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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Actually we are about to replace the shingles on most of the roof in a couple of weeks accept for the porch. The porch roof is a metal roof. Our roofer said it was original. I assumed that meant from 1865 but I guess it just meant original to the porch. I'm guessing the porch is still from the late 1800s or early 1900s though because of the roof. Do you think that's an accurate assumption?

In decorating my home I'm not necessarily trying to stay true to the era. The actual home as a structure and the permanent fixtures I want to be as original as possible, but the furnishings are more in line with current trends. Since they can easily be changed I think it's fun to give the old space new life as long as they compliment one another. However, I am trying to replace the light switches with old fashioned ones. They are newly made but replicas from earlier times. I wish I could go back and time and see the house at each of it's different stages.

The Front Door Fanatic~ Yes, you are right, metal roofs were in vogue 1860-1920, the curved porch is late 19th century, Mark Twains house has them, for example. The shingle style house I grew up in was built in the very late 1800's it had round, and curved porches.

   I found a quick reference guide to house styles for you

 That source says your house style should have side and transom light to the door

  I bought one repro light switch from "Antique Hardware", it looks great, but it has no distinctive "Snap" to it.

  Query; if you replace the house roof; will it be metal, or tin shingles; or common asphalt? I also agree, I wish I could also see the house,"while it was growing up". There is one photograph of it circa post WW2, and the outside remains unchanged. Please keep me informed; I very much enjoy the correspondence.

Another clear sign that the porch is a later addition is that it has lathe-turned spindles.  In 1865, porch decorations were flat with saw-cut decorative patterns. Does it have a lot of original interior detail?  That could give clues about the front door.  For example, if the stairway is original to 1865, it probable has a straight run going up, then a curve in the banister near the top.  I think a good number of houses of that era had double doors, each being narrower than later Victorian doors, but collectively being fairly wide.

Hi Phil,

Thanks for your response. Actually the banister we just figured out was modified at some point. Most of it is still original except the bottom was modified at some point to curve outward. We can tell this because the railing isn't continuous and also doesn't fit perfectly into the newl post at the bottom. But it does curve at the top. I get what you're saying about the doors. Each individual door is narrow but the two doors together are larger than a single door. That is actually my preference. I'd love to find a door like that.

Front Door Fanantick~  Oddly enough, the double entry doors are often found in New England shops, which is no help to you. In Craigslist/Maine, I even saw a set of pocket doors, circa 1880's Keep searching, N.B. Thanks for the 'friend' notice(or what it may be called)

haha I don't know what it is called either. 

Do you think these would work? link to doors

Greetings; YES, is my view, the doors look about the same age as the porch, mayhap a bit later. IMHO- do not alter the finish,, do not put poly-anything on them, just clean them up and have the hung. Note: I do not know where your house lives, but those doors would never work in New England. The snow would come in the mail slot, along with the cold wind. So unless your house retained the closed,interior entry way, your house will be colder in winter with these. And, find an understanding carpenter to put them in, repro hinges and hardware can b bought on line, as needed They are worlds away better than "Home Despot" door. And show us an image when they are installed.

Darn. I live in NJ. Tons of my neighbors though have the original mail slots. Most of them are welded shut though. My house does not have a closed interior entrance. Do you think it might have originally? Do you think it's possible that these doors would have had screen doors in front of them? Also don't worry. I would never paint over wood that has made it this long in its life unaltered. That would be a sin!! Thanks for your opinion! I posted another discussion today asking if anyone knows of amazing carpenters in my area. I unfortunately do not, but I know that I need to find a good one for this project.

Hallo from the Maine Woods! By inference it seems you have bought the new -old-doors for the house. Indeed a good start to be rid of the Home Despot door. As to screen door, I date them to the early 20th century, but there are folks who know this better than do I. My choice would be to add an antique early 20th century screen door to the house. And, yes, keeping looking for an understanding carpenter, a bad one can ruin the house. As to an interior entry way in your house originally, I would say yes. The unremudled house up here had the following floor plan, which by this era of house building was standardized.  Open the front door, the stairs on the outside wall, often with a window in the same wall[in your case the right hand wall.] The stairs often came to a landing, and turned, and then 3-4 steps to the 1st floor. An interior wall on the left, and in front of you at the back of the run of stairs up.  The cellar door was from the hall, under the stairs. Open a door at the back of the stairs, then a landing, turn right and the run of stairs leading down. You would have two interior passageway doors, one on the left and one at the end. This arraignment could give you a 2,3 or 4 bay house, depending on the builder/owner.  The kitchen was always at the back, some times a latter add on, or a deliberate add on when the house was new.  I have a 1920's house in my town, When it was new, the kitchen ell was built at the same time. In my house, the kitchen ell came later, you can see where they tore out the fieldstone foundation to make the new cellar. Your original floor plan can only be found by tearing back everything inside, and doing an "Inspector Clewsew"{ sorry, I cannot spell in French; "Clewsew' the detective that Peter Sellers portrayed"' in the"Pink Panther movies} investigation of the original beams and post ect. Up here in New England, they are, and were, a must have- it keeps winter out of the house. Since new homes, and much of fashion remodeling comes for Calif. and hippies who do not know a claw hammer from a masons hammer; much of that has been lost. My house once had a very narrow right hand entry hall. I found the evidence when I uncovered the 2nd floor support beams. Sorry this is too long.  Keep me informed.

Does your dog bite? No. (Dog bites). I thought you said your dog did not bite. That is not my dog.

I love those movies!!

I've attached a picture of the enterence from the inside. I can't really imagine how there would have been a double entry. It doesn't seem like enough space. You're right about the kitchen though. Originally it was in the very back of the house. It was moved sometime in the 60s I think. I'd love to know the original floor plan, but I like the plaster walls too much to tear them all away. There aren't many houses in my town that have the double entry. Even that amazing house that I was buying but the deal fell through doesn't have one.

I haven't actually purchased those doors yet. I'm so afraid to get the wrong thing. I guess if I get them here and they aren't right for my house I can sell them again. I just want to find a picture of the house from before the door was switched!!!!
Hey Phil,

I just looked at your profile and see that you're from Williamsport, PA. My grandmother grew up there on Park Ave. unfortunately her home was torn down to build a grocery store that I don't think ever ended up being built. I would have loved to have seen it in all of it's glory. It was built either in the late 1800s or early 1900s. Has your family always been in that area? I wonder if your parents or grandparents may have known them. Thanks again for your reply to my post!


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