What Your Front Door Says About You

Before buying a house in Brooklyn six months ago, I lived in apartment buildings for my entire adult life, so I never gave a second thought to the front doors. Apartment front doors wouldn’t win design awards, even in luxury buildings in Manhattan, and you’re not permitted to change them.

The front door to my new house was downright ugly, from the design, with a little “window” that was better suited for a prison, to the depressing brown paint.  It also was smaller than the original front door, which was actually a double door that stood an imposing 8-feet tall. Some of the houses on the block still have their grand original doors, dating from around 1899. And, my door had a hideous black iron gate in front of it, probably dating back to the days when the neighborhood was, unfortunately, riddled with crime. Both doors had to go!

Every time I visited Brooklyn before I even contemplated moving here, I’d love to look at front doors in the borough’s distinct neighborhoods. Each door imparted a different vibe, so I had a pretty good idea what I wanted by the time it came to choosing one of my own. A rep from Home Depot told me there wasn’t enough space to have double doors, and even when I pointed out the double doors at the same style house a few doors away, his opinion didn’t change. I later learned that Home Depot doesn’t do custom doors in unconventional sizes (at least by today’s standards), so the guy fibbed rather than risk losing the sale. He lost the sale anyway, because Santos (who built my kitchen and bedroom closets) told me that, of course, he could make tall double doors that resembled the originals.

I originally wanted  black doors, but decided to go with blue because it’s happier, but still looks smart. Consulting with the people at Farrow & Ball, I chose their Cook’s Blue, which isn’t too bright or too subdued. The new steel rails leading up to the door are painted in a slightly darker shade of blue. The whole effect is sunny and welcoming, even on a bleak January day.

Each of the 11 doors we’ve photographed below, in New York and LA, conveys a unique mood. We’d love to see a photo of YOUR FRONT DOOR, with a note on what it says about YOU. You can email your photo to shelley@faboverfifty.com.

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