The Anatomy of a Storefront

Some may view a storefront as simply the entrance to a business, but at Versatile Wood Products, we see it differently. There are many questions to address, styles to choose from, and requirements to consider. A beautifully integrated storefront can be a complex project, but with the help of a strong design team, it needn’t be difficult. Here’s how we approach it.

Portland’s famous Pine Street Market is housed in the historic Carriage & Baggage Building, built in 1886. We designed entry systems that worked with the original arched masonry openings.

First, we determine the type of exposure this structure will be getting. Overhang and cardinal direction play a large part in the design strategy, including choosing your wood species. If the assembly will be taking a lot of heat from the sun, experiencing strong winds and rain, or facing heavy snow, that will help us to determine the best wood species to use. Douglas fir with standard grain is our most popular selection, and for many situations, it’s the perfect choice. When an even more robust species is called for, a tighter grain Douglas fir or sapele are our top choices. A southern-facing entrance, a less-than-generous overhang, or harsh weather exposure may call for special treatment. The experts at Versatile will guide you toward the best options for the unique needs of your storefront. 

Our product design manager Rex Vaccaro consults with the installation team at Cornelius Woodlark. Versatile’s experts collaborate with you to ensure great results.

One challenge that can arise when modernizing historic structures is creating ADA-compliant entrances. In buildings such as the Timberline Lodge and the Hollywood Theatre, innovative techniques (like burying wires or building concealers for electric closers) ensured that the original aesthetics were preserved while also integrating automatic door mechanisms needed for ADA accessibility. 

Timberline Lodge is a famous building that really takes a beating. Our ADA entryway is robust enough to withstand the elements, while ensuring ADA compliance. Accessibility matters!

Another important consideration is providing window and doorway systems that keep our clients and their customers comfortable year-round as the weather and temperatures shift. Precision, top-quality weather stripping and thresholds appropriate for your design will prevent air from traveling around windows or doors and ensure a well-regulated indoor environment.

After facing the elements for decades, historic buildings need to be repaired, restored, and renovated. There are many guidelines concerning the preservation, reconstruction, and rehabilitation of historic buildings. With over 30 years of experience with historic renovation projects, including multiple structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Versatile is fluent in the unique requirements of historic restoration. For Versatile Wood Products, staying true to a building’s original aesthetics and honoring its past are a point of pride and what gives our work purpose.

Join us Wednesday, November 20th for our annual event, Whiskey & Windows and learn the anatomy of a storefront with a live presentation! RSVP