When my parents visited us here in Victoria in mid-October, my Dad commented that, “You must have had a real vision for this place…” he had never seen it before, but enough remained undone for him to imagine what everything must have looked like when we saw our house for the first time last March. I think it was his way of saying, “This place must have been a real dump and now it’s much less of a dump.” (My Dad and I have very different taste in houses, though we’re both obsessed with them.)
And it’s true — I did/do have a real vision for this house. When we walked in with our realtor in March — Pierre and Peggy with grimaces on their faces, me exclaiming, “My new house!” — I could just see what the house would look like freshly painted, with new hardware and new counters and new light fixtures. All the poor colour choices and wall panelling couldn’t prevent me from seeing that the house had a great layout and flow and that many of its original details could shine again. (I am truly a cheerleader for old houses — if you have a dump of a house, invite me over and I will gush over how beautiful it is and how much potential it has.)
With its brown paint (front), dark wood stain (back) and “crackled brass” hardware, our front door was just one of the things that I knew could be saved with a lick of primer and a fresh coat of paint and new hardware. I originally wanted to choose a bright colour for the front of the door, as that seems to be a place where even people who play it safe on colour tend to go a little punchy. And I obviously don’t mind punchy!
But I’ve been updating our Oak House colour palette as we go, and we’ve decided to paint the exterior of our house yellow (SW Solaria), grey (SW Lazy Gray) and white (SW Extra White), so the house itself is not going to be neutral, exactly. The yellows in the colour palette have been updated to match the stained glass windows in our living room and den and the black and grey are new to the colour palette. Several colours in the original palette have been tossed aside to make room (I mean, I was never going to buy or paint anything Outrageous Green) as I think 6–12 colours is the right number of chips for a small house.
I love having a cohesive home, with paint, art, furniture and accessories matching from room to room. Picking a whole-house colour palette at the outset — before I’d painted anything — has made decisions so easy and I don’t doubt whether things will “work” in our space. In fact, I just ordered a hood fan for our kitchen in Julep, that jewel-green colour above! If you don’t have a colour palette for your house or have never made one before, I recommend you go back and read my post about creating a colour palette for Oak House. I used a great tool from Sherwin Williams to do it.
So, to keep some aspect of the front of the house neutral, i decided to go white (SW Extra White) on both sides of the door. The back got primed and painted — and painted and painted and painted. I had used a latex primer to try and save a brush (oil primer makes brushes one-time-use), but the old wood stain kept shining through, giving the door a brown hue, no matter how many coats I gave it. It’s painted the same colour as the trim (like all the doors throughout the house), so I knew from experience that, even though the paints are different finishes (semi-gloss for the trim and eggshell for the doors), that the colours were supposed to match when dry. Sigh. So I reprimed using the oil-based primer and repainted — and then changed out the old hardware for the Schlage Greenwich matte black 1-sided keyed handle and Latitude lever. I’ve now updated all the doors in the house with this hardware. I did all this over about four Sundays, the Buffalo Bills games on in the background. First playoff game tomorrow!
I also painted the weather stripping along the bottom of the door with an enamel paint tinted to SW Tricorn Black. The weather stripping went from brown to black and is holding up beautifully. And I changed the hinges from brass to brushed silver, not matte black unfortunately as Everbilt doesn’t make black hinges in the 4″ slightly rounded style. Both the front and back doors have the brushed silver hinges as do our master bedroom bifold closet doors; every other door has matte black hinges.
The mail slot and door knocker is by Baldwin via Wayfair. I might have chosen a different style of door knocker, but I was really looking to keep things simple and make use of our existing holes. Even though the knocker is the exact same as our old one, the spacing was somehow off, but Pierre managed to make it fit without drilling any new holes.
The front door looks a little odd from the exterior right now because it’s a fresh paint job tucked behind a discoloured screen door from 1990 and next to a drab, flaking paint job on the exterior of the house. The plan is for our house to be scraped, primed and painted in April/May, so I’m sure by the spring the door will be looking as good from the outside as it does from the inside!
Plus, just to the right of the front door… do you see the den?! I’ve just heard from our contractors and it looks like we can get to drywalling next month! So excited to turn this room into a little jewel box, which, come to think of it, with all its stained glass windows, is a much better name for it than “the den.”