Kiki Interiors - Decor and Staging

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Updating your front door

Whether you are selling your home or just want to update its tired look, that first impression your home gives from the street or sidewalk-its curb appeal-is key to how your house is perceived. At the very center of curb appeal is your front door and the area around it. It’s where you welcome the world to your home, and it sets the tone for your entire house. The Bennett Real Estate Pros know all about making that perfect first impression for potential buyers. Read here for a variety of ways to add interest and 'personality' to the front door of your home.

Renewing the Finish
Front doors take a lot of abuse both from use and weather-in particular, the harmful ultraviolet rays in sunshine. A wood front door will need a new paint job every five years or so to look its best. If it’s stained and varnished, it will need attention more frequently. Like any paint job, a front door will only look great if you put in the prep time and use top quality paint: Thoroughly sand down the existing finish, remove or be sure to cover the grip set so it's finish is not the same as the door's, brush on a primer, and follow with two thin top coats, while sanding in between each application. The same general routine applies to varnish, although it is even more important to be careful of brush marks and to paint in temperate weather with the door in complete shade. Use a good quality brush - you don't want your door to become hairy! Consider color carefully-your front door is a great place to express a little personality with a strong primary color, as long as it still works with shutters, trim, siding colors and other aspects of your house.

Grip set Upgrade
This is the most expensive piece of hardware on or around your door because of its role in security, but these days it also offers a wide range of handsome aesthetic choices. The term grip set refers to a door handle and lock, which can be combined in a number of ways: a handle with a keyed lock, a door handle and lock with a separate deadbolt, and a handle and deadbolt that are connected visually and mechanically. Door handle styles include a “D” handle, a round handle that you grasp, and a lever handle. It’s important to pick a lock that offers the degree of security you need. Once that is satisfied, take some time to pick the look that will make the best statement on your front door. You’ll see lots of new finishes-satin nickel, hand-rubbed pewter, and hand-rubbed bronze-as well as bright brass. Prices range from less than $50 to $300 and more depending on the security rating of the lock, the quality of the materials, the design, and the finish. Typically, you can replace a new lock in the edge and face holes already drilled in the door. If you want to select a modern look make sure it works with the age and style of your home - otherwise, the front entry can look strange and disjointed.

Add House Numbers
This is another way to put some style and serve a practical purpose. Thin brass or nickel house numbers can run under $5 a piece; thicker examples can double or more in price. These are typically screwed to the wall with small matching that are included, but numbers “plaques” are also available that frame the numbers in a matching metal.

Mail Box or Slot
Even if the mail is only delivered to your mailbox out on the curb these days, a flush-mounted mail box or a mail slot have a traditional appeal and can be a convenient way for neighbors to leave things for you when you’re not home. Mailboxes, which are attached directly to the wall or siding, range in price from a few dollars for a thin sheet metal version to several hundred for a detailed architectural casting. Style and quality differences are obvious. Mail slots are available at architectural salvage yards in solid brass, and in at the home center in a brass- or nickel-plated version for under $20. Mail slots do require you to cut a hold in the door or wall, and they don’t promote good energy efficiency. In Ottawa, one of the best shops for a variety of mailboxes is Preston Hardware located on Preston Street in Little Italy.

Add some life
Place decorative plant pots or urns on the steps leading to your door or on either side of the door and fill them with colorful seasonal flowering plants or some fake topiary plants. Install window boxes to the windows near your front door and keep them filled with seasonal plants. Tie a simple grapevine wreath on your door. Change the theme by inserting various decorative items, such as flowers, flags, ribbons, pine cones, or pumpkins. You'll have a fresh look each season. Accessorize with plants and greenery whenever possible. Be sure to keep them watered!

Remember the front door is what your guests and potential buyers see first so make sure it is as welcoming and warm as the rest of your house. When opportunity knocks, answer the door - it might be an offer to purchase your home!

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