Brownstone Doors – Replicating What Once Was

One of the most distinctive features of a Brooklyn brownstone is the double entry doors. They are usually two tall 24” doors with glass panels and decorative moldings. There is sometimes a transom above them or occasionally the door itself follows a curved arch of the facade above.

If they are still there and in good condition after over 100 years after they were installed then you’re lucky! Unfortunately, as it goes with pretty much anything after that much time, they require a lot of maintenance. Since these are no a standard affair they require very specialized skills and can be expensive to repair. And even more expensive to replace. It usually runs $10,000-$20,000 to have your very own custom set of Brooklyn brownstone double built. Because of that it’s very common to see these beautiful double doors replaced with a less expensive standard single door (of the type you might see on the shelf at your local home improvement store) with wood panels on either side to fill the larger space. 

Unfortunately our original doors were long gone when we got our place. It was a big priority for us to at least restore our place with a set of double doors. If you have followed along you might know that we renovated our place with a very low budget. Building custom double doors to match something similar to what might have been original at a cost of over $10,000 just wasn’t an option. So we found a company, Midwood Doors, that could provide a more standard size double door that wasn’t especially ornate but at least echoed the original look and feel. We measured the opening from where we could see the original wood posts on either side. It was 52″ wide so we knew the standard 48″ set of double doors would fit even with the frame, which was also provided.

Once the doors were framed we added the door trim, insulated with spray foam and then added the door moulding.

After a wrong set of doors being delivered, and then our original wood choice being unavailable, we ended up with an upgraded Mahogany door. Even at first sight these doors aren’t trying to pass for the originals, but they look great in their own right. They are tall and heavy with long stately glass panels. The only decoration is a small inset panel on the bottom of each. They’re simple and clean but echo the original idea of what was. The cost? An affordable $1500.

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