Tag Archives: design

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?

Related articles:
Browse Exterior Photos for More Front Door Ideas
Enhance Your Curb Appeal With New Outdoor Lighting
Quiz: What Color Should Your Front Door Be?

 

MAX: Design it. See it. Price it.

Virtual design tools are a terrific way for homeowners, designers, architects, builders and more to unleash their creativity and consider all the options. That’s why Masonite is excited to introduce the new Masonite Xpress (MAX) ConfiguratorSM, a web-based door design and pricing resource that’s easily accessible from most any computer or tablet.

The breakthrough technology of MAXSM allows dealers and their customers to virtually design doors while keeping an eye on the overall costs. Now dealers, builders, remodelers and interior designers can provide their customers with an instant quote while accelerating the design process. Continue reading

Part 2- A Warm Welcome Forget decking the halls—it’s fall! Prep for all the fun of the season by adding creative décor to your entry doors.

GET HOOKED ON SOCIAL MEDIA
When you’re out of ideas, a must-try tactic is to follow your favorite interior designers, magazines and retail stores on Facebook, where your news feed will routinely fill with stupendous ideas for styling your entryway. Payne, for that matter, is quickly becoming an addict of Pinterest, the site that’s created a craze of creative new folks. “With Pinterest, everybody has the opportunity to be creative. There’s a wealth of information and images that had not been at our fingertips before,” she says. The designer’s been seeing a ton of fabulous tricks for door decorating from the friends and media outlets she follows there, from oversize monograms, to contemporary square wreaths, to a hodge podge of picture frames painted in the prevailing color palette. For fall, use a few yard sale frames painted yellow, orange and brown. Come Christmas, shake up the spray cans and lacquer them again shades of green, gold and crimson. It’s a clever way for, say, college students in apartment building or homeowners in subdivisions to make their homes stand apart from lookalike neighbors.

TRY SOME RETAIL THERAPY
You can source a surplus of ready-made wreaths, faux leaves and pliable ribbons at craft and decor stores. Even some retailers’ garden sections offer an array of seasonal items to quickly spruce up your door. Need a little more design inspiration? Try Pottery Barn, suggests Payne. “From the moment you walk in the store, you’ll see new ways to put things together. It’s classy, it’s classic and the seasonal decorating classes to teach you how to create those looks at home. It’s definitely worth checking out the class calendar.”

KEEP IT UNIQUE WITH MASONITE
For a Masonite wood entry door, all you need is a nail and wire or a door hanger. But many Masonite doors are made of high-quality fiberglass or steel, so you’d never deign to drill a permanent hole in them. Yet this shouldn’t stop you from festooning the front with festive trinkets. “One of the things I like to do with Masonite doors is use fasteners or hooks. They leave no marks and they have a clean look,” Payne says. And in lieu of the typical hangers that hang on a door, there are magnet hangers that can be purchased at big-box retailers. If you do opt for the old-school door hanger, take measures to make it chic. “When I use a normal door hanger, I always paint it to match my door,” explains Payne. “Some people use fabric to cover them, but I don’t love that look. Use a little spray paint, and it doesn’t stand out. People pay more attention to what you’ve got hanging instead.”