Tag Archives: doors

Modernize Your Old House With an Open-Plan Addition

It’s no secret that many of the original homes we see in older, established areas simply don’t cut it when it comes to meeting our 21st-century lifestyles. Many of these homes feature individual, boxed-in rooms instead of the open-plan layouts that support our contemporary life. Small, badly positioned windows are also common in these older homes, which means they don’t make the most of views, outdoor living connections or passive-solar design principles.

The good news is there’s often no need to knock down an older house and start again. An open-plan addition and a rethinking of how the original home’s rooms can be used can change everything.

Dalecki Design, original photo on Houzz

Dalecki Design, original photo on Houzz

Living in the now. Although we often love the character that comes with older homes, most of them don’t work well with our modern way of life. The typical new-house design has evolved over time to embrace a casual, open-plan layout befitting our relaxed lifestyles. There’s often a focus on free-flowing connections to outdoor spaces.

We also are seeing a move to smarter designs focused on minimizing our impact on the environment, while harnessing the natural elements and resources through passive solar design.

Dalecki Design, original photo on Houzz

Dalecki Design, original photo on Houzz

No need for knockdown. If you own, or are looking to purchase, one of these older-style homes, you may think that knocking down the house and starting from scratch is the best option. But an older home can be turned into a functional modern home. Using the existing home as your base, and building a new structure to complement it, will quite often leave you with a far superior design than starting all over again.

Michelle Walker architects, original photo on Houzz

Michelle Walker architects, original photo on Houzz

Improve what you have and add on. Each project is individual, so there is no blanket set of rules to apply to all homes, but there is a clear direction to follow. Working with the existing structure as much as possible is crucial when it comes to these projects. By making the most of what already sits on the site, you can use the renovations and additions to eliminate any flaws in the existing house.

While reworking the existing layout entirely by removing all the interior walls to create a more functional layout might seem like the best idea, taking this route can be costly and wasteful, and defeat the purpose of utilizing the bones of a beautiful piece of architecture.

Quite often the project calls for not only a more functional space, but also more space in general. Leaving what is already there and working an addition around this is the most practical solution. For example, the boxed-in individual rooms of the existing house, which likely have smaller, poorly solar-positioned windows, could function better as bedrooms, closed-off private rooms or — with some internal refit modifications — an additional bathroom.

Leaving the existing house to serve as private zones allows you to use the new addition as the living area of the house. These living spaces, where most of the occupants’ time is spent, can then be designed around both the existing house and the individual site, providing a seamless connection to outdoor living spaces and making the most of the space and any surrounding views.

The freedom of design in the addition also means you can position the space and its openings to embrace passive-solar design principles, allowing you to capture the cooling summer breezes and the winter sun.

Chan Architecture Pty Ltd, original photo on Houzz

Chan Architecture Pty Ltd, original photo on Houzz

Eco-friendly and economical. The added benefit of the new addition containing the living zones is that it can be built using improved construction materials. This means that walls, floors and ceilings with far greater thermal insulation properties can be used, as well as windows with superior glazing, so you can create a space that not only prevents excess heat gain, but also prevents winter heat loss.

House to Home Finishes P/L, original photo on Houzz

House to Home Finishes P/L, original photo on Houzz

With correct design and zoning, these spaces can be created as a separate zone to operate independently of the existing house. Again, this is where positioning rooms such as utility and sleeping spaces, where heating and cooling is of less importance, within the existing house is of benefit.

The freedom to fully customize the design in the addition to the home, while leaving the existing structure in place, means that you can achieve a more cost-effective, less wasteful result, using the existing house to its full potential.

Tell us: Have you added on to an older home? Share your design and building experience — and how you like living there now — in the Comments.

Related links:

Sensible Style for Your Holiday Foyer

By: 

Your entry foyer is your home’s welcome hug to guests. These sensible style suggestions are intended to help you make this important space warm, friendly, low-maintenance and accessible during this busy entertaining season.

Doorknobs are such a common element in our lives that we seldom think much about them. Yet, they create one of your home’s first impressions — and can be a barrier to entry for some. A traditional round doorknob is hard for someone with arthritis or Parkinson’s to operate. It’s also harder for someone with an armful of holiday gifts to operate. A lever-style door handle — both at your entry and from a powder room off that entry — will treat your holiday guests much more kindly.

Coat hooks are always helpful, but they become foyer MVPs when you lack a coat closet or need overflow space for a large crowd.

If your foyer doesn’t have a mirror, holiday time is an ideal time to add one. It will reflect your holiday décor and add light to the space. It will also give your guests a discreet opportunity to touch up their hair or makeup while you’re hanging up their coats.

A bench for removing and storing shoes during the soggy, busy holiday season will make your entry foyer better organized and protect your floors against the elements.

A foyer table is always helpful, but it’s especially welcoming to holiday guests juggling gifts, food carriers, wine bottles and flowers. Your well-coordinated table adds style to your entry and convenience for your company.

Art work sets the tone for your foyer. While it may only be seen in passing most of the year as you rush through your home, it’s likelier to be lingered over more as hellos and goodbyes are exchanged. You might consider rotating pieces in and out of your foyer — even collecting holiday-themed art work — for a cheerful gallery experience at home.

Let your foyer reflect the holiday season, too. Fragrant decorations in keeping with your home’s style will warmly welcome your guests. Be sure, though, that there’s still space on the table for them to set down bags while removing their coats or putting them back on.

Related links:

5 Front Doors That Are Dashing in Christmas Red

By: Jennifer Ott, San Francisco-based interior designer 

A recent informal poll of Houzz readers found red to be the most common color for front doors. As an attention-grabbing hue, it’s a great choice to clearly mark the entrance to your home. It can also provide the perfect little splash of color on an otherwise neutral facade. We rounded up some examples of doors beautifully done up in a saturated holly berry red, perfect for this time of year.

screen-shot-2016-12-09-at-2-04-24-pm

Now you’re probably not going to want to paint your house to reflect each passing season, but if your front door happens to be red, you can take advantage of coordinating your holiday decorations with it. Here it’s the perfect backdrop to the fun and colorful Christmas decorations on display.

screen-shot-2016-12-09-at-2-05-46-pm

A red door is an easy way to jazz up an otherwise light and neutral home. But you may want to give some consideration as to how it ties into your landscaping.

In the above example, the red door is echoed in the colorful flowers at the front of the property.

screen-shot-2016-12-09-at-2-34-09-pm

The pleasing palette above has a fantastic crispness to it, due to the high contrast between the dark siding color and abundant white trim. The festive front door adds the right dash of bold color to the mix.

screen-shot-2016-12-09-at-2-47-42-pm

Think about playing with sheen in addition to color on your front door. You’ll want to avoid a matte paint finish, because it won’t be as durable or easy to clean as a glossier finish. If you go with a super high-gloss sheen, such as shown above, make sure your door is in good condition, because the shiny finish will reveal any and all lumps and bumps.

screen-shot-2016-12-09-at-2-49-11-pm

You don’t have to carry the red color to the interior side of your front door, but if you do, make sure it coordinates with the entry area of your home. This neutral-hued entryway supports the cranberry-colored front door nicely.

Your turn: Show us your red front door. Post a photo in the Comments section below, and share the paint color if you happen know it.

Related Articles:
Fill Container Gardens With Holiday Cheer in 30 Minutes
A Stylish Swing Can Make Any Porch More Welcoming
Complete Your Decorative Entryway With a Beautiful Bench

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.

Related Articles:
Browse Interior Doors
Wake Up Your Woodwork with Black
Get Help Installing Your New Doors

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.

Related Articles:
7 Details for the Well-Dress House
Update Your Home’s Exterior With Help From These Pros
All in the Details: Don’t Forget to Match Your Mailbox

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

Related articles:
Could the Inside of Your Front Door Use a New Color?
Revamp Your Curb Appeal With a New Mailbox
Browse Thousands of Exterior Photo on Houzz

Masonite Slows Down and Listens – The Importance of Quality Customer Service

Smooth Fiberglass Door Unit with Piedmont Decorative GlassMost of us, at one time or another, have been required to call a company’s customer service department. While it is not something we necessarily want to do, by opening up the lines of communication, we are sometimes pleasantly surprised. A recent survey by TalkTo and ResearchNow revealed that 53 percent of Americans spend 10 to 20 minutes on hold every week calling companies for support. Why are so many people spending time contacting customer service? Simply put: people want to tell their stories and feel like their voices are being heard.

Listen
In this time-stressed world, companies – like people — sometimes forget to listen. Masonite is committed to making customer service a positive interaction. We work hard provide our customers with innovative, quality doors and excellent service. That commitment to excellent service begins with slowing down and listening. Continue reading

Beyond Earth Day: Sustainability And Green Products For Your Home

For many of us, Earth Day – April 22nd – is celebrated with a tribute to all things green. In reality, the day also marks the anniversary of what may be considered the birth of the modern environmental movement. The first Earth Day in 1970 capitalized on an emerging American consciousness on the environment and preventing water and air pollution. Over 20 million Americans demonstrated their commitment to a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies on the first Earth Day. Twenty years later, Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues to the world stage.

Today, sustainability is much more than “going green.” And, it’s more than a personal commitment. It’s a way of doing business that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. That means efficient use of natural resources, minimizing waste and protecting the environment.

Homeowners may not realize that sustainability goals can be as important as profitability goals for today’s businesses.  In addition to meeting consumer demand for greener products, Masonite International Corporation recognizes that environmental stewardship and operational efficiencies often go hand-in-hand.

Continue reading

An Enduring Grand Entrance

Masonite TorrefiedYou may not realize it, but your front door speaks volumes about your home. Think of it as the maître d’ who greets your guests and tells them what to expect before stepping inside. Unfortunately, not all doors say great things about their owners. Some are cracked with peeling paint while others are dented and rusting. If you’re concerned about the message your door is sending, here are some considerations for finding the perfect replacement.

Today there are a multitude of entry door design options.  But before you start shopping for a new entry door, let’s focus on the most popular materials: fiberglass, steel and wood. When compared to doors of ten years ago, today’s doors are stronger, more durable and available in a wider array of materials. If you’re worried about durability, first start by selecting a reputable door manufacturer with a history of product success.  Remember, this is an investment in your home’s lifestyle statement.

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.”