When Joe and Clara remodeled the cottage in the 70s (see 1. The Story of Apple Hill Cottage) they put in 5 (five!) sets of sliding glass doors — one at every entrance except the basement — and 2 (two!) opening into the kitchen. Correction: there were 2 (two!) going into the kitchen; now there are 0 (none!)
It was a very gratifying weekend. We had spent months dithering about the front entrance door. There is one good point to sliding glass doors and that is: glass. They let in light. This is a very good attribute if the room is dark and has only one other window. We didn’t want to lose the light; and there were 4 (four!) giant panels of glass to turn into real doors.
Entry doors tell the story of your house in ten words or less. Grand or simple, painted or wood, leaded glass or rough hewn, windowless or all glass, they are the topic sentence in Chapter One. Everyone who comes into your house goes through those doors, and most will form an opinion of their character as they walk through. Are they ostentatious (Faulkner) or humble (Emily Dickinson)? Do they have style (T.S. Eliot)? Can you see through into the bright, cheery house (Alcott), or is the door stark and unfriendly (Poe)?
I wanted a good, old-fashioned, Wendell Berry kind of door. But those old farmhouse doors don’t let in much light, plus we had a six-foot doorway to fill. I kept finding all these lovely old doors at the Restore places, and Michael kept telling me they were interior doors. “But can’t we use them as exterior doors???” I would ask. The short answer was No. Michael’s concern was for the seal. Keep out winter. Keep out water. Keep out critters.
New entry doors are pricey. Very pricey. Pella wouldn’t even sell us a wood entry door unless we were installing it with six feet of protective porch and a roof. (Not to mention that their wood doors are in the Three Thousand Dollar range…) So when Michael called from the Restore saying he had found an entry door, I said, “Send me a picture…”
But before he sent me the picture, he told me the price: $189 + tax. Free delivery. (That would be us wearing delivery hats.) So, I can compromise. It is a metal door; but it has lots of windows and not so much metal. And it can be painted. Sold.
The sun was beginning to set by the time the lock and handles were in place. We were delighted just to be able to turn the knob (the knob is on the inside) and open the door!
And when we left on Monday, we locked the door just as if we lived in a real house. Those Price is Right contestants don’t have any thing on us — such excitement behind Door # 1! We were so excited on Sunday night that we ripped out the other sliding glass door that goes into the kitchen as well.
On to Door # 2…
Post Script: As I was publishing this post, my wonderful husband came back from Home Depot with perfect matching trim for adding horizontal muntins to the plain sidelights of the door. Add $5 to the cost of the door; but the new look of it? Priceless!