Farmhouse Front Doors: Our New Look

Our farmhouse is looking a little more dignified lately because we took off the ugly aluminum storm doors and replaced the mismatched doors with ones that actually matched!

farmhouse front doors before and after

One of the old front doors is original to the house and matches the interior doors. Most old farmhouse front doors I’ve seen in this area have some sort of glass panels, so I’m not sure whether this was always the front door or if it was taken from the interior at some point (some rooms once had doors but no longer do). In any case, after more than a century, the trees in the front yard are massive and provide so much shade that it can be a bit dark in the front two rooms. We had to get matching doors anyway, so we chose farmhouse style doors with glass panels to let light in. As for the original solid wood door, we plan on refinishing it and using it inside to replace a hollow core door that a previous owner installed.

The other front door we had was an interior hollow core door of the crappiest quality I have ever seen. I’m a little lady and I’m pretty sure I could punch a hole right through it! And it had an inch tall gap on the bottom that forced us to stuff a towel under the door.

farmhouse front door

We took a cue from front doors on area farmhouses around the same age as ours and chose six panel 3/4 light doors. We painted them Lincoln Cottage Black by Valspar. The black doors look a bit stark against the white siding right now, but it will look better once we install black shutters. And then onto the rest of the porch renovation to do list which includes:

  • Add proper trim to windows and doors. We have some original trim in the laundry room (which used to be a porch) that we’re going to replicate.
  • Clean the heck out of the siding!
  • Add a beadboard ceiling (haint blue, of course) and install a light fixture.
  • Replace the metal posts with more appropriate wooden spindle posts like the porch would have had originally. We’ll also add corbels and spandrels. We’re basing the porch design off of local farmhouses whose porches have not been altered.
  • Paint or stain the concrete floor.

doorknobset

It took a while to choose the knobs because I wanted to find something that accurately reflected the house. Getting the right feel with modern door knobs was a challenge. The original door knobs in our house have dark finishes and beautifully carved designs so I wanted to find something that had these elements.  When we have to choose modern products, I always look for something inpired by the past. We chose Emtek’s Lancaster knob with the Colonial sideplate which is a modern reproduction of an 1884 door knob. I love that it’s directly inspired by antique hardware and because it displays many of the same elements as the antique door knobs in the interior of the house. And it comes with a deadbolt, so that’s a huge plus!

You may notice that we installed these knobs upside down. I insisted that we install them this way, actually! Being that they are antique-inspired knobs being installed on an antique house, it really didn’t feel right to have the deadbolt/keyhole at the top because antique door knobs almost always had the knob at the top of the plate and the keyhole at the bottom. So we installed them antique style with the deadbolt at the bottom, and I think they look perfect.

If you want to install a door knob like this upside down, there are two thing you need to keep in mind: 1.) If you have a left-opening door, you’ll need to order a right-facing door knob so the latch is on the proper side when you flip it (and vice versa). 2.) Depending on your door, you may have to drill the bottom hole in the doorframe a bit deeper to accommodate the longer latch of the deadbolt. We had to do this, but it was a piece of cake.

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5 comments

  1. Sara Jo Floyd says:

    Love all the design choices you guys are making. You are staying true to the homes original style and bringing back the lost charm. I just found you on instagram! Since my hubby and I are doing the same thing with our 1893 farmhouse I feel like I have a kindred spirit in you. Thanks for sharing your journey with us. We will be following along :) Love Bryarton Farm

    • Meg says:

      Hi Danielle!

      They are Masonite doors, and you can get them at most construction stores. I’m looking at the catalog on their website and I believe ours are the 404-S06-2 model. Ours are fiberglass, but they also come in steel and I believe wood is also an option. I wanted wood, but since wood was 2-3 times more expensive and we wanted to paint them black anyway, we went we with fiberglass. My biggest complaint with the fiberglass is that we’ve had problems with the paint sticking properly in some places. We’re going to sand it down and add a few more coats to it this spring to see if that helps.

      If you do go with fiberglass or steel, make sure you get the simulated divided lite option. This means there is a glass panel divider on top of glass instead of just inside the glass which makes it look SO much better.

      Hope this helps!

  2. katherine says:

    Hi Meg, I am trying to find that door using the model number you provided and I don’t see it anywhere. Can you tell me the name of the store that carries it? Thank you!

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