door casings, no crown molding, linoleum, and engineered flooring with little or no baseboard became the trend! No matter what their budget, people wanted the ranch.

The Two Story Traditional

In the 70’s, the ranch gave way to the two story traditional home. An emerging neighborhood in Atlanta named “Dunwoody” seemed to define this new trend. Virtually every new home built was a “5-4 and a door,” (referring to 5 windows on the 2nd floor, 4 windows on the 1 st floor with a single door in the middle). The style was very reminiscent of Williamsburg architecture with some slight variations. These homes featured a little more architectural detail, including crown moldings around the ceilings, raised panel styled solid doors, more elaborate stairs, and updated kitchens. And following this trend, an even more elaborate variation emerged.

The Country French Traditional

A two story home with even more architectural detail then began to replace the two story traditional. This style is still somewhat popular today, usually in larger homes with a “rambling” footprint. Characterized by more use of natural stone and brick, larger windows and trim, larger roof overhangs with steeper pitches, bigger front entryways with large doors, sidelights, transoms, and many interior elaborate features, larger kitchens with elaborate cabinetry, huge staircases, you get the picture… Bigger is better. As far as our door business is concerned, we’ve made many grand entryways for these types of homes. Also, we started to notice a trend inside a trend. At the beginning of this Country French styling trend, let’s say in the early 90’s, we were making and installing large, ornate leaded and beveled glass entryways. However, within 10 years a new door trend emerged – iron doors, which were very dramatic, ornate, and seemingly “castle like” began to gain popularity.

At first they were being made in the US, but as popularity flourished, these doors began to be imported from Mexico and then China. We were actually one of the first companies to recognize this trend and embrace it. At first, we invested in metal working equipment and competed fairly with other iron doors businesses, but we found problems. Unlike our traditional wooden doors at the time, (before we switched to using only composites), we found these doors had overwhelming problems and customer claims. They became too hot on the outside, and in the direct sun literally burned your hands! They were so heavy that our customers’ homes could be damaged by loosening bricks and stonework if the doors were slammed. We saw fading of the finish, leaking air and water in a strong storm, ill-fitting weather-stripping and residential hardware not designed for such heavy doors, and worst of all, interior sweating in the winter from a buildup of condensation! Wow!! That turned out to be a terrible idea. But, with some conscientious development, we created an “Iron Style Door” made purely from our fabulous exterior weatherproof composite. We have been able to offer our customers a superior door with all the visual features of an iron door but none of the drawbacks. See our Iron Style Doors page for more details on this fabulous product. To this day we manufacture and install our Iron Style composite doors all around the country. Some advantages are that they will never rust, never peel, never sweat from condensation, never leak air or moisture, and can be installed using traditional jambs and molding by any competent carpenter! No special skill is required.

And thanks to Joanna Gaines, we have a new trend!

The Modern Farmhouse

Today we are all enjoying a new, refreshing trend in residential architecture. Interestingly, we are going back to similar trends of the 1950’s as simpler, cleaner lines with less ornamentation have become the trend. Elaborate leaded glass and iron style doors are not popular with this new look. The doors are either simple French doors of varying designs or the new, narrow style modern factory French grill. Again, fortunately for Masterpiece Doors, we use digital manufacturing techniques for every door we make. We can easily scale to any style door, any size, any shape for nearly the equivalent price of limited styles of mass produced import. Check out our Modern French Doors Page and see how you can customize your door to make it unique. After all, although the trends may change, why not put your own stamp on it?
Modern French Farmhouse 4 Lite Double Doors



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