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11.01.13 / Front Door Update!

After careful consideration {and lots of encouragement from you guys!}, we decided to keep the original front door. We like the ┬ámidcentury style and it “fits” the house well. The door itself was in good shape – it’s solid wood and heavy, heavy, HEAVY.┬áThe only thing that had us scratching our heads was the hardware. There was a regular knob and then a separate deadbolt that wrapped around the side of the door that could only be unlocked from the inside of the house with a key. It was inconvenient to say the least and probably a fire hazard. I’m guessing it helped ease the worries of the single elderly lady who lived here previously.

Because we added insulation to the exterior walls and engineered flooring inside the door, we had to address the jamb and threshold. We lived with a sizable gap {think 2″} at the bottom of the door for a year and a half. I stuffed a beach towel in the gap to keep leaves, moisture and rodents out. If it weren’t for the neighbors’ cats, I’m pretty sure we should have had a mouse or two in the house last winter. The UPS man quickly learned to leave our packages outside the picture window. Sometimes, he even handed them to me through the window on days when I had it open. The entire front door debacle was embarrassing.

We aren’t quite finished with it yet but the door is functional now! You should have seen the UPS man’s face when I opened the front door to greet him this week as he was leaving a package outside our window.

“Our door opens now!” I announced, probably a little too excitedly.

He didn’t say anything – just looked at me and smiled. It was the smile you give crazy people. He was thinking, “Good for you, ma’am. Isn’t that what a door is supposed to do?” or “About damn time.”

door progress 1

I’m not going to bore you with the minute details but I’ll try to summarize. We ditched the clanging screen door and textured plastic inserts in the three square windows. HH fixed the jamb, installed a new threshold, cut the door down, added trim {inside and out}, installed a complicated mortise entry set, filled holes with wood epoxy paste and then sanded the entire thing down – door, jamb and all. {The concrete pad is also new; we hired out for that last fall.} And what took me two sentences to explain took about a month to complete working around the weather, family life and HH’s day job.

door progress 2

All that’s left to do is add weather stripping and paint. Please forgive the messy sidewalk and landscaping. We had a strong storm blow through last night and I haven’t touched a single fallen leaf. And, yes, beggar’s night was last night. I have no pictures of my kids dressed up because they just looked like kids in coats with weird pants on braving a hurricane while carrying bags of candy. Then we lost power. ON HALLOWEEN NIGHT. How’s that for spooky? So all-in-all, it was pretty much the weirdest Halloween ever.

door progress 3

The light fixture in the before picture is gone. Our electrician-in-law added recessed lighting in the eaves overhang during renovation. That space to the left of the front door is screaming for house numbers, no?

door progress 4

I’m in love with the new entry set. Mostly because it works but also because it’s chunky and simple. We didn’t want anything that would take away from the door’s design. After sanding, it was kind of fun discovering the past lives of our door. It’s been beige, blue and blue-green. Methinks it wants to try a happy mustard.

door progress 5

What does every door with three windows need? Why, a peephole of course. HH and I were rolling over this one. Honestly, we hadn’t paid that much attention to the door before so we were baffled when we realized we had a peephole this whole time. We couldn’t figure it out. Then I remembered that there had once been yellow textured plastic inserts covering the windows from the inside. I’m guessing for privacy? It certainly couldn’t have been for aesthetics. At some point a peephole was added to the door to see out. We removed the inserts a long time ago and have no need for a peephole so HH removed the peephole and filled the remaining hole with wood epoxy paste. What peephole?

door progress 6

You may have noticed in the earlier wide shot that we turned the planter into a bench / covered storage. HH used leftover material from the deck to make a slatted seat / lid. It’s divided into three sections so we can lift it up and out. Waste not, want not.

Let’s take a look at the door from the inside, shall we?

door progress 7

No gap at the bottom! If you look closely, you can see where the previous deadbolt and latch once lived. We kept the original hinges because they are heavy duty and work just fine.

door progress 8

This side of the entry set has a simple lever which I love.

door progress 10

The trio of windows lets light pour into this otherwise dark corner of the great room. While I don’t dislike the idea of a stained or colored door on the inside, I think this side will go white. This corner is really small and dreary and think it would look best if the door faded away. However, I cannot wait to open the door on nice days and have the yellow exterior side make a happy appearance indoors. But seeing as how it’s already November {what?!}, I’m going to have to wait. Or maybe just open it for a minute to take a picture.

door progress 9

What do you think? Are you glad we salvaged the front door? Do you think we should consider different paint options? How was your Halloween?

FYI – Once I have true afters, I will post all source info in one meaty post.

P.S. – As hard as I try, I can’t like pumpkin. So I made these with the kids instead.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

64 Comments

01.November.2013

Congratulations on having a door that works!! I’m happy you kept the original mid-century design. Now that I’ve spent much too long pondering a stranger’s door color, I think that a pretty indigo would look really nice with the brick and roof. Not sure if mustard would do the house’s facade any favors… but it’s impossible to know without throwing up a few paint swatches, right?

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replied on November 1st, 2013

HH and I love moody, dark doors but we’re afraid the windows will disappear because they read black from the street. We’d like the windows to stand out. I think indigo would look lovely with the red brick though!

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01.November.2013

Yup, I’m in the camp that is very glad you salvaged this door. Old ugly doors should go (like the old, ugly, not original front door we had) but if you’ve got something period and fitting, stick with it. And I think a mustard yellow will look great! Happy doors make me happy. :)

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It’s going to look so good when it’s all done, and it already looks much improved! I love the light it lets in as well as the simplistic design.

Curious though, are you worried about burglars being able to break the glass and just reach in and open the knob? My guess is that’s why the old lady before you had the lock that needed a key even from the inside.

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replied on November 1st, 2013

That was my reaction too. Our deadbolt can only be locked with a key. We keep the key in the door (there are no window panes nearby to break open).

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01.November.2013

So glad you are keeping the door. I like the mustard yellow on the outside – what about on the inside too? I can see why you wouldn’t want to paint it a dark color inside. Same issue in my house.

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01.November.2013

I’ve always liked the door so I’m glad to hear you salvaged it! I think the mustard color will look great with your exterior and the idea of white on the inside is perfection.

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01.November.2013

In the older townhouse we previously rented every door had to be unlocked from the inside with a key! I hated it! We tried to replace all the knobs and locks but nothing standard would fit properly and since we were just renting we didn’t want to invest a lot of money. It was the worst though – I surely would have had to jump out a window if there were a fire and every time the doorbell rang I would be fumbling with the keys forever to try and open the door!

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01.November.2013

I’m glad you kept the door as well. I’m currently looking for a door similar to yours to replace my Home Depot stock door that was installed by the previous owners (I’m in a 1961 bungalow. I was hoping the garage might contain the original door but I was sorely dissapointed). I like the idea of the door being white on the inside and a colour outside (plus I’m a fan of mustard).

We have pretty much the exact flower bed along the house and we were talking about turning it into a bench as well next spring. did you fill the cavity with anything or build supports under the decking material? I like the way it turned out and I never would have thought to use decking material.

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replied on November 1st, 2013

HH installed cleats around the inside of the planter to support the composite seat / lid.

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01.November.2013

So happy you kept the original and that it finally works! That UPS man had to be a man to not care about an awesome door. Can’t wait for paint!

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01.November.2013

I love the new hardware and way to salvage the fabulous door! I am trying to talk my hubby into a windowed door, our living room gets very little light and it would totally help!

I found this fabulous dark green door on a brick house:
http://www.pinterest.com/pin/202450945722782794/

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replied on November 1st, 2013

Gorge. Green.

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01.November.2013

Love the door. Love the light it lets in. Jealous of that feature:)

I always err toward salvaging what you can. If you live with it a few months/year and decide it’s not your style then you can change it out. But I think it will look great.

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01.November.2013

Emtek Helios? If so, we just installed the same on our new, bright yellow front door (BM Sun Valley)!

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replied on November 1st, 2013

Yes! The Mormont mortise with the Helios lever inside!!

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01.November.2013

I notice a lot of homes in the U.S. don’t have proper foyers – the front doors open right into the living room. Is this typical?

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replied on November 1st, 2013

I think it depends on the style and location of the house. Most midcentury ranches don’t have foyers.

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replied on November 4th, 2013

Ahh i see. I guess I don’t come across it often because Canada sadly doesn’t have a lot of midcentury ranches. Not in Toronto anyhow.
Love the blog – thanks for the inspiration!

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replied on November 4th, 2013

My midcentury ranch from 1956 and all of those in my neighborhood of that vintage have foyers, the houses that came later and are a different lay out did away with them and some other things. It’s just part of the house plans or not. Our houses are not large either, but they are laid out that way. Sort of a wide hallway sized area and to your left you enter a wide doorway to the living room and then on to the the dining room through there. It also connects back to the hallway or pass through that to the kitchen.

01.November.2013

I’ve been a huge fan of your door and was so excited to read this post! Love it! I recently rescued a fun mid century door from a house that was being flipped, and I’m in the middle of choosing a color for it for my house. Yellow is at the top of my list and I can’t wait to see what you choose!

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01.November.2013

I think the door looks awesome, and you’re right – doesn’t hurt that it goes so well with your house!

And I always wonder what kind of crazy stuff delivery guys see on a daily basis…

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01.November.2013

I LOVE THE DOOR! i’m so glad that y’all decided to work with that fab door! i can’t wait to see afters! i’m sure you’ll be as in love with yours as i am with my (very similar) bright blue version (with similar hardware, actually). great minds…

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01.November.2013

I love that you’re keeping the door! I think it adds a cool vibe to your house, and will look great in a mustard color. Can’t wait to see!

P.S. So happy to hear that other people don’t like pumpkin! It’s so hard this time of year when everyone has pumpkin fever!

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01.November.2013

I think the door fits beautifully with the house! And I’m digging the mustard idea- curious though- will you put the color on the inside as well?

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replied on November 1st, 2013

We’ll probably do white inside. I think a color would give that corner of the room a weird glow, if that makes sense.

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replied on November 4th, 2013

Can you refinish the wood so it keeps its current shade but looks better? It seems to jive with your wall shelves in a pleasing way based on the pictures.

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replied on November 4th, 2013

The outer layer of the door is wood veneer and we have a lot of patchwork going on so I don’t think staining the door is a good option for us. However, I adore stained wood doors!

01.November.2013

I love the lines of that door! I’m so glad you decided to keep it. With the orange-y brick I’d probably go for a shade of blue to contrast, but I think the right shade of mustard could work great too. I’m looking forward to seeing the finished product! I’ve been meaning to paint my front door for ages but haven’t gotten around to it yet, so maybe seeing yours will be the kick in the pants I need.

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01.November.2013

So glad you kept the door. We have the exact same door in our front entrance ( mid century ranch ). I painted it black about 10 years ago when we first moved in and I am still so happy we kept it.
Looking forward to seeing what you do with paint colour. : )

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01.November.2013

Love the doors progress! A contrasting color would be nice for the door, but I also think the Mustard would “warm” up the brick and is very fitting for the age of your house. Plus it’s just a great color. Is your door unusually tall? It seems like the handle is a little low, but maybe it just photographs that way.

I feel your pain on the yellow plastic window inserts, our front door has one in the middle instead of actual glass with some faux (plastic) iron work. All this on our craftsman bungalow. The doors only redeeming quality is the lovely charcoal color it was painted before we moved in. I was obviously heartbroken when I realized the door has cracked through and must be replaced before winter sets in. I look forward to our future door actually making sense on our house.

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replied on November 2nd, 2013

The door is standard height and we thought the same thing after HH installed the new entry set. But it is at the right height {the thumb lever is right where the knob was}. I think it’s because the handle is so long. On the inside, it looks great and would be strange if the lever were any higher. Gotta love squatty ranches!

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01.November.2013

I was on team original door, so I’m thrilled to see you were able to keep it! It looks great and I love the grid windows!

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01.November.2013

I adore you’re style and love what you’re doing with your house. Although I LOVE that green door Kari linked, I think you’re right on with the mustard color. It seems to be more your style. Can’t wait to see it!

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02.November.2013

I am glad you kept the door. The three windows are so unique.

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02.November.2013

Looking great! Love that you kept the original door! Can’t wait to see what colour you choose for the outside.

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I love it all! The hardware matches the heaviness of the door and is so sleek. Mustard sounds great- maybe some photoshop goodness with other colors?! Love that bench too. And I”m sure mailmen see way crazier than you.

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02.November.2013

On the one hand your new door looks unusual and creative but on the other hand I liked the previous variant of it maybe because it looked more homelike and safe. If I were you I would leave the grating.

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02.November.2013

I have always loved your original front door, with a little tweaking, I know it will be a beauty! I am so glad to hear you are keeping it. Whatever you end up deciding to do, it will end up beautiful!

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02.November.2013

I love the style of that door. I would stain the interior to match the shelves you have by the door.

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02.November.2013

I’m glad you’re keeping the original door. I was totally thinking mustard yellow when I first saw the door.

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03.November.2013

I love that door! So happy you kept it! I’ve been looking for a mid century inspired front door and the only ones I’ve found are 2.5-3k. Ouch!!! Updating our front door is on the list and I’m dying for windows. We have a security system so I’m not too worried about break ins (knock on wood). White on the inside is lovely. I’ve used BM decorater white on all our trims and doors inside. A mustard would look lovely. Just please no aqua or teal! That’s a front door trend I cannot understand with brick!

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03.November.2013

the door is amazing! i love it. mustard… like, bright yellow hot dog mustard, right? not seventies brownish…?

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03.November.2013

the door looks awesome! and so appropriate for your home, great to keep it. there was a home near by that was brick & the trim was awkward, setting not ideal, etc. they painted the shutters a mustard/slight olive and it transformed the house completely. it looked amazing, complimenting the brick and mortar lines beautifully. i’m sure your door will turn out lovely, too!

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03.November.2013

As a girl with door problems myself, I totally appreciate this post and love the door! It already looks gorg, can’t wait to see the finished result! Are you planning on installing another storm door in front to replace the old screen door?

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replied on November 4th, 2013

For now, we don’t think so. The door sits under a deep eave so the door is protected and removing the plastic window covers lets so much more light into the house. The only things we thought of to justify a storm door – protect original door & ability to open original door letting light in and keeping weather / bugs out – aren’t really issues for us now.

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03.November.2013

I realize this is not the point of the post, but have you tried putting chocolate chips in pumpkin bread?? Ohmyword, it’s the best. My husband is pumpkin purist and hates it when I do that but I happen to believe everything is better with chocolate chips.
The door is wonderful. It makes me want to hurry up and replace our aluminum grandma green front door with a too-tall peephole and a knocker with the previous owner’s last name. Yeah, we’re classy.

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replied on November 4th, 2013

Chocolate does make everything better. I should try it!

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03.November.2013

Oh please do paint your front door mustard yellow. I so want to do that but it’s not going to happen.

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03.November.2013

Always admired the door – so unique! Liking the idea of mustard yellow on the outside. From here I’m liking the how the wood tone looks on the inside – looks warm but still on the lighter side. Look forward to seeing the end result!

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04.November.2013

The inside needs-a-key lock is so someone doesn’t punch out a little window and just unlock the bolt easily. We had the same thing going on in my house growing up. There was a key on a peg on the wall just inside and out of reach that was always there, for fire-like emergencies, etc. When we were home and around during the day, one of our keys just stayed in the door. It all worked out fine.

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04.November.2013

I am SO happy you kept that door. I love that style of door and I keep seeing people replace them. It’ll look great in mustard, too.

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04.November.2013

I’m so glad you salvaged this door – it’s going to be gorgeous!

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04.November.2013

YAY! I was hoping you’d keep that door- it’s perfect!
After nearly 7 yrs in this house, I’m finally painting the exterior doors- red! My husband’s idea, and I like them even better than I thought I would.

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05.November.2013

So, I was perusing Pinterest and I found this image that looks like both of your doors together!! :)
http://www.pinterest.com/pin/121526889918284741/

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replied on November 5th, 2013

They do! How ironic!!

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05.November.2013

Your front door already looks a million times better! Can’t wait to see the *finished* project!
Did you spray paint your tripod lamp gold? I have the same one. :)

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replied on November 5th, 2013

Sure did!

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05.November.2013

I’m so glad you didn’t replace that awesome mod door with something new. And I love the hardware. I’m curious about your color choice though because yellow might bring out more yellow of the surrounding bricks, which already veer toward orange. What do you think? Love your blog. So inspiring.

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05.November.2013

I like the new pic on top! :)

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05.November.2013

looking forward to the reveal! And I love your new pic – soooo purdy. x

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06.November.2013

I like the idea of the yellow, since the gray will tend to look a lot like your windows, another dark shape.
Having said that, I think I would *tweak* that shade of yellow. It’s what’s in your mind, the shade you were looking for….so maybe you’re just stuck on that one! But I think there are better color options while sticking with your idea of yellow.

Take a look at the inspiration on this page. I’m a dork and don’t know how to link just the picture I’m talking about…..but it’s the one with a similar color brick and much more of a POP of color than the mustard. More contrast. It’s the door with the number 510 on it.

http://www.thehandmadehome.net/2011/05/curb-appeal/

I can’t stand not being able to see out any window so the idea of putting a frost on the window would probably make them stand out a bit, but it would personally make me crazy!

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08.November.2013

The peephole was probably there first. I don’t think the windows were original to your door. I am glad you kept it though.

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17.March.2014

[…] rehabbed the original front door back in the fall. (Read about it here and here.) And now that we’re actually using it, it’s time to spruce up the […]




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