Thursday, February 17, 2011

Making an Entrance: What Does Your Front Door Say About You?

Of all the 100s of items we are buying for the house, what is one of the most visible and well-used of them all? The front door.

There is a lot of pressure on a front door. It has to keep out the wind and rain, deter burglars, operate consistently year round, and withstand slamming, cat- and dog-scratching, and other abuses—all while presenting a welcoming face to residents and visitors alike.

It gets even more complicated when there is more than one exterior door that is visible from the street. Which one does the deliveryman go to? Which one does the family use? What about guests—are you familiar enough to go in through the back or side door that the family uses? Or should you start with the formal entrance?

A good door design will give clues to figure it out. Well-detailed, a front door is also precursor to the design of the interior of the house; a kind of advance peek at what lies within.
With all this in mind I’ve starting thinking about how to detail our exterior doors. We have four of them to deal with—each with a distinct purpose that should be communicated through its design and location. The locations are already a given; now I’m working with the details. And what a lot of details there are to choose from!

First, there is the door style. We’ve already installed a Colonial six-panel wood front door with sidelights so that decision is made. Next up is deciding the finish—will it be stained or painted? If painted, what color? I’m leaning toward painted, but I don’t know what color yet. It will depend on the color of the siding and trim, but I do know I want it to be glossy with a “wow” factor. Something classic but still fun.

Rocky Mountain Hardware

From there we can consider the door hardware—doorplate, doorknob, lock, and hinges. (Do you realize how many choices in hinges there are?) Will they be brass, iron, stainless steel, or bronze?

Custom House Numbers
The Doorbell Factory
Other hardware to consider includes knockers and doorbells, address numbers and mailslots, kickplates and doorstops…

And don’t forget lighting and doormats, and maybe a pot of flowers on the side. Then try to assemble all the parts into some kind of harmony of color, texture, scale, and function.
Chiasso doormat


Michael Healy doorknocker

What, you thought this was easy?! Help me out here—send some front door ideas for inspiration!

Seattle Builder's Supply