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haBitats By JaciNda duFFiN PhotoGraPhy By sarah doNEFF


A Photo by Paula Hedeen.


Welcome Doors of Door County


he most famous Door County door, Death’s Door


– the waters between the tip of the Door Peninsula and the rocky shores of Washington Island – is a rough place.


History books are fi lled with stories of shipwrecks, missing vessels and lost lives in this passage, the only way to navigate between the Bay of Green Bay and the waters of Lake Michigan until the ca- nal was cut through in Sturgeon Bay in 1881. T e danger of the passage was so notable that it defi ned the region, which eventually was dubbed “Door County”– a warning more than a welcome.


Doors, whether welcoming or prohibi-


tive, have always evoked a sense of won- der that’s fascinated writers, philosophers, lyricists and poets. Doors often represent the portal between reality and imagina- tion (think Alice in Wonderland or T e Lion, T e Witch and the Wardrobe) – on one side the concerns of the outer world and, on the other, an entrance into one’s inner world or one’s fantasies.


50 Door County Living Winter 2011/2012


B In the Chinese philosophy of Feng


Shui, a door is considered the “mouth of chi,” where vital energy enters and exits, where friends, money and opportunities fl ow. Many make this correlation with our Door, where folks often come to es- cape the stresses of daily life and to be revitalized.


Door County artist Nan Helscher,


who designed and built her Fish Creek straw bale home, dedicated extensive time and energy to her front door. It’s a true work of art, refl ecting both the natural and artistic elements of the pen- insula. Eight feet tall, this impressive, custom-made entry depicts an elegant, stylized tree, comprised of rainwater glass, birdseye maple and mahogany, and made functional with heavy stain- less steel hinges.


“I wanted the front door to refl ect the personality of the house, so that right from the start people would know what this house is about,” said Helscher. “T e door is the fi rst thing you see, and it has the power to make people feel closed


C


out or welcomed in. I wanted my door to feel welcoming, and I think we were successful in creating just that.”


By “we,” Helscher is referring to lo-


cal artisan and craftsman Joel T omas of T e Studio Door County, with whom she collaborated.


“It was a really satisfying project,” said


T omas. “Initially, Nan wanted the tree to be made of wood and the surround made of glass, but we ended up swap- ping the materials. T e rainwater glass mimics the bark of a real tree, and allows light to penetrate while the texture of- fers privacy. It’s one of the most unique doors I’ve seen.”


“With so many choices for ready-


made doors,” he adds, “people often don’t consider having one custom built, but it can make all the diff erence in both the look and feel of the home.”


Businesses, too, benefi t from well-


designed entryways. On the West Side of Sturgeon Bay, at the corner of South Madison Avenue and Oak Street, sits the


doorcountyliving.com


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