A Home’s Handshake:

By Sheri Block for the Calgary Herald

September 25, 2005

For now, forget the kitchen and bathroom. First impressions are what count. And critical to that, of course, is the image the front of your house projects onto the street.

As the temperature falls, there’s no place like home. Extending a warm welcome is key.

“The front door is the most telling detail of your house. Door hardware is a home’s handshake,” says Karyn Elliott, with Calgary’s Albertine Design and Crazy House Home Staging.

“You can give your entryway an instant lift by choosing a warm or welcoming colour, or dramatic colour, on your door. Or choose a handsome wood such as mahogany or cherry, or even a glass door. And get rid of the screen door.” Accessorizing the front door area is a low-cost way to update your home, says Elliott. She adds that spending a little bit of money on well-designed light fixtures, house numbers or mailbox will go a long way.

In Calgary, the Art of Hardware on 17th Avenue S.W. offers a good selection of hardware in traditional and contemporary styles. Project manager Erica Broad says the store carries a all kinds of of door handles and locks, from solid bronze and tubular stainless steel to Italian and European styles, in a number of different patinas. Products can be custom made and range in price from $250 to upwards of $3,000. “If someone is redoing their front door and buying a nice, new solid wood custom door, then I don’t think they’d want to skimp on the hardware. It would be worth it to put on something nice.”

Carol Reed, with Carol Reed Interior Design Inc. in Toronto, agrees that sprucing up your front door is one of the most important renovations that can be made. It improves the overall look of your home, while increasing its resale value.

The front door is also probably the most overlooked area of the home when people are renovating, but it is the first impression others have of your home, whether they’re visitors or potential buyers, she adds.

“A lot of people put a lot of time and effort into selecting new furniture and light fixtures and re-painting and they’re going for this really particular style or look in their home, whether it’s modern or contemporary,” says Reed. “Yet they’ve overlooked the fact they might have polished brass, really traditional hardware.” She suggests people try brushed metals, oil-rubbed bronze or a hand-wrapped patina instead.

Paint and hardware are the most inexpensive things to change and can have the most impact, says Reed, because it is the first thing people see and touch. “For the cost of you renovation dollars, I think it probably has a pretty good return,” says Reed.

“A front door makeover can be as little as the cost of the new paint for the door and a new handleset.”

If you’re looking to find out more information about doors and the hardware associated with them you can visit these websites: www.carolreeddesign.com; www.artofhardware.com; www.homestagers.ca.

Tips for Making a Grand Entry :

Paint the front door (This can be as simple as adding an accent trim or go bolder with all-over paint)

Change the hardware;

Add plants or terra cotta pots to porch;

Change the light fixtures, house numbers and mailbox;

Try replacing blinds at front door with opaque glass;

For a fall look, try adding big urns filled with twigs or dogwood or a seasonal wreath on the door;

Fill window boxes with pine cones or Spanish moss;

Add wood chips or cedar mulch around shrubs to increase curb appeal;

You could also add paving stones or bricks to front walk.

Courtesy Karyn Elliott, with Calgary’s Albertine Design and Crazy House Home Staging

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