WE instinctively associate hospitality with the open door. When a friendly door is thrown wide to reveal a bright hall, we may be fairly sure of the quality of the welcome awaiting us within. On the other hand, there are those forbidding front doors which strike a feeling of chill and terror, no matter how attractive the rest of the house exterior may be.
Design, setting and colour have a great deal to do with this friendly atmosphere, and the actual door furnishings are very important, for they convey an impression of their owners taste and character to the visitor awaiting admission.
Here is a typical Georgian door with glazed upper panels and brass Undoubtedly a good door in the right setting does, by itself, convey a note of welcome – one has only to think of the large-hearted appearance of the heavy oak Tudor door in its frame of mellow brick or plaster, or the urbane dignity of the painted Georgian door, an ornamental note in an otherwise flat exterior.
An oak door of the first type needs little in the way of fittings; a pair of decorative wrought-iron hinges and a knocker, for use or ornament, are all that are really required. I always feel that a knocker is one of those survivals of an earlier age which are worth retaining as a decoration alone, the modern electric bell being installed unobtrusively in the brickwork at the side. Wrought iron will last bright if regularly rubbed over with a cloth moistened with paraffin – which will also protect it from rust – and the oak door itself should be given an occasional dressing of linseed oil to protect it from the weather and bring out the colour.
Doors – Antique and Modern
PAINTED doors, both antique and modern, allow for greater latitude in the matter of fittings, and also for introducing a cheerful note of bright colour. Cornflower blue, apple green, and pillar-box red are all efiective and practical colours, and a glossy black door with silver fittings in a coloured frame is unusual and distinctive.
GEORGIAN doors usually had brass or silver fittings, but reproductions of these can now be bought in the more practical untanushable chromium plate or Monel metal. This last is a metal which looks like silver and does not rust. Antique brass knockers can, of course, be made untarnishable by being given a coat of transparent lacquer. This would need renewal two or three times a year.
Painted doors need care in winter and summer alike if they are to look their best. Heat and sun in summer will crack and blister the best of paints unless the door be protected by a blind or curtain; but fog, rain and soot can also contribute their share in winter to making the door look dull and smeary.
A periodical wash down with a chamois leather wrung out in warm water works wonders in improving a dull-looking door, and when it has dried a little linseed oil well rubbed in helps to protect the polish.
When the door is exceptionally dull and dirty, paraffin on a cloth is a good cleanser, but this should only be used occasionally, as frequent .applications of paraffin are apt to dull the paint.
White doors, incidentally, sometimes have a tendency to become yellow and discoloured-looking. A rub with warm vater and a little whitening will usually restore their original whiteness.
Coming back to the question of welcome, guests probably approach our houses more frequently at night than during the day. If you have ever wandered up and down a strange road trying to locate a certain number with the aid of matches, you will appreciate what a difference an easily visible name or number plate makes to the amenities of the entrance.
One good suggestion is cast bronze name and number plates with bold lettering filled in with cream vitreous enamel, so that they stand out and can be easily read even in the faintest light.
THE old custom of carving inscriptions on some part of the interior or exterior of the house is being revived. Some typical examples from existing buildings, both ancient and modern, may be of use to readers who like a touch of quaintness in their homes:
Come hither, come hither, come hither, on an illuminated fanlight over the door.
It is also a good plan to have one switch for the light in the porch at the gate, so that one does not arrive at the front door in darkness and have to grope for the keyhole. And, while speaking of darkness, it is still worse to have to feel for the electric switch when one enters the hall.
A new Bwitchplate which has recently been put on the market has a tiny bulb in the baso, consuming only a negligible amount of current in a year, which glows in the dark so that the switch can be found in a moment. It can be bought in several designs, and costs no more than the ordinary switchplate.
Here shall you see no enemy but winter and rough weather. Up, and be doing, and God will prosper. Through this wide opening gate, None come too early, none return too late. Nothing without work.