The Front Door

There are a lot of ways to make a tiny house look different, add character and infuse your own personal style into the constructions process. I liked this aspect of it since I had opted for the Amish Barnraiser from Tumbleweed. Although this took a lot of work off my plate, it didn't in anyway minimize my ability to create my own unique dwelling since what I started with was really a blank canvas.
I am adding my share of 'personal touches' to the place but there is something about the front door that really lends itself to making a statement. Initially this house had a lowly makeshift plywood front door, but that had to go eventually. 

What I had really wanted was having a door with ample character. Much like the loft ladder is a focal point inside the house, the front door represents it from the exterior. Ella has a great blog and the front door has particular importance in her tiny house too. I wanted something similar. 

I opted for a vintage solid (heavy) wood door. I found one where I find most things...Ebay. The door was suitably distressed yet very solid. The person selling this door (in PA) also offered to create a frame for it via a craftsman that he worked with. I opted for this up charge and provided the rough opening dimensions. The door needed to be cut down a fair amount since tiny houses have...well...tiny doors. Beyond the door itself, I wanted some vintage hardware too. Conveniently the seller on Ebay was able to accommodate that part as well and the hardware was integrated into the door I had selected (by the framing carpenter). Best to see some pictures of this...
This was loosely the look I was going for. To get to this point though, the frame for the door had to be mounted into the rough opening for the door. This was a bit of a dicey project since it required a lot of leveling and shimming. Crooked door frame or a door that doesn't close properly is so annoying, so my dad and I took our time and did it right. Hardest part I think was when shimming, if you applied too much pressure, the frame would bend in...too loose and it wasn't possible to mount the frame (you didn't want wiggle while mounting it). It was tough to balance out, but we managed. 

A really effective way to check the work to see if the sides were straight and true, was to use a straight edge and look for any gaps or buckles or similar.
This also helped in seeing where more shims where needed and where too much pressure was being exerted. Ultimately once we were satisfied it was as good as it was going to get, we mounted the frame into the opening with a number of long wood screws. There is invariably a gap between the door frame and the rough opening in the house and that was later filled in with expanding foam. 

Now on to the aforementioned hardware. This is a 100 year old mechanism that I trust will easily last another hundred years. They don't make stuff like this anymore. 

It's a beautiful aged brass (?). Looks great. Note the shiny lock cylinder. I temporarily replaced the original since there was no key with the lock and I had to have one made for it. The original cylinder is now back in place and is more in line with the overall look of the lock. 
Next step was to add in a window to the door. I opted for a (heavy) brass maritime sailboat port hole. This piece was also off of Ebay and also very old. To get it into the door, a hole had to be drilled/cut into the door. This was a bit tricky since the back of the port hole was not straight but rather slanted, so the oval hole had to be cut at an angle to drop the piece into the door.
This is what it looks like in.
Some more pictures of the finished product.
Note: Frame has been dressed up with a piece of molding and the original door lock cylinder is in in this photo. 
There is also a really nice back piece on this to go on the inside.

You can kind of see the diagonal shift from front to back here that made this a bit difficult to cut the opening for. 
One final part to add was that I wanted the door to catch the eye and as stated up top, to make a statement on the house. To do that I wanted a bright color to make a bold statement (without looking garish). After sanding the outside surface of the door down, I opted for a cheery blue and think that it turned out pretty damn nicely. :)

The door is done. Since some of you will likely be curious in regard to costs, here is the rough breakdown. 
The door (wood part) - $100
Lock hardware - $150
Framing - $250
(no shipping since we picked it up in PA ourselves)
Porthole - $125
Blue paint - $20
Getting key made - $15
Trim - $15
It's a somewhat pricey door, but I don't regret for one second, having splashed out on this since it truly is everything and more of what I wanted to have and it looks great, feels great and works great.


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