The Dutch door—a door divided into upper and lower halves that swing independently of each other—has been around since the 17th century, coming to the U.S. via its Dutch-settled colonies of New York and New Jersey. While it may seem a peculiar deviation from a door’s typical single slab construction, the Dutch door served a very useful purpose, allowing air and light into the kitchen while keeping children in and animals out! It also permitted the home’s residents to accept deliveries and converse with passersby without granting access into the house.
Dutch doors often included a “perch,” or shelf, on top of the bottom portion, similar to a window sill. This provided a handy place to lean as one conducted business with the local deliveryman or to set a freshly baked pie to cool.
Here (at right) is an example of a “modern” Dutch door with shelf. This one-panel, one-lite true arch door is made of knotty Alder, and is finished with Sun Mountain’s heavy distress and Argentine Peak glaze.
Essentially, Dutch doors consist of two independently moving doors, requiring four hinges (two for each portion), rather than the typical three hinges on most doors. The bottom half contains the door knob and lock, and a latch is installed on the top portion that connects the two halves together, allowing the door to function as a single-slab unit.
Dutch doors began to fall out of fashion in America after the invention of the screen door in 1887. They experienced a revival in the 1950s, then another dip in popularity. But Dutch doors are again enjoying a comeback. The split door is a fashionable choice for a butler’s pantry, allowing convenient passage of dishes and party supplies. It is also a creative choice for access control in nurseries, playrooms, studios, and workrooms, keeping kids safe or pets out.
Think a Dutch door might work for you? Contact Sun Mountain at (866) 786-6861 or visit sunmountain.wpengine.com for a free quote.