Optimizing Front Doors in Vintage Homes in NELA
If you’re a homeowner thinking of selling, or a prospective buyer thinking of buying in the northeast of Los Angeles, you already know vintage homes are in demand and commanding top dollar.
If there is an enduring feature of Craftsman homes it’s the front door. They are solid, usually in finished (unpainted) wood, with the upper third in glass panes separated from the bottom third by a small “dentil” shelf. The door – commonly found on Craftsman homes in Pasadena, Altadena, Eagle Rock and other neighborhoods of Northeast Los Angeles – was a prominent part of the façade.
To put a fine point on it: rehabbers, don’t mess with this.
Front doors on vintage homes anywhere and of any type matter a whole lot. The statement Frank Lloyd Wright made with his smaller, off-center doors was to create a sense of privacy for the family within, and, as some argue, it was consistent with the prairie style philosophy of being part of the landscape, not dominating it. Who deserves personal grandeur when the home and its surrounding environment are so impressive?
Doors on Victorian, Craftsman, Tudor Revival, and Mission Revival homes – also features of real estate in NELA neighborhoods such as Mt. Washington, Montecito Heights, and Lincoln Heights – didn’t hold back from providing dramatic grand entrances. In fact, they celebrated them.
Which is why preservation of front doors, their appearance and their placement, matter a lot in the preservation of vintage homes. Entryways are integral to the overall scheme, both aesthetically and functionally.
It should be noted that Mid Century Modern homes, also plentiful in NELA, have their own door vernacular, as the architects say. It’s a little hard to pin down what that is, given the broad range of what MCMs look like, other than to say they tend to be very spare, clean, and minimalist – yet, colors often pop (e.g., magenta, chartreuse, orange, cerulean blue). To borrow from an article on HGTV.com, the MCM front door has at least one rule:
“If you really want to see the curb appeal [of your MCM home] take a nosedive, replace the front door with something ornate.”
Other styles of homes have their front door “rules,” so to speak:
Victorians – Decorative glass in or near the front door (transoms, sides) are part of the look, as are colors within the overall façade paint scheme.
Mission Revival/Mediterranean – By all means keep the original or have it reproduced. But with this style the landscaping and accessorizing matter as well. The pathway to the entry door might be a gravel-like decomposed granite (DG), or done with terra cotta pavers or Spanish tiles. Plants should be drought resistant, as befits Southern California and the style’s Mediterranean roots.
Craftsman – The stain of the wood on a Craftsman entryway can be gorgeous, but painted doors might help the overall color scheme. A Portland, Oregon Realtor told HGTV, “You can play up architectural details, such as columns, by playing down the body color of the home… painting door details, columns and porch ceilings a simple white really made them pop and showed off the home’s unique characteristics.”
Realtor Tracy King knows from a smart door and overall curb appeal, having sold homes in NELA for a quarter century. Contact her office (323-243-1234) to learn how you can increase the curb appeal of your home and how to achieve an optimal selling price as quickly as possible.