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Debbie Travis' House to Home: A woodsy welcome

This week Debbie Travis offers readers some options for doors to their homes
Tree door - A youthful symbol of beauty and happiness, the apple tree is a fitting adornment for this custom front door from Madawaska Doors.

Doors are not all created equal - or alike. Drive around your neighbourhood, and of the hundreds of exterior doors, you won't find many front doors that match. We like to personalize the entrance to our homes, even if it's simply with the paint colour. Although it might not be the first item on your decorating or renovation to-do list, there are good reasons to consider an upgrade if your entrance is less than appealing, or if air is 'leaking' around the door, costing you energy dollars.

Thinking green, the R-value is a measurement of transferable heat, a high R rating corresponds to a low transfer, which is a good thing. The material the door is built with is a factor, as well as how well the door is mounted, including weather stripping. When shopping for a door, consider its insulation factor along with the style. A well-built door will give you both. 

I spoke with Kristina Lafrance, Manager of Business Development at Madawaska Doors. Their custom solid wood doors afford you the opportunity to create a door with endless design and style options. Lafrance reminds us that wood is a sustainable, green material. Each species has a unique colour and graining, so no two doors will look exactly alike. With wood you have a choice of a curved, carved, raised, or flat surface, glass inserts and sidelites. When you plan to replace your front door, allow the age and architecture of the building to assist you in your design. 

I was curious about door trends in general, and if there were any strong leaders in today's marketplace.  "The Craftsman door with the custom dentil ledge under the high window is a timeless piece of work," says Lafrance, "today we are seeing the door in walnut, and darker stains. Beveled glass is very popular and Dutch door systems are making a comeback. Heritage woods, including walnut, cherry and mahogany are in demand. Many Victorian homes have a double door entrance, which is not only regal, but has a practical side, allowing for easy mobility in and out of the building, and keeps the heat in. We are seeing doors that are taller, wider and thicker. Tall, flat faced solid wood doors suit contemporary architecture --  they show off the beauty of the wood's grain in an unadorned way that complements a more minimal esthetic."

More light is always welcome in a home, and with better quality insulated glass it's no surprise that sidelites, windows in, and transoms above doors are becoming more prevalent. No matter what your style preference, glass can be made part of the design. If privacy is an issue, then the glass can be tinted, frosted or etched to block inside views while allowing light to enter. Stained glass adds another dimension with shots of colour and stylized images. 

The apple tree door seen here is one of Madawaskaís most unique designs. The stainless steel tree has been applied to a rustic knotty pine wood door. The door is constructed with 100 per cent solid wood, providing durability, strength and beauty. The beveled insulated glass sidelites and transom provide a path for sunlight to fill the entrance hall. The simple, cut glass design balances the extravagant detail on the door.

A well-lit entryway stands out in the dark of night, and this contemporary door sets the stage for the home's style. The door is constructed with solid tongue and groove Stiles, held together by hidden splines within the mortice and tenon craftsmanship. The door's straight line detail juxtaposes nicely against the natural stone exterior walls.

Debbie Travis' House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Please email your questions to You can follow Debbie on Twitter at, and visit Debbie's new website


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