Coloring book excercise

“The front door to the 1st floor unit needs to be replaced.” That was not a comment. It was an imperative, coming from two sources: Cathy and the building inspector.

Although the rationales differed slightly, the motivation was, in both cases, triggered by the glass pane. For Cathy, is was a simple security matter. For the building inspector, it was about fire rating.


Bottom line, I had to find a solid core replacement door.

That didn’t take too long. I had another door to replace, the existing door from the kitchen to the back porch.


That existing door, as it turned out, had the right dimensions to be re-purposed. The face of the door towards the porch had a pine finish, while the side facing the kitchen was oak. We found this out during the endless paint stripping, which our dear friend Anne dared to tackle.


After a quick check on the hinge placement and door swing at the new location, we determined that the pine side of the door would again face towards the outside (the common hallway).

“How do you feel about a baby blue stain on the pine – in the New Mexico spirit – where it means good luck?” Cathy had lived a number of years in Albuquerque. I wouldn’t dare to color any oak. But pine? I loved the idea!

How many ways are there to stain a door?

Turns out, quite a few! The whole door, or the raised panels only? How about the recessed panels only?


We put our friends to work, to help with the decision-making. I posted an image of the coloring options to Facebook and asked: “…Let us know which of four options you would prefer, and why.”

The suggestions rained in and a couple of them gave me pause, such as Laila’s: “It might depend a lot on the wall color and floor color, seeing it all together.” Of course! Context! We need more context!


Are you ready for round number two? The question is still the same: Which of the four options would you prefer now, and why? Leave a comment and let us know!

We can’t wait to hear back from you.

About Marcus de la fleur

Marcus is a Registered Landscape Architect with a horticultural degree from the School of Horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Sheffield, UK. He developed a landscape based sustainable pilot project at 168 Elm Ave. in 2002, and has expanded his skill set to building science. Starting in 2009, Marcus applied the newly acquired expertise to the deep energy retrofit of his 100+ year old home in Chicago.

9 thoughts on “Coloring book excercise

  1. Ooh! I like #4. With it, you get the blue without it being overpowering. I like #4 a bit more than #3 because you get the blue contrasting with the wood of both the door frame and the recessed areas of the door.

  2. I like three. I like the painted panels of number one because it reminds me of my childhood home. Two makes me say “less is more”, which is always good. Three or one. I have been remodeling a house with Mike for a dozen years, sometimes he just shakes his head and walks away. Three.

  3. In Sweden we like the blue colour – put in a yellow cross and it get’s even better ;o)

    Emma: all blue #2 or #3, depending on the colour of the house.
    Iris: #3 or #4
    Leon: #3
    Oliver: #4 which gives a stronger contrast and highlights the door
    or #3 – depending on which surface makes it is easier to maintain a clean and fresh look around the handle and lock (durablity…)

  4. Seeing it in context does change things a bit, compared to just looking at the door alone. I like #2, followed by #4.

  5. Hm. In the first running, I liked #2 best, but with the trim and surround… I like #3 better! So many tiny but monumental decisions… makes you want to tear out your hair sometimes, no? Oh wait. Too late. hehe

  6. I like 3# reminiscent of individual windows looking to sky.

    Otherwise I’m a traditionalist with #1

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