Making An Entrance

Project by Dan Lyke posted 05-16-2008 07:14 PM 5749 views 2 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

When we moved into this house, it had been meticulously maintained, but it was clear that the woman who’d lived here previously had succumbed to some moderate amount of paranoia in her old age. One of the things that bothered me most were the black security/screen doors, as screen doors they’re wonderfully functional, and the only way to get through ‘em was to pull out 8 lag screws with a socket wrench, but as a statement of how the house interacted with the neighborhood, and what the denizens of the house thought of the neighborhood, it was awful.

It was the roll-up steel safety panels in front of the liquor store windows that you might run into in “the ‘hood.”

It was not a statement of the place we wanted to live.

Getting rid of those things was a priority.

We’d eventually wanted a door that looks like the one you see here. We’d actually gotten and started to strip and re-finish a fir wood door that we were going to use as an interim, until we could develop the shop and skills necessary to build our own, when we saw this solid mahogany beast from Escon Doors on Craigslist at a reasonable price. It didn’t quite fit in the cash flow for March, and there are a few compromises that we wouldn’t have done had we built it ourselves, but there were also a few things that were probably nicer than we would have done on our own, so we adjusted a bit and bought it.

I had some spare time a few weekends ago, so I yanked the ugly security door and put this up, and when I got it in place we realized that we wanted something a little more classy than the white painted redwood trim. Nothing against it, maintenance is easy, but a door like that wants a little bit of context. Luckily I’d picked up a bundle of Massaranduba, or Brazilian Redwood, from the seconds bin at Atessco that looked like it was tough enough to be exposed exterior trim.

The rails are built with loose tenons, although I do need to do a bit more tweaking for strength in the mounting, I’m fairly sure they’ll handle the “300 lbs in any direction” of code, but I’m pickier than that. The attachments for the structural pieces are all pocket or otherwise hidden screws, so things come off nicely for maintenance. The main trim is attached with a pin nailer.

Among the details we’ve left for visitors, we’ve tried to match grain patterns on the left and right hand rails, we’ve tried to put interesting grain and texture in eye catching places, and we’ve done a little dovetail up there where the vertical side trim meet the horizontal up above.

And it worked, last night we had a neighbor drop by and knock on the door just to say “Hi”. That’s the kind of neighborhood we want to foster.

A friend has suggested that we paint the alcove up where the light is white to showcase the upper trim a bit and to change the color of the lighting, I think we’ll probably do that.

More details: Series of blog entries on Home Refurbers, and on my personal site, here, here, here and here.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California, http://www.flutterby.net/

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Dan Lyke

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6 comments so far

View MRTRIM's profile


743 posts in 5661 days

posted 05-17-2008 02:28 PM

great job dan , you sure put a lot of effort into it . now its paying off for you . very nice !

View Bill's profile


131 posts in 5661 days

posted 05-23-2008 05:45 PM

It is coming along nicely Dan.

By the way, are you going to leave the house pink when you are finished?

-- Bill - Turlock, Ca. - http://www.brookswoodworks.com

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Dan Lyke

331 posts in 5661 days

posted 05-23-2008 11:36 PM

Yeah, I think so. The color has grown on us (”...it’s salmon, not pink…” giggle), and the “little pink house(s)” references are worth it.

I’m going to slap the wrought-iron rails back up for the stairs and work on other stuff for a bit. Especially since I’m a little wary of how the finish will need maintenance a little further out in the sun there where the stairs are.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California, http://www.flutterby.net/

View SteveKorz's profile


18 posts in 5661 days

posted 07-30-2008 11:45 PM

I love that door… very nice!

-- --Steve

View SonnyGarcia's profile


14 posts in 4957 days

posted 03-08-2010 01:08 AM

Nice job, you gave the entrance some old world charm.

-- See my work at www.historiccraftsmen.com

View nora283's profile


9 posts in 2657 days

posted 10-21-2016 02:06 PM

You have successfully managed to make an entrance, it was worth the effort! It’s good that you’ve chosen a a vintage style for the new door, it adds a plus of personality to the house. This particularity is often met in building preservation services across the country. Specialists are using modern techniques and equipment to restore historic buildings, making them look like in their heyday.

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