While our contractor wraps up the exterior trim and paint project along with the newly-framed wraparound deck on the exterior of our Tree House, we’ve been chipping away at the inside. The pair of French doors that lead to our fire pit (off of the living room) were painted bright white on the exterior by our contractor, and it was just the kick in the pants we needed to finally paint the interior. This is how things looked when we started:
Much like their interior counterparts, the doors were mysteriously two-tone with beige paint on the left and aging white paint on the right. The old handleset was maddeningly loose and barely kept the doors shut. There was also a questionable ‘security’ chain and a rusted slide lock that attempted to keep the doors closed tightly through the cold winter months. (It struggled.) We knew the finished product would be a drastic change, but it turned out even better than we could have anticipated!
Prepping the Door for Paint
For starters, Kim got to work with a fresh razor blade and scraped the excess sloppy white and beige paint off each of the window panes. This task can take as long or as little as you’d like, but the perfectionist in Kim is what turned scraping paint into an entire day’s task! Worth it. Once the glass surfaces were clean, everything got taped off with Frog Tape, because when clean lines matter, we use Frog Tape. Period. We also filled in many of the old screw holes and door dings with rock hard water putty, which is our favorite method for interior wood repair.
However, we also needed to repair a missing pane’s worth of trim to make sure the glass was held in place and properly sealed from the elements. To mimic the existing trim, we purchased 3/4″ off-the-shelf pine stop, cut it down on the miter saw and simply caulked it into place. Tape and clamps held things where they needed to stay until everything was cured and dry. Kim then taped off the final pane of glass and hit the doors with two coats of paint using our tried-and-true methods.
Our French Doors Today!
Much like all of the other black painted surfaces at Tree House, the color is Sherwin Williams Black Magic in a satin finish. For door hardware, we craved contrast, and we knew that the Putnam exterior set in unlacquered brass would be the ticket! This hunky setup included solid brass interior and exterior hardware as well with the new mortise. The set weighs exactly 742 pounds (you know, approximately), and it gives the door an incredible amount of satisfying heft. While we were at it, we also swapped out the original paint-covered hinges for four of these stunning specimens. Never underestimate the power of swapping out the hinges with the hardware!
To keep dirt and moisture at bay, we also added a new waterhog interior doormat at the rear entrance. The color blends away into the floor fairly well and these mats capture an amazing amount of debris and sandy Michigan soil. We have several of the same mats in our Chicago home and have found them to be worth every penny.
Black and White
We went back and forth on the final color of these doors numerous times, but as we looked around the house, we realized that we’d developed a pattern. All interior doors (with the exception of our secret pocket door) have been painted white. The insides of all windows and exterior doors are black. We love the way this ‘grounds’ the rooms and allows for a not-so-subtle visual definition of the spaces. A black exterior door is such a handsome statement. If you’ve been on the fence about painting a door black – do it. You won’t regret it!
Why We Chose Unlacquered Brass Hardware
Unlacquered brass is always a favorite finish of ours. As the brass is touched and exposed to the elements, it will develop a beautiful patina over time. Eventually, the bright finish will mellow and look right at home with the salvaged original hardware in our vintage modern home.
To keep the newly weighted door from slamming into the drywall, we had one more trick up our sleeve. This insanely adorable doorstop was installed directly into the wood floor, and it even included multiple rubber stoppers to customize the look! Our hope is that once the new rear steps are complete, we’ll be much more likely to use this entrance to get out to the backyard. The only hitch? Prior to using the hook to keep the door propped open, we’ll need to address the current lack of a screen door. (We’re struggling to find an option that will work with these doors, so if anyone has any ideas, we’re all ears!)
With this project complete, we’ve officially replaced the trim and painted every single door and window at Tree House – with just one exception. The doors and windows inside the bathroom have yet to be touched. Why, you ask? Because in about a month, we’ll be kicking off the Tree House bathroom renovation! We absolutely cannot wait to show you what we have in store.
We have retractable screen doors from Phantom. LOVE them. They discreetly mount on the side and roll out and attach to the other side with a magnet.
We’ve considered something like that! Thanks for the rec.
We also have the retractable screen doors from Phantom, and I love them, because when retracted you have a clear view out the windows (which is great for winter or times of year when there are no bugs), however I find that young kids have a hard time using them. I used one of those “walk thru” screens that you can hang while my kids were young – it was inexpensive and easy to put up and take down in the winter – something like this at amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Flux-Phenom-Reinforced-Magnetic-82-Inch/dp/B01ESSA9VO/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?keywords=screen+door+magnets+walk+through&qid=1570711922&s=hi&sr=1-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEyM1NWQjk3TkpVVUkmZW5jcnlwdGVkSWQ9QTA4ODQzMDYxMlZJTTVFRVJJWjVVJmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTAzMjM3MDczTjNBUzNZOUtTRUJVJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==
Yes, retractable is definitely the way to go. An alternative to the Phantom brand is the Brisa screen. We have a Brisa. You can install in 30 min or less.
We’ve been really curious about the retractable screens! So would we get one that goes the entire width of both doors?
I have Phantom screens on French doors; they make a version that slides out from each side and meets in the middle, so that you can just open/close one of the French doors. But you could get one that goes the whole width of both doors. I love them although they do need some periodic maintenance with the vacuum and some silicone spray.
That’s so good to know!! I’ve looked at Phantom doors before. We’ll check them out, thank you!
My mom has the same as Maggie. It’s a screen on each side that meets in the middle. It’s quite nice in that it disappears when not in use. She lives in Holland, MI in case you need to “pop over” and see it. LOL.
Haha love it! Okay but my question is… does it look odd when both doors are open? That’s our hesitation.
Looks soooo good!
We installed cheapie wooden screen doors from Lowe’s on our Wisconsin lake house. We use old fashioned springs to close them and the “thwack” sound they make when closing is one of my favorite sounds of summer. Not quite sure how those would work with the french doors (which look FAB in black).
Yes! That glorious “thwack”! You transported me.
I’m so excited about the bathroom reno here!!!! What type of plant is in the little wall pot?
It’s a type of snake plant! Nickname is a whale fin.
It’s beautiful. Did you paint the window frame to the right of the door too, or is it a new window? If you painted it, was the process similar to that outlined here for the door?
That’s just a painted window frame! :) More details on how we did that here: https://yellowbrickhome.com/black-windows-and-doors/
I’d really like to see an exterior photo of the french doors, I don’t think we’ve seen that area?
It’s painted white, before photos are here, but afters will come soon! https://yellowbrickhome.com/planning-for-the-exterior-of-our-tree-house/
Is there a decimal missing in the handleset weight? That would definitely add some heft!! ;)
This looks great! I have been debating painting the door in our kitchen that leads out to the garage navy or black, but it’s right next to our laundry room door, which I’d prefer to keep white. What are your thoughts on having doors in close proximity be different colors?
I think it’s fine! Our bathroom door is white, and it’s right next to the black back door.
I agree that unlacquered brass is the way to go in a 1920s home. We haven’t had to replace any pieces of the brass hardware yet (but much of the pitted chrome has been replaced with exact replicas from Rejuvenation!) but as I’ve cleaned paint off and polished the original hardware I just love watching it develop it’s patina again. One thing I don’t see on your french doors is a latch on the top or bottom of the non-handled side to keep it secure in the frame. Is it hidden or just not added yet?
I haven’t tried the water putty before but I’ve been on the lookout for products to repair some dog damage on two doors and some furniture that the dogs inflicted when they were new to our home.
Oooh good question! The latch is on the side of the door. There’s one at the top AND bottom, and it’s soooo sturdy. We pretty much keep it latched all the time and only use the door with the handleset.
Awesome!!!! Painting the door with black has absolutely given an amazing transformation to space.
We moved into a house with double front doors two years ago that open into a foyer with the stairs right there in your face. I have searched and searched for a door mat that span the width of them but kept a narrow depth. The mat you show looks PERFECT!!! We are HUGE fans of waterhog mats and have them at all the entry points in our home. My only question is, I love the calm color of what you have in the photos and how it seamlessly blends with the floor. But the “camel” color shown on amazon looks WAY more brown brown than your photos. Is the camel color what you have? Thanks so much!
Hi Carey! Yes, it is the camel color. It’s more of a sandy brown than what the photos often show. Hope this helps!