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Why Pivot Doors are Perfect for Luxury Homes

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Our clientele is not your typical shopper. We’re not working with people trying to buy doors in bulk for their new upper-middle-class home. We’re working with people who are looking to create custom doors for their luxury home. They can afford to spend time and money creating something unique. Something one of a kind. 

And for that, we (almost) always recommend pivot doors.

We’ll explain more about why we love them so much, but the fact of the matter is that pivot doors elevate your design. They add an element of sophistication and (candidly) surprise to whatever opening you’re working with. No one expects a door to open from any other point than the very edge — it’s what we’re used to. So when they open from the middle, or part of the way into the doorway, there’s a wow factor.

What is a Pivot Door?

Initially patented in the 1970s, pivot doors function differently than regular hinge doors, and therefore create an entirely different look and feel. You see, pivot doors don’t actually have hinges — the door actually rests on a specific pivot point that can be located in many places along the top and bottom of the door, but is never on the very edge of the door in the same way that a hinge is. 

A photo of an oversized pivot door covered in wood and stainless steel at the front entrance of a luxury home.

The pivot point can be determined by aesthetic goals (such as in the middle of the middle of the door), or by the weight of the door. Because there is no hinge at the very edge, the balance of the door must be calculated precisely in order for the door to function properly. Unless the pivot point is decidedly in the middle, the pivot point is typically somewhere between 25 and 35% of the way in from the door frame. 

As you might expect, pivot doors fall on the modern or contemporary end of the design spectrum than anywhere else. The fact that they don’t open in the “traditional” way doors usually do crosses them off the list for more… well, traditionally designed luxury homes. 

Why Pivot Doors are Better than Hinge Doors

Decidedly, this is a matter of opinion. Pivot doors aren’t “better” than regular hinge doors — it’s simply a matter of personal style and aesthetic, perspective, and what you’re hoping to achieve with the opening, whether it be a front door, a garage fire door, or a bedroom security door. There are different factors involved, but here are some things to consider when choosing between a hinge door and a pivot door.

How Big is the Opening?

One of the best things about pivot doors is that they aren’t really restricted in size. It’s true that if you need the door to be hurricane certified there are some restrictions (because there are other factors in play), but one of the major benefits of pivot doors is that they aren’t held back by the hinge itself. 

Hinge doors are entirely dependent upon the weight the hinges can hold. In our case, we’re using steel hinges because they’re stronger, which is important for two reasons: 

  1. A steel hinge will keep you safer in the event of an intruder because it’s more difficult to damage.
  2. Steel is a stronger metal and can support the weight of the steel security door on the hinge.

However, the distribution of weight is also a factor. Generally speaking, you can make large (oversized) hinge doors, but in order to get a wider opening, you’ll also need to create a taller opening. The typical ratio is that the door must be about twice as tall as it is wide, which is why a hinge door is often about 7 feet tall by 3 feet wide. 

Obviously, a double door will double the possible width of the opening. Double doors are frequently used for master bedrooms, but the height becomes an issue at some point because you’re limited by the ceiling. 

A photo of the interior side of a pivot door covered in marble in an upscale office.

For front entrances, you have more leeway in terms of height — if you want an 8-foot wide entrance, you could do two 4-foot doors, but that means the doors need to be at least 8 feet tall (probably closer to 9). At some point, this becomes a bit ridiculous. With pivot doors, this ratio requirement isn’t an issue. We can make a pivot door basically any size you want. 

Another consideration with double doors is how they actually use them. When people have double doors, they almost always leave one of them closed. Inevitably, something gets put behind that door — perhaps an armchair, an umbrella stand, or cabinet. Unless you’re moving a large piece of furniture or art in or out of the space, that one door remains closed and locked. And isn’t that a waste of space? 

With a pivot door, you can use the vast majority of that space. If you have a 74-inch opening and the pivot point is designated to be 25% of the way inside the door, you still have a large space that is open and easily navigated (about 56 inches of space). There’s less wasted space, and you don’t have a door that is just resting there, pointless and in the way.

Do You Want it to Stand Out or Blend In?

On interior doors, we often have clients request that we make an exact replica of the existing doors in their luxury homes. This is typically done to hide the security measures put in place (there’s an advantage to hiding in plain sight). When we install our Sanctuary™ System, it’s frequently done with this goal in mind.

You see, our Sanctuary™ System is designed to be a much better version of a panic room because it doesn’t look like a panic room, or take up useless space like a panic room, but is instead a room you feel comfortable in. Sanctuaries should be a place you feel at peace in. A place you can try to relax if you’re not feeling safe. Therefore, we most frequently turn master bedrooms into Sanctuaries.  

A photo of the interior side of an oversized pivot door from the foyer of a luxury home.The trick is that you don’t want intruders to know exactly where you’ve gone. If all the doors on the second floor of your luxury home are closed, you don’t want it to be easy to spot one that is different and think that perhaps that’s where you went. The longer they spend opening doors looking for you, the longer the police have to get there before they flee the premises. (You’ll be safe in your Sanctuary — you don’t have to worry about them getting past your security door.)

However, if you’re looking for a statement piece, like a front door (which is the first impression of any structure), you may want to go with a pivot door in order to make it stand out among every other door in your home. Again, it’s surprising in and of itself, but the fact that it can be designed in such a way that it’s completely unique — truly one of a kind — will mean your guests green with envy.

What Architectural Style is Your Home?

Again, pivot doors are decidedly modern or contemporary. If you prefer traditional architecture, you may not like the look of pivot doors, and that’s okay. Double doors make beautiful front entry or master bedroom doors. You could also choose a single or double hinge door surrounded by security windows for your front entry to make it appear larger or more impressive.

However, if you want the functionality of a pivot door, but with the look of a more traditional door, we can do that as well.

We have a wide variety of covering options available for your custom security doors to make them fit with your unique design style, including stained hardwood to perfectly match your existing wood stain, or decorative glass that could be etched and frosted.

No matter what your style is or your needs are, we’re confident we can meet them. 

The Biggest Hurricane Certified Pivot Door Yet

Pivot doors are highly sought after where our main headquarters are located. South Florida has luxury homes that are as unique as they are breathtaking, and the owners of these homes want front entry doors that blow their guests away. However, they also need all exterior doors to meet or exceed Miami-Dade County Hurricane Certification Regulations. 
 

The La Ribalta boasts multiple high-end physical security features, but leaves room for technology upgrades. This heavy-duty hurricane certified pivot door boasts the following features:

  • Nearly 9 feet wide and almost 14 feet tall
  • Bullet resistant (ballistic)
  • Hurricane certified for Miami-Dade County
  • Intelligent design
  • Intruder immune, extra thick steel
  • Double locks

Like any other door we make, we can also install motors connected to biometric scanners to make entry even easier. Imagine walking up to your entry door with your hands full and you don’t need to even pause for your door to open. You walk toward it, your facial recognition panel identifies you, and your door automatically opens for you. Once you’re clear of the doorway, it shuts and locks behind you. 

And of course, it can be designed in any way you want, with the interior side of the door being completely different from the exterior. While the exterior materials are a bit more restricted (because of durability), you still have a wide variety of options to choose from, such as stained hardwood, Italian gres, and marble. If your entryway is covered, you can add wood composite and anodized aluminum to that list of options as well. 

The interior of your La Ribalta can include all of the same materials, plus precious stones and gems, leather, porcelain, wood veneer, and multilayer laminate in any color imaginable. And of course, you can have security glass inserts added.

Furthermore, hidden compartments are available for storage of precious family items, such as heirloom jewelry, passports, important documents, and even weaponry. These compartments can also be opened via biometric screening options. 

The La Ribalta is a pivot door unlike any other, and we’re beyond proud of it. Our artisans in Italy have been working closely with our engineers in the U.S. to make sure this dream of ours could become a reality, and now it finally is. 

Beginning Your Pivot Door Design

Everyone has their own taste, aesthetic, and design styles. We work with people who love traditional architecture with warm tones on one end of the spectrum, and contemporary color palettes and clean lines on the other end of the spectrum. Whatever your unique taste is, we can collaborate with your architect and interior designer to create the perfect doors and windows for your luxury home.  

In order to best assist you and create the pivot door of your dreams, we rely heavily on our architectural design team. We’ll work with you, your architect, and your interior designer to match your existing design elements so your doors (and windows, should you require them) fit in perfectly. Once the designs have been finalized and approved, we send them to the artisans in Italy, who confirm that the design is actually possible (it usually is). After that, they get to work on building your custom pivot door. 

A photo of a massive pivot door on an underground garage of a luxury home.

Something our clients are often concerned about is whether or not we ship to their location. Our headquarters might be in South Florida, but our doors and windows are built in Italy and we ship worldwide. We’ve installed security doors and windows in Florida, California, New York, Texas, Italy, Jamaica, and many other locations around the world.

Because client satisfaction is of the utmost importance to us, we include our Platinum Level Service Plan for the first year of operation. This service gives you 24/7 access to phone support, and guarantees that if service is necessary, someone will be at your house (weather and travel permitting) within 48 hours. 

If you’d like to learn more about our security doors and windows, check out our website. We have a wealth of information about hurricane certification, security glass and doors, and what separates security certifications from ballistic protection from hurricane resistance. Of course, nothing is better than a client testimonial, so be sure to read through some of those as well. 

When you’re ready to discuss your custom security doors, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. If you’re near our headquarters may be in Boca Raton, Florida, we can even schedule an appointment for you to come look at some samples. We’d love to show you the fine Italian craftsmanship and dedication to security to which our company is dedicated.

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