Sunday, September 5, 2010

Front Entry Improvements

After we built our house, we were happy with the front facade of the house, inititally.

        I especially love the front door.

When we were building our home, the choice of what kind of front door I wanted was a no brainer ... because I LOVE hand-forged wrought iron doors. Now picking out the design, dimensions, transom or not, shape of transom, finish and type and color of glass was a little more time consuming, but fun. I ended up going with an 8.5 foot double door unit with a 2 foot elliptical transom in a finish called Gunmetal Bronze. This door unit is seriously heavy. I think my builder said the whole unit weighs something like 750 pounds. Scary... I could not watch it being installed.
Cleaning it is super easy as the glass panels are hinged on the steel frame. To clean the glass, all I have to do is undo a few latches and open the panels. If you look closely, you can see dried drips of something on the inside of the glass.  That would be Doberman snot marks… my dogs think they can’t see out of glass unless they press their snouts directly against the glass and blow.  I clean most of my main floor windows and the front door glass at least three times a day, no kidding.

After living in the home a while, we decided we wanted something a little more special than just plain concrete for the porch.  Here is a picture of the front entry with plain concrete.

We decided to do a stamped and stained concrete finish. I think it added a lot to the entrance of our home. As decisions are always an issue for me, picking out the pattern and stain color took probably twice as long as it would have take a normal, balanced person, but I like the way it turned out. In fact, we ended up doing the same treatment on our back patio and sidewalks. Here are some pictures of the stamped  concrete in front.

We also decided we needed something a little more than just the landscaping we had already done to the right of the porch. We did not want to plant a tree because of potential light obstruction to the window behind the area, so we decided to add a simple urn water feature. The urn was a rusty muted terra-cotta color when installed. It has changed in appearance because I have not been good at adding the algae control liquid. I need to give it a good scrub.

Although, I think the front entry with the stained concrete and the water urn have been good additions, I still feel like the space could use something else.  I know I could do a nice fall wreath a little later in the season to add some color and interest.  If anyone has any ideas what else might look nice, I would love to hear them.

             My Romantic Home's Show and Tell Friday
                Between Naps On the Porch's Metamophosis Monday


  1. I can't think of a thing. Your home is gorgeous and I love the door, landscaping, fountain and the stained concrete. Beautiful. Hugs, Marty

  2. I had to think real hard to come up with 'something.' Your front entry is so beautiful, and perfectly staged, and in my opinion, all it needs is a wreath!

  3. Love the new stamped concrete. It makes the home look "rich" and "luxurious". Great choice!

    I am not so big on the whole wreath thing. What I do think would be nice would be to line the whole outer edge of the landscape (where the dirt meets the grass) with jumbo fall mums. Since your house is big, you'll want big mums as opposed to those tiny ones. Line the entire curve on each side with them. Yes, it's a lot of mums but you want a dramatic burst of color and if you have a big house, well you have to have big landscaping otherwise the scale is thrown off. It's hard to tell from your pictures but you may need to go more than one deep in some spots. Count how many you think you'll need (err on the side of more rather than less) and then purchase them all at the same time. Once you get them home, you can play around with the exact spot that you want them. I find it helpful to try a few different ways and then take pictures of them (before they are planted) and then look at them again that night. Plant them the next day once you've had some time to think about it. You should know pretty quickly what you like though but sometimes when you have a new house, it takes a bit of trying some new things.

    You could also get two jumbo pots and plant giant mums in them and put one on either side of the double doors. You may even need two on each side, one angled in front of the other one. If you are doing the pots thing, you'll want to put some money into some nice expensive stone pots to match the quality of your home. You could also just do this if you didn't want to go through the expense of lining the landscape with those mums.

    If you do line the entire landscape with mums and like it, then you can also do the same thing in the spring-you can plant tons of tulip bulbs there and then once they are done, you can plant a bunch of annuals there. My rule of thumb is to do one type of flower each season in the front for a more formal look.

    Hope these suggestions help.

    P.S. Love the glass/iron doors. Really beautiful home.

  4. You have a gorgeous house! I love the doors and the fact that the glass opens so you can clean it.

  5. What a very cool Before and After post!

    Obviously when you can spend the money-- the panels in the doors was a brilliant purchase!

    Your stamped concrete is yummy too. My only question is-- does it ever get slippery?

    This is my first visit to your blog -- hope you stop by and say hi!


  6. Love the stamped concrete. Did you have to remove the original or is there some kind of product you would use over the concrete?

    I am wanting to at least stain the concrete floor in our garage bathroom. I would love more info.

  7. Stamping that concrete sure warmed up the entire entry! So very pretty! Yup, I agree with Dream Mom about planting some mums along your walk. Other than that, great job! (And I didn't even notice the dog snot. Guess I'm used to seeing it on my own doors & windows! lol!)

    xoxo laurie@heavens-walk

  8. Thanks for the nice and helpful comments, everyone.

    Claudia, we have not experienced any slippery conditions with the surface. The porch, however, is covered and therefore somewhat protected from elements that could make it slick. We initially considered doing the treatment on the sidewalk leading up to the porch, but didn't because of safety concerns related to potential slickness.

    Cynthia, the treatment is actually a concrete overlay, meaning the product was applied over the existing concrete. After the product was applied, the pattern was stamped, then stained and sealed. I know that there are stains made just for concrete as one of my neighbors in my old neighborhood stained her driveway. It was gorgeous. If you want, I can get you the product she used. I will tell you that the stuff is oil based and REALLY stinks. Even though the product was applied in open air, helping with ventilation, I bet a few brain cells could have gotten fried using the product. :)

  9. Lori, The addition of the stamped concrete is just beautiful and very warm. Now your making me rethink using tile on my front porch. As far as the landscaping goes, I think you need to let that new landscaping grow a bit. Right now it's new and young and you may end up over planting.
    I personally like a nice clean walkway with an outline of solar lights to illuminate the path. You don't need anyone's help with this house! You have impeccable taste! I love looking at your house pics!

  10. I love iron too. Your double doors and transom with the iron looks amazing.

    I like your front stoop with stained stamped concrete instead of tile.

    I think you should give your landscaping time to grow before adding more. Maybe add yard decorations to your stoop, potted plants, maybe a bench.......

  11. You have a beautiful home - can't imagine it needs a thing !

    thanks for sharing it with us,

  12. The stamping is great. I love that choice. And the water feature! We need to do SOMETHING with our VERY ugly front door. It's good to know the cleaning tip on that. One of our neighbors has a door similar to yours, and she puts out matching swags - one on each door, for the seasons, and they look GREAT! super job!

  13. Dream Mom had a great suggestion with the flowering mums. With your beautiful zen landscaping and the architecture you are probably wanting something more personal or whimsical? If, so add a couple of massive pottery urns at the front door with ferns, grasses which will be green all year long. All you have to do is add seasonal flowers here and there. A wreath would be better off on a door inside close to the entry or maybe backyard if you entertain in the back.


  14. It looks gorgeous! I think a pop of color with some annuals would look great, but it already looks good :)

  15. O.M.G. your entry is fantastic! I absolutely love double front doors and the glass and iron complete it. SO I just have one question... where do you live and what do you do for a living? Cause I need a change in my path lol..

  16. Just saw this on somewhat simple link party, LOVE the doors. I have similar doors and I love them too. Your landscape and concrete improvements are beautiful, it just gives the house so much more pop!