Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were
only walls. Joseph Campbell
In oneself lies the whole world and if you know how to look and learn,
the door is there and the key is in your hand. Krishnamurti
FOR CENTURIES, DOORS have held a special and often symbolic place in
philosophy, mythology, religions, and other areas of inquiry and belief. They
represent any number of human emotions, fates, and allegories. In Navaho traditions,
doors facing east are most felicitous. In China and other cultures, a door holds
the power to bring peace or chaos to a household, depending upon its placement,
color, and condition.
Many formal rules of Asian feng shui a form of geomancy that prescribes
a homes most harmonious layout and placement of elements include
the common-sense basics for any friendly front-door design, no matter its nationality:
Design doors to be in proportion to the house and room size
Create a path leading to your door that is clear, unobstructed, and
Spruce up the entry with a new brass number set
Check that the number of your house is clearly visible
Make sure the doorbell is easily located and works well
Ensure that the door opens easily and the key doesnt stick
Position furniture as far away from opening doors as possible
Keep shoes and clutter clear of the front door
Maintain your door, keep it clean and in good repair
Whatever our relationship with or belief about doors, one thing is certain:
The front door is a homes first point of contact for visitors, friends,
and family. It can represent our pride of ownership, a welcome mat to neighbors,
a face to the community that says weve arrived.
In American culture, there may be fewer formal rules and traditions surrounding
our care and cultivation of doors, but the fascination, respect, and even prestige
we bestow upon them can be seen in any town or city across America.
In Reno, if theres a trend, Id say its that people
like to make a statement with their doors. They like them to be distinctive
from their neighbors, and one-of-a-kind, said Kip Sargent, production
manager of Oneta Millworks, which designs and builds high-end custom doors with
meticulous attention to detail. We like to make works of art for our customers.
Sargent believes the art of a beautiful door begins with the materials, which
might be any number of hardwoods: mahogany, cherry, and knotty alder are currently
popular choices in Reno.
I came to Nevada four years ago from Scottsdale, Ariz., where its
dry there too, he says. But Nevada also has cold winters, which
can really wreak havoc on a door.
To better contend with the drying and damaging elements that can destroy a
custom door, Sargent acclimates his raw wood to the Nevada conditions first.
Once we know the size of the project and what kind of wood well
be using, we buy a bulk of lumber and then sticker and stack the wood to let
it get used to its environment before any work is done on it, he said.
ATTENTION TO DETAIL
Anticipating that a Reno door may be simultaneously exposed to outside temperatures
at sub-zero and inside temperatures in the 70s that can warp and crack a door,
Sargent uses special machining and other construction techniques that ensure
his doors remain stabilized, even in such extremes.
Brian Wheeler of B. Daniel Doors and Hardware also is meticulous about construction
and detail, some of which may need to be tailored for certain locations in a
home, he says. Door finishes also are a strong consideration when it comes to
door design and placement.
When a door is going on the south side of a house with no overhangs
to shade it from being sun blasted, we might suggest a material other than wood,
such as a fiberglass or composite, which can also be quite beautiful but with
a lot less maintenance, he said.
However, if a customer insists on using the beauty of wood where it may be
exposed to the elements, Wheeler advises that engineering, maintenance, and
finish whether its oiled or painted are extremely important
for lasting beauty.
The owner may need to have the door sanded and refinished annually in
order to keep moisture and sun from bleaching, cracking, and destroying the
wood, he said.
Regardless of a doors exposure to the elements, its finishes and treatments
can come in a range of choices.
Knotty alder is popular right now for a hardwood because of its pricing.
And weve seen a lot of Tuscany and French-country influences in Reno,
We can distress wood to make it look like it has worm holes and years
of aging. And cedar doors can be brushed to give them a weathered, Tahoe look.
Most custom door makers can transform a customers ideas and wishes into
reality no matter the style, and advise them on the best materials and finishes
to suit their tastes, budgets, and location. Skilled makers will work with contractors,
architects, designers, and homeowners alike, any of whom may bring in a sketch
on a napkin, a picture from a magazine, or just a vague description from which
to begin a design.
Some custom door makers may have their own showrooms with sample door components,
hardware, finishes, and woods to touch and feel. Their portfolios and Web sites
also are good sources of ideas, and can give customers a better clue as to their
skills and abilities. Custom makers may also prefer and work with particular
installers and subcontractors they trust who can help guarantee workmanship
and delivery timelines throughout the entire process.
Because a custom door begins from scratch, it may take four to eight weeks
or more for completion, depending upon availability of materials and the finishes
I like to give customers a longer timeline just to be safe, and then
be able to surprise them by delivering sooner, Kip Sargent said.
Makers like Vaughn Materials, B. Daniel Doors and Hardware, and others may
also represent other door companies, providing customers with a range of prices
and styles from larger manufacturers who build semi-custom and specialty doors,
including carriage-house garage doors and gates.
Some specialty makers, such as Artéfice by Dianda, are known for their
work designing, building, and installing an entire project, where they will
coordinate the door design and materials with the cabinetry and trim package
throughout the house.
For us to be competitive on just one door, the design and specifications
would have to be extremely unique, said Barry Phipps, millwork manager
DOORS WITH A PAST
Other sources for custom doors in Reno include specialty shops and furnishings
boutiques, such as Artesana or Habitat Home and Garden, which carry antique
and one-of-a-kind imported doors recovered or salvaged from interesting, old
buildings from around the world.
But no matter the style or design, there certainly will be a door worth opening
should one choose to look.
A. C. Turman, former features editor of HOME Magazine, a sister
publication of Architectural Digest, tends several Victorian doors in