Saturday, September 20, 2008

Face Lift, Part II

Well, it took a little longer than he expected (eight days instead of three), but the new front door is now painted, installed, and weather-stripped. I have to say, it turned out even better than we hoped it would. For a complete set of before-and-after pictures, go here.

Next year, we'll work on getting the front windows and window frames to match the entryway. Rob is game for working on those as well, which is great.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Face Lift

Cosmetically, the biggest liability our house has is the front door. It literally looks like it's about to fall off. The frame is full of rot, as is the door itself, and the transom window is yellowed, opaque, and depressing. From the beginning, we realized that once the plumbing and electrical infrastructure was taken care of, this project needed to be near the top of the list.

The biggest part of this job was research. We liked the overall look of the door and the frame, and wanted to try and get them restored as close as possible to their original forms. When Betsy and I first started shopping around, we went to several door and window outlets, as well as Home Depot and Lowes. The only options there were bland, tacky metal doors with completely utilitarian frames; no customization available. These were a far cry from the ornately carved-wooden details that were a main feature of our current entryway.

The more Betsy and I looked around, the more we realized that this was not a job for our "learn-as-we-go" M.O., so we went with a professional. Rob Plunkett (no relation to the Raiders quarterback) came recommended from our friends Andy and Meg. He had redone their door frame, and although it was a modern, simple design, it looked great and was done right. We had him take a look at our door, and he was up for the challenge. He thought some of the frame was salvageable, but the rest he would re-create with new wood. The door itself would have to be replaced completely (we figured that). We decided that Betsy and I would get the materials and Rob would do the installation. This is when our real work began.

We were basically buying this new entryway à la carte: we got the door from a place in Northern Liberties, the door knob and lock from Lowes, the mail slot and door bell from a place in Portland, Oregon (everything local was too big for the door), the custom glass from a place in South Philly, and the paint from yet another place in South Philly. Rob handled the lumber for rebuilding the door frame.

It took several months to get everything together, but finally our work is done and Rob's is beginning.

Stay tuned to see how it turns out!