Monday, August 24, 2015

Curb Appeal : A New [Craigslisted] Front Door

Living in a historic neighborhood, I am constantly reminded of how much character a front door adds to your home. And then I pull up to our house. Waa-waaa
Ok...this is an old picture, like 2 years old, and the fact that my plants aren't in full swing does make a HUGE difference. (Plants are everything!) But it also allows you to focus on the bad. The door and the small sconce.
We never did like our this door. Just another touch of boring from the builders. It was dark brown when we moved in. Dark brown with an army green house...what were they thinking? Black paint was applied, which was an improvement, but we still knew we would change it one day.
I guess it's not the style I dislike so much. This door could be fine on other houses. For example, my parents have it on theirs, and they have a matching palladium window in front with rounded shutters. It looks cute. But on our house it looks generic, especially when driving around our neighborhood and seeing all the gorgeous old doors.
I saw this on CL and although it has the same shape window [as our current door] at the top, it has SOOOOO much more character. Solid wood, stained glass, brass knocker and kickplate and the aged bronze handle. I think they were asking $100! Of course I would have painted it, and I could do without that middle carving detail, but I think it would've added a lot to our curb appeal. It had character! It's not cookie cutter.
I really like a door with windows to bring in as much light as possible. I was inspired by this one (above) that I saw at The Painted House and what do you know? Not too long after seeing it, this one popped up on CL for $90.
Of course I knew immediately that this could be the perfect door...if we could cut those wood panels out. Ernesto had mentioned that our accountant had done this to his door, so he called to ask him directions. His response was "bring it over, I have all the tools and will help you do it." Yes!
So one Thursday they got to work. Here is a mid process pic after using a router to cut out the panels.
And with all 6 panels out....
A heavy duty sander took the gray paint right off and a day later, we had a clean door ready for glass and paint/stain.
At this point Ernesto put the new door up to make sure it fit correctly in the existing frame. A little sanding was needed in a few spots, but otherwise an easy fit. I was so excited by the amount of light coming into our living room.
Our dilemma then was color. The inside we decided to leave wood, but we had to pick a stain.
I thought we should get a walnut stain. In my mind walnut is the color of midcentury dressers that I love, like this Broyhill Brasilia dresser.
I WILL have this beauty in the future, by the way. I'm on a serious hunt! (Mom, if you ever see this while you are thrifting, please don't hesitate to get it for me!)
Anywho, I bought a "light walnut" stain by Varathane and it was way to red for my liking. Shown here on the right.
Ernesto brought home a mahogany (shown on left), which, when put against this walnut, I liked much better. With that being said, I was not so sure once I saw a coat applied liberally with a brush.
It was DARK! The color is nice, but much darker than I wanted.
I was scared to tell Ernesto that we may need to try a different stain. He has put in a lot of time on this door. BUT he said the same thing...too dark! He sanded it down pretty easily and I headed to Lowes and brought home this "special walnut" stain.
BINGO! This stain had that mcm color I was looking for. As most of you know, I am still new to introducing wood into my home, and there aren't a lot of colors that I'm crazy about at this point.
We applied 2 coats of the stain -this time using a cloth (instead of the brush)- we were able to control the color a little more this way. Ernesto finished this side up with two coats of a satin finish poly and it was good to go.
We decided to paint the outside of the door, so we can pick and switch colors as much as we like. We are planning to paint the exterior of our house, if not this fall, for sure in the spring. In the mean time though, we needed to pick a color for the door that looks nice with the army green color of the house.
Color options for the exterior is a whole other blog post. It's going to be a tough decision because I like light and dark. White is in our top 3 choices, but I have had this picture saved for a while. It looks so fresh and pretty. 

There are several other gray houses on our street though, so I may have to save this color scheme for our [future] beach house.  I do like the look of the Ben Moore Paint on the door called Robin's Nest, however, it is more on the blue side than mint. On the BM website though, it does read green, right?
Oh well,  it was a little more saturated than I wanted anyway. One more sample I picked (but can't remember the name) was light enough, but still on the blue side. A few days later, I picked up a sample of Behr's Jade Mist and this one seemed like the right shade. (Very close to the color my dresser at the front door entry)
Here are the three colors painted on a canvas. It isn't a huge difference, but can you see how the top [front] color is the more minty color and the others blue?
I bought a quart of Behr's exterior semi-gloss (paint + primer in one) in Jade Mist and Ernesto applied 2 coats with a roller.
Whew! Next was the glass and hardware. We were referred to Dixie Glass Hoppers in Decatur, and they were super nice and helpful. They had many many glass designs, however all of them cannot be tempered, which is what is needed for a door [so it won't shatter]. Ernesto wanted to go with clear glass, but I thought something that could blur the view a bit would be good, because I do not want a curtain or shade on the door.
We agreed on something that had a little blur, but when it came in [bigger sheets] I wasn't loving it. I didn't remember it looking like this. It reminded me of a patio table top.
Dixie Glass Hoppers said they wanted us to love our glass, so if we didn't like it we could bring it back. (not normally their policy) We decided to give it a try before reordering, and it looks much betting IN the door.
I think we are going to keep it. Once in the door and with light shining through it, it doesn't seem so 'patio table' anymore. Unfortunately, one of the six glass panels was not exactly the correct size and wouldn't fit. Ernesto even sanded the door a little with hopes of squeezing it in. Of course, glass doesn't really squeeze and the piece shattered.
So! Needless to say, we aren't ready to reveal the "before and after" pics yet.  Plus, there are still a few other details.
I am pretty set on this brass handle from Lowes and we will be attaching the brass kick plate back in place.
We aren't stopping with the front door. (curb appeal!) New house numbers, a new (but probably vintage) doorbell, and Im really loving this light fixture (above), but may continue searching for a more economical version. (Sorry RH, I will eventually need three of those lights!)
This awesome cement/gold planter from Target will be hung on the right, above the doorbell.
I also need to majorly trim my garden down for some curb appeal. I usually give up gardening once it hits 90, and it has been for the last couple months, so needless to say, my beautiful garden is not looking its best.
Stay tuned for the final pics coming once our new glass order comes in!!


  1. I love your front porch. The plants and planters are so eye catching. Definitely a great idea what you did with the door. I have been frustrated with my front door for a few years now but I do not need a new door, just a new color. I can not decide on one. I have been back and forth.

    Giovanni @ Coastal Contract Hardware

  2. Curb appeal is definitely something that every house needs and I am glad I read your post about the different things you were able to do with the front door. It might be a good idea to have a professional locksmith put all of the hardware on to save you lots of time as well as to ensure they are put on right.

    Earl Mark @ Eastway Lock

  3. These are wonderful and inspirational, thank you for posting them
    Windows And Doors Phoenix
    Modern Entry Doors


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