Feng Shui Basics for a Happy Home

By: Gabrielle Di Stefano, Houzz Contributor

Our homes are our havens, and with a little thought and effort they can help us keep a clear mind and a calm outlook. Apply a few of these simple feng shui principles to your home — good chi (energy) may very well flow.

Feng shui, literally translated as “wind and water,” is a 5,000-year-old Chinese system and theory based on a set of universal principles and laws of nature, applied to our living environment. These principles are believed by many to help us attain happiness, health, prosperity and freedom. While feng shui has no detailed scientifically proven studies to back up its principles, hundreds of feng shui masters stand by their results.

In feng shui speak, your front door is called the “mouth of chi.” Help bring good energy into your home by keeping it clean and well lit. Remove all clutter from inside your front door so you don’t block that good energy.

RW Anderson Homes
Painting your front door green is said to bring growth; red can bring wealth; blue, relaxation; and brown, stability. And as even those who don’t practice feng shui know, the relatively simple project of painting your front door a new color can change your mood.

Clutter is the archnemesis of feng shui. Air and energy should always be moving, and clutter is like a stop sign to energy, trapping it and keeping you stuck in the past.

My Houzz: Contemporary Country Style in the Netherlands
In some Asian cultures, spring cleaning is done three days before the Asian New Year’s Day, symbolizing the sweeping out of any misfortune or traces of bad luck. People in the cultures don’t sweep again until after the new year, so they can collect the good-luck dust into a corner of their home.

Throw out any broken objects, replace blown lightbulbs and be ruthless with items that you haven’t used or worn in the last 12 months. When you have finished cleaning, wash your hands under running water for at least three minutes. This washes away all the bad energy that got on your hands in the process.

Paperweights are not just beautiful decorations; they can also help promote growth and strength in feng shui. Circular paperweights conjure the stability of earth.

Put one in your study or office and help increase your creativity and encourage new ideas. Try sitting a crystal paperweight on any invoices you are owed to increase prosperity. Don’t put a paperweight on any bills you have yet to pay, as it may increase your expenditure.

Collect your favorite paperweights and display them together for added luck.

Turn of the Century Modern

Plants bring vibrant chi into a home or working environment. Home offices require as much good energy as you can muster, so why not get it from vibrant and vigorous plants? Large plants like lily, bamboo and jade varieties are top on the list for good energy.

If you are short on space, one small house plant is better than none at all. Keep your plants healthy and well fed and they will reply in kind.

This soothing, minimalist study space shows us how happy indoor plants can make us if they are looked after, and these plants look happy in return. Maybe it’s because they get to enjoy an occasional jam session.

Mops and brooms are used to remove clutter and dirt from the house. Feng shui believes they carry part of the negative energy that comes into the home. Keeping them outside would be ideal but is not necessarily practical. Keep them in a cupboard in an upside-down position to help to block the negative energy.

Birmingham mud/laundry room, MI
Try to make sure that the cupboard you store a mop and broom in is not in the room you eat in, as the dining room represents food and prosperity, and you don’t want that swept away. Also, a broom or mop should not live in the front room of your home, as you don’t want the positive energy that arrives to be swept away.

A well-organized laundry or mudroom like this one will help keep your mind full of positive energy.

Screens are extremely popular with the Chinese, as they are a practical and beautiful way to block energy that is moving too fast. Ideally, energy should curve and flow gently throughout your home.

If your front door faces your back door, the energy will race from one through to the other and won’t benefit you at all. Try placing a small screen somewhere in between to redirect the energy.

If you don’t have a dedicated room for your home office or study, use a screen to divide it from the rest of the space. This will contain the work energy as much as possible.

A busy workspace could happily exist behind this modern fretwork screen.

2011 Dream Home Bedroom at Merchandise Mart

Music is a positive and soothing element in feng shui. If your home is too quiet, you may have an abundance of yin, or passive energy — which could affect your whole family, even making you unwell.

A perfect opportunity to get the yang, or good energy, flowing is when you are cleaning or decluttering your home. So open all your windows, turn up the music and get moving. And as a regular resolution, play gentle music for 10 minutes once a week for a few months, and you should see a permanent improvement in your energy levels.

Keep all your equipment behind closed doors, as with this stunning custom-made television and stereo cabinet, to avoid negative energy.

Electronic devices are said to produce negative energy via electromagnetic fields. Ideally, you should minimize your exposure to the myriad devices our homes now seem to have.

The bedroom is a haven for rest, and uninterrupted sleep is paramount to achieving a successful and productive life. Try a couple of easy ideas to help reduce the flow of negative energy. Keep your alarm clock at least 3 feet away from your bed. If you are not going to banish your television from your bedroom, enclose it inside a cabinet and shut the doors when you are sleeping.

The blue-gray used with abundance in this luxurious bedroom strongly encourages relaxation.

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11 Reasons to Paint Your Interior Doors Black

By: Fred Albert, Houzz Contributor

A few months ago I saw a quote from a designer espousing the beauty of black doors. I had never thought about painting my doors black before. But then, up until a few months ago, I had never considered painting my ceilings black, either. Then I wrote a piece for Houzz called 11 Reasons to Paint Your Ceilings Black, and I was an instant convert.

Black doors don’t seem quite as radical to me. But the results can be transformative. Take a look at the photos that follow, and see if you become a convert as well.

1. They’re classy. OK, let’s state the obvious right from the start: Black doors are elegant. A white door would have looked charming and cottage-y in this entry hall. But splash on a bit of ebony paint, and you have instant, drop-dead sophistication.

Tamara Anka
I love the way the black door is framed by the black walls in the foreground. Which leads me to reason No. 2 …

2. They’re wonderful at picking up other black accents in the room. If you’ve got black elsewhere in the room, a black door will repeat the color and make the space feel more cohesive.

I love the way the black door echoes the color of the bed frame in this room, giving the space a rich, masculine feeling.

The Yellow Cape Cod

Notice how in all these examples, the door casing was left white.

3. They’re good at making things disappear. Got a door you want to downplay? Black is great at disguising shortcomings (like a large slab door, if that’s not your style) so you don’t notice them.

Wow Great Place

Black doors work well in an open space like this, but avoid using them in a confined area with a confluence of doorways, as they can look chaotic.

4. They frame views. Just as a piece of art looks better if it’s framed, a view is enhanced if there is something in the foreground to set it off.

5. They’re good to a void. Notice I didn’t say “avoid,” I said “a void.” As in, if you’ve got a big fireplace that’s unlit 99.9 percent of the time, and a dark painting or flat-panel TV above it, a black door will help mitigate the impact of those big, black voids, so they don’t look as noticeable in the room.

Thom Filicia Inc.

This room looks fine now, but when the TV is turned off, there’s a big black hole in a fairly small space. The black door balances the void so the blank screen isn’t the only dark expanse in the room.

6. They make a stock door look special. Slap on some black paint, and a typical paneled door takes on an air of swanky elegance.

7. They don’t show fingerprints. How many times have you had to clean dark smudges around a doorknob? Black doors won’t repel dirt — but they won’t show it as readily, either.

8. They mark a destination. This black door is like a punctuation mark at the end of a sentence — it marks the end of the long hallway and provides a clear destination.

Brooke Wagner Design

9. They look great with dark floors. White doors would have been fine in this space. But I love the way the black doors extend that sultry, dramatic mood.

They also send a subtle message, suggesting that the spaces beyond are special. This would be a great way to keep out prying eyes if there’s not a clear distinction between public and private areas in your home.

10. They add shine to a room. Every room could use a touch of reflection, especially if the other elements are textured or neutral. A mirror is one solution. A shiny black door is another.

Use a satin finish for minimal sheen. Or go for broke and apply a clear polyurethane topcoat for maximum shine and protection.

11. They make a ceiling look taller. Contrast draws the eye, so a narrow black door draws the eye up, making a low ceiling look higher. This makes black doors especially useful in basements or other low-ceilinged spaces.

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Craftsman Front Doors Make an Entrance

By: Rachel Grace, Houzz Contributor 

This spring my husband and I are removing the old two-tone storm door and energy-inefficient glass front door on our home and replacing them with a single Craftsman front door. The upgrade has me breathless.

Known for its mathematical design, a typical Craftsman-style front door has three divided windows (known as lites) over a large ledge with dentil molding and three flat panels. Typically installed on houses with porches or porticos, the Craftsman door is too lovely to be covered by a storm door.

I’ve yet to decide if we will paint it à la FGY Architects or keep it natural like RW Anderson’s designs below; either way I am really looking forward to the major architectural upgrade it will provide.

How to Choose a Front Door

Goforth Gill’s lipstick-red Craftsman front door features a single lite rather than three divided ones. It also boasts two matching sides.

Goforth Gill Architects

On close inspection you’ll notice that this door features lites with detailed glass. Inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs, three leaded glass panels fancify this otherwise straightforward design.

RW Anderson Homes

Rich Eldorado stone and a wooden front door combine to create the warmest of warm entryways. Many Craftsman front doors have only a ledge and dentil molding on the exterior side of the door, much like this beauty.

Bill Fry Construction

Flanked by planters, windows and lanterns, this Craftsman entry couldn’t be more inviting. I especially love the white and gray color palette.

FGY Architects

Although this door has only two lites, it does feature bonus side lites and a decorative transom window, all with ornate leaded glass.

Harrell Remodeling, Inc.

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Smart Solutions for Nonexistent Entryways

By: Laura Gaskill, Houzz Contributor

If you live in a home without an entryway in the traditional sense (that is, a nice, wide hall or an open foyer), I can feel your pain. Perhaps someday I will be lucky enough to have a formal entry with room for a full-size table, lamps, benches and all the works, but for now I must make do with what I have: a door that opens onto a sliver of wall, smack in the middle of my living room/dining room/office. Thankfully, smart solutions do exist for remedying a number of entryway challenges — so whether you have a very narrow hall or no hall at all, there are ways to make your space work efficiently and beautifully. Let’s get started.

MAK Design + Build Inc.

Dilemma: An Open Entryway

This is such a common scenario, especially in smaller homes: The front door opens directly into the main living space, with no defined foyer or hall. In this situation the challenge is creating a transition from outside to inside without breaking the flow of the rest of the space.

One smart solution is to use a console table behind a sofa positioned near the entry door. This creates the enclosed feeling of a hall and provides a place for mail, keys and bags.

If you prefer to keep the space open, try setting up a wall-mounted system near the door instead. A mirror hung above a floating cabinet is a foolproof combination. Having a few drawers is great for keeping messy piles of paper and other odds and ends out of sight.

Jennifer Grey Interiors

Another sleek and efficient option is to hang a row of hooks on the wall and place a boot tray on the floor below. If your space is small, don’t worry about not being able to accommodate tons of guests’ coats — those can go in another room (or on a rented rolling coatrack). A few hooks for daily use is all you really need. A market basket on one of the hooks can hold odds and ends.

If you have children, two rows of hooks are wonderful for corralling everyone’s gear. Having child-height pegs or hooks helps little ones gain independence, as they can reach to put their own coat away.

Dilemma: An Extremely Narrow Hall

With an entryway this narrow, a table (or even floating shelf) is out of the question. Use what little floor space is available to wrangle umbrellas in a chic holder, and attach a few small hooks to the wall to hold keys.

Photo credit: Ricci Shryock
Design details: In a tiny hall, you can use the surfaces to bring in color and pattern. Here, the patterned tile floor, pendant light and glossy black door paint dress up the space, and even the narrow radiator cover is used to hold a vase of flowers.

If your hall is a smidgen wider than the space above, you may have room for a full-length mirror or chalkboard propped against the wall. And if a full-width console table is too wide, look for a half table that attaches to the wall. If you are handy, you could even attempt your own DIY version with a wooden table.

Moroso Construction

Dilemma: The Door Opens Onto a Stairway

Many older homes have a formal entrance that opens directly onto the stairway, with no real space for a table. In this case you may want to redirect to a wider spot in the next room with a full table. Otherwise it’s time to put every little sliver of wall space to work.

If the stairs are very close by and you have little wall to work with, consider installing a wall bracket or a few decorative hooks on the stairway wall to hold essentials.

Barbara Egan - Reportage Photography

A wall-mounted coat tree is a smart idea for those with a bit more space beside the door — it adds personality and performs a necessary task, yet hardly takes up any space at all.

Tell us: What has been the biggest challenge in designing your entryway?

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Could the Inside of Your Front Door Use a New Color?

By: Janell Beals, Houzz Contributor

Painting the exterior of a home’s front door a distinctive color is one of the fastest ways to add character and enhance curb appeal. But too often that’s where the color stops, resulting in a missed opportunity to carry the improvement into the entry by painting the other side of the door as well. If this is the case at your home, consider extending the exterior door color inside — or select another hue that both coordinates with the exterior while setting the design tone for the entry.

Here’s an entry that’s simply bursting with happy personality, thanks in large part to the color of the door. Just imagine if the door was white — much of the impact and charm would be lost.

Built by Highland Custom Homes

Source: Built by Highland Custom Homes

When deciding where to stop the color, there’s no right answer. Paint just the door, the door and sidelights, or go all out and paint the door, sidelights and trim. Such is the case here, with Benjamin Moore’s Midnight Blue making a dramatic statement in this entry.

Massucco Warner Miller Interior Design

Source: Massucco Warner Miller Interior Design

Red is another top choice: From apple red to the brighter shade of ripe tomato here, it’s a color that brings a sense of excitement and energy.

Ramona d'Viola - ilumus photography

Source: Ramona d’Viola – ilumus photography

Here, Al Green by C2 Paint, a sophisticated yet edgy muted lime, stands out among the pale gray walls and white trim.

Feldman Architecture, Inc.

Source: Feldman Architecture, Inc.

Is there a favorite color you’d like to see enhancing the inside of your front door? Painting a door is a fairly simple one-day or weekend DIY job, depending on experience level. Here are the supplies and steps to get you on your way to a more colorful entry:

(Note: The steps will vary slightly depending on the door material and any previous paint, varnish or stain used on the door.)

Step 1. Begin by gathering your supplies: medium- and fine-grit sandpaper, tack cloth, painters tape, brush, adhesion primer and semigloss paint.
Step 2. Lightly sand the door to remove the top layer of varnish, paint or stain and give the surface a “tooth” for the primer to adhere to. Start with medium-grit sandpaper and finish with fine-grit; wipe clean with tack cloth.
Step 3. Tape the door edges and any hardware, leaving only the surfaces to be painted exposed.
Step 4. Paint a layer of primer. Consider KILZ Adhesion Primer, designed to bond to a variety of tough-to-paint surfaces.
Step 5. Let the primer dry, then very lightly sand with fine-grit sandpaper.
Step 6. Wipe clean with tack cloth.
Step 7. Apply the first coat of paint. This may be enough in many cases, or, depending on the color used, a second coat may be required for optimal results. If so, repeat steps 5 and 6, followed by the second coat.

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How to Choose a Front Door Color

By: Vanessa Brunner, Houzz Editorial Staff

Don’t let your home blend into the background — even if you’re not in the market for changing your exterior color scheme, a new coat of paint on your front door could be just the makeover your home needs.

Use our color guides to each color to learn which hue, from unexpected orange to bright yellow to elegant black, will work well on your exterior door.

Miller's Meadow Farm Entry

Yellow. Welcome visitors with a cheerful yellow front door. Often identified with happiness, high energy and warmth, a lively yellow can brighten otherwise gloomy exteriors.

Guide: When to Paint Your Door Yellow

Hickory Lane

Deep red. If bright red feels too audacious for your home, deepen the hue for a more crimson tone. More refined and sophisticated than brighter reds, certain shades of this deep red can work almost as neutrals.

Guide: When to Paint Your Door Deep Red

5609 Residence

Orange. Orange is one of those colors that can go wrong really quickly. But don’t let that stop you — with the right complementing tones, small doses of orange can look quite modern and welcoming.

Guide: When to Paint Your Door Orange

Block House

Green. Play off your surrounding landscape or introduce a new, refreshing color by painting your front door green. Whether olive, mint or lime, there’s bound to be a shade of green that can fit into your exterior palette.

Guide: When to Paint Your Door Green

Arcadia Exterior Remodel

Black. Always classic, glossy black doors make an elegant statement. Use other exterior accents to help tie a black door into the rest of your home’s design.

Guide: When to Paint Your Door Black

More color guides: Color palettes, paint picks and more in the Houzz Color section

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Masonite Innovation Center Tour Cracks Open the Door to Science and Innovation

By Amy Flanigan, remodeling market manager

In the snowy suburbs of West Chicago lies the Masonite Innovation Center (MIC) – one of the world’s largest, private research and development facilities in the door industry.

A team of 60 scientists, industrial designers, mechanical engineers and lovers of all things Star Wars and llamas (among other things) work tirelessly to keep this behemoth 144,000 square foot facility running like a well-oiled machine. Collectively, these individuals bring a wide variety of experience to the table, ranging from expertise in tech and design, to careers of over 40 years in the building products industry. Although they come from different backgrounds and experiences, there’s one thing they all have in common – a passion and constant curiosity for imagining, designing and executing a better door.

In February, Sherry Winchester Schultz, president of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) of Greater Chicagoland, joined other members of the Chicago chapter of NARI for a tour of the MIC.

“Masonite has been around a very long time. Yet, many of us in the trades know next to nothing about the company. Tradespeople are always looking for a product that provides appealing form and superior function at a great price, and is made in the US,” says Schultz.


Masonite recognizes its responsibility to arm remodelers and builders with product knowledge and tools that help position them as resources to their customers. While the DIY revolution helped bolster the homebuilding category, making it fun and trendy to personalize a home, it also resulted in a severe lack of trust from homeowners towards trade professionals—why would I hire someone to do this for me when I can just watch a video on YouTube and do it myself? Remodelers and builders need the support of manufacturers like Masonite now more than ever to help build back that trust and reinforce themselves as the experts.

When a trade professional is making a product recommendation to a homeowner, what sets one apart from a competitor is being able to communicate the quality behind the brand and the story behind the product. Having a valid reason for choosing one brand over another makes all the difference in the world to a customer. Masonite wants every trade professional who uses their doors to understand the forward-thinking design, rigorous testing, high-quality craftsmanship, and attention to detail that goes into each and every one of its products, which is a story well-told when taking the tour of the MIC.

“The majority of NARI’s members understand that the integrity of a door is important to their work, so that they don’t get call-backs. But to see the depth and breadth of testing and craftsmanship that goes into creating each door would help them to make their clients understand why they need to consider more than just price when selecting their interior and exterior doors,” says Schultz.

Kayleen McCabe, licensed contractor, former TV host of DIY’s Rescue Renovation, and NARI brand ambassador, also joined the tour in February and was both impressed and surprised by the level of science and testing a door goes through at the MIC.


“Using quality products makes all the difference. Having that level of research and care from Masonite in these doors makes it well worth the investment,” says McCabe.

For McCabe, Masonite communicating the science that goes into building a better door not only helps professionals see the bigger picture, but it also helps the next generation get excited about the trades.

“We’re up against a perception that working in the trades is very unskilled and blue collar. I want to communicate that you can be a part of building a home in a variety of ways – it’s creating art. If we don’t encourage this next generation, we won’t have people to support our infrastructure, which is why it’s so important to encourage a mind shift of the trades.”

McCabe feels that exposing the younger generation to facilities, such as the MIC, will reinforce the message that working in the trades doesn’t always equate to swinging a hammer – you can be an industrial designer, a mechanical engineer or a material scientist with a doctorate degree and all work collaboratively under the same roof.

“Visibility is the first step toward introducing students to vocational careers. In addition to putting the onus on school districts to take vocational training more seriously, real-life examples of vocational success can help students realize that real, relatable, and successful adults work with their hands,” says McCabe.

Fifty percent of the employees at the MIC have over 10 years of experience in their field of expertise, while the other half are comprised of new talent from outside the door industry and the next generation, bringing a set of unique and targeted skills to the table.

With this bimodal distribution of experience, the MIC has stacked the deck with the best and brightest, holding true to Masonite’s blueprint—a company rooted in knowledge leadership, design integrity, and cutting-edge technology and innovation at its core.

With its message and mission being spread throughout influential organizations like NARI, the MIC plans to continue to innovate and grow alongside the ever-changing landscape of the building products industry, providing trade professionals with well-designed, high quality products for many years to come.

See for yourself. Take a walk through the Masonite Innovation Center in the latest video below.

5 Bright Palettes for Front Doors

By Jennifer Ott, Houzz contributor, principal designer, Jennifer Ott Design

Nothing welcomes guests to your home better than a bold, beautiful color on the front door. Many people have no trouble picking out a fun color to paint the door, but don’t know what to do with the rest of the exterior. And what about the trim?

The key to working with bold colors is to limit them to elements you really want to stand out, which makes the front door the ideal place to feature a vibrant color. Then select supporting hues for the rest of the house that don’t try to compete for attention.

Check out these Houzz homes with delightfully colorful front doors, along with potential palettes that incorporate a bold front door hue with other exterior hues.

This acid yellow-green front door shouts “Come on in!” and works nicely with the natural wood siding. If you have no choice but to paint your siding, you could go with a cooler brown/taupe shade to set off the brighter hue of the door.

Example palette. Get the same effect with (clockwise from top left, all from Martha Stewart Living): Lagoon MSL125, Lamb MSL225 and Bayou MSL237.

Example palette: Clockwise from top left (all from Sherwin-Williams): Red Tomato SW6607, Iron Ore SW7069 and Cityscape SW7067.

Tell us: What color is your front door? What color would you like it to be?

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Homeowners Can Design Doors with New Interactive Display

Masonite Interactive Display

Masonite Interactive Display

The primary goal for any dealer is to understand a client’s vision, needs and obstacles, and deliver solutions that accommodate those requests. This can be a challenge on many levels: Understanding the project’s scope, style preferences, budget, space restraints, and more. The new Masonite Interactive Display hopes to minimize those challenges, and in fact, encourage more solutions.

Masonite’s trade show manager, Jack Thornton, saw an opportunity for Masonite to offer a more advanced, tech-savvy system that could assist both dealers and homeowners, showcasing the wide variety of offerings available and simplifying the sales process. Thornton envisioned a system that would allow homeowners to design their front doors, show the dealer exactly what they are looking for, and send that design to himself or herself via email and/or to the dealer.
Continue reading

Five Homeowners Take Back Their Views

Masonite VistaGrande

VistaGrande doors are designed with 18 percent more glass than comparable products.

We are excited to announce the winners of the Take Back Your View Contest. These five – yes FIVE – people are getting brand new VistaGrande doors. Launched this year, the VistaGrande flush-glazed smooth fiberglass patio and entry doors are designed with approximately 18 percent more glass than comparable products so homeowners can truly enjoy their outdoor views.

These five winners submitted pictures of how their doors obstruct their beautiful outdoor views.


We are excited these homeowners now get to truly enjoy their views – and we get to be a part of that experience.

Thank you to everyone who submitted pictures of their obstructed views. Congratulations to the winners!