Graceful transition between indoors and out

GREAT IDEAS
Peter O. Whiteley

Just as summer imperceptibly blurs into fall, this steel-clad door makes an almost seamless interface between outside and inside spaces. Indeed, "at a certain point the front door just disappears when it swings open," says architect Ron Kappe, part of a father-and-son team of designers.

The 5- by 8-foot door is framed on both sides by panels of tempered glass. Since the door pivots and balances on pins (offset 16 inches from one side), a slender steel framework is all that's needed to hold both the door and surrounding glass in place. At floor level, the glass sits in grooves between the precast, charcoal-colored concrete pavers, so there's nothing to interrupt the visual flow down the covered hall.

Overhead, a similar openness repeats: Smaller panels of glass fit between the redwood joists that support the decking of the roof structure. "We wanted it to seem as if the interior roof joists come out to greet you," Kappe says.

DESIGN: Ray Kappe Architects Planners, Pacific Palisades, CA (310/459-7791); Ron Kappe, Kappe + Du Architects, San Rafael, CA (www.kappedu.com or 415/457-7801)