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Wayne Hausknecht built these Mexican style double doors in mesquite.
courtesy of WGH Woodworking
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at Home


Reinvent home's entryway

A new door can jazz it up
By Rebecca Boren
Special to the Arizona Daily Star
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 11.11.2007
Rudy Hodgers compares buying a new entry door for your home to wearing a lovely new piece of jewelry.
"It totally reinvents the front of your house, which gives you a good feeling," said the president of Luna Negra, which designs and makes custom doors. "It's like buying a pretty necklace, something beautiful around your neck. You feel pretty."
Jeremy Cruz, chief executive officer of Rustic Elegance, another door maker, says much the same thing.
"People are happy with where they are living, and they want to continue living there. They want to jazz it up a little. In one day, your front of your house looks one way, and by the next, it's dramatically different," Cruz said. "Not only does it improve the appearance of the home, but it's a good investment."
Whether for beauty or value, the door business in Tucson is booming, with at least one custom-door maker booked up to a year in advance. While plenty of antique and rustic Mexican-style doors can be found, the padrones of portals say customers are increasingly seeking contemporary doors for both new and remodeled houses in the desert.
"The trend is definitely going more contemporary," said Jon Goldbaum, owner of Goldbaum Door & Window, which makes stained-glass doors and furniture. "The look lends itself to territorial, to Santa Fe" architecture.
Many 30- to 40-year-old Tucson-area bungalow and brick ranch homes are just plain dark inside; their owners want doors that will let in light and views.
Other homeowners, such as interior designer Lori Carroll, order a new entryway as part of a larger refurbishment. When she bought an outdated Catalina Foothills home for her own family, Carroll turned to Luna Negra to design a dramatic pair of entry doors that blend rustic alder planks with sleek metal that has a patina.
"I'd say a majority of the design that I do is a little bit more contemporary," Carroll said. "So people are looking for that unusual touch. I don't even call them doors. I call them pieces of art."
Wood. In a rough shop off the near-alley that rejoices in its name of North Herbert Avenue, you can find a Tucson creator of wooden doors with a national reputation. Wayne Hausknecht's custom doors have been featured in This Old House magazine. With the advent of Internet marketing, he has shipped his beautifully crafted wood pieces as far as Canada and the Bahamas.
His work is mostly traditional, but he has crafted many contemporary designs, too. A pair of timeless-looking mesquite doors ready for installation glow with a satin finish. Hausknecht has carefully matched the woods so the doors' panels are a golden-colored mesquite, and the surrounds a darker brown.
Stained glass. Goldbaum has been working with stained glass for the past 30 years; he moved to Tucson five years ago. Although he builds wood and stained or etched glass doors in every style from Tiffany on, about half of his entry doors are contemporary in style. By far the most popular are his riffs on designs by architect Frank Lloyd Wright — variations he cheerfully acknowledges would appall the austere Wright with their use of colored (read view-obscuring) and beveled glass.
"This is as contemporary as you can get," Goldbaum says in front of a showroom of doors that sport cobalt-blue and green circles, as well as gold foil accents (about $3,000 with mahogany wood).
Deep-green glass with a lighter, swirled texture ornaments another door (starting at $2,600). Also popular now is so-called architectural glass — clear glass that's textured, from a bare wave to totally obscure. Using textured glass gives homeowners both light and privacy — and it can look really cool, too.
Metal. Although wrought iron may be synonymous with the Mexican colonial look, it doesn't have to be. At Rustic Elegance, Cruz estimates that about one in five customers wants a more contemporary design — usually the Lloyd Wright, another homage to the Taliesin style. Clean lines and thickly circular iron hardware combine to make a virtual sculpture out of the Urban door.
● Rebecca Boren is a local freelance writer.