A blue knotty alder front door is a sin, apparently

lotsofkidsJune 17, 2014

So my husband and I are disagreeing. I'm not sure if this is the right forum or not. We have been finishing the basement and making various updates to our home. Our GC pointed out that our front door needs to be redone. it is a big knotty alder door. Only problems are: I hate the color of it, I desperately want a blue front door, and our house is brown - meaning no color whatsoever.

The door is stained a yellow color and it just kind of melts into the brown of the rest of the house. Bleh. I've seen pictures of brown stucco and river rock houses like mine with blue doors and shutters and it looks wonderful! It goes right along with the French cottage look I'm after.

So my husband says that having a nice, expensive wood door like that means it has to be stained and stay a wood color. I thought we could compromise by doing a whitewash with a blue paint so you can still see all the grain and knots and characteristics of the wood but still have some color. He says that paint and color are not for wood doors. He also doesn't think it goes with the river rock.

Anyone out there have an opinion on this?

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bus_driver

While blue is my favorite color, for me, blue would be very wrong for the door in those surroundings. "Each to his own taste said the woman as she kissed her cow".

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 8:11AM
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graywings123

Some people are adamant that wood should not be painted. If you google "knotty alder" and look at the images, you will see it in all shades. If I could not get my husband to agree to painting it, I would stain it more towards a red tone, similar to the two stones to the lower right of the door.

You could bring blue accents onto the porch with a wooded bench, pretty flower pots, etc.

It is an attractive door, but the current stain doesn't blend with the house well, IMO.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 8:50AM
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ineffablespace

I think it is the wrong stain color, but I would not paint what is essentially a premium "character" wood. I agree with picking a darker stain closer to one of the stones.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 9:29AM
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lotsofkids

I agree that the front door doesn't look good with the house. It disappears. Here is a picture from before we bought it (and before we did all the landscaping). I would love a pop of color with some blue shutters and a blue front door. By blue I mean BM Wythe Blue.

By whitewashing it blue you can still see all the grain and knots, but they would be blue instead of brown.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 9:33AM
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live_wire_oak

Blue wouldn't really work with the earthy tones of the home. And that wood shouldn't be painted. Maybe a deep red mahogany stain though.

The high skirt stucco is one other thing I'd change about the curb appeal, along with the minimalist trim. Adding a more substantial trim around the windows and doors would make a big difference, as well as eliminating that band of stucco in favor of matching stone.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 9:39AM
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live_wire_oak

Blue wouldn't really work with the earthy tones of the home. And that wood shouldn't be painted. Maybe a deep red mahogany stain though.

The high skirt stucco is one other thing I'd change about the curb appeal, along with the minimalist trim. Adding a more substantial trim around the windows and doors would make a big difference, as well as eliminating that band of stucco in favor of matching stone.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 9:47AM
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Chadoe3

I have to agree with live_wire_oak about that stucco. Makes the house look like you're preparing for a flood. ... and the water came up to here ...

I love the knotty look of the door, but I think blue would conflict with the earth tones of the stone. As others have said, maybe a darker reddish stain?

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 9:52AM
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violetwest

I think y'all are crazy . Blue would look pretty, is traditional, and would really add some individuality and zing to the house.

A light wash would tone down what, in my opinion, is too much orangy "woodiness" in the door and lighten up the rather heavy feeling entrance. I think the BM Wythe Blue is a tad too light though.

I do hope you put in some good lighting around that entryway.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 9:55AM
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lotsofkids

I have no clue why the original owners put that stucco on the lower portion of the house. I see that a lot on houses in my area though. The least they could have done was make it a darker color to blend better. On the parts that are surrounded by dirt (meaning not the driveway) I'm guessing it is to save money bc they assume there will be plants there anyway so why spend extra on the stone? And now there are plants covering it. I put in a cottage garden so you don't really see that anyway. We didn't build this house, so I can't say why they did certain things.

Right now we have spent a fortune on the basement and some other changes in the house, and we aren't going to spend money on other extra things like adding more stone.

We are redoing the front door bc it has to be redone. The finish is wearing off, and there will be water damage if we don't refinish it. Since it has to be done, I want to do it in a color I like. I hate that yellow color. I think blue with stone is very traditional French cottage. Also, most of the newer houses where I live are this brown stucco and stone and brown doors in some variation or other. I hate having the same thing as everyone else. I like to have something a little different without going to an extreme, like polka dots :)

The inside of my door is stained a red color, and I don't particularly love it with my color palette. I would love a pop of blue to brighten up the brown stone and stucco outside.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 10:30AM
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chicagoans

Not sure if this helps, but I tried recoloring the door in a few different hues. Couldn't get a good red, though. Lower right is closest to the reddish colored stones in your wall, but ends up looking more grey.

If the thought of replacing the stucco skirt seems overwhelming, your landscaping can cover it nicely in front of the house. (This may already be the case.) If you don't like the stucco skirt on the garage, some lovely urns could camouflage it.

I'm not sure shutters will look well with your windows.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 10:33AM
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lotsofkids

Here is a French cottage

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 10:36AM
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mdln

Is this the look you are trying to achieve?

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 10:38AM
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raee_gw

It is a beautiful door; if it were mine I would do a blue stain -- the right shade of blue certainly would work with the stone.

As a compromise maybe you could instead paint the trim around the stucco, the steps, the porch ceiling?

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 10:39AM
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lotsofkids

Chicagoans! Thank you! I have been trying to find someone to do that for me since I don't have photoshop anymore. I love the blue. I do! My blue is a little less intense and a little more green. Sort of a grayish aqua. But my second favorite would be the grayish one that goes more with the stone.

I also love the idea of using colorful urns between the garages. That would bring some nice color. The rest of it is covered by plants now.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 10:42AM
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lotsofkids

mdln kind of, but a different shade of blue.

I've looked into blue stain, but the only one I've found is a deck stain that you can't cover with a plyeurethane, so it would be a matte finish.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 10:44AM
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ILoveRed

I like Chicagoans bottom right pic.

Your house is lovely. I like the stone. Do you know what it is?

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 11:00AM
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mdln

Think painting that door is a huge commitment.

May I suggest getting a piece of MDF the size of the door, paint it the color blue you are considering, and place it in front of your door, to look at in different lights - just to make sure it looks OK with your stone.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 11:04AM
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chicagoans

Love the French cottage you linked to and the colors of its shutters and door.

mdln has an excellent suggestion to paint a large sample board before painting your beautiful door.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 11:54AM
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PRO
Sophie Wheeler

You don't want to hear it (obviously) but your husband is right. Painting that beautiful wood WOULD be a sin. Sell it and buy fiberglass if you want a painted door. That door is too nice of an (expensive) upgrade to ruin with paint. Bring in the blue with other elements.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 12:42PM
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lotsofkids

redlover It is probably Harristone. That is what everyone uses in our area. I don't know what the color is.

So if I don't do blue, do I just paint it the same color as the dark brown beams? Bc the color it is now doesn't do it justice.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 2:52PM
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lotsofkids

I meant stain it dark brown like our beams. Not paint it.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 3:27PM
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DLM2000

First of all, your house, your rules and if you (and your husband) wanted to paint the door pink it's your choice - don't let people get into your head. But you and your husband obviously are not in agreement so some compromise is in order and I think stain in a color you both can live with might be the answer. You keep using the term whitewash and I know what you mean but whitewash is white and what you are picturing in your head is thinned down paint in your blue color that is applied as a whitewash would be. The problem with that is that you have to get back to raw wood for that to work and then it's trial and error to find the right blue because the natural color of the wood will come through and influence how the final color reads. Clear as mud? It can be done, as can stain but that will also require getting back to raw wood, then doing samples to find the stain that dries to the color you want. The right blue stain could be really lovely on your house but it has to be an earthy blue, dulled down and not in your face - IMO. chicagoans ideas are wonderful and a great way to see the wood and a color.

It would help to get another picture of your house with the new landscaping in - the palette of plants and flowers could influence door color.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 5:21PM
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lotsofkids

Thanks everyone. This is a subject my husband seems to feel very strongly about. He has let me do pretty much every hair brained idea I've come up with, so as much as I would love a blue front door, this is one I'm going to step back and let him have his way. Now to choose a wood colored stain. I'm doing this long distance, which is hard. I'm so tired of this and ready to be done.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 7:38PM
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redheadeddaughter

I love the blue door idea so much on your house! French country all the way and not too feminine at all. Lovely with stone. But I have to say "yay" you for compromising in this instance for your husband and keeping the peace.. I hope I can be as awesome a wife when we get to the front door decision. :)

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 8:21PM
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lotsofkids

From one red head to another, may the peace be with you :) I have such a wonderful husband who really does enjoy letting me do what I want most of the time. When he feels strongly about something, as long as I don't have a really important arguable reason, then I let it go. As long as the door's not that yellow color it is now, I will feel better. Besides, we have to paint the other exterior doors too bc the original painter didn't prime them and they are peeling and they aren't wooden, so maybe he'll let me do those blue, and I can enjoy my favorite color from the back of the house. We'll see. But if he really opposes that too, I'll get over it.

Marriage is about compromise.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 8:38PM
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zippity1

i think a blue door would be very nice
would there be a problem painting the door because of the "grain" or knots?

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 10:12PM
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lotsofkids

Ok folks, continuing the eternal conversation about my blue door :) My husband and I had another conversation about why we each felt the way we do, and it helped us both understand better.

His thoughts: We have a beautiful home that we have put quite a bit of money into improving, but mostly adding to. We are finishing our basement, and instead of throwing up drywall and carpet and calling it done, we have finished it just as nicely as the rest of the house. Wood floors, wainscoting, custom cabinetry, etc. To him making that door any color that wood does not naturally have cheapens it. So to him it would be like putting cheap formica countertops in a custom kitchen. He also grew up in a home with very nice wood trim, floors, cabinets and built ins that are stained golden honey. While he doesn't care for that color, in his home you respect the wood, and painting wood that nice defeats the point of having wood that nice.

My thoughts: I love blue. I love French Cottage. I love the blue and the stone together. I think it would draw attention to our door and enhance the beauty. Blue is a happy color for me. Most homes built in the last at least ten years in my area are brown stucco and stone (just. like. mine.). I hate having the exact same thing as everyone else. I like to be unique (though not be weird just for the sake of being different). I also love color. I come from a place where houses aren't all the color of dirt.

So after this conversation we are both reconsidering our positions and the thoughts of the other. I agree that paint would be a mistake because it would cover the natural beauty of the wood. But watered down paint that shows the grain and knots but still gives the color, or blue stain could be really beautiful to me.

So does a blue door cheapen the look of everything else?

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 11:53AM
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DLM2000

You asked, ***So does a blue door cheapen the look of everything else?***

In my world, no, not even if it's painted rather than stained. But it's not my world, it's yours and your husband's. It sounds as if your husband hasn't seen much in the way of higher end homes or furniture that utilize wood either painted or stained a non-wood tone color. Maybe it would help him understand your vision if you could find pictures for him of beautiful homes or furniture that do that. Often it's just a matter of expanding our mind to other kinds of beauty and that can happen with more exposure. Lots of people don't like classical music at first either! He's not wrong for having a preference for wood tones but it is a a limited vision if he thinks there is no other way to present quality and beauty. It's like saying only Jazz is real music and anything else isn't worth listening to - a preference for Jazz is different than totally dismissing all other music as meaningless.

I love wood, some grains more than others, but would not see it as detracting from the whole to change the door to a blue color.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 2:32PM
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lotsofkids

I agree. His parents have a very large, expensive home that hasn't been updated since it was built in the mid 80s. Everything is honey oak. He was raised with the idea that nice would is brown or yellow or cherry. His mom wants to remodel and wants me to help...but the honey colored oak stays. I'm afraid that is a project I can't help with.

That is a good idea though to show him expensive homes with other colors of doors. I've only been showing him rustic stone cottages bc I thought it was more about the color combo than that it would look cheap. Now to find some!

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 2:55PM
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mdln

a blue door

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 3:54PM
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mdln

another blue door

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 3:55PM
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lotsofkids

Thank you!

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 4:00PM
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lyfia

Minwax has several blue color stains that aren't deck stain. Scroll down in the link below.

I personally like the idea of a blue stained door.

Here is a link that might be useful: Minwax stains - see water based - scroll down

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 4:39PM
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daisyinga

I feel the same way your husband does about the wood door. It's beautiful and I couldn't bring myself to paint it.

Having said that, a blue door would be gorgeous and complement the house much better than the stained wood.

I would stain the wood a lighter color rather than a darker color if I didn't paint it.

I think the stucco issue could easily be addressed by landscaping. Your home is lovely and will be beautiful no matter which choice you make.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 8:41PM
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sombreuil_mongrel

A true blue stain job is technically difficult, because the warm and amber natural color of wood works against it, unless special techniques are deployed, the color ends up other than true blue. In your case, blue + yellow, it's going to be fairly green.
(think wood bleach)
Casey

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 9:02PM
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gnancyanne

A sin? In whose church? My house has sandstone on the front, but around the porch and front door, it's painted a muddy brown. When I moved in, there were black shutters everywhere and the front door was black, too. Okay, but safe.

I didn't want my house, etc., to look like everybody else's, but don't want it to look crazy, either. I painted the door SW Sapphire (I think), and got rid of the shutters. I think it's striking, and get compliments on it.

So, I vote for blue doors, and compromise! Sounds like your husband will come around. And, I like the large sample board idea, too.

--> I ran across a pertinent article, too--see the link. Plenty of blue doors.

Here is a link that might be useful: Front and Center Color: When to Paint Your Door Blue

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 10:25PM
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