Originating in the Netherlands during the early 1600s, this unique design features top and bottom halves that operate independently. The bottom can be closed for some privacy, while the top is left open for fresh air and neighborly chats. Or, when locked together, the two sections can work as a standard door. Dutch doors were first used on front entryways and were later placed at secondary doorways to the kitchen or scullery. These doors also provided ventilation to barns and stables. Dutch doors lend a country charm to rear entrances and outbuildings such as potting sheds.
A Dutch door is a door divided horizontally in such a fashion that the bottom half may remain shut while the top half opens. The initial purpose of this door was to keep animals out of farmhouses, while allowing light and air to filter through the open top. Later modifications included doors where both halves can be closed or opened together.