In search of a front door to replace this horrid Home Depot special that is on our beautiful 1865 home. I'm guessing the original door was larger and most likely in line with the windows. The height of the windows to the top of the molding is about 105-106 inches tall with the molding being about 7 inches. The width of the current Home Depot unholy door including the side lights is 72 inches.

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1st problem- guessing.  Check some background and do some research before you find a better door. My 1860 house is full of oddities, the current front door is circa 1970 steel!  The original front door would face the present Morning Room. Thus I am still looking for 'local generic' front doors for my house. Once you find the right style, check here, and in building salvage stores, local antique sales { I have a line on 13 feet of stair rail, posts and all, circa 1880, for my house, found in a antique shops ad.} Then find the right man to put it in.  My door, when replaced, will have to have the wall repaired as well, It slopes outward a few degrees!}. Good luck, and let us know what you find.


The very first thing the people notice about your home is the front door. Nowadays, many of the people are turning from vintage style wood doors to modern fiberglass doors. If you are having old house, then you can make it look new with the fiber glass doors. You could look here to select the perfect door for your home, which will be safe in bad weather conditions and impact resistant.
Thanks for your response, but I will not put a fiberglass door on my home that was built in 1865. I want to destroy the fiber glass door that is currently there. Anyone who would replace an original Victorian door with a fiber glass door should not own an old home because they don't appreciate the architecture or craftsmanship.

Stephanie; This writer AGREES with you on the front door issue. My 1865 "I" House has a metal front door, which, some bright day, will be gone.  Keeping looking and find the CORRECT front door


Stephanie, I agree with you 100% or more if that is possible.  Keep looking and you will find just what you want.   Best of luck!

I won't replace it until I find something perfect. I'd have a wood worker make me something before I'd ever put in a door that is not wood. My problem is that I just don't have enough knowledge to figure out what the original door would have been like. I have tried to find records in town, but there is no documentation that hints at what it would have been. There are also no other homes like mine exactly. I've driven every street in the entire town. The homes that are somewhat close have a range of different doors. My favorite style is a double door, but I also don't want to put something on my house that an expert on old architecture would look at and think, "wow that door style doesn't match that house style." I need Nicole Curtis lol

"Front door Fanatick"  Try a search of architectural styles on line. You have the date of the house; with its latter added on porch, which looks good; check with colleges that have courses in this field. The local houses are not a reliable guide. The double doors style is latter than your house, I think.

 Also, try building salvage stores. And let us know what you find.

Thank you for the recommendations! I will most definitely update this thread with the final product if and when I find it. Thanks again!

'front door fanatick'-  glad to give you a start, at least. A friend in the bldg. trades tells me, and it follows my memory; that houses in our era had only transom lights{i.e. the little square or rectangle of glass and window sash) over the door. The side lights( the stack of windows on each side of the door, come later). Arched fan lights are even later, the arch woodworking detail is complex & expensive. Thus yours likely had a solid WOOD door, with a transom light(window) above it.  IF I had to guess, I would say, when the porch was added, then the door would have had both sidelights & transom lights, to make it 'modern'. IF that is the case, then you have the problem of 'which to choose'. Were it my house, I would match the door to the porch era. Do you have a clew of a date when the porch was added?  This writer has a similar dilemma, the original house was a Cape Cod, with a ladder to the under-roof section. In 1889{bless the carpenters, they DATED the addition} they added a 2nd floor and enlarged by one room, the Cape Cod style house; an added a farmers porch. Circa early 20th Century a fire burned the original 2nd floor. It was rebuilt, but on what floor plan?The current stair case is a disaster, you open the front door and there is but 03 inches betwixt the door and the bottom step! But it is in the original position. Yes, old houses are often a 'growing child', here a bit, there a bit. You have a real project on you hands.

  Oh, check thru the U.S. National Park Service website. I used to work at The Old North Bridge Park, and the Park Service kept detailed records, drawings, pictures and ect. of the houses in the park boundaries. Please keep us informed. And look around for a carpenter who is competent with old house repairs: I knew one 'home remodeler who took a CHAIN SAW to a mid century house to add a window!!

To be honest I had no idea the porch wasn't original, but I will try to find out more. I really know very little about any of this, but I'm trying to do my research because it is really important me to be historically accurate (even though I don't know what that is). Before we bought this house we were actually in the process of purchasing a different one, but the deal fell through. It was amazing. Mansard style from 1885 and mostly still original. Original windows, roof, front door, floors. It was amazing. I'm still bitter about losing it. It was my dream home. The one we ended up getting instead is still nice, in a way better location, and modernized behind the scenes (updated electrical and plumbing). But asthetically it's outdated and so many original, beautiful details were removed. As you mentioned, many things were changed, rearranged, removed, added over the life of the home and many of them with no regard for craftsmanship. It's really my goal to try and bring that all back. Most recently we ripped up the incredibly modern engineered dark hardwood (so ugly) that covered the first floor and found the original pumpkin pin. Unfortunately the engineered hardwood ruined it. I got an old floor expert in here and he did his very very best to try and save them, but the glue and nails from the other floor caused most of the boards to split at the edges leaving very wide spaces between each board. We could have patched them but it was about 90% of the floor. So sad. So we bought salvage pine from the same era and put it down. Obviously it was installed using modern day techniques so the nails are hidden, but we also got salavaged square head nails that they are going to put into the floors to make them look like the floors we couldn't save. We're currently in the middle of a kitchen renovation. Everyone wanted me to move windows and change the actual floor plan of the house, but I refused. So we're just changing cabinet and their locations and some lighting. Our next major project (besides the front door) is to try to either find arched pocket doors or have them made. We found from pulling up the ugly floors history of a track for pocket doors. The holes in the walls were covered up by molding. We pulled it off hoping the pocket doors were shoved in the walls but they weren't. So sad. I'm sure they needed to be restored and some previous owner didn't feel like spending the money so instead of saving them for someone like me to come along in the future they probably sold them to fund some other dumb project. Frustrating.

I found an "old house" consultant in my area that apparently will either have phone conversations or come out to the site to explain what he thinks would have been and how to try and get it back. But he charges $50 per half hour and I could easily see a phone call being very long. Just to ask all of the question I have would take more than that probably. I just think that's a lot, especially when it might just be opinion rather than fact.

Anyway, I'll continue to research and post updates here on the door. And I appreciate your time. Good luck with your house. This is part of the fun of an old home I think. Trying to learn its very long story.

Good Morning: A good bit of information on you home. Yes, indeed, your original house had no porch. Google up 'shingle style house' and you will see your sort of porch. Also, when you have the roof shingled{or sooner, if you are curious} I think you will find that roof detail which looks like an "A" over the steps is an add on. That at least would be an easy change. And, yes, there is a lot to learn. The hard part is to pick which era to restore the house to! Picking one will impose it on the rest; and does that 'work'. In my house, I took the Z brick(uggh!) off the walls and the 'gunstock' corner posts off the Morning Room, the later add on room- it is on the right of the house picture in my avatar. I then added repro 1840-1870 wallpaper, and a mock tin ceiling, which is a 'clash'. But it 'works'.  For the old ell which was the original kitchen, built after the main house, I did extensive stencil work on the walls, tho stenciling was out of fashion by 1860, yet examples later can be found. Since you are learning the Art & Mystery of an Old House, I send along a picture or two. Happy searching. Note the last two pictures are out of sequence. The last image is the room BEFORE the remodel.



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