Thursday, September 27, 2007

The door dilemma.

As I've mentioned before, my place is a 1958 brick rowhouse. Although I don't want to spend (or have) a tonne of cash to fix it up, I'd like the changes I make to be consistent with the age and aesthetic. However, I'm also facing the reality of the fact that I will likely sell it in a few years and most buyers in this area will not care about aesthetic at all. Thus, spending any extra money saving/restoring features will only be for me and may in fact undermine the resale value because people are frequently generic gits with no appreciation for historic value.

Since it was rental housing for years, very few of the original details/fixtures have survived. All but maybe one doorknob and the backdoor lock are cheap new-ish ones, only one closet knob remains (and I am having a hellish time trying to find similar vintage replacements for the other three), all the light fixtures were replaced with ceiling fans (oh. the. horror.) though, I did manage to steal the box of old ones the sellers were throwing out when I was by to look at the place after the deal was signed (a total score - see previous comments about generic gits with no appreciation for aesthetic).

Luckily though (or not) both the back and front doors are the original hardwood solidcore doors with a large 2x2 single pane glass window. They basically looks like this one:

The front door is unpainted wood and the backdoor is painted all white. I think it's pretty cute, although not as cute as some of my neighbours have have cool original doors like these:


There's also a totally dead-ugly, boring screen door in front of both my front and back doors. I plan on eventually getting rid of the backdoor entirely and putting in french patio doors so I'm ignoring that for now. However, the front door needs help, it's drafty and the frame needs rebuilding, plus the single pane glass provides no insulation and is completely unsafe.

So, here's the dilemma: do I ditch the screen door and replace the wood door with something like this:

A boring steel door beloved by genetic homebuyers everywhere for its' practical qualities of safety and insulation.

Or, do I try to get someone to replace the glass in the door with period-appropriate but tempered glass like this: And fix the frame to eliminate the drafts and replace the screen door.

It looks like the generic door option is going to cost me about $900 (cough, gag, splutter). I'm going to get an estimate on the repair option but I have a gut feeling that restoration is never cheap. Price will likely determine my decision in the end since I don't plan on staying in this house for longer than 4-5 years but it will kill me if I have to get rid of the original doors since I know I'll only get like $50 for them on Craigslist and at Crestview they're charging over $1000 for new reproductions.

Knowing how little money I'll get if I do put them on Craigslist, I think I'll offer them for free to a good home and screen potential applicants for those rare souls who are dedicated to restoration rather than generic-home replication. That way I may gain a bit of period-appropriate design karma.