Hot take: The greatest gift to come out of the Netherlands in the past 400 years is the Dutch door. It was a simple idea at first. Chop a traditional three-hinged door in half to let some light and fresh air inside without completely opening everything up. Fast-forward a few centuries and anytime we see a house with the storybook feature, we get weak in the knees. The beauty of this two-for-one entrance lies in its versatility. You can close the top, unfasten the bottom, latch them together, add a windowpane, use the ledge as a perch—the list goes on. Cover it with some paint and suddenly it’s both ultra-functional and full of character. It’s an open-and-shut case: The nine front doors below exude charm. 

The Defined Angle

Designer Mindy Laven gave this Newport Beach, California, home’s facade the special treatment with a solid wood door inset with a chevron pattern. When the top hatch is left open, the panels look like arrows, drawing your attention inside. 

The Flip Side

It’s hard to miss the bold green front door at Winnie Beattie’s Amagansett, New York, retreat. But from the inside looking out, it’s a much calmer color story. When the weather is good, you get the best of both worlds.  

The Floral Frame 

PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRITTANY AMBRIDGE Illustration by Aaron Bengochea

The bright yellow doorway leading to Heather Taylor’s backyard studio is slowly being overtaken by vines of magenta bougainvillea. Between those two hues, the experience can be likened to arriving at Barbie’s Dream House. 

The Indoor-Outdoor Porch 

“The more, the merrier” appears to have been the motto for this exterior by designer Mindy Gayer. In addition to a breezy blue main entrance, there’s also a set of double doors on the side, further blurring the lines between inside and out. 

The Homework Spot 

Nothing pairs better with a Dutch door than crisp shiplap. In this mudroom-turned-workstation, the horizontal planks add to the modern-farmhouse vibe of the gray-blue entry and waterfall wood desk. 

The Monochromatic Facade 

photography by Ryan Garvin Photography by Peter Garritano

Many people use the front door as an opportunity to grab attention with color, but doing just the opposite can be equally effective. SoCal designer Raili Clasen brought the drama with an allover charcoal scheme. 

The Fanciful Cottage 

Lily Ashwell’s 1920s bungalow in California’s Venice Beach has not one but two split doors—one off the kitchen that conveniently doubles as a drying rack for dish towels and another in the front that, when left ajar, offers idyllic views of the white picket fence. 

The Modern Twist

These portals naturally radiate old-world charm, but they can also be made to have a more contemporary edge. Featuring defined paneling on its bottom portion, this rich blue door looks totally sleek next to the ribbed siding and minimalist door number. 

The Carved-Out Corridor 

Create a stoop without taking up any extra room by setting the door back a few feet from the line of the exterior and widening the door frame for maximum impact. Vintage-looking iron lights make this warm taupe entry feel especially inviting. 

It takes two to make a thing go right.

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