Maybe it's part of being an anglophile - I have always had a thing for entrance doors. All the years I lived in London, I loved walking through Bloomsbury and Holborn, Chelsea and Kensington and looking at the doors - ok, fine, I also loved peeking through the windows, something that all it took was to walk slowly by, due to the English's love of open curtains even with the lights on!
I guess it is also because I am European - have you noticed that, unless one lives in the city, Americans really do not use their front door much? They enter through a mudroom door, or a garage door. In Europe, on the other hand, the main door really is the mainly used door. It should then be no surprise that from day one of the design phase I had wanted a fabulous entrance door, and one to be used (the part of the plan that will make people really use it is not laid out yet, more on that in a different post, about landscaping)!
As an inspiration, we looked at doors from places we had travelled to and that we remembered we liked. Across the ocean, London, of course (the first one being the most famous London door):
And closer to home, Beacon Hill, in Boston (one of my favourite neighbourhoods anywhere):
So what were we really looking for? A solid wood door, good quality hardware and a shiny, thick oil "European-style" finish that would still agree with our New England colonial house.
And that is what we got! The door we picked is a 2" solid Western hemlock door, with the traditional six panels, two small ones on the top and the larger ones on the main part of the door. We decided against glass panelling or glass sidelites, which are better suited for an urban setting rather than our 4-acre horse farm.
Choosing the hardware was easy - it would be Emtek, like all the hardware in the house, in the same oil rubbed bronze finish. Emtek products are of very good quality and their locks are made to specification in California - both always important points to us, quality and non-Asian (especially China) made products.
Finally, we had to choose a paint, the colour and finish. For paint we used Fine Paints of Europe (what else?!) and their special Brilliant Hollandlac Enamel. We did re-think the colour a few times but we ended up using our first choice, a wine red. My husband, who painted the door, said it was the best paint he has ever used. Also the hardest. It is heavy and gooey, it requires extra-care when painting so not to leave drips but it is everything we were hoping - the shiny, painted-fifty-times-over-the-past-100-years kind of look (which, I am afraid, does not show well in the photos but I promise it does in person).
And there she is, in all her glory! It warms my heart every time I drive in the driveway (which, by the way, is being worked on right now, so expect a post very soon!). As you may be able to tell, the entrance/portico is not finished - the door knocker needs to be installed (we are not big on door bells) and the antique french lantern needs to be hung on the ceiling of the portico. But we are close - close enough to brag!