Replacing Double Front Doors on 70s Box like house

frenderSeptember 10, 2012

We are trying to get some curb appeal to our house and I have gotten lots of great ideas already from this fabulous board! Thank you everyone.

We would also love to get some light and air into our living area, unfortunately the only thing that provides light from the street currently is the large ugly bubble skylight. See picture (the windows to the left of the front door are for the master bathroom)

We are going to change out the double doors and replace with a single door on one side and either a fixed or operable window on the other.

A few questions:

Should we use privacy glass or an applique on clear class for either the glass in the door or window or both?

Should the window next to the front door be a slider that opens up or a casement? Or should we put in an awning window on the bottom to get some air into the house? Or should it just be fixed?


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Here is a picture of what I was thinking of doing (neighbor's house), window on one side, door with window on the other, unfortunately I think our window would have to be smaller than the one shown.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 1:17PM
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Ooh, I like the pic of the neighbor's house. A couple questions:

At night, when you walk in front of the glass panel will you want some privacy from the street? Or is your house somewhat secluded already?

Could you add a window to the room you want to bring light and air into, is there room on an exterior wall to do this?

For my house I wanted to replace the front door with something that had a large glass window on the upper part. But then I realized that this door faces the stairwell ... So when I come downstairs (in my pj's or robe) I'd be face to face with anyone at the front door. And when I head up for bed, I'd be strolling by the street (our house is NOT secluded in any way).

And that's when I realized that "from the waist up" was a good mantra for windows on the front of our house. Our street gets a lot of walkers, joggers, and car traffic. If I lived on a cul-de-sac I might feel differently :)

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 3:09PM
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I know my doors aren't the correct style for your home, but I wanted to show you the is "seedy" glass and does a good job of providing privacy while allowing light in. It is really thick and pretty. The transom is clear.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 3:20PM
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Would you be able to do 2 side lights and a entry door with glass?

Traditional Entry design by New York Architect Knight Architects LLC

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 3:30PM
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I have double entry doors and sidelights; all are full panel clear glass and (personally) I wouldn't have anything else. I think some determining factors are location and how far you are from the street. We are on a cul de sac and the house sits back on the lot.

Both of these factors helped me decide that I can have the clear glass without losing much privacy while adding substantial light into the hours. One more thing, I have a generous overhang on the front porch. I do have shades that I pull down at night.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 4:14PM
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Thanks everyone!

EngineerChic - we definitely are not secluded, so we do need to consider people walking up to the door, walking by the house, etc. Very good points. The other side of the room has a wall of sliding glass doors, so we definitely get light and air, just not from the front of the house. I think we need to weigh the benefit of light and view versus privacy

nini804 - do you know what type of privacy glass that is and what brand? Is that "seeded"? It is beautiful!

rtwilliams - we could definitely do two sidelights and that is what I was first thinking, but then I decided I wanted to try and have a window that opened, thus my change to one window that could be operable, but not sure how.

Another picture of our front entry, we are changing out the siding and removing the yellow windows on the side of the garage leading up to the front door.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 4:21PM
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Thanks Mustangs! Do you have a picture of your front doors?

I was thinking of going that route and if we didn't like it , apparently there is an applique that you can add to get that frosted look. Our neighbors did this and it turned out nicely, I will try to post a pic of it!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 4:37PM
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Our doors were custom made by Clark Hall doors They had quite a few glass options...we liked the "seedy" the best because it gave a bit of privacy without being too funky looking! :)

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 5:44PM
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Linda, not a close up but this might do to illustrate the point. I'll try cropping the picture. I am in the process of painting the house and doors so your post was timely.

BTW: I learned years ago on this forum to have my front doors painted by an auto body shop. They did a great job, they even painted the inside a different color.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 6:14PM
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Wow! Looks great mustangs! That is a big place to paint :) I love the roof line

Nini804 - thanks for the glass info, I will check out the website.

Here is another neighbor's house front doors that I like. I am deciding between a style like this and a one door / one window option.

They had clear glass door and sidelights and had the privacy applique added later. Might be an option, if we don't like the clear glass.

Does anyone know a website or application where you can mark up your photos with window and door options?

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 9:54PM
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Air flow is always better if you can get a cross breeze, you could just get a retractable screen for the front door, or a security screen door - we have one - I don't like the appearance so much but the air flow is essential for a townhouse. I would definitely go with a window beside the door that could be opened, perhaps an awning window at the top and/or bottom and fixed in the middle?

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 5:27PM
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Thanks Tinan, I definitely want air flow. Does anyone know of a website or program that allows you to look at what windows would look like on your house by uploading a picture and manipulating it?

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 5:45PM
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I notice that you are looking a your neighbors for ideas. My only caution is if they are right next to you, they might not like you copying their doors. Especially if the house styles are the same.
Sometimes ,the only way to differentialte similar homes is by changing the color of the house and door and window styles. This may not apply to you, but I know that in my neighborhood things like this matter.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 8:11PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Perhaps this will give you some ideas.
Operable sidelights would be great for privacy and for ventilation and light. And they say guests should be able to peak into windows enough to be able to tell if someone's coming after they rang the bell.

We have plain glass on our double doors, but it only overlooks the foyer so there's no need for privacy. But I love the light it brings, even though it's under a porch and on the north side of the house.

Here is a link that might be useful: operable sidelights and transoms

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 9:30PM
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Hi Ellendi, luckily it is quite a mix of houses around here and the ones I posted are not close :) Good point though, I do not want to copy the color or styles of the houses close to us.

Thanks for the link AnnieD - lots of good ideas there.

I think I am going to go with plain glass and then add an applique if it is annoying to have the plain glass.

I now need to decide whether to do one door with a window on the left side only that opens as a casement or the top that opens like an awning or the single door in the middle with either two fixed windows or two sidelights.

If I do the one fixed window on the left side, I was thinking of making the door mostly wood with a window on top.

Any suggestions on door websites?

I attached a better picture of our existing doors looking straight on. We are going to cover the walkway with a trellis and get rid of the windows on the right side (garage) and change out the windows to the left of the front door. I am thinking of trying to match or complement the windows to the left with the window(s) at the front door. Lots of details :)

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 9:47PM
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Why don't you use two single pane French doors? That would look simple, modern and elegant. A single door with sidelights is "too much" at your entrance, and your neighbor's single door with the window and planter arrangement looks off balance and IMO looks very 70s and unappealing. You can use the kind of double paned glass that contains blinds between the panes. The blinds provide complete privacy at night and virtually disappear when not in use, maximizing light during the day.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 5:51AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

While I agree the french doors would give a simple modern look, for me, the operable sidelight is a real draw....we love ventilation and open windows for as much of the year as possible. There are always tradeoffs, no?

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 6:59AM
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Ventilation is good, no question about it :-)

However, OP says that across from doors is a bank of sliding glass doors that can be opened, so an operable window at the door would not be much added advantage.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 7:17AM
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We have two operable casement windows flanking our front door. I thought I would show you a picture so you can see what the door looks like with the operable window.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 12:54PM
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Cross ventilaton is the best ventilation!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 3:21PM
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Thanks everyone.

Mamatorrney - that is a great set-up. Do you feel like the casement window when open is in your way on the porch? I am woried about the kids knocking themselves out.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 7:17PM
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Linda - thanks! We really the like windows, too. They let in a lot of light and fresh air without opening the door (which does not have a screen door). I don't feel like they are in the way when open because the porch is a smallish one. There's nowhere to go in that direction except into the foundation landscaping. If we had a full front porch and the window was intruding on a walkway, I agree that it might be a problem.

We have three kids - and no one has even come close to running into the window.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 8:16PM
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