This prominent feature of your residence requires serious consideration when deciding what style to choose. “It’s the ‘mouth’ in the ‘face’ that we present to the outside world,” says architect Jean Steinbrecher of Jean Steinbrecher Architects. “The front door is meant to draw people in by calling attention to itself. It’s a vertical welcome mat.”
Calling attention to the entrance of your home can be done in several ways: through color, size, shape, or artistic interest. “The front door needs to be special, but shouldn’t be too different or out of character,” Steinbrecher says. “The scale, proportion, and color should complement the house, not take away from the look.”
Although red is a standard color for a front door, you can promote your entrance with any shade depending on your home’s color scheme. Just find a color that accentuates without blending in with the color of you exterior logs.
For log homes, the most popular alternative to color is a carved wood door. Artist Ron Ramsey of California has been creating custom doors for 36 years and works closely with homeowners to create an entry statement. “Log home owners love nature scenes with wildlife, mountains, trees, and water features,” Ramsey says. “I help guide them to a design that expresses their personalities and interests.” Like many artisans, Ramsey can replicate a ski slope or nature scene located near the home.
“Your front door should be visible from a distance and the high relief work provides this visibility,” Ramsey says. He uses lighter-colored wood and airbrushes the highlights and shadows into the carvings with stain to provide further depth. Ramsey recommends overhead and low-level lighting to enhance the sculpted door.
The proportion of your door in relation to the rest of the home is important — a door that is too small looks insignificant and unimpressive. The size of your porch area will help determine the size of your door. Standard door widths are three to six feet, but if you have a large porch or portico, consider double doors or those with one or two glass sidelights to balance the architectural facade. “Sidelights allow you to see who’s at the door before opening it,” says Steinbrecher. She also recommends avoiding full light, patio, or French doors at the entry: “Without curtains or blinds, occupants will feel too exposed,” she says.
Custom doors can be made to fit the proportions or a larger home, but they can be heavy and may require special hardware to support their weight, says Steinbrecher. Standard doors come in 6-foot-8-inch to 7-foot and 8-foot standard heights, but “custom doors can look pretty tall and skinny if their widths aren’t increased too,” Steinbrecher says.
Your front door will reflect your personal style: rustic, craftsman, Southwest, cottage, or some other taste. Today’s door manufacturers can offer an almost infinite number of styles to choose from and exploring all that is out there is worth the time.
Hardware should follow the style of the door and home. A craftsman style has geometric-shaped patterns; a rustic door can showcase hand-forged iron; and Southwest-inspired doors pair perfectly with heavy blacksmith-style handles and hinges. Door decorations such as speakeasies, small eye-level windows within a door covered by a door and grill, are used to view guests from inside. Decorative hinges, studs, locksets, kick plates, and doorknockers add character and protection to the door and home.
To maintain the rustic appeal of a log home, Steinbrecher recommends avoiding shiny surfaces on door hardware. And when selecting a glass for the door area, choose leaded, colored, or patterned glass to augment an aged appearance.
Another decision to consider for your front door is the material: wood or manufactured. The overwhelming choice for a log home is a wood; the feel, look, and sound of a wood door is hard to duplicate. Styles and custom options that wood affords are endless. If the door is fairly sheltered from the elements and sun, it should be free from most problems associated with a wood door, like warping and cracking and shrinking due to the sun, rain and wind. Costs can range from $300 for a standard wood door to $4,000 and up for a custom wood door.
Manufactured metal or fiberglass doors come is a variety of styles and price ranges from as little as $200 for a simple entry door into thousands of dollars for a model with stained glass insets and trim. Many companies capture the intricate detail of wood by using molds that were fashioned from wood grain. The benefits of a manufactured door include increased energy efficiency, security, and durability against cracks, warping and rotting. And although purists will remain true to wood, these engineered doors provide a sound alternative.
Realtors and home designers will tell you that curb appeal adds value to a home, and a detailed front door is the centerpiece.