Homeowner Tips: Why Get Picky About Door Hardware

Homeowner Tips: Why Get Picky About Door Hardware

If you’re taking the time to create your own custom door, it’s probably safe to say you are looking for a unique, beautifully designed outcome. Selecting the right hardware to match that vision, however, involves more than just the visual appeal. The secret to your door’s success is taking into account the accessibility, lock functionality, style, and finish of your hardware.

Interior door hardware includes hinges, locks, doorknobs, stops, and everything required to operate your door. Exterior hardware adds items such as knockers and kickplates. Designing the best custom door to fit your needs means getting specific about which hardware pieces are the best choice for your access, lock, and style needs.

Physical Requirements for Accessibility

In considering the accessibility of your door, or how easy it is to open and close, think through how this door will likely be used. Will small kids reach for the handle, and do you want them to be able to easily get in and out? Will you need the door to open easily at the prodding of elbows, feet, or hips when your hands are full? Do you plan on living in this house well into your senior years, or do you have elderly family members who need to use this door frequently?

Daily use is a big determining factor in the physical shape you should use for your hardware. Doorknobs are popular, but they are trickier to use than a handle or lever. This is a good thing if you’re trying to keep small children inside. If you frequently find your hands full or need easy access for arthritic hands, you might favor a lever, which is easier to grip or turn.

Locking Functionality

Not all locks are the same. For this reason, you should get choosy about which lock style you need. While it’s easy to understand an exterior door’s need for a strong locking mechanism, it’s also important to consider interior door locks. Private areas in your home, such as your bedroom or bathroom, benefit from a privacy knob or lever. Privacy locks come with a tool for emergency release, which can come in handy for kids’ rooms. Closets and storage rooms should remain accessible, making non-locking passage levers or knobs a top choice.

Style and Finish

The best area to be picky is in selecting your hardware’s style and finish. After considering your accessibility and locking needs, find a hardware style that is congruent with the architecture of your home.

Styles and finishes vary widely, and each one contributes to your home’s look in a different way. If your home is more traditional, brass might fit best. Dress up the metal with a different finish to create a custom look. If your house is new or modern, you might want to consider chrome. Nickel and bronze styles also tend to work with a variety of décor. Try adding unique finishes such as black, copper, crystal, or even hand-painted to perfect your hardware’s look.

Stay consistent with your hardware material across all pieces: knobs, locks, hinges, and any decorative pieces. You can also ensure your look is cohesive from door to door by using the same hardware style on interior doors in the same room or area.


While your hardware selection should fit your home’s architectural style and your personal taste, that doesn’t mean you should skip out on trends you like. Today’s custom wood doors are not your grandfather’s style of wood door.

Now, some designers are using black hardware and fixtures with a matte finish to bring out the grain of wood used in their doors. Polished nickel, with its warmer undertones, is replacing polished chrome. Many homeowners are opting for softened finishes like satin, nickel, oil-rubbed bronze, and gun metal.

Where to Begin

Before purchasing a new door, get picky about the style and functionality you want out of your door. Talk with a designer or engineer – such as those on the Vintage Millwork and Restoration team – about your options in door handle or pull styles, locking options, and your home’s particular look and feel.

It is easier to choose all of the right components for your new door, such as the hardware or the best wood species, when you have an expert to walk you through the process. We have such experts on hand: they can take your vision and turn it into a real, solid door that you will love. Start the process by calling 717-687-0292 or contact us here.

Selecting the Best Wood Species for Your Custom Door

Selecting the Best Wood Species for Your Custom Door

When designing your custom wood door, it’s important to understand your options, including which type of wood best fits your needs. The decision does not always boil down to looks alone, but rather functionality and durability as well.

At Vintage Millwork & Restoration, we believe in educating our customers throughout the building process so they can make the best decisions for their custom doors. This includes exploring which type of wood is best for a door’s intended use.

Here, we’ll discuss six wood types we recommend as the top choices for custom exterior doors. Each wood species has its own unique characteristics and can be made into the door style of your choice.

  • Sapele Mahogany
  • Spanish Cedar
  • Western Red Cedar
  • White Oak
  • Reclaimed White Oak
  • Poplar

Sapele Mahogany

Originating in Western Africa, this beautiful reddish-brown hardwood has become one of the most popular wood types for exterior doors. Sapele mahogany’s medium texture, moderate luster, and decay resistance make it an ideal choice for homeowners looking for a durable custom door with a natural look. 

Although this wood type is often referred to as “sapele mahogany,” and sapele is in the mahogany family, sapele is a distinct type of wood on its own. Sapele looks similar to mahogany, but is a denser wood with a slightly darker color. It also differs in its workability, though this isn’t usually a factor for homeowners. We use quartersawn sapele, which provides greater stability and a more prominent grain.

When it comes to finishing, sapele mahogany can be painted. However, it tends to look better stained, which shows off that impressive natural grain. The grain will not be obscured by anything other than the darkest finishes, providing more flexibility to suit a home’s appearance.

Spanish Cedar

Native to Central and South America, Spanish cedar is an attractive hardwood with a moderate texture and a vibrant color ranging from brown to light pink. This wood type is traditionally used in humidors and is a prime choice for an exterior door due to its beauty and natural rot resistance. 

Many homeowners find Spanish cedar to be especially attractive because of its shallowly interlocking grain and elegant natural appearance. Spanish cedar is loved by woodworking professionals, too, thanks to its standout workability and the fact that it weathers well.

In terms of finishing options, Spanish cedar can be painted, However, staining allows its natural beauty to shine.

Western Red Cedar

Grown in the Pacific Northwest, western red cedar is a beautiful wood type with a reddish-brown color and straight grain with a coarse texture. It’s the perfect wood species for homeowners looking for a time-tested classic that offers an impressive aesthetic and lasting value.

Western red cedar is a particularly durable wood and does well in terms of rot resistance. It’s also popular because of its subtle yet stunning appearance. The added character it gives a home can hardly be overstated.

And just as with Spanish cedar, western red can be painted or stained, but staining is the better option to show off its natural beauty. Painting hinders the features that make western red cedar a truly special wood type.

White Oak

Grown in the eastern half of the United States and Canada, white oak is a durable, attractive hardwood that complements virtually any architectural style. It has a fairly straight grain and a light brown color.

White oak shares similarities with western red oak, but their differences give white oak the edge. Both stand out as considerably dense hardwoods, but white oak grains tend to be longer than red, and white oak is the darker of the two. White oak has a smoother grain, isn’t quite as soft, and is better with lighter stains than western red oak.

Reclaimed White Oak

One of the most unique choices for exterior doors, reclaimed oak, has become an increasingly popular choice among both homeowners and designers.

Salvaged from antique barns and homes, this wood type brings an impressive backstory that adds substance and character to its beautiful aesthetic. This salvaging also makes reclaimed oak an environmentally friendly choice. When working with this wood type, no trees are logged, and no new demand for virgin wood is created.

In terms of finishing, reclaimed wood should be stained to both showcase and protect its vintage aesthetic.


Grown in the eastern half of the US and Canada, poplar is an ideal wood type for homeowners who want high quality without a high price tag. It’s often used to make furniture and cabinets, but it’s also a great choice for custom exterior doors.

The color of poplar can differ slightly from board to board, but it will usually have a white or yellowish hue. Its grain is straight and uniform, containing minimal knots. When it comes to finishing, poplar is better off painted, as its natural color can vary just enough to make stain look uneven. Painting gives this wood type a better appearance and allows homeowners to get creative with customization. 

Ready to Build Your Custom Door?

If you’re ready to build a custom exterior door of your own, look no further than the experienced craftsmen at Vintage Millwork & Restoration. Our combination of old-word craftsmanship and modern technology sets us apart as a millwork shop able to produce some of finest custom doors in the United States. Contact us today to learn more about our capabilities and to get started on your custom project.

Designing Your Perfect Custom Front Entryway

Designing Your Perfect Custom Front Entryway

Your front entryway is the key element to establishing the style of and welcome to your home. It reflects your personality as a homeowner, and is your first official hello to your guests.

Whether you’re building a new home or looking to remodel, you can ensure your that your home’s exterior door sends the right message by considering the following factors:

Your Style:

Your personal style comes through in the wood you choose, the color of your paint, and the stonework of your walls. We can help you add the same personal touches and details in your front entryway and custom door. Some of our clients want their doors to stand out – or “pop” – against the rest of the house, while others prefer a door that blends with the color of the shutters. Whatever your style, we can design your front entryway to be a natural fit.

Need help finding your style? Our designer can help define a look to best represent you. Or you can send us digital images of doors, foyers, or porches that catch your eye. We can even use pictures from your favorite magazines as inspiration to create an entryway that matches your personal style, vision, and home needs.

Your Daily Use:

When designing your perfect front entryway, it’s important to consider how the door will be used, and whether it will be exposed to harsh weather conditions.

We build our doors to be as functional as they are beautiful. Because of this, we favor working in wood, giving us the perfect mixture of elegance and durability. We use engineered manufacturing for added strength. Depending on how and where the door will be used, we will walk you through choosing sturdy and sophisticated hardware, kick plates, and incorporate a design that helps direct water away from the door.

Because your front entryway is more than just a door, evaluate your home’s exterior to envision whether your entryway would be improved with an overhang or front porch. An overhang is a spectacular accent to any door, while timber frame trusses or a porch adds a statement of elegance to your home. Both options are also great for keeping water off your front steps, your guests, and your custom door.

Your Foyer:

After your door, your foyer is how you receive your guests for the first time. It is their first impression of the interior of your home. Just as your entryway should consider the outdoor style of your home, it should also take into account your interior entrance.

Is your foyer light and airy? Let in natural light with glass panels in your front door. You can increase the light by adding sidelights, or panels of windows around your door.

Does your foyer favor the strong and handsome look? Add timber frame trusses or beams to your entryway, stairs, or gallery area. Doing so adds warmth and distinctiveness through the timeless charm of classic wood.

Don’t forget additional lighting needs, such as chandeliers inside or sconces on the outside.

Your Custom Entryway Builder:

A custom entryway or door not only allows you to greet your guests with your personal style, it also provides great curb appeal. Choosing a custom builder who can interpret your style and has a proven track record of producing quality ensures the end result meets your expectations.

With Vintage Millwork and Restoration, the customization possibilities are endless. We are custom builders who specialize in unique buildings, such as timber frame homes and hybrid construction. We pride ourselves on our expert engineering, skilled craftsmen, and our hands-on approach to every project.

When you contact us, you are paired with an engineer qualified to walk you through every step of the design, wood choice, and hardware selection. We have an in-house millwork shop, which means we control every step of the process and can guarantee superb quality from start to finish.

To start designing your perfect custom entryway to match your unique style, contact us here, and let’s talk options.