Forum HomeCA-Modern ForumsHome Maintenance Hotline › Mid-Century Doors

Mid-Century Doors

9 replies [Last post]
Offline
Joined: Mar 27 2003

Can anyone provide some online resources for exterior doors that would complement a mid-century modern house? Our house came with your typical leaded glass job... definitely doesn't look right with the house. I'd like to replace it with something more typical of the 50s but I'm not sure where to look. Any ideas?

http://www.memorialbendarchitecture.com
[img]http://users.ev1.net/~michaelb/bend/tinylogo.jpg[/img]

Offline
Joined: Mar 20 2003

you would be hard pressed to find the style of door you're looking for on a web site or in a catalog. It's not that they are not available, or hard to find. It's just the style of door you're looking for is not something your typical door salesman wants to showcase.

The style of door most mid-century homes were built with are you basic slab door, without any special trim, moldings, or panels. No special cutouts or goofy windows. Just a plain, slab door. These doors are available from any door maker listed in your yellowpages. Usually a solid core in birch will work. They may seem dumbfounded you would want such a plain door!

Popular hardware was a regular knob, often backed by a 6" round escutcheon plate. Usually brushed aluminum or a dull brass. These plates are rare and no longer made. But there have been rumors of someone making some replicas. For today, a nice stainless steel set looks nice (brushed, not chrome).

To set these doors apart from others was the use of bright, contrasting colors. Often orange, red, green, yellow, and blue was used to contrast and compliment the earth tones of the rest of the exterior. No gloss, though. Keep your colors flat.

These modern design trends were seen on Eichlers, Pardee-Phillips, and Cliff May tract homes.

Offline
Joined: Mar 20 2003

Just yesterday we had installed a plain solid core birch door and it looks great. The grain in the door is really beautiful and it's so tempting just to stain it rather then paint it. However the house is now being painted a brown color (Benjamin Moore Rustic Taupe) with black beams and the door really calls out for a strong punch of color (Benjamin Moore Racing Orange). I even thought of painting just the outside and stain the inside, but I know it will look better having the same color inside and out. I just can't look when the painter puts that first coat of primer on! As for the paint type we went with a low sheen on the entire house. I'll post pictures when the painters are done.

Offline
Joined: Mar 27 2003

Sounds very cool... I've been thinking orange, too...

By the way, here's an example of what William Floyd did for one of the original homeowners in our neighborhood...

http://users.ev1.net/~michaelb/bend/mys1bhg1.jpg

That was in the April 1960 issue of Better Homes & Gardens. We still can't figure out which house that is... Floyd told me which side of the neighborhood but he can't remember where (it's been 40+ years so I can't blame him)

http://www.memorialbendarchitecture.com
[img]http://users.ev1.net/~michaelb/bend/tinylogo.jpg[/img]

Offline
Joined: Mar 20 2003

Ahh. Nice Mondrian. Great touch of mid-century modern art!

Mondrian was an odd fellow. If you haven't studied him, do an internet search and read a little. He hated green!

Offline
Joined: Mar 27 2003

The architect told me that when the owner requested a door that looked like a Mondrian, it took him about 50 sketches to get it right. I guess it looked good enough to get published.

http://www.memorialbendarchitecture.com
[img]http://users.ev1.net/~michaelb/bend/tinylogo.jpg[/img]

Offline
Joined: Mar 20 2003

In our area of Dallas I've seen a variety of front doors on MMM homes. Most are a basic slab style.. but alot have some sort of raised wood work on them.. Ive seen Verticle 1x1 strips set at 3" apart, raised square panels, and scary leaded glass.

Were attatching a series of 12" dia. discs to the front of ours, imagine a top of a Lego Brick... IM going to go walk My dogs in a bit and look a little closer at my neighbors houses

Offline
Joined: Mar 27 2003

We just took a walk in our neighborhood... it's a mix. There are quite a few newer doors but most of the doors that seem original are plain slabs. We did spot one door with three small (10" x 8") rectangles arranged diagonally. There's also one door a few streets over that looks like this:

http://www.memorialbendarchitecture.com
[img]http://users.ev1.net/~michaelb/bend/tinylogo.jpg[/img]

Offline
Joined: Mar 20 2003

I have to say that I agree that it's not as much about the door itself than the accessories. I think with mid-century doors, the door itself could be quite simple, with a clear wood finish or painted a hue of natural color (greens, oranges, browns). In my last 60's house, all the doors were birch, and in the new one, they will all be Luan. The knob, however, can play a huge part in making the door feel mid-century. I've found that they can be purchased new at a premium price (i priced a repro cylindrical knob with a 6" flat rosette circa 60's at around $500!). The really cool ones are knobs that are set in far, almost centered in middle of the door. Those are almost non-existent. I think too much accent on the doors itself makes it seem more 70s in look, and that's fine if you going for that. But if you really looks at some 50s stuff you find that design was a bit simpler than the 70s, yes?

Offline
Joined: Apr 2 2003

"I've found that they can be purchased new at a premium price (i priced a repro cylindrical knob with a 6" flat rosette circa 60's at around $500!)."

Cindy, can you give more details on this?

Jake

eichfan at rawbw dot com

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.