Visitors Are Welcomed

It finally arrived.  My long-awaited front door was delivered to the shop for painting/staining on February 28.  I huge thanks goes to Anna Petersen, the young lady that welded my basement sink stand for allowing me to use her studio.  Due to the delay, the door arrived during very cold temps, too cold for my painter, Britt Sang to work on the door in his house shop.  Due to the size of the door he wasn’t able to get it into his basement where he normally works on door projects.  He was not able to warm his garage to a temp needed for painting and staining, so I was forced to either find a new painter or a place for him to work.  Since he was referred to me by Hyde Park Lumber and they were now paying for his services as part of my reparations, I called Anna who did not hesitate to say yes.

Hyde Park Lumber arrived promptly at 10am.  The same two men that delivered the first door brought the new and they nervously removed the cover in anticipation of my reaction. It was beautiful.  It had the right sidelights and with a quick measurement was the right size.  Massive relief.  Britt and his partner Bernie got busy right away.  Initially Britt told me it would take him 10 days to paint and stain the door, but Bernie tackling the stain side and him the painted they were able to have it done in a week.  Unfortunately for me I was scheduled to be in New Orleans with a client the first week of March, so it was decided that I would not schedule the install until I returned, which gave the paint and stain extra time to cure.

I had Doug Routt owner of Sentry Doors scheduled for Wednesday, March 13, although we didn’t confirm until Monday the 11th to ensure the weather would cooperate and it did.  That gave me two days to find and clean up the inside trim pieces from the original door.  The top trim, between the door and transom, was missing when I purchased the house, but thankfully I had a suitable replacement from all the saved trim from doors that were removed during demo and not part of the rebuild.  I also cleaned up the transom, all using my tried and true denatured alcohol and Restor-A-Finish process.

Doug’s installer Eddie and his wife Jen (this husband and wife team did not disappoint like the Roland Hardwood couple) picked the door up from Anna’s shop and brought it to my house.  As fate would have it, Duke Energy was working on power lines in the area and had turned off power to my side of Camp Washington.  He was able to remove the original trim (the goal was to keep it in tact as it would be impossible to find new which match the trim around the transom), but he soon reached a point where he needed power to run his tools to cut out the old door.  Fortunately I had a battery-powered reciprocating saw he was able to use until the battery died.  At that point I left to retrieve my generator from my storage locker.  Power was restored before I returned and thankfully Jen took pictures of this momentous occasion in my absence.

I returned in time to see the sidelights and frame being carried from the truck.  Eddie suggested that I should work to remove some of the paint built up on the trim he removed, so I turned my attention to that in between taking more pictures.  I love seeing the handwriting from the mill on the back of these old pieces of wood.

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20190315_124848I had 16 weeks to pick out and order the lockset for my door.  Incredibly I forgot and Monday was forced to do a Google search to see if a can find one locally.  I wanted something similar to the original handle and a higher quality than what I could find at Home Depot and Lowes.   I found Bona Decorative Hardware located in Oakley.  What an awesome display of cabinet and door hardware they had among other items like fire place inserts and faucets.  If I am fortunate to restore another old house, this will be my go to place.  They are family owned and operated and what struck my eye when I first saw their website were the words “architectural hardware”.  I had no doubts that I would find something, the more pressing question was could I get it in two days.

Fortunately they had a vendor, Emtek Assa Abloy, located in CA that shipped same day if ordered by noon.  Their product line was exactly what I was looking for, actually more than I was looking for as I was able to customize the lockset and select my inside and outside pieces.  I selected their Nashville set, which offered 8 different finishes, 10 different lever options, and 19 different knob options.  Since I have the original 8 point glass knobs throughout the house I selected a 8 point glass knob for the inside.  All in oil rubbed bronze to match my outside lights.  They arrived Wednesday morning and I was able to pick up while Eddie and Jen took a lunch break.

With the time lost with the power outage, Eddie had to return on the next day to finish putting the trim back on.  That gave me extra time to apply stripper on the outside pieces to remove more than what scrapping could remove.  I got down to either the wood or original white color after removing gray, dark green, and yellow layers.  The original inside pieces as a stand alone looked darker than the door, but once attached to the door it made the door look like it had been there forever.  It proves the weeks I took removing trim prior to demo was worth the effort.  I love the front door and I’m so glad I held firm on the decision to maintain the 40″ opening and wood.

All I Wanted For My Birthday Was A New Front Door

When I received an offer on my childhood house and the buyer asked for a three-week close I realized I hadn’t dealt with my front door.  Several times over the course of the year it was front of mind, but each time got pushed aside for various reasons.  When I finally put in the order I was told it would take 8 weeks to manufacture.  Before installing it would need to be stained and painted, another 10 days.  I did not want to host an Open House with a boarded up door, so I cancelled my planned Holiday Open House and set my sights on a Birthday Open House.

The original door is wood and 40″ wide.  The side lights were built with 12 individual beveled pieces of glass on each side.  Only 50% of the panes were in place.  Early on I looked at having the side lights rebuilt, but one side was too far gone and the cost for just the glass would have been $1200.  Apparently due to their size they would need to be hand cut.  I was not stuck on wood for the door, but I was stuck on the 40″ width.  As I’ve shared many times, my goal is to restore the house, not just renovate.  She was built with a big door, so she needed to maintain her big door in my opinion.

I understand there are all sorts of maintenance issues with wood doors, but to my advantage my entry is covered preventing the door from getting direct exposure to sunlight and other weather elements.  I was willing to go with steel or fiberglass, but unfortunately 36″ is their standard width.  If I was going to need to go custom my preference was wood, which became my focus. I was also not willing to lose the arched, beveled glass transom above the door.  Several local door installers that looked at the door told me everything had to be replaced and I was not buying that.

I found several wood door manufactures on the Internet, but became focused on Simpson Door Company.  I was told Simpson was the Chevy of wood doors.  Moderate in cost and reliable.  I started mocking up various door designs from their website  They did not offer the exact 6 panel design of my original door, but they had some close enough options.  Recreating the side lights with twelve individual pieces of beveled glass was not an option.Simpson Door Designs_Page_1Simpson only works with authorize dealers, so upon entering my zip code on their website I got a list of businesses that carries their brand.  I contacted several, most never called me back.  I had already started doing business with Hyde Park Lumber for my trim and they were on the list, so I ordered the door from them on October 23rd.  I selected the door and sidelight mock-up on the upper right.  Hyde Park Lumber doesn’t paint or install, but they referred me to Britt Sang of JM Painting.  The door will be stained on the inside to match my existing moulding and painted on the outside.  Sidelight Incredible White and door Harvester, both Sherwin William colors.

The door color is my only departure from the HGTV 2017 Urban Giveaway color scheme.  They had a pink door, which I just could not do. Harvester was not my first choice.  I wanted They Call It Mellow, but apparently yellow has fading issues and they do not offer that particular yellow in an exterior paint.  A very helpful store clerk helped me select Harvester.

20171222_141439When I purchased the house the right side of the door, where all but two of the 12 panes of glass were gone, just had a flimsy piece of particle board covering it.  The left side was not much better, but the all of the remaining glass was exposed.  I took some scrap plywood I had and covered both sides. I tested out my exterior paint color, Sea Serpent, and put house numbers on in yellow just to see if I was making the right move by departing from the HGTV design.

The house was more secure, but it was not weatherized.  Never could I have imagined that I would be living in the house, during winter, with the original door.  After the first week of really cold temps I had to break down and tape plastic over the sidelights in the inside because I could literally feel the cold air climbing up the stairs and reaching me in my master suite.  I also purchased a MAXTID double door draft stopper to plug the two-inch gap at the bottom of the door.  Tolerable solution for the 8-10 weeks I’d need to endure while waiting on the door.

The door was scheduled to arrive on December 17.  Britt was ready to receive.  I had delivered the paint and stain to him.  He had a family vacation already scheduled for Dec 27-30, but felt he could get at least one side done prior and have the door finished with time for curing by the week of Jan 7.  My installer, Doug with Sentry Doors and Windows, was cued up to install that week.  My Birthday Open House was going to happen or so I thought.

The door didn’t actually arrive until Dec 19, but due to late arrivals by Hyde Park Lumber delivery the door did not get to Britt until December 26th, a week lost.  Even with 20181226_105624that Britt said he could have the door completed by January 10th.  Needless to say I was PO’d with the delivery debacle, so I went to Britt’s shop on the day it was delivered to see it first hand.  To my disappointed the wrong side lights were on the door.  There was a single half panel instead of a two window half panel.

Fuming PO’d now, so I go to Hyde Park Lumber to find out what went wrong.  Apparently they entered the information right in their system, which was provided to the distributor.  The distributor, unfortunately sent the wrong information to Simpson.  At this point I had no choice but to live with the door as I was not going to live another 8 weeks without a proper door.  GREAT customer service can cure a bad situation.  They offered to pay Britt’s fee for painting/staining, which I accepted.  I leave and call Doug to schedule a January 11 install.  A few hours later I get a call from Tim at Hyde Park Lumber.

Not only were the wrong side lights entered, but they were also the wrong size.  It meant the door would be too small for the opening.  Now I had no choice, but to wait another 8 weeks.  I was told Simpson rushes for no one.

When I agreed to keep the wrong side lights, I explained to Tim the condition of the current door.  He listened and with this forced delay offered to order a temporary fiberglass door and pay to have it installed so I’d have a secure and sealed door during the wait.  While I accepted that offer initially, after sleeping on it I woke the next morning and called to stop that process.  I did not want to risk damage to my transom window with a temporary door.  Instead I asked if he could cut proper size pieces of wood, so that I could better seal the sidelights and pay for the install of the actual door.  He agreed and went a step further by offering to send a contractor to board them up.  Again, GREAT customer service can cure a worsening situation.

The contractor came that day to look at the situation, told me he’d bring insulation in addition to plywood the next day.  He called the next day and said he couldn’t make it but would come, Monday, Jan 31.  He never returned, but I took his idea, went to Home Depot and had them cut the proper size pieces and I put them up myself.  100% improvement.  As for the Open House it will have a spring theme.