THE FRONT DOOR SETS THE TONE FOR YOUR HOME’S STYLE, AND IT CAN BE AS WELCOMING AS A FRIENDLY SMILE.
Selecting a front door is one of the most important design choices homeowners will make. The door represents welcome and hospitality and at the same time establishes expectations for the style of décor of the home’s interior. Along with these aesthetic factors, doors must function well: they need to open and close effortlessly; lock securely; insulate; and keep the home free of moisture. Luckily, as with other essential elements involved in home construction, there are experts and artisans available to educate and assist homeowners in choosing the right door for their unique homes.
HARDWARE IS THE HANDSHAKE
Keene Cottle is a hardware sales specialist with Mountain Land Design and has considerable experience installing door hardware. “Many people say that the front door is the signature of the home, and I would add that the hardware is the handshake,” he says. “It’s the first opportunity anyone has to touch the home. The design presence of the front door is very important, and hardware is key in expressing the design.”
For clients seeking unique hardware that is functional and reflects their style, it’s helpful to spend some time reviewing the many options available. According to Mountain Land Design’s hardware manager, Steve Stockfish, the company’s showrooms feature samples of 50 or more lines. “All our specialty brands are on display, including hinges, pulls, turn pieces, dead bolts, plates, and door accessories,” he says. And if those options aren’t enough, consider mixing and matching: “It’s possible to find pieces in one line that correspond well to pieces in another,” Stockfish says.
For those looking for something even more unique, Mountain Land Design works with firms specializing in various mediums to offer custom hardware pieces to suit clients’ needs and styles. Cottle adds, “The bronze and brass custom pieces have clear, clean lines, and the iron companies can build hardware with complicated mechanical abilities.” Stockfish says that current trends in custom pieces reflect mountain modern and mountain contemporary style, and include “hammered textures in nickel and polished chrome or polished bronze, which presents interesting natural variations.”
Mountain Land Design has been in the door hardware business since 1988, and through that time has continually worked to expand the number and range of hardware brands and the expertise of its staff. This knowledge and wide array of prefabricated and custom pieces is necessary to meet the needs of the sophisticated demand in Park City and Salt Lake, Cottle says: “Clients bring ideas from around the world to the homes they create for this area, and they demand a high level of architectural detailing.”
CUSTOM WOOD DOORS
Burke Teeter, owner of Salt Lake Mill, focuses on the demand for custom and original wood doors. Originally a finish carpenter, he has worked on fine homes since 1989. “Our doors are custom from start to finish,” Teeter says, a process that includes a series of careful steps. “We work with contractors, architects, designers, and homeowners. After meeting with the client and getting a feel for the design aspect and look they want, our team assembles ideas, and then prepares CAD drawings. There are considerable design details for an entry door, and each of ours is unique,” he explains. “No matter how complicated the concept, with few exceptions, we find a way to get it done.”
“We manufacture our custom doors in-house in our shop in North Salt Lake,” Teeter continues. “The variations are endless: different wood species, painted, or stained. Some of our specialties are arched and radius designs, and we manufacture our own moldings to complement our doors. We provide a complete trim package of everything including interior moldings and hardware.”
While the focus of Salt Lake Mill is wood doors, they produce many variations. With the shift in interest to more modern designs, a recent door features brushed aluminum, and others have been prepared with metal, wood, and glass inlays. “It’s interesting to combine rustic with new,” Teeter adds, explaining that what he truly enjoys is being involved from start to finish and the custom aspect of every project. “With our drawings, no matter how creative the design, people have a really clear idea of what they can expect in the finished product.”
HAND-FORGED IRON DOORS
Visionmakers International began making iron doors 15 years ago. “At first, our doors featured ornate, scrolling designs, but we have progressed, and now we produce iron doors in any size, shape, or design,” says Josh Prazen, owner-operator, who adds that Visionmakers doors now combine iron, glass, wood, and corrugated steel.
“With the modern look gaining popularity in the market, we are building more pivot doors, and we have introduced the new Max View line for doors with a thin metal framework and maximum glass for both residential and commercial applications.”
Visionmakers is a full-service door company. “We have our own factory with trusted craftsmen and careful oversight, and we work from initial design, through drawings, manufacturing, and finish work. We install doors throughout the state,” explains Prazen.
Some of Visionmakers’ most memorable doors are definitely one of a kind. They recently fulfilled an architect’s vision for a six-by-nine-foot walnut-clad pivot door. “It’s exciting to try new things and develop new applications,” Prazen says of his portfolio of unique doors.
Visionmakers offers entire packages. Hardware is sourced through a variety of dealers, and individually crafted stationary pulls are also available. The doors are pre-hung and delivered with the jamb and frame. “These doors have a strong presence, with a thickness of two inches for traditional doors and three for pivot. It takes expertise for them to swing easily and to seal correctly,” adds Prazen.
PIVOT DOOR WITH INNOVATIVE SILL SYSTEM
Doors that are crafted to become heirlooms are the goal of Dan Mullins, owner of Red Horse Fenestration, which specializes in pivot doors and ships pivot and other custom doors nationwide from their headquarters in Truckee, California.
Pivot doors differ from traditional butt-hinged doors in the hardware that attaches the door to the doorframe. Instead of hinges at the door’s edge, the door swings around a spindle inset into the floor so that the majority of the door swings inside, but a smaller section will swing the opposite direction. “The advantage of a pivot door system is that it holds larger, heavier doors for that spectacular wow factor—a grand entrance to your home,” Mullins explains.
Red Horse Fenestration creates pivot doors in wood, steel, and a combination of wood, metal, and glass. “Our designs are completely customized to the concept of the architect and designer and the style of the home,” Mullins says. “Based on the design concept, we draw up plans, prepare a bid, and build the custom door—complete with hardware and a sill according to our own system, for which we have a patent pending. Our sill allows for customizing the sill for a zero transition from the finished floor or making it taller to allow for an interior doormat. It can handle a door up to 660 pounds and can be installed anywhere.”
The installation is simple, and Red Horse offers assistance via FaceTime meetings, if necessary. “With our system, contractors are installing our pivot doors as quickly as they can install a traditional butt-hinged door. Red Horse makes custom grip pulls ranging from tree branches to square and round type grips to complete our pivot doors,” Mullins adds.
An incredible and striking home demands a door that will strengthen the look and impact of the design. Door specialists and their craftsmen are ready to take on any challenge to make the entry perfect—to ensure that the moment one touches the hardware and walks across the threshold, a home becomes memorable. It’s the welcoming handshake of your home, after all.