Through a series of events, we became the owners of our current house and sold our previous on Thornewood to Bo and Rebecca Beaven who I believe are very happy there. If you haven't met them you may occasionally see them walking pretty much the same path we used to walk when we had more time - cute couple. I should also mention for those of you who have alarm systems or are thinking of installing, that Bo's company, Safeguard Protection Systems has become our new monitoring service and it's been a fantastic experience. We were previously with Ackerman and not too happy with the way they handled issues we were having due to a nearby lightening strike - SPS came to the rescue and besides being expert installers, they allowed us to upgrade several of our systems (smoke and fire monitoring with a new sensor, a second keypad and wireless system for the phone so we don't have to worry about a cut line) within a reasonable budget - it was actually less to upgrade with them than it would have been for Ackerman to just fix the old system. But I digress...
When we purchased this home we loved the design elements and materials, we loved the sunk-in living room, the fireplace, the clerestory windows and many of the features. We continue to upgrade the systems and make changes to improve the house, as the downside of purchasing was there were many features that had suffered some neglect due to deferred maintenance (the HVAC and Water Heater come to mind - both now replaced) and one element that had always bugged us - the front door. The door as found on the house was a half-lit (meaning it had a window for half of the surface) solid-core door with two side lights (thin windows on either side). I don't know if that would have bothered us so much, but he panels in the bottom of the door always looked out-of-place on the house. Also, there's a planter to one side of the landing once you walk in (the landing is elevated as the living room is sunk in two steps) that didn't align with the window. From a design perspective it just didn't work.
|Door Appearance in 2002|
|Door from December 2004|
This is where Cindi stepped in and made me see the light - did I really want to continually do maintenance on a wood, natural finish door? At some point everyone ends up either painting or replacing it as it goes through the usual decomposition due to exposure to the elements. Our front door is particularly susceptible as the awning overhead is so high above, providing exceptional exposure to nature. So while pricing out a 42" metal (may has well be metal since it would be painted - it also has the lowest maintenance costs and we wouldn't have to worry about it sagging, warping, etc) door and the glass and materials, we ended up getting a bid on the design directly from a building supply. It ended up costing much less than any of the bids we received, and I pulled the old door and installed the new myself. This is the result...
|New door installed 2009|
|Another shot from 2002|
|Shot from summer of 2010|
In all the project was quite do-able. The door was a bear to set - took quite a few tries to get it to balance in the old rough opening. There's been some settling so the opening isn't quite square. Extended frames can be tough even in a square opening - I think I worked on getting this in over the course of several hours while several of my friends came over and made suggestions - it wasn't until everyone left so I could concentrate on the problem that I figured it out and get it in. I was in a wedding the same afternoon so there was a high degree of stress involved into completing the project - at one point I almost gave up and put the old door back in. Just make sure you plan as much as you can, taking lots of measurements and making sketches of everything. Even if you use a contractor it will help you to get on the same page with everyone involved.
I put the old door on Craigslist and managed to sell it for $150 - the buyer was so happy she sent me a photo of my old door installed on her house. I'm so happy it was able to be recycled and recommend that if anyone else does a similar project, you also sell your old door (if it isn't too trashed). It's a karma thing - giving back and not being wasteful.