I was all set to go all polished nickel on this front door.

Remember when I painted the house this color?

And then?

We all sat down and had sweet tea and went all Encyclopedia Brown with a highly intellectual discussion about shutters and awnings and trim paint and painted bricks.

And whether the door hardware should be brass or polished nickel.

I was all on the polished nickel team.  I mean, really.  The house is gray.  Gray goes with polished nickel, right?  It’s cool tones hanging out and becoming friends with other cool tones.

And then one day I was unpacking boxes at the house and found this.

This is a brass door knocker I inherited from my grandfather.

It was made in a time when brass ruled the world.

It’s heavy and intricate and detailed and a serious door commitment and a little bit oddly-over formal which I wasn’t sure I liked at first because I felt like it belonged on a house of people who take themselves and their door knockers very seriously.

(total aside:  I am being deliberately mysterious with these door knocker pictures so when you see the front door reveal it will be even more dramatic).

I’m not sure if my grandfather ever had it on a house.

It was still in the original packaging in a fancy box wrapped in plastic.

And the more I looked at it and the more I studied it and thought about it and the front door and the brass I felt like this door knocker was created for a time such as this.

(total aside:  When I have these moments of clarity about the house and get all dramatic and Hallmark movie and look for meaning in every last little thing like a door knocker I unpacked from a box from a zillion years ago—sometimes I have to step back and have a few words for myself:  #calmdownwithyourstorieskarianne)

And so.

I’m going with brass for the door.

The door knocker decided it for me.

So here is the tentative plan for the front door.

It’s a lot of brass and a lot of black and an expensive planter option that I’m going to recreate for either side of the front door.

Here’s where everything is going.

1. There will be two benches on either side of the house under each window.

2. There will be a brass kickplate at the bottom of the door.

3.  There will be brass hardware on the door and a super cute brass doorbell (that was under $10).

4.  I’m DIYing that planter for either side of the door.  Don’t you love those handles?

5.  The odd saltillo tile that you can’t really see that covers the front porch will be replaced with brick.

6.  I’m keeping the brick on the front steps, but it will be power washed and bleached and cleaned and in certain areas the mortar will be replaced.  I was even researching how to paint your mortar.  Has anyone tried that?

7.  There is also a beautiful glass door with a simple black wood frame that is original to the house that’s being repaired and put back into place.

And then there’s the landscaping which looks super pitiful right now, but I’m trying to figure out a plan for that, too.

Isn’t it funny how sometimes the plans we make don’t work exactly according to plan?

How sometimes a door knocker shows up and changes everything?

And then?  We discover that even though the new plan might not have been our idea—it’s even better.

There is such a sermon in there.


But I’ll leave that message for another preacher and another day. 🙂


  1. Image for Barbara Barbara

    Because it was in your family and passed down makes it all the more perfect! I'm sure your design smarts will pull it all together and we will love the brass, black and gray together!

  2. Image for Brocanteuserose Brocanteuserose

    Love it! Have you thought of doing the German Schmear technique on your brick? Also called German Smear. They did it on Fixer Upper on the outside brick S3. Ep 8, I like this cause you can control the amount & color of the bricks that show through and it has more depth than just painting. Although it maybe to cottage-y for your taste. Where did you get the door bell from? ITt's perfect!

    1. Image for Kaye Kaye

      I also loved the German Smear on fixer upper....and love faded red brick.......I am sure your doorway will look superb.....can't wait to see how it will all come together in the end. You are such a clever little button of sunshine fun and great ideas...keep on keeping on! Love it all.....you always brighten my day!💞

  3. Image for Mary Mary

    Love it. Anytime you have something so sentimental from the,past use it. I really think you made an excellent choice. It will, go beautifully on your front door. Now you are ready to do it with all your other choices. I love your site. So beautiful, funny and gives my morning a,lift with my pumpkin spiced Starbucks coffee this morning.

  4. Image for Carrie Carrie

    The house and history go together! Brass was the direction to go~ and the arrows on the door knocker prove me right. (tee hee) Black is a perfect tie in with the red brick, grey siding, white trim and brass. Could you do brass handles and knobs on the planters, or would that be too much??? Can't wait to see your diy planters and the landscape plan. I live in a townhouse community and have so little I can do to be creative with anything outside~ I'm living through you!! And, I love the doorbell. Is it an Amazon find?

  5. Image for Linda Linda

    KariAnne, I look forward to your stories every day! You brightened up my mornings with your ideas and sometimes crazy “sermons”. Can’t wait to see the pictures of the final results. You really are a rockstar!

  6. Image for Donnie Donnie

    Perfection! Can't wait to see the whole door knocker, but even if super fancy - it has a history and needs to be honored. I love a door handle with a thumb latch! Good going.

  7. Image for Gina Gina

    Love that the house has history. It was your parents and now it will have a piece of your grandfather greeting all. And I, too, have two black (iron) benches under my two front windows. :)

  8. Image for Vickie Vickie

    Perfect! I think you hit a home run with this plan! So excited for you, can’t wait for you to share the finished product.

  9. Image for Alexandra Alexandra

    "How to paint your mortar" sound´s like "How I met your mother"´s DIY cousin :) I love what you´re doing to this house, and I´m so caught up in the romance of you returning to your childhood home... that brass knocker definitely needs to go on the door.

  10. Image for Laura Parker Laura Parker

    Will the glass door you referred to essentially be a storm door that will fit over the front door? Love it all. I used to live in north Dallas and still have friends in your area - it's beautiful.

  11. Image for judy judy

    Your door knocker is such a wonderful addition. When my husband and I bought our first home 43 years ago, my parents bought a large solid brass eagle with garland door knocker for us. I decided right then and there that it would follow us to every house we owned. Our present home is our third and if we ever move, our door knocker will again grace another door. We have done the same thing for our children and they have taken their door knocker gifts to each of their homes. Tradition never goes out of style.

  12. Image for Toni Toni

    I think the brass will be perfect.....like the perfect jewelry accessory to an amazing outfit! Then to have such a sweet connection to your family is the perfect confirmation that this is how to go!

  13. Image for Denise Cox Denise Cox

    I love it all!! And I am quite partial to brass😍😍. I just CAN'T Wait to see the end result!! 😀😄😊

  14. Image for Sharon H Sharon H

    oh, Miz karianne....I think you made the right choice and I already know what that door knocker looks like...well at least what it IS...and it will be a beautiful addition to the house. Your Grandfather would be proud.

  15. Image for Judy Howell Judy Howell

    Love what you have done so far and love this plan for the front. Please do a post on how to make the planter. Love it!

  16. Image for Christy Roppel Christy Roppel

    Off topic, a bit....have you considered making your front windows (either side or both sides) into french doors? Of course I don't know what's on the other side, but I think it'd be lovely to walk out onto your porch(es). I'd love to hear your thoughts.

  17. Image for KariAnne Wood KariAnne Wood

    Christy, That is so brilliant I don't even know where to begin. I have lived in that house most of my life and I've never thought of that before. I'm going to re-think it and study that idea for a while! Thanks for the inspiration! Happy day! karianne

  18. Image for Deb Deb

    Sometimes I think our deceased loved ones are watching us from above and give us a little gift now and then. Your door knocker was just waiting for the right door and the right moment. Lovely!

  19. Image for beverly e beverly e

    It may not have been your original idea, but your home knew it all along... with a gentle nudge from Grandfather. It's going to be beautiful, Karianne.

  20. Image for Cecilia Cecilia

    Oh YES! Brilliant plan! I think the brass will look smashing against the black. Love all your plans. I seriously cannot wait to see the front door reveal! hugs, Cecilia PS Love what the new plan suggests. Preach it, sister!

  21. Image for jillian jillian

    Woo Hoo...I think you're having too much fun over there ! Yes I like it for sure and that idea for the french doors sounds pretty cool too.

  22. Image for Lynne Lynne

    It will look beautiful. I would still like to see that vent thingy on the roof painted the same color as the roof so it blends in. As it is, it stands out and it detracts from the beauty of the rest of the front.

  23. Image for Debra Matcovich Debra Matcovich

    It's funny and not funny. When I saw your post, I was surprised it was about a door knocker. That's what I have to get. My door bell doesn't work. After my electrician coming twice. We just can't find where the bell originates. So my pretty bell button has to stay. Did I mention it was brass. Since your doorbell works that beautiful door knocker would look wonderful on my door. Only kidding, but it is beautiful.

  24. Image for Diane Diane

    Love the brass. Brass is back,big time and I for one am glad I kept mine. To have a door knocker from your grandfather,you must use it!

  25. Image for Sandy Sandy

    Why didn't I think of a brass ceiling light fixture? Thank you Karianne for your brass door knocker story today. We just did our master bedroom and painted the walls greige (which to me is more on the gray side.) I kept our brass Stiffel lamps on our maple bedside tables.

  26. Image for Beth Beth

    I love the brass with the gray! It makes it so warm and inviting, and having a story makes it all that much better. Can I suggest that you wait to put the kickplate on until you've done the rest? That way you can see if you really want it. In our last two homes, we ended up taking the kickplate off completely and it looked so much better. I think they look great sometimes, but it seemed overpowering in both of those homes. Just a thought. I love the gray you used!

    1. Image for beverly e beverly e

      I second that opinion! It might distract from the beautiful door knocker. I took mine off, too. It made my door look too bottom heavy.

  27. Image for Michelle Michelle

    I love that the door knocker decided for you and especially that it belonged to your grandfather! Now, every time you look at it, you'll think of, and maybe even thank, Grandpa. Awesome! And, by the way, I was internally voting for brass all along. I love the contrast and drama of brass against grey -- like wearing gold earrings with my grey hair LOL. Can't wait to see what you decide for the landscaping! To coin one of my favorite phrases of yours..."Total aside..." How 'bout them Astros?! My dad bought season tickets every year when we lived in Houston, just waiting for a moment like this!

  28. Image for Betsy Betsy

    I think a black door and a brass door knocker are a couple that were meant to be. I use to work in the gift department of a department store chain. We carried Gorgeous ( and expensive ) brass. I always tried to display it against a dark background so it would get the respect it deserved. You have made a wonderful choice and the family history makes it all the more special.

  29. Image for Jolyn Jolyn

    I had those EXACT planters at a house we sold three years ago, and the buyers wanted them, so we sold them with the house. Although they were getting rusty on the bottoms, it hurt my heart. I can't wait to see your version of them!

  30. Image for linda linda

    Karianne, honey, you have a colonial classic kind of house that makes you want to stand a little straighter and say yes ma'am and sir even more. Then when you walk it is wraps you in its loving history and makes you feel safe. Brass knocker and colonial Williamsburg kind of fixing is definitely for this beautiful home!

  31. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    The layers of sentiment, beauty and love that keep on revealing itself is like a flower bud beginning to bloom. And this one will win awards! Thanks so very much for sharing all the tiniest of details along the way! Prayers that you manage everything with all this transition!

  32. Image for Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

    An idea for the landscaping in front of the railings, from front to back (back being the railing side): front: low annuals, such as pansies, underplanted with spring-flowering bulbs middle: floribunda and/or David Austin roses for multiple blooms throughout the year, OR peonies (depending on your zone) rear: tall annuals, such as larkspur, OR hydrangea, again, depending on your zone and if you do peonies or roses, as hydrangea can get rather large You could also do roses in the front of the railings and hydrangeas on the sides of the porch. You can leave the grass as is, or create more plantings in the garden, even creating garden rooms on either side of the walkway that allow you to use your front yard more (and have tons of flowers to cut).

  33. Image for Julie Briones Julie Briones

    Love the story, and the post. (I have yet to think, "calm down with your stories, KariAnne". ;-) And there is DEFINITELY a sermon in there. Definitely.

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