Barbra installs mid century style front doors from Therma-Tru’s new line

mid-century-door-before-and-afterWhen reader Barbra bought her 1959 ranch home in 2010, she was in love with all of its original features — except one. The main entry doors were glass sliders that could not be unlocked from the outside — forcing her to use the side entry to come and go. The sliding glass doors were not only inconvenient, but also did little to keep the Florida heat at bay. Barbra knew the doors needed to be replaced, but couldn’t bring herself to install doors that didn’t fit the style of her home, so she diligently searched for a pair of vintage doors at local salvage yards. After years of searching without result, Barbra was thrilled to see our story about the new Pulse line of mid century modern doors from Therma-Tru — at last providing her with a solution to her front door dilemma.

mid-century-glass-sliderBarbra writes:

In 2010, I fell in love with a 1959 ranch style house and I’ve been working on it since.  It still has the original pink bathroom (and the original green and yellow one too), as well as all the original kitchen cabinets.

Unfortunately, it also still had the original sliding glass doors for the front entry way. Not only were they not energy efficient, but they also had NO locking mechanism on them. The original pinch pleat drapes in the living room hid them on the inside, and a side door was being used as the main entrance.

I needed to replace the sliders, but I did not want to just put new generic double doors in their place. I wanted something that would look like it belonged.

Thank goodness for your post on Therm-Tru’s new line of doors! It was the answer to my prayers! I’m not joking in that I was becoming obsessive bordering on compulsive in looking on Craigslist and visiting Habitat for Humanity to try to find a vintage replacement. I also considered Crestview, but I was concerned in that I would need to find my own contractor for the install, and the price was at the top end of my range, not including the install. Since I live in Florida, Therma-Tru doors had another plus — they are fiberglass — which makes them more energy efficient and not subject to swelling or mildew issues from the humidity.

Rather than working with a big box retailer, I found a local company that carries the Therma-Tru brand (listed on the Therma-Tru website). They use their own installers, and had favorable reviews from several of my favorite online review sites.

Mid-century-double-doorsI’d like to relate some horror story to show the pain and suffering I endured to justify that I waited THREE years to do this, but it was embarrassingly easy.  I went to the business, set-up an appointment for a measurement. The representative came to my house and measured the entryway. They ordered the door, made an appointment for the install, and when the day for installation arrived, in about 5 hours they had removed the old sliders and installed the new doors. They even handled the permits with the county for the door replacement.

As far as cost, the double doors were right around $1,000.00 and installation cost $600.00.

Now I have money left over for paint, house numbers and lighting fixtures!

Barbra — thanks so much for sharing your experience with the retro tribe. Your new doors look great. It is good to know that the door buying and installation process went smoothly. With the big expense of new doors taken care of, I’m sure you’ll be able to save up for some new paint and house numbers soon — the hardest part will be picking a color for your new front doors.



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  1. Mary Elizabeth says

    Wow, Barbra, what a great choice! Are you sure those sliding patio doors were original to the house? Because they were bizarrely out of place for a ’50s ranch entrance. I can just hear the architect/builder saying to the customer, “You want what?” Good choice of the style and color of the new door. It sets off the white wrought-iron railings and the colors and textures of the brick and stone of the steps, porch, and entryway. The whole effect says, “Y’all come in!”

    • says

      I wouldn’t be surprised if they were or something similar was in place. My grandparents’ home in FL had awkward (unused) French Doors for the front entrance, but the side door into the kitchen (jalousie window door) was the “main” point of entry into the house. It’s been my experience, that the closer you are to water in Florida, the more the (older) homes were designed to stay “open” – doors and windows. A lot of the older homes also did not have AC, so keeping the doors and windows open allowed for air flow and easy of life.

      • Anastasia says

        Also the fact that the doors are under a porch and were lock less point to them being original as well. The porch for cooling the house and such during the time. They also used trees for shade as well (probably long since cut or removed) Both lower the temp around the house by at LEAST 10 degrees and allow breezes through further cooling the space. Typical of the south. The glass doors was probably a “new fad” for the builder at the time. And the update (we no longer live in a time where we know EVERYONE in our neighbor and their extended families) is EXCELLENT! Well Done! This follow Pam’s Ideology of Getting the Expensive done right the first time, even if it means waiting a bit.

  2. says

    Great choice! Those doors look great, as do the broken tile paving. Love to see your choice of new light fixtures. ( I vote for simple round white globes)

  3. JKM says

    The doors look perfect! Love the broken quarry tile porch, too. I’ve always wanted that in a sunroom. Of course, I’d have to get a sunroom first…..:)

  4. Sarah g (roundhouse) says

    Although I love the design of my doors that I installed almost 3 years ago, they are crap. They were just the plain wood slab doors from lowes, the cheap of the cheap that I customized. They swell like all the time bc I live in 86 percent humidity and have already broken and been fixed…. When I go to replace them this will definitely be my choice!! Love the look, love the fact that they are fiberglass!

  5. says

    I like the style of door you chose. It goes great with your house! I too have sliders as my main entrance and they are original to the house. Luckily ours have locks that you can use from both sides, so it isn’t too bad. Actually, the “front door” would have been attached to the front porch, but someone removed it and we have yet to find a decent replacement. We will probably just find a solid door and DIY something like the Crestview doorlite kits. Sliders can sometimes be a pain, but I do love the light they bring into our little house!

    • Robin, NV says

      FYI – Crestview will no longer be offering the doorlite kits. Their latest newsletter said they are shifting to all custom door orders. If you want a doorlite kit from them, you should order now. They were having an online warehouse sale last week, it might still be going on.

      • Allen says

        Unfortunately door lite kits were discontinued as of 7.15.13. I had to order some at the last minute which pushed my budget but had to be done. I feel Crestview has forgotten where they have come from. Their new prices on full doors are outrageous.

        • Robin, NV says

          Allen – yeah, I just looked on their wesbsite and their prices have really gone up. I got my door from them back in the spring and I paid about $750 for an unstained, unmounted (no hardware) Grover C. Now the Grover C is starting at $2940!!! All their doors now come prehung with hardware but that doesn’t justify the jump in price! Even if my door had come prehung, it would have only been about $1300. They’ve more than doubled their prices. I hope they don’t run themselves out of business.

          • Allen says

            Yes, Robin over doubled on the price! I ordered a set of Grover (a) door lites for my parents house and 2 parkway lites for the church front doors which are plain slabs right now. I’m glad I got my order in before they went away. Once completed I hope to send photos to the site for people to see.

      • says

        I know. I was not very happy to see that announcement. Crestview products were already at the top end of our budget before, now they’re just light years away from it. The doorlite kits were the only affordable option for people like us. Oh well. Thankfully, my hubby works in the construction field and knows how to do that stuff. Like I always say, the next best thing to finding a rich guy is finding a handy one. Haha.

        • Robin, NV says

          It makes me sad that Crestview is turning their backs on the little guy. The doorlite kits were such a great option for those of us on a budget. I’m glad I ordered my door when I did. It’s still in its box waiting to be stained and installed but it’s going to look amazing once it’s in.

    • Sarah g (roundhouse) says

      Any glass company can make these ‘doorlites’ for you. Any size, shape, glass and even double pane. And it’s much cheaper than what crestview had been charging. No need to change your plans everyone! Just check out your local glass company

        • 52PostNBeam says

          Second that. All these original doors were made by regular old contractors, woodworkers, people with tools in the garage etc… and didn’t require anything fancy or expensive. That’s part of the beauty of old stuff, you can usually figure out how to take it apart and put it back together – or make one from scratch.

  6. Barbra says

    Thank you and I love the suggestions for new porch fixtures. I bought the house from court receivership from the original owner, and based on the hardware, I’d say the sliders were original. I didn’t realize how much the doors would make the entry pop and the broken quarry tiles stand out until after it was done. For Florida, the thermatru doors were a great solution – and now I can get rid of my plywood sheet hurricane shutters for the front door!

    • Cynthia says

      Barbra, great job, perfect practical solution AND perfect mid-century look. I’m in Florida too (South Florida, east coast)…would you mind giving at least the general area (such as county?) where you found this great house? In my area there is virtually nothing left with the beloved mid-century features…everything has been “updated” (i.e., stripped of character)…thank you and I hope you see this reply and that you feel comfortable giving me a hint on where to look!

    • Cynthia says

      Douglas, actually, in Florida it’s very unusual for the front entry to be a slider (a/k/a patio door). I’ve lived here for decades and been all over the state…first time I’ve seen such a thing on a house. Sometimes they were used on hotel efficiency apartments. My guess is that it was a “custom” feature requested by an original or prior buyer, or maybe even the builder, a northern transplant going overboard on what was once a novelty to the northerners building or buying homes in Florida…the sliding glass door. Those awning windows and the slider look like aluminum-framed originals from the late 50s or 60s, or possibly 70s replacements of 50s-60s jalousies.

      • pam kueber says

        Someone on the Facebook page suggested the original door may have been one door with two door-height sidelights. That sounded like it might be right…

  7. Robin, NV says

    Those new doors look so much better! I’m glad Barbra found a nice solution to her door woes. As others have mentioned – love the broken tile paving on the porch. Now the entry just needs to be accessorized with some vintage porch furniture and some new lights and it will be perfect!

  8. June Cahill says

    Ooohhhh, YES! That’s the ticket! And FL – where you need to get a permit to change your door? Unreal!:(

    Love the look and the choice – the gov’t interference I could do without!

  9. pam kueber says

    Hey, everyone, can we keep the comments regarding Crestview… civil. Based on what I’ve read, and from what I know about the market, I can understand what I *think* is the rationale for their decision: Considering the evolution of mid mod, including now that mass marketers are coming in to the market, Crestview needs to redefine where and how they can compete. Case in point: These Therma-Tru doors: I can’t imagine how a small firm can compete against the marketing muscle and distribution network of a mass marketer like this.

    Crestview has always been a very hands-on, labor-intensive-sounding enterprise … focused on fine craftsmanship. To make a business and survive, you must be able to make money. Moving “up market” to handle high end customers who can afford what it costs for this kind of service — is totally understandable.

    So, I understand.

    They gotta do what they gotta do.

    Let’s all wish them well. They were pioneers. Kinda like this blog, I like to think! I think we started right about the same time.

    So let’s be kind. Okay?

    • 52PostNBeam says

      I would be interested in seeing an interview with them, maybe 6 months from now, regarding their company story, decisions and more importantly the results. I bet a lot of people would like to know more about the mid mod market. For instance – did Viking’s line of St. Charles cabinets, clearly tailored for upscale success, actually pay off? (they are discontinued now, but we don’t know any of the reasons why)… ditto for Formica’s retro reissues, etc. Some case studies of the business side of “mid mod mad” would be good content. The business model is a tough nut to crack when the vast majority of goods bought and sold in this niche are from the “secondary market.”

      • Allen says

        Good Thought! I would like to have research on this information as well just to see where companies are coming from.

      • pam kueber says

        Great thoughts, 52. I would think there is a distinct difference vis a vis St. Charles: St. Charles depended on a distribution network. Crestview sells direct-to-customer. And, St. Charles’ product — a whole set of kitchen cabinets — was way more of a headache to produce for a demanding high-end customer than it woudl be for Crestview to produce its produce — a single door.

        My guess is that the complexity of cabinet-making and -selling, combined with the complexity of working through a distribution network, killed the latest iteration of St. Charles.

        Interestingly, the European market, maybe especially Italy, seems to still have steel cabinets. I think you still get them, but they are very very high end.

  10. Brian T says

    If I were Barbara, I’d be calling my insurance company to see whether I could get a rate reduction. Those new doors would be way harder to bust down if a burglar wanted to get in.

  11. says

    What a difference! Those new doors look great! (and like it would be very easy now to bring enormous pieces of furniture in if one wanted…always a plus! : ) )

    • Robin, NV says

      One of the best things about my house is that it has an enormous sliding glass door to the back patio, which leads to the rear gate (a big one), which leads to the alley. When we moved in, we backed the moving truck right up to the back step, lowered the ramp into the dining room and simply walked stuff right into the house. No step to worry about and everything fit throught the door, no problem. It was bliss.

  12. says

    Awesome!! I put in an order for a singe version of the exact same door a few weeks (but with the handles on the door lites side) for our back door.

    I also looked into getting a Crestview but as we live in Canada the DIY requirement, cost, and hassle of shipping to Canada was a put the nail in the coffin for me.

  13. Lisa says

    Nice job on the doors, but Barbra, I want to see more pictures from a bit farther away! Pretty please?

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