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 all of your options, including what type of wood will best fit your needs. The decision does not always boil down to look and feel alone, but rather functionality and durability as well.

At Vintage Millwork and Restoration, we believe in educating our customers throughout the building process so that they can make the best decisions while designing their custom door. This includes exploring which type of wood is best for your door’s intended use. We offer many wood types with pros and cons associated with each of them.

Difference Between Softwood and Hardwood

Before you determine which wood type is best for your project, it’s important to know the difference between hard and softwoods. Most people assume that hardwood means a more durable wood, but this is not always the case. These terms refer to the origin and structure of the tree from which the wood comes from.

Hardwood comes from trees with enclosed seeds or flowering plants, such as apple trees or trees with acorns. Some examples include birch, mahogany, maple, oak, and walnut. Hardwood also has pores, which contribute to the wood’s grain pattern and make the wood dense and more fire resistant. Most hardwoods tend to be dark red, rich brown, or white in color, and they are used for more durable construction projects like hardwood flooring or decking.

Softwood comes from trees with uncovered seeds that blow away and keep their needles all year-round. Some examples include cedar, pine, redwood, and spruce. Softwood tends to be yellow or reddish in color. Softwood trees are generally less expensive and are used for things like timber, Christmas trees, or paper production.

Popular Vintage Millwork and Restoration Wood Species

Now that you have a better understanding of the difference between a hard and softwood, let’s review the many popular types of wood we offer for our custom doors.


This is our top recommendation and most popular wood species for most of our custom door projects. Mahogany is a tropical hardwood and is regarded as the hardest, strongest, and highest quality wood type. It has a rich, warm color, and it takes well to finishes, stains, and polishes. Mahogany was very popular in the 1950’s, but it seems to be making a comeback due to the new trend of “red” woods.


Sapele is very similar to Mahogany. It is a hardwood native to tropical Africa and has distinctive and beautiful graining features. It’s extremely durable and is often used for flooring projects. Its reddish-brown color makes for an eye-catching door. 

Western Red Cedar

Western Red Cedar is a softwood known for it’s warm, cinnamon hues. This cedar has been used throughout America for hundreds of years and works well for both interior and exterior projects. Its popular features include durability, resistance to weather decay, low-maintenance, and long-lasting beauty. It’s also a popular choice for vacation homes.

Spanish Red Cedar

Spanish Red Cedar is a softwood with a similar grain pattern to that of Mahogany. Often used for cigar humidors and exterior doors, it is resistant to rot and insect attacks. Its color is reddish-brown, and it accepts stains and finishes well.

Reclaimed White Oak

Oak is a hardwood that is used widely throughout the US for things like furniture, flooring, and kitchen cabinets. Available in both a red and white variety, oak is a strong and shock-resistant wood species. It is often the first choice when searching for a water-resistant wood.

White Pine

White Pine is a softwood that is light in weight and not very shock resistant. It is a white or pale yellow wood that is straight-grained. White Pine is often used for decorative effect. We typically do not recommend this wood type for our projects as it is prone to rotting.

At Vintage Homes and Millwork, we offer many wood species for a variety of projects – including doors, homes, cabinets, and more – but the above tend to be our most requested when it comes to designing a custom wood door. When you are ready to begin your custom door project, you’ll want to consider these wood species and whether or not the color and style fit your décor, and if the wood itself will stand up to your intended use.

For more information, or to begin your custom wood door project with Vintage Millwork and Restoration, give us a call at 717.687.0292 or contact us here.


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 front entryway 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.