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I want to keep the French doors....

(11 Posts)
thatsnotmynamethatsnotmyname Wed 26-Feb-14 07:56:35

our 1930s terrace has beautiful original Art Deco French doors from the dining room onto the garden. They are floor to ceiling and frame the garden perfectly and I LOVE them (I'd almost go so far as to say it was what sold the house for me).

They are also single glazed, stiff to unlock and lock, draughty and in need of some (cosmetic) TLC.

At the moment we have heavy curtains we can draw in the evenings and although you can feel the cold when you stand right by them, I don't think the room feels overall colder.

We're planning on knocking the dividing wall between galley kitchen and dining room to create open plan kitchen/dining room. This means that there will be no room for the curtains to draw open as kitchen units will be on one side of the window.

So I need to come up with another way of keeping the room warm and cosy otherwise DP is threatening to get rid of the doors and replace with - shock horror - BI-FOLD DOORS!!!! Yawn. He's agreed to aluminum or timber, rather than PVC but still, the idea of replacing such a thing of beauty with something SOOOO boring makes me want to cry (and scream - he's Canadian and so is used to things being new and practical, not old and quirky and beautiful... ;)).

so, putting aside the fact that I AM probably being rather precious about this, what are my options??

1) I've already looked into getting them re-glazed but the companies I've contacted said it can't be done

2) I've had quotes to get identical doors built new, but we're talking thousands of £

3) am getting a quote for internal shutters to be fitted.

Anything else? the clock is ticking and I'm afraid I'm going to lose this battle of wills...

Thanks

LaurieFairyCake Wed 26-Feb-14 07:59:52

Find a company to refurbish the locks - doubt you'd be able to double glaze them.

I would never get rid of them. How about refurbishing the edges to cut down on drafts/get draft excluders - it's not the glass letting air in is it?

RE glaze them with single - the putty may have perished and be letting in drafts.?

Have blinds that come down from the ceiling and not at the side ?

PoorOldCat Wed 26-Feb-14 08:08:36

Keep the doors. I am so like you in this, it would be heartbreaking to think of something so lovely being replaced, and you would not love the house so much without them.

Don't even consider replacing them.

You have to work around them - yes, the cold will filter through the air from a cold surface, but there are ways to minimise it.

First if you CAN change the design to keep curtains that is ideal - it really is - but if not then, could you put another set of doors OUTSIDE these somehow? Or external shutters? Or a sort of extension/conservatory that wouldn't block out the important aspect?

Otherwise you are left without many options - draught excluders, brushes round the edges, and a proper tidy up/maintain by a very qualified carpenter might help a bit, to make them fit better.

MichaelFinnigan Wed 26-Feb-14 08:10:06

I had a talk the other day from a historic buildings energy conservation expert who said replacing windows is one of the least cosat effective ways of saving energy and conserving heat

Once I get into work I'll dig out my notes and be less vague

cathpip Wed 26-Feb-14 08:15:00

If you can afford it get identical doors made. We had this problem when refurbishing our old house, the porch door had been chip boarded over and the stain glass removed. We had the door stripped and dipped and had the glass replaced with stain glass, it cost about £700 but oh it was sooo worth it! When we eventually sold our house a few years later, it was that door that sold the property smile

thatsnotmynamethatsnotmyname Wed 26-Feb-14 08:19:19

thank you all!! I was starting to worry I was being pigheaded!!

Things of beauty bring happiness. We're keeping other original features - we've lovingly restoring the floorboards, the original woodwork on the stair case, picture rails, dado rails etc. Why would you then rip out the piece de resistance??

Good suggestion re locks, I was thinking also about getting them looked at.

The glass is actually quite well fitted - its the fact that there is a plastic fan in one of the panes at the top, and two vents either side at the bottom that makes them noisy in the wind and draughty. I think from a time when there were different regulations about ventilations/old back boilers etc. (incidentally, we STILL have the back boiler but that's coming out)

I think curtains might work but might have to have them opening just to one side - will mean there will be a lot of material there, but I think we can work around that.

Another thought was Roman blinds, but I think that even when fully open, there will be some material blocking the light at top which fills me with claustrophobic panic ;)

PigletJohn Wed 26-Feb-14 08:21:06

Ask around for a competent local joiner.

Doors and windows are just made of pieces of wood joined together. If any of the pieces are rotten they can be replaced with new. Loose joints can be taken apart and reassembled.

Modern wood preservers, glues, paints and draught strip can be applied.

PoorOldCat Wed 26-Feb-14 08:30:16

If you google a local glass restorer you can get those panes replaced. It won't cost more than a few hundred.

Make sure the ventilation is in line with safety regs though.

BrownSauceSandwich Wed 26-Feb-14 08:35:53

Errr, have you considered having a single curtain, that opens to one side? You'll need good strong fixings, because there will only be two instead of one, and when the curtains are open, their entire weight will be on one support. But it is totally doable, and it would buy you a stay of execution so you didn't have to rush a decision.

I agree with the others that it'd be criminal to replace them with some generic bloody bi-fold doors. They may look great in a new extension, or in an otherwise-featureless setting, but to take out a feature of such character and integrity and replace it with the same effing thing as half your neighbours have... Just please don't!

Talk to some proper restoration blacksmiths/glaziers before you write off the old doors (google "blackstage Evans" and "peco of Hampton" for starters. If they say they're beyond salvation, then I might start to believe it. And if you absolutely have to replace them, then downgrade your new kitchen, get a cheaper cooker, go hungry for a few months or sell your grandmother... Whatever it takes to pay the difference between those bloody bi-fold doors and a quality reproduction of the original.

BTW - for fans of bi-fold doors, I really don't generally hate them, I just object to them in OP's situation in particular.

thatsnotmynamethatsnotmyname Wed 26-Feb-14 08:47:36

BrownSauceSandwich - tee hee hee :-) I have in fact just contacted Blackstage Evans, found them in a google search.

I don't hate bi-fold/sliding doors either - I just don't want them instead of my lovely doors, thank you very much :0

LaurieFairyCake Wed 26-Feb-14 08:56:49

Another thought about material above if you don't want to block light (I think roman blinds will because if all the fabric) - how about roller blinds or those Ikea panels ?

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