Doors galore — 4 places to find midcentury modern entry doors + DIY tips

midcentury doorsOver the past several months, we’ve been covering the growing number of retailers selling midcentury modern entry doors. Today, we’ve pulled all our research together — sharing four places where you can find a retro style front entry door for your home — plus, we have some super affordable DIY options to consider, too.

1. Simpson Doors

Mid-century-doors

Colonial-mid-century-doors-1We first spotlighted Simpson Doors when reader Doug tipped us to their  midcentury Early American (aka “Cool-onial”) style doors. Several months later, reader Mitch saw that the company also had 9 midcentury modern door styles tucked in their catalog. All of the midcentury door styles Simpson Doors offers are made of wood in the USA and can be custom ordered in a variety of sizes, wood species and glass styles. The company also offers many helpful tools such as their door test drive tool and glass taste test to help make choosing a new door style easier.

 

2. Therma-Tru Pulse line doors

Therma-tru pulse door line

It was big news last year when we discovered that a mass-market door manufacturer — Therma-Tru — had introduced a new line of midcentury modern style front entry doors. The doors are part of their “Pulse” line — which comes in four styles with variations — and are available in oak grained fiberglass, smooth (paintable fiberglass) and steel and are manufactured right here in the USA in Indiana.

We’ve heard from several readers who have had Therma-Tru “Pulse” line doors installed with varying results in terms of ease of ordering, having the door installed and how they liked their door once the installation process was over. We wrote about reader Barbra’s super easy experience with her new Therma-Tru door installation, but also heard the long saga from reader Scott, who initially found it difficult to find someone to install a Therma-Tru door for him.

 

3. Frank Lumber — The Door Store

mid-century-doors

Frank Lumber has been in business in the Pacific Northwest since 1948 — and they stock eight models of solid birch wood doors, with many available options for customization in different wood species, glass and sizes. The doors themselves are made just up the road in Marysville, Washington, by Kylemont Custom Wood Doors, their partner company. Frank Lumber also prides themselves in giving expert customer service and advice for your door project — however if you are too far away to visit the shop in person, they will ship doors and have a handy how-to to help you measure for your new door.

 

4. Millwork Market

mid century doors

door-lite-kitMillwork Market is the newest competitor among manufacturers of midcentury modern doors, opening in June 2014. The company offers 23 designs of midcentury modern exterior doors and 21 styles of DIY Lite Kits. Based in Austin, Texas, the company manufactures all of their products in house.

 

5. Make your own, affordable door-lite kits

DIY-doorlites

Creative reader Sarah, with the help of a local glass shop, made her own midcentury door.

Inventive reader Sarah — owner of the fabulous Gilbert Spindel designed round house — shared the steps she used to make her own midcentury style doors using a plain wood slab door and her local glass shop. For just $30 — she did her own carpentry — Sarah was able to make the door above, a perfect complement to her 1964 home. In our story featuring Sarah’s project, Pam also did some of her own investigative DIY door work locally, and, we heard from a few other readers who tried to DIY their own retro doors using a few different methods.

 

Note: Glass will have a “blaze”

We also want to add this learning: When Scott bought his Therma-Tru door, he discovered that each pane of glass on the door had a watermark that he found distracting. We asked the helpful team at Therma-Tru about this, and they explained:

Therma-Tru-watermark-on-glass

Photos of Scott’s Therma-Tru Pulse door with watermarks that display on each pane of glass

….By federal law, safety glass must be used in doorlites and sidelites, no matter who the door manufacturer may be. This same law requires that each individual piece of glass must be clearly marked with a visible code number. This is generally called “the blaze” within our industry and is required as a federal safety regulation. Most manufacturers also choose to put their company name on each glass panel.

While this coding is not required on most windows, it is required on every individual piece of glass within a door and/or sidelite. When the glass is larger or has a decorative design, the blaze is not very visible. However, when the glass pieces are smaller and/or completely clear, the blaze does tend to stand out a bit, as Scott has experienced.

We understand that Scott has replaced our glass, and we’d like to suggest that he make certain that the auto glass installed meets the federal safety regulations, both to comply with the laws and for his family’s safety. He can check on this with the person who supplied the glass, or look for the code numbers on each pane of glass.

Finally, we want to thank Scott for his feedback. We are committed to providing the best product possible and appreciate his comments as we continue to look for ways to improve our products.

So note, dear readers: It sound like, no matter where you buy a new door like this — no matter who the manufacturer — you’re going to get a watermark “blaze” on each pane of glass… although the manufacturer’s logo may or may not also be on there, depending on their practice.

It’s great to see the growing number of options for front doors. Cuz, as they say, you only get one chance to make a good first impression!

Get our retrolicious free newsletter.

Newsletter-sign-up-2NMAS

Comments

  1. Mary Elizabeth says

    Love my three “coolonial” Simpson doors, in my house since it was built in 1959. They only needed repainting on the outside and wood cleaning on the inside. We have replaced the locks, but not the door hardware; we may replace the glass on the kitchen door at some point to get the newer safety glass.

  2. Eileen says

    I had three Therma-Tru Pulse doors installed. The front door is a 4-lite version, flat, paintable fiberglass. I painted it Benjamin Moore Pool Blue. So far lots of good comments. I also noticed the watermark in each pane of glass but my windows are not clear glass so it’s not that noticeable. Also when I used a razor blade to clean up some paint that got on the glass, some of the therma-tru name came off. So you may be able to minimize it.

    I don’t know if it’s still true for this tax year, but my door was eligible for an energy-savings tax deduction. Therma-Tru had information posted on their site. My contractor had no problem obtaining and installing the door, and I noted a few independent places in my area that advertise that they can install.

    And the best part is that I love my new door! I get lots of compliments on it – one of the most common being that the door really goes with the house – and people love the color. Definitely one of the best changes I’ve made to the exterior!

  3. Jay says

    Interesting! I knew storm door glass had to be safety glass but did not know it applied to exterior doors and sidelights as well. I had to go back and read Scott’s saga. I agree that for the sake of quality control, all of the blaizes should have been oriented the same way. Also, for such small panes of glass, as a manufacturer of the door I don’t think I would have been compelled to add the company name to the glass ID coding, at least with clear glass. Doesn’t sound like it’s required by law.

  4. says

    We are looking for some flush interior doors for our house as well as some good quality bi-fold doors. Does anyone have any brand suggestions?

    Our last doors did little to curb sound, so we are looking for something that is period and has some sound reducing qualities.

    Oh! And we’re getting a Simpson Coolonial :) door for our kitchen/garage exterior door. It is a very close match to our front door!

  5. sarahjaneb says

    I can’t find that first set of Simpson Doors on their website. Does anyone have a direct link? Also, the Simpson test drive link is 404.

    • Kate says

      Thanks for letting us know about the link, looks like they have recently updated their website. I fixed the door test drive link — should be working now!

      • sarahjaneb says

        Yes, it works now, thanks! This is weird – the only way I can find those doors is through the test drive app. If I do a search from “find a door” and select exterior and then style->contemporary, I get 113 results, and those doors aren’t there. If I select the same search parameters but from the test drive tool, I get 146 results, and there they are, at the end of the result set. In case anyone is having the same issue, you can find them by entering the door number in the text box at the bottom of the left frame. They’re 49901-49909.

  6. Alison Schmidt says

    What great resources. Eileen, I’d love to see a photo of your fiberglass front door all painted and installed ! Anywhere on the internet I could see that? Or somewhere here you could post it?

  7. Eileen says

    Hi Alison,

    I have a picture but no place to post it. If I figure out a place to post, I’ll add a note with a link.

  8. Eileen G says

    Hi Eileen,

    Another Eileen here who would love to see your door. I am in the process of a remodel and waiting for my Therma-Tru Pulse door to come in. Trying to decide on a color for mine.

    Eileen G

  9. May says

    The house I grew up in had the first door pictured under the Frank Lumber items. It was painted a 70’s dark avocado-ish green. Ah….memories.

  10. virginia says

    I am replacing three doors in my 1955 house, and found a new source to tell you about! I did use Therma-Tru Pulse Solei for two, but for the front door I found that Rogue Valley Doors has several mid-century options. Rogue Valley is slightly more expensive than Frank Lumber doors if you are local to Seattle, but less expensive if you incorporate shipping or compare them to Simpson. Look for the “Urban” collection on http://www.roguevalleydoor.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *