Pennsylvania Limestone Farmhouse Renovations to an 1863 farmhouse built of limestone

September 15, 2012

Installing the Front Door – Part III

Filed under: Front door,Porches — Duane Diefenbach @ 3:05 pm

The front door is now pretty much finished. All I have left to do is clean up paint on the glass of the sidelites and transom (but I am letting the paint harden because it comes off easier with the razor blade rather than peeling up), installing the weatherstripping on the door bottom, and finish installing the doorbell. But I get ahead of myself (and there’s still more to do about the porch).

Here is the door without the trim installed.

Installing both interior and exterior trim was somewhat of a challenge because the walls were not quite plumb and so the door frame was either recessed or stood proud in different places along the wall. This meant I had to cut variable depth dadoes in the trim so it fit flush to both the wall and door frame. The photo below is of a piece of trim primed and ready to be installed (notice the taper in the dado).

Here is the finished interior and exterior

The doorbell is an antique my parents found in Vermont. It is a pull design but I only had the brass bell mechanism. I bought 2 window sash pulleys from the local Habitat for Humanity ReStore and drilled a hole through the wall to run a brass cable from the interior to the exterior and then mortised the sash pulleys into the wall so they were exposed the proper distance.  Here as some close-ups of the result.

I still need to find some sort of pull to install on the other end of the wire. I think the heavier the better because it takes a pretty good yank to ring the bell. If someone can get to the front door without being heard, the dogs don’t bark at the bell (yet) because it sounds like another clock in the house – but because the dogs rarely let anyone arrive undetected I really don’t think the doorbell will get much use.

The other projects that have occurred in the past month include getting an old cupboard for the front porch to store boots. For the past 2 years the front porch looked like it was home for cast-offs from a cobbler shop, which included hunting boots, sneakers, farm boots, etc. The cabinet is not old, but is made from old wide pine boards and the door is an antique single pine board. The door was painted red with milk paint so I wanted to paint the cabinet in milk paint and make it look old. After pricing milk paint I decided to buy some pigment and make my own. I followed directions from here and it turned out pretty good. It’s amazing that you can curdle some skim milk, add some lime and pigment, and make paint.  I should have used a little more pigment, but it looks ok even though in the photo the red color tone seems a little too pink.

Also, on the back porch I finally installed the overstock pavers we bought about 2 years ago. I used some aluminum angle bracket material as edging to keep the pavers in place and finely crushed limestone underneath.

And today Lisa and I had a lot of shopping to do so we included a stop to get porch ceiling lights. Now we just need to take care of the lights for the front porch (if you were observant above you noticed one is silver and one is gold – we’re thinking bronze might work better).

So now I am caught up on the blog after almost 2 months. Next I need to return to making 7 of 8 more doors needed for the cabinets in the kitchen.


  1. I just hope the dogs don’t end up associating the clock’s bell with visitors arriving. Beautiful job though on the door. We’ll have to stop in and see it for ourselves on one of our upcoming trips to the camp.

    Comment by Andy Balas — September 29, 2012 @ 9:05 pm

  2. Our neighbor tried it out and the dogs did not bark (they thought it was a clock) and we almost did not recognize it as a doorbell because we thought it was a clock! 😉

    Comment by Duane — October 6, 2012 @ 5:43 pm

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