A Source for Entry Door Shopping + Choosing Ours

February 24, 2016

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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:

A Source for Entry Door Shopping + Choosing Ours

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:

A Source for Entry Door Shopping + Choosing Ours

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:

A Source for Entry Door Shopping + Choosing Ours

A Source for Entry Door Shopping + Choosing Ours

A Source for Entry Door Shopping + Choosing Ours

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 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!

A Source for Entry Door Shopping + Choosing Ours

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.

A Source for Entry Door Shopping + Choosing Ours

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.

A Source for Entry Door Shopping + Choosing Ours

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.

A Source for Entry Door Shopping + Choosing Ours

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.)A Source for Entry Door Shopping + Choosing Ours

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.

Image Sources: One, Two, Three


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What do you think?

  1. Cheryl D Toles says:

    Thank you so much for your wonderful entry door posts. They have helped up greatly in our decisions for our new entry door. Your door turned out beautiful. I really like your enhanced trim– it really sets off the door. Thanks for sharing the trim out photos, very helpful. Really like your house number steel plate too.

  2. Carrie says:

    We have the same dining chairs and had the same issue of always tightening the bolts. I actually went to a bolt store and got a slightly larger bolt that still fit and the salesman there suggested I apply threadlocker called Locktite 263. Haven’t had to tighten the bolts since :)

  3. This is good info – I’ve never had to exterior door shop before! Our main door is weird because it is mostly a huge pane of clear glass… which lets in a lot of light, but not a lot of privacy. Someday I’ll have to figure it out!

  4. Jeanna says:

    I love all 3 examples, it would have been so hard for me to choose! Can’t wait to see it installed :)

  5. Jeni says:

    We have only done standard doors in our homes but this, this is the dream. And it will only look better with time!

  6. Kari says:

    Beautiful choice! We have a 3/4 windowed door (original to our 100+ year home!) and I looooove the way it looks from the street. I will, however, be interested to see what window covering you choose to use. We have found a major lack of privacy with the door and haven’t found a good option to solve our problems. Every modern, stylish shade (which we’re currently living with) lacks privacy and every super private option lacks style.

  7. kates says:

    I have wanted a door like what you showed in your inspirational images and super happy you found a site that has reasonable prices!!! I am excited to see this project!

    When we lived in our last house and had a door with a big window in it we started with a shade but ended up frosted the glass for privacy as well. That way if we wanted to have the light flooding in we could with a little extra privacy.

  8. Amy Brooks says:

    Our old wooden front door and sidelights are drafty and even developed a crack this past winter. We’ve done DIY projects including bathrooms, trim, flooring and dry-walling, but the front door seems so intimidating. We want to replace the front door ourselves, and you make it sound as if you and Chris will be doing this project on your own. You make projects look so effortless. Is that correct that you will be doing this on your own? If so, I can’t wait to see the results!

    • Julia says:

      That’s the plan! We’ll be sure to take lots of pictures and if it gets here and we need to bring in a professional, we’ll let you know that too.

  9. Amy says:

    It’s probably how I was raised (by a Chicago cop), but every time I see a door, I check the window placement of how “easy” it would be for someone to punch through a window and unlock the door. Thats why I don’t like the windows that fill the gap of the door and the main structure of the house. That door put me on alarm. But to each their own. Are you at all concerned about the natural security of that? Just curious to see another point of view.

    • Julia says:

      We’re not. We have a high alert security system and a 160 lb dog that likes to let everyone know when someone is at the door. But this is definitely something others may want to think about without those extra securities, or even if they live in a more urban area.

      • Danyl says:

        I’m married to a son of a Chicago cop too, so I can relate :). We replaced our front door a couple years with 2 solid pane sidelights. Because of that, my husband insisted we buy hardware that is a dual keylock. Meaning you have to use a key to unlock, whether your unlocking from the outside or inside. Definitely not as convenient to unlock from the inside, since we keep the key away from the door, but nice to have that added precaution. I’m thinking you’re good with your 2 security systems :).

        P.S. Love your blog! I’m been a long time reader (since your old house!) and have enjoyed watching your style and blog evolve over the years. I’m keeping my fingers crossed you don’t let any of the recent negative comments around the sponsored posts bring you down, because your blog is a major source of inspiration. I think I can speak for most of your long time readers when I say it’s very apparent that you have worked HARD over the years to get to the point where companies are excited/willing to partner with you. While I certainly envy some of the perks you receive, I know it didn’t come “free”.

      • Julia says:

        Thank you so much, Danyl. We have thick skin. ;)

  10. yasmara says:

    Replacing our front doors (original to the house, 1966) has been on my list since we moved in. I love some of the modern options the site has. We are on a somewhat busy street, so the obscured glass would be a good option for us.

  11. Frances says:

    We’ve also been looking into replacing our front door so I’ll check out this site. You said you are not doing a side light, so will the door be wider? I’m interested because we currently have a double front door (they both open) and I’ve been considering switching to a single door with symmetrical side lights.

    • Julia says:

      Good question! So our current setup with the sidelight is about 48″ wide. The new door is 36″ (a little more with the jamb) so if we center it in the space, we’ll have about 6″ of thick white trim around it, just the way we imagine it. …hopefully. Ha!

  12. Mary Lou says:

    We are also on the hunt for a new front door and this site looks promising! Do you worry about privacy issues with a 3/4 glass front door? Right now we have a 1/2 glass front door and I’ve added a shade to add some privacy from the street. We are thinking maybe a frosted 3/4 glass door might be a solution. Thanks as always for the inspiration!

    • Julia says:

      It’s definitely something we’re aware we may want to address down the road, maybe even immediately. I do love the look of a bamboo roman shade mounted on the inside (it would match our windows!) if need be.

      • Mary Lou says:

        Great idea with the matching bamboo shade! Can’t wait to see how your door looks once installed — I’m sure fabulous!

  13. Maggie says:

    Love your inspiration pics! Looking forward to seeing your new door!

  14. Liz says:

    We started looking into new entry doors last year and put the project on the back burner when we realized how expensive it could get! This site looks promising – not cheap but certainly better than many of the non-custom options we found!
    Also, I noticed that you mention choosing Rawhide but the screen shot of your order shows Chappo – might not be the final order but figured I would point it out in case the wrong option was selected! Haha.

    • Julia says:

      Good catch! We originally chose Chappo, but changed it to Rawhide for the reasons I say in the post. Haha

    • Amy says:

      I was going to do the same thing-I thought maybe I shouldn’t say anything, but then I decided I would want someone to say something to me. Glad it wasn’t a mistake and that I’m not weird.

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