When we moved to our contemporary "faux warehouse" home, we loved everything about it but one thing: the front door.
It was the archetypical modern front door you see on all the townhomes -- clear glass with a wooden frame. It does let in light, but let's talk about privacy.
People could see us watching tv literally from the street. And the Texas sun just beat in every afternoon, raising the temperature in the entry about 50 degrees.
Something had to change.
So we looked for new front doors. Waaaaay too expensive, and this was a perfectly solid door that needed a little discretion.
Here was the solution, inspired by a friend's door
and he got it from someone else: I bought a 10-foot roll of rice paper (Kozo paper Speckle, specifically from eshoji.com. It cost about $30 per roll and arrived in about a week. There are lots of patterns and blends, all of them delicious.
I had a contemporary design in mind, but those OCD among you might want to have a pattern of some sort. To create my design (see below) I measured and cut a piece off the roll that would cover the door and the adjoining light entirely. (You'll do better if you let it lay flat overnight -- mind animals). Since you'll be using several pieces of rice paper to create this door, you needed worry about making just one piece fit.
As you can see, I wasn't too concerned about things matching up.
So the other secret ingredient in this project is liquid fabric starch -- the old-fashioned kind used to iron shirts and make pinatas. Believe it or not they still sell it at grocery stores, Sta-Flo being the cheapest and most popular brand.
I watered it down using a one-to-one ratio, and got a cheap paintbrush to dip into a small bucket. I made up about a half-gallon of the stuff, which I loved because it smelled good -- it's not chemical free, but it is made mostly of borax and corn starch.
I expected a mess, but there wasn't one.
I did cover the table I was using with newspaper, so painting the strips of rice paper with the starch solution was simple.
The big surprise was how forgiving the starch was while I was positioning the strips. Want a bit more space? Just slide it on over.
I did start in the middle so both sides got an even distribution. The entire application, which I had set aside the day for, took exactly 45 minutes!
Clean-up consisted of letting the entire door and side light dry for an hour, and then going back with a damp rag and my fingers to get rid of residue. Again, very water soluble and easy.
From the street, utter seclusion, just what we needed.
And from our entry, precious light and many many ways for humans and animals to get a look at the street scene. Sweet.
And the best part? This was five years ago. No peeling, no yellowing, no "I'm ready for real door" whining. So a big score for durability and style and ingenuity, whoever dreamed this up!
Her Point of View
Designer Paule Hewlett takes on design, culture and modern life.
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"Life is too short for ugly dish towels. Really, ugly anything."