Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I'm re-doing the front door. What would you do?

I've sanded it, now we have 'patina' "So I got that goin' for me, which is nice."**

Our front door faces southwest and takes a beating from the sun. It takes a kicking too (19 years of kids at home). It takes a slamming too. I'm quite rude to door-to-door solicitors who aren't neighbors or girl scouts.

I've forgotten why but the door started off stained cherry. Kind of reddish, kind of dark. This picture shows it a bit past it's peak. Hey, we just live here; the house is rarely in showroom condition.

You may know that 2 world famous Atlanta bloggers (Holly and Claire) have visited here and seen our place in as-is condition.

If Holly or Claire, have read this far, they are certainly wondering about the trick photography. Where did all the green come from? We actually did have a green yard until the Big Dig.

In the Kearns' Big Dig we fixed our sewer line, did some water proofing, broke the gas line twice, re-directed the down spouts, tore off the end of our porch, and added enough drainage to divert the Colorado River.

Dear Holly and Claire,
We haven't yet re-landscaped the front. Instead we've concentrated on high-weed, high bare spot, high pine needle, high shade minimalism. I call it "Terry Turf" after Tara Dillard's "Tara Turf."

Anyway, what about the door?

Before sanding
After sanding

When we re-roof, we'll repaint and reconsider everything. But for now our designer, Gordon, has made the decision. I need to get started before the pollen sets in.

Any suggestions? Can you guess what we decided to do? There is still time to change our minds.

Thanks so much.

**Carl Spackler

P.S. Decorum prevents revealing the full story of the Big Dig in this blog. But if you must, there is a slide show at my Reeder Redo blog.


  1. I cannot guess at what you decided, but wanted to say that the post-sanding look is quite handsome. Of course, with the sun beating down on it, leaving the wood unprotected is probably a bad idea. How could you keep that look and protect it at the same time? That's what I would want to do. Now, I'll wait and see what the experts say.

    Our front door faces the west and I know from sun damage. I had to really push our architect into designing a porch for the front to cut down on some of the sun. Also, I planted a Nuttall (?) oak for additional shade in the summer.

  2. Hi Terry -
    Does the trim have a lot of green in it like the photo shows, or is my screen? I have to say the door looks quite good right now - sort of European I'd say. Since you're worrying about the pollen, you're either going to paint or varnish. I like seeing the wood myself -so I'd go for varnish. Is the entrance hall in that neat turret shaped area?

  3. I can never make those choices without seeing the inside of a home. Most often I choose a vibrant color from artwork/wallpaper/fabric to paint a frontdoor.

    Saw a fabulous frontdoor in Morningside with a 'stained' frontdoor similar to yours. When they stripped the paint they liked it so much they left it, albeit varnished.

    My frontdoor receives tons of sun too. Finally, after 23 years, I planted a 'Natchez' crape myrtle last fall.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  4. Terry, I am really digging it right now. It is a fab door. I wish my husband were here, he would know precisely what to do.

  5. Gordon can do no wrong, so whatever he says!

    I love the green in the trim. I did not notice that when I was there. The before picture is so crisp - it looks like it could be in a catalog!

  6. When do you ever read a blog post where the commenters agree! The door looks fabulous sanded, varnish it with whatever Tina's husband suggest and call it a day!

  7. i love your sanded door! i think you should just add a polyurethane (or some outdoor protectant) and call it a day. I love your stacked stone entry, too.

  8. Hi Terry, I had a client that I was working with a while back and he had no structural protection around his wooden door. It was completely exposed to the elements. Everyone was had only negative comments about leaving the wood exposed to the weather with only a few coats of varnish. They all wanted us to paint it. :o( Then we ran into someone who gave us the idea to varnish it with the type of varnish you would put on wood that is on a boat. We decided to go for it. So there was no stain added to the door, just the raw wood, and a few coats of the boating varnish. It turned out wonderful and was so durable. It's been two years now and they haven't had to revarnish yet. It still looks amazing. If it were my door. That's what I would do. Good luck. -Cristi

  9. I say don't paint, just protect what you have. The boat varnish sound like the way to go. The wood of the door works perfectly with the stacked stone.

  10. If you like the current look, I'd do a marine-grade spar varnish in a low gloss to preserve the "distressed look" you have with sanding. You'll still need regular maintenance, however.


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