Replacing front door/original door picture

pinkpaulaAugust 13, 2013

Our original door and window (and UGLY screen door) look like this:

So, old house lovers, what do you think of the replacement door idea?

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*See next post for replacement idea. Sorry, I'm having issues with posting more than one picture per post.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 12:27AM
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I think we need a wide shot photo showing the whole front of your house to get a feel for the style you have.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 5:01AM
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Just respond to your own posts to add more pictures, changing the subject line so you can do multiple posts in a row if necessary.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 8:28AM
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Wide view of front of house:

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 10:46AM
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Replacement idea (imagine with french screen doors ):

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 10:50AM
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While your proposed replacement is attractive, by itself, I'm not sure I like it when combined with the collection of nearby windows you also have.

How about pictures of all the windows on that facade? it seems likely that at least some of them are later add-ins of then-current styles.

You've got a lot of things going on style-wise in the openings on that porch. I think your house would be improved by making sure some of these elements are more coherent.

So, more pics needed, if possible.

Also pictures to see the overall massing of the house to ID its general style. Your proposed doorway has late17th -early 19th c details (or Revivals of same period).

How high is your ceiling on this porch? The proposed replacment door assembly may be higher than is possible on your porch, and reducing its height may make it look squattier.



    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 3:05PM
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What's there is unusual in it's configuration. I kinda like it, espc how the oval in the door mimics the oval window to the right. We don't like to change things too much (too many $$$), so we would probably fix the door and live with it for a couple of years to see if it didn't grow on us.

Your inspiration pic in the other post is the type of house I would like to live across the street from so I could see it every day ðÂÂÂ.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 4:54PM
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Hey, pink...I really don't like that normal sized window next to your door--I can see why you want to get rid of it. However, I really like the oval window in your door and that works with the facade of your house.

In your idea for a replacement above, I would not have the sidelights be double hungs--you are never going to open them--that is what the transom is for. :)

What about a single door with a sidelight either side? I'm thinking a double door with two sidelights might be a bit wider than the entry space on the porch...and might be out of scale with the house. My sister had a rental ca. 1840s Italianate with double doors, but it was huge and two storeys.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 2:51AM
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I think the current condition how it was originally intended, so it actually "fits' because of that. Mixed, asymmetric openings were pretty common on this period/style of house.

But if you want to center the door, I would probably do sidelites and either use the same door, or get a new door with an oval window. I usually dislike oval windows in doors, but this is the style of house where they are completely appropriate. I would do sidelights with single panes or at least not the more purely "colonial" six panes. This house was built in a period where people wanted to show they were wealthy enough to put in big panes of glass not a bunch of little ones.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 4:03PM
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Still need more pics, but my guess is that what you have now is not original. Perhaps someone replaced the original French doors with a single and filled the remaining space with a window? Look at the moldings/casings from the other porch windows and compare to your current door. Do they match at all?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 7:42PM
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There is just not enough room for you to do what you wish (french door plus two sidelites) in the allotted space without the doors being impractically narrow. Unless you redo the framing with a wider header, 12" per sidelite, 4"x2 for the intermediate jambs, and 48"-56" for the pair of doors adds up to 80" to 88" for your ensemble in a workable egress door size. Perhaps you could shave the sidelites down to 10" each, and save 4".
Part of being a good steward to the old house is accepting its limitations. You uniquely elegant entry ensemble is not really a obstacle, only in your mind.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 11:16PM
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I'm sure no expert, but I think it's the screen door that you hate so I'd start by removing it and then look again at what you have. I'd consider replacing it with a full-length glass/screen door.

I also agree that the oval glass in the door was meant to match the oval window on the porch -- and I like that. It also looks to me like the existing door and sidelight are meant to match the opposite-side windows on the porch. It does make me wonder whether the center grill on the sidelight and right porch window are actually storm window grills we're seeing. Is the sidelight to the door actually just one large glass pane?

Your house looks very interesting to me.... what is the room w/ the oval window on the porch? :)

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 8:12AM
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Thank you all for the helpful feedback and suggestions. Renovations are difficult, and there are always design decisions to weigh. I appreciate your comments.

liriodendrum, The ceiling height on the porch is 122". The outside width of the framework is 91". There is plenty of room. The existing old door is 40"x83" and the glass above the door is 19".

maryinthefalls, The door was nice in its day, but it is warping and has too many structural issues to address. At this point it would not be worth the time or money. On the interior side the lower panel must have been damaged years ago and replaced with a painted piece of plywood. ;-(

columbusguy1, Thanks. We really hate the window next to the door. There are other houses in our historic neighborhood with the same set up; however, there are quite a few with double sidelights and transoms. There are several with French doors and French screen doors, too. Our sidelights will not be double hungs, that's just an inspiration picture that comes close to the look I want.

palimpsest, The asymmetric opening grates on my nerves. The door is not centered with the front steps. Window treatments inside are a nightmare, so I ended up putting blinds and that horrible lace panel for privacy. My final plan has 4-paned sidelights with a recessed wood panel about 24" from the floor.

Clarion, The moldings match on all of our windows, so I think the front door and window are original. The wood is all heart pine, as are our floors.

sombreuil mongrel, *See my note above to liriodendrum regarding the space available for the new door framework. Thanks for taking the time to add up the inches; every one counts, and we have enough! I have hired a really good millwork company to custom make the entire project. They made the entry doors for the 2012 Southern Living Idea House in Senoia, GA. The sidelights will be true divided light, insulated glass, 12". The solid wood doors as well as the screen doors will be custom made and fitted with era-appropriate hardware. I am really trying to be a "good steward" to my old house by making tasteful choices that still fit my needs. (I also did this in my kitchen remodel.)

party music50, The room with the oval, stained glass window is the living room. Yes, I do hate the old screen door, but I think an all-glass storm door would look too modern on our house. We want to be able to have the doors open to catch the breeze and to let it fly down our shotgun center hallway. Having a French door will allow us to be able to move larger furniture, etc. into the house. Those are storm windows grills you see on the windows.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 11:44AM
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We took the plunge. Our new doors were installed yesterday. What a relief to have doorknobs and locks that function correctly, to have double pane glass to keep heat in and cold out, and to balance both interior and exterior views.

Now, we must decide how dark we want to stain the doors; the sidelights and transom will be white to match existing trim.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2013 at 10:59PM
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Beautiful choice! I'm definitely not qualified to help w/ stain or paint, tho. I'm in the midst of that myself & having to get a a designer to help me. Otherwise, I'd probably spend $500 just on samples alone...& still be confused! One of these very talented people on this website will be able to help you w/ that, much better than me! Post again when you finish it. You did a great job!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 5:47PM
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pinkpaula, your new doors are GORGEOUS! What door width did you end up with?

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 11:17AM
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Bicyclegirl, Thank you. I know what it is like to buy many sample colors. In this case, I know the trim will be white. I think I have chosen Dark Walnut for the stain on both the screen doors as well as the solid wood French doors. The interior side will be all white. So, wish me luck!

Party-music50, Thanks so much; I love them. The door width is 48 inches; the sidelights are 12 inches each. The total opening width is 80 inches. The high yesterday was 81 with low humidity and a slight breeze. I can't tell you how wonderful it was to have the doors open and the screens in place!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 12:04PM
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Our new doors are almost finished. The painter has to wait until next week (when our 100% humidity drops) to make some corrections on a few stain issues, but the doors are up and working. We are very happy with the change!

1 Like    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 10:22AM
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Having double screen doors is wonderful. I can't wait for cooler weather so we can leave them open to enjoy the breeze.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 10:27AM
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This is what the doors look like inside the house.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 12:06PM
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Might I recommend a floor bolt or header bolt to secure the doors? They would look very nice and period to the double doors and increase security. With the bolts going into the header/floor on one or both of the doors, it will be harder to force them by hitting them in the center. A deadbolt alone isn't going to do much in such a setup.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 8:14PM
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Thanks for the suggestion, columbusguy1. The doors already have both floor bolts and header bolts. They are operated on the narrow edges of the doors. You can't see them. We wanted to get the traditional hardware that would be visible, but that didn't happen.

I do like the security of having the floor and header bolts. Without them, you are correct: the doors could be pushed right open.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 9:37PM
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