If windows are the eyes to a home then doors must be its smile. Nothing’s quite as cheery as a brightly painted front door, as noble as double-doors, or as inviting as glass doors. Whether French, sliding, or Nano-folding doors, the ability to see through these partitions immediately brings the outside in, the inside out, and creates a beautiful transition from home to garden; wouldn't you agree?
Thus, when asked, "What do you think we should do to update our home?" I often suggest the Homeowners consider installing a new front door, especially if the property looks out upon a spectacular view or vista.
Why limit this stunning asset to the living or dining rooms alone? Wouldn't it be nice to see the Bay as you walk down the hallway and better still, to provide some additional natural light to an area the is often dimly lit? (Yes, it would.)
Yet, funnily enough, I get more pushback on doors than anything else I ever suggest, even when this suggestion might be as minor as painting the front door another color
“Paint the door? Are you kidding? We love the natural, warped, faded, rain-streaked wood.” (I might have ad-libbed that.)
Sellers will trust me with a long list of renovations and updates, will allow us to change every light fixture in the house, to paint their outdated wooded kitchen and bathroom cabinets, to landscape their yards, and to do a whole host of other preparations in anticipation of a sale, but when we overstep and paint the front door a bright new hue, (even with the Seller's permission), it is often a "bridge too far" (or in this case, a door too far.)
"I hate that color." (Gotcha.)
Still, at the risk of offending, might I suggest a fresh new look and a much friendlier greeting?
Jill, Sarah and I have been working on a house in the Montclair Hills and when we discovered that one of the doors was thoroughly rotten, there was nothing to do but replace both front doors (they're virtually next to one another) so we took a quick trip to Caldwell's in San Francisco and 10 days later, the house has an entirely fresh new look and a far more interesting entrance.
Moreover, the cost of an exterior door is surprisingly reasonable, given the impact this singular change imparts on the overall feel of the house. There is something quite stunning about a handsome front door, and it's simply more inviting when a door is painted a bright sunny yellow, a fun shade of pumpkin, or a regal peacock blue. ("Welcome!") And when the front door is glass, it's even better.
Worried about your privacy? Try an opaque-glass model instead. You'll still be letting in the valuable light, but keeping others from peering in.
Which isn't to say that I think you should run out and replace your doors at Home Depot immediately upon reading this piece (In fact, those are the doors we are usually trying to remove). Fortunately, there are many door manufacturers that provide a quality product for as little as $1000 - $1500. I get it, that's not chump change, but it's pennies compared to the impact this one change will make.
So honestly, assess your door, your threshold, and your entire entrance the way you'd look at your out-of-date bathroom and ask yourself it it's time for a fresh new "perspective?" (See how I did that?) It just might be. And if you need a second set of eyes, feel free to give us a call. We provide courtesy "house check-ups" all the time, whether you're considering a move, or not.
And hey, once we tackle the front door, let's talk about the front landscape next . . . (I'm just sayin'.)
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Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 15 years and has published more than 500 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.