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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!”

    1. Ashly 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.

      1. 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. 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…..:)

  3. 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!

  4. Katie B. 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!

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

          1. 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.

      2. Katie B. 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.

        1. 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.

    2. 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

        1. 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.

  5. 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!

    1. 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!

      1. Doug says:

        Come north, Cynthia. There are still lots of wonderful midcentury modest homes everywhere from Melbourne to Jacksonville.

          1. Barbra says:

            Cynthia – I’m in Hillsborough county – look in Brandon area and east county as a lot of that area was built up in the 1950s.

    1. 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.

      1. 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…

  6. 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!

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