Making the Most of the Most Used Entrance in the House

By: Mark Clement , Contributing Writer
In: Uncategorized, Old House Construction, Home Improvement Tips

We’ve all seen it, if we don’t, in fact, live it: the tricked-out, do-little front door gets lots of attention. And very little use.

I don’t want to take away from the importance of the so-called main-entrance. Pediments, side-lites, high-end door hardware do more than tell the story of the door. They combine to tell the story of the house.

But I need to take away the name, at least. See, to me, the “main” entrance is the one we mainly use. And for so many of us, that’s the side- or back door, you know, the door that’s in the same time zone as the driveway.

Problem is, to me anyway, that they’re usually lame. Basic trim, lousy storm/screen door, and just…well…lame.

Plain Jane storm-screen door "before."

Plain Jane storm-screen door

For something I—and my family, friends and neighbors—use every day, I’d like it to look a little better than functional and still maintain the style of the house.

So, as is the case with many an old house I’ve worked on, the paint was jumping off this existing door trim; the original storm/screen was gone and the “new” one (this one had to be 30 years old) was begging me to fix it up.

So, instead of heading to the store to buy pre-fabbed moldings, I made simple ones myself using PVC 1-by. I designed and fabricated a simple but gracious molding package using my router and table saw among other tools and installed a proper storm/screen door: one durable and dignified for the space we use every day. And one I could make work with the existing stucco cladding.

Storm-screen door "during."

Storm-screen door

I haven’t finished yet—still need to paint— so I owe you some finished photos. But I can already tell you using an entrance that matches the dignity of a house standing guard for a century makes a difference, even if the front door still gets all the attention.