I’ve been looking at storm doors for months now. My house was built in 1903, and has a beautiful carved front door. However lovely it is, the wind whistles through it all winter — last year I spent much of the winter with a piece of tape over the keyhole (my front door locks with an actual skeleton key — a source of much amusement when I visit friends in places like SF or LA where they all have both real keys, and security systems).
I shopped through a number of storm doors at the big box stores — but they seemed too modern for my old house, and while all the groovy features like the drop-down glass and built-in screens were cool, I didn’t like the shiny metal frames and the ugly door handles. Plus, the nice ones all ran about five hundred dollars, and with the financial situation like it is, I’m loathe to spend my work bonus if I don’t have to.
I stopped in my local glass shop the other day to see what they had — there was a really nice modern storm door, and then my glass guy pulled out a brochure. “You should look at these,” he said. It was a whole catalog of wooden screen/storm doors just like the one I currently have. Again, with installation, they were all going to cost several hundred dollars. I took the catalog and went home to think about it.
I’d just assumed that the storm/screen door that came with my house was outmoded technology. It’s old, after all. But there was that catalog full of brand-new storm doors built with the same technology, so maybe it’s not obsolete at all.
On Sunday I took the storm door insert down off the wall where it’s been hanging as a decorative object (it took me a year or so after finding this weird tiny door in the basement to realize it was the storm door insert for the screen door. Then I forgot about it in that way one does). It’s hard to see in this photo, but there are four screws around the edge of the storm door insert — I wasn’t even sure they were still working, but when I tried it, the screen part came right out of the storm door and I slid in the storm insert. It fit perfectly. It felt solid.
So, I painted it to match on the outside, and there it is. A new storm door. All it cost me was a little switch in my thinking and an hour with a paintbrush. It does cut off some light inside, but it also feels pleasantly protective. As though we could have another big snowstorm and the snow wouldn’t blow in under the door. As though I’m battened in for winter. I like it. We’ll see what impact it has on my heat bill (a little weatherstripping is still in the works). And it was here all the time, a perfectly good solution. And when the weather warms up, all I have to do is swap it out again for the screen insert. Problem solved, nothing purchased. Now that’s a good weekend.