Would You Take a Look at Her Unusual Knockers?! … Door Knockers, That Is.

I forgot to mention it earlier, but my Artfully Fresh Foyer from the Fall 2016 One Room Challenge was featured in this past May’s issue of New Hampshire MagazineNH Mag is a really well written publication with a huge, sometimes quirky, variety of content. And though it’s not a shelter magazine, I’m actually very excited and glad to reach people in my home state that may not have “design on the brain,” like I do, and introduce them to new ideas for their own homes.

NH Mag May1
Creating a Welcoming Foyer, NH Magazine May 2017

One such idea that I hope my foyer inspired was actually USING one’s home’s FRONT DOOR! Come on, be honest, when was the last time anyone came through your front door? (If you don’t live in a city row house,  that is.) If you’re like my parents, at best, you open your front door once a year just to make sure that it doesn’t get permanently stuck shut.

I, too, am guilty of bringing people in our side entrance. It’s not entirely my fault. They just come that way. I understand the difficulties they face, as I find myself in the same situation.

Pervasive Front Door Inferiority Complex

Does this scenario sound familiar to you? You drive into a friend’s/acquaintance’s driveway. As you emerge from the car, you hesitantly look at their lovely front entrance, but fear and trepidation seize your heart. “Should I? Shouldn’t I? Which door should I go to? The front door has all those nice flowers and everything, but maybe that’s only for special guests. I’ll just sneak in through through the garage. Don’t want to assume above my station!”

via Southern Living, Benjamin Moore’s Gentleman’s Gray (2062-20)

Maybe we feel like we’re not worthy of the front entrance and the lovely foyer that lays behind, anymore. Let’s call it “pervasive front door inferiority complex.”

In former days, the front door and foyer set the tone and aesthetic of the entire home, but, sadly, homeowners rarely welcome guests at the front door anymore. Now, the side door — the servants’ door in previous generations — has been elevated to the status of a grand entrance. (Never mind that we’re always apologizing for the state of the mudroom, the kids’ gear, the shopping bags, etc.) The front door has become simply an outdoor decoration and the foyer behind it a neglected no-man’s-land between the living spaces below and the bedrooms above. Do we no longer care about first impressions? Or do we just feel unworthy of a making an entrance?

Olasky & Sinsteden
Olasky & Sinsteden

The foyer needn’t be grand to feel gracious!

Now that we actually have a pretty foyer in our own home, we’re trying to update the rest of our front door so that people will actually approach it rather than our mud entry. Unfortunately, due to the difficulties charms of living in a *really* old house, updating anything opens a whole new can of worms.

For example, the door knocker that was here when we bought the house is rusted shut. I wanted to buy a nice door knocker for my Handsome Husband for our most recent anniversary. (Yes, it’s a house-y gift and therefore my interest, but it’s also hardware! Men naturally love hardware, right?) Our house is named Maple Rest, and I found this beautiful brass Maple Leaf Door Knocker by Massachusetts artist Colby Smith.

Screen Shot 2017-06-02 at 4.18.53 PM
Maple Leaf Door Knocker

But the current knocker is also painted over on our door, which is God-Knows-How-Old and has a bazillion coats of paint on it, buckling and bubbling. I can’t just take off the old one without peeling/chipping a ton of paint up with it. Nor can my handyman I just repaint the door without doing a thorough scrape, caulk, etc., job. There goes my easy, slightly-self-gratifying anniversary gift.  I did buy the knocker — which is super heavy and drop dead gorgeous — but it’s sitting in a box until the above mentioned hard labor can be attempted. (This must happen, somehow, before an August photoshoot for a NATIONAL MAGAZINE, ack!!!)

But back to today’s topic! In Pride & Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennett states, “I always believe in first impressions, and [a] good opinion, once lost, is lost forever.”


Well, notwithstanding the lack of a functioning knocker right now, better outdoor lighting (more on that in another post) recently enticed new acquaintances into actually walking up to our front door when they came over for dinner. They immediately took off their shoes, hung up their coats on the rack and dropped their wallets and keys on the table on our redone foyer.

Then they commented on what a beautiful home we had. I felt so happy that our friends saw our house as I wanted them to see it – lovely, charming, welcoming. Hopefully, that first impression lasted when I next brought them into the disaster that is my kitchen for a whiskey cup of coffee.

So invite your friends to your front door! And so that you can hear when they’ve come to call, I’ve rounded up some beautiful and/or unusual (because I’m always looking for the unusual) door knockers for you. Then maybe your friends will overlook your messy kitchen, too…

Because even though many of us still have a servants’ entrance, the servants themselves are lacking.

Unusual Knockers

1. / 2. / 3. / 4. / 5. / 6. / 7. / 8. / 9. / 10. / 11. / 12. / 13. / 14. / 15. / 16.

How AMAZING would #9 look on a green door?

Any favorites? Do you use your front door?

See you next Saturday!


6 thoughts on “Would You Take a Look at Her Unusual Knockers?! … Door Knockers, That Is.”

  1. You have a point about people’s lack of use of their front door. Why we have guests that enter by the front door but end up showing them out, by the side mudroom door. Sometimes due to bad weather, it is a better choice. However, more often than not, it is due to lackluster appeal of front doorway. Our foyer has large dark wood double six-panel sliding door opposite front door, small landing with stairs to the left, and large opening to the right into livingroom. Any suggestions for how to give this small space a much needed lift? Perhaps future blog?

    1. Without seeing pictures, it’s impossible to talk specifics. A happy foyer rug, a stair runner, new lighting, a small chair for putting shoes, coordinating art or great mirror — none of things require much space. Unfortunately, if ALL of your hard surfaces are dull and dark, you may have to make some bigger changes in order to get the look you crave. Unfortunately, as the saying goes, “you can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear.” If you are interested in some e-design suggestions, you are welcome to send me an email with specifics!

  2. Love the maple leaf knocker Amy!! And the little seed knocker- I have those ALL over the property right now. Yes, one little house thing on an antique house definitely is never “easy” and always opens up a whole new bucket of worms:) xxojoan
    kisses to Nanny!

    1. Thanks, Joan! Hopefully we — I mean our handyman — will get it up in July when he resurfaces our door and helps redo some electrical. He has to come back from his hunting trip in the north woods. Just part of the perils of being a decorator in NH … all the best contractors disappear on hunting and fishing trips just when you need them!

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