New Front Door Design

This house is older than our former house and has an even smaller front door. The existing door is OK looking, but is starting to leak a bit. It is thin and does not have insulated glass. It opens into the bottom of the stairs. There is no point in leaving it open and having a screen door, because in the open position it blocks the door into the den and would limit cross ventilation. Bethann wants an operable window in the door itself. This presents an exciting design challenge. Here is what I came up with:

inside / outside
inside / outside

The plan shows the door in mahogany and maple. The local woods that I actually found for the door at Hudock’s Hardwoods about 8 miles from here are purple heart and ash. The door is 29.5″ by 76.5″. The rails and stiles will be made of 1-7/8″x 6″ purple heart, with the exception of the bottom rail, which will be about 8″ wide. The panels will be made of 1-1/8″ thick ash. It will be flush with the interior of the rails and stiles, leaving deep insets on the exterior of the panels.

The window will be 18-1/2″ square, 5/8″ thick tempered, insulated glass with 1″ lead strapping inside and out. This will be set into a 1″ wide ash frame for overall dimensions of 19-1/2″ square. This frame will be hinged on the bottom, so the window can open down and be secured to the inside of the door. I haven’t quite worked out how I want to secure it yet. (I am leaning toward transparent suction cups.) It will have a compression weather stripping gasket in the opening and two wooden toggles to hold it shut. There will be a 17-1/2″ square screen that will attach in the inset space outside the window using spring-loaded pegs in the warmer seasons.

The hinges and lockset will be distressed nickel. The door will be finished with four coats of water based polyurethane, to allow the natural beauty of the wood to shine through. I’ll try to keep you informed as the project progresses.

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