In October, we got a new entry door hardware because our handle actually broke off. Chris fixed it no less than 3 times and it just kept falling off, which didn’t make us feel very safe. Weird. But after we finally got a new slick modern black set from Schlage, I couldn’t bear to put it on our current front door that I was dreaming about upgrading. Was this the push we needed? Was this our sign? Eh, who knows. But we decided to put on a cheap temporary handle on our front door (that completely mismatched our deadlock) and for the last four months I’ve been entry door shopping while the first impression of our house looked like this:
That photo was taken shortly after we dragged a bunch of drywall inside so it’s really good bad before photo. Although I guess the real before photo would be this:
When we moved into our house, our front door was this super shiny (I’ve never seen a door so shiny!) maroon. And I tried to make it more us by painting it black. More about that in this post. It was an improvement, but a small improvement and when the doorknob broke off, well, I’d say it all went sour after that. I tried to touch up paint with a new test pot and the color was slightly different. The dents and holes from previous hardware are clearly apparent. And all this on top of this door is just clearly not our style and not indicative of what you will find inside. Which, I really do think an entry door should be if you can help it.
So what is “our style” of front door? I started gathering inspiration here, with these being top 3 favorites:
I knew I wanted at least a 3/4 window and I really liked the 6-lite dividing panes in the second one. But the wood tone in the third! One thing that none of them had was a sidelight. I realized that one thing I don’t care for about our front door situation is that it has only one sidelight. How unsymmetrical! It makes the whole door off-centered and I feel like it crowds the area, too. Like, they didn’t anticipate there wouldn’t be room for a second sidelight (which most of our neighbors have). So Chris and I decided to nix our sidelight completely and trim out our door with beefy, white trim like our inspiration photos once it arrives. But, oh the door! We had to find the right door!
I quickly learned one discouraging thing about door shopping is a lot of companies don’t list prices on their sites. We found doors we liked through Pella and Thermatru’s sites, to name a few, but we had to call in and get an estimate. We went back and forth trying to get ahold of someone in our area with information a couple times before it just kind of dropped off or it added up beyond our budget. But, I found this other website called Doors4home.com through Houzz and it had really good reviews and the prices seemed extremely reasonable. They had doors in every style, but I zeroed in on their six pane 3/4 window mahogany door pretty quickly as it was nearly an identical match to inspiration #2!
The base price was $750 (amazing!), but once you add on pre-hanging, it jumped up to $1000. Which still isn’t bad compared to the other brands we were looking at which were closer to $2000 for a pre-hung wood door. One thing I really appreciated about this site was the doors were completely customizable down to hinge color and it explained each custom option in their “Help Me Choose?” button.
Trying to figure out what casing and brickmould and jamb width, etc. you need when you aren’t 100% sure what all those things are is really intimidating. I just clicked “Help Me Choose” before making each decision and it pulled up a brief summary of our options and an explanation of how to measure it and/or what it is.
One customization that we splurged on was the factory finish. It was an extra $500 and we almost chose to stain and seal it ourselves, but in the end, we thought it would be money well spent to get the most even stain with a factory finish sealer on it to withstand the harsh Idaho weather conditions.
We went with Rawhide because it seemed to have the most neutral undertone and the deep, rich wood tone will likely look a little lighter/fade in the sun over time. After $195 for shipping, our total came to $1755 which isn’t a drop in the hat, but our house deserves it. (Note: We originally chose the Chappo finish, but switched to the Rawhide after taking into account the sun, etc. so that’s why the screenshot below says Chappo.)
Luckily, the weather is warming up a bit here so as soon as it gets here in a couple weeks, we’ll tear out our old front door and sidelight and install the new door and trim that baby out. We’re so excited and glad we didn’t jump at replacing our front door right away. We may have never realized we didn’t need or want the sidelight. But now, two years after we first started thinking about it, and 4 months after the search started, we feel confident we landed in the right place.