I’ve only identified one little issue with the new front door that I had installed in the spring of 2010: lack of visibility.
It was an issue that I considered back when I bought the door, a salvaged solid wood exterior model with original leaded glass on the top, but I always figured I’d be fine to see who was a-ringin’ my bell by peeking out the front living room windows. The solidity was a drastic improvement over the dented steel door with an artful oval window in the center, and frankly, with this new solid door, I didn’t want people to be able to see into the entryway the same way they had been able to with the old door.
When it comes right down to it, I’m just tired of trying to peek out those living room blinds without the person on the steps stationed a short 4-feet away from me seeing me or my shadow or my hand wiggling the blinds; I don’t need my driveway shoveled, I don’t need Schwann ice cream, and I don’t need the extra coupons for a $12.99 x-large cheese pizza, dude. Oh, but I did change my energy provider on my front porch a few months ago in the middle of a sleet storm; it was close to being the sketchiest encounter ever, and only went as far as it did because I snapped and texted Pete iPhone profile photos of the gentleman just incase he ended up bowling me over to steal the TV and my identity. Dude even smiled for the mugshot although he was undoubtedly pissed that I made him shiver under the overhang for 45 minutes while I spoke utility details at him through the glass storm door.
Time for a peephole. Right? Right.
It’s easy to do, so why not make the entryway a little more functional and less creepy? I started by scouring my peephole options (at Lowe’s). Note: they don’t carry many options, but the simple options they do stock aren’t the least bit offensive, which is all I can honestly say that was looking for. The selection included varieties finished in brushed nickel, bronze, and glossy gold; I debated between the two nickel options:
- One priced at $5.97, a smaller peep claiming 160-degree viewing.
- Second option priced at $4.98, had a 200-degree range
- Both options were suitable for doors between 1-3/8″-1-3/4″ thick.
- One was noticeably more eye-bally, looking more like a fish you wouldn’t want to meet in the sea.
Eyeball-iness out, I decided to spend $1 more on the more diminutive model.
I started by planning my placement of the peep with pencil on the inside of the door. Simply put, it’s centered horizontally. I decided that positioned at a height of 5 ft allowed both me to see through it without having to crouch too much, while still taking into consideration that future homeowners might not be as tall as me (at almost 5’9″). I went a little too low the first time, recalibrated, and decided that this height was perfect:
Side note: Orla Kiely non-carpenter pencils do not erase well.
I also took into account how the wreaths that I often hang on the front door would be placed, which is why the tape is wrapped around the edge of the door. It was a conscious effort to make the peephole just low enough where it would be able to see through the center of any round wreath, but in the end I think the wreath hook’s going to have to shift upwards a few inches anyways. Small concession.
Little did I know that all this installation would require was a 1/2″ paddle bit, so easy. Keeping it straight and level, the bit popped through with hardly any effort.
Things weren’t immediately so pretty from the outside; what I should have done was drilled halfway through from the back, and back through the other way from the front of the door. Or use a special bit that Pete suggested after the fact that I don’t know the name of.
The peephole casing wouldn’t cover all of the splintered damage.
It wasn’t an ideal situation, but it was fixable. The quick solution: Wedge a little wood putty into the damaged area with my fingers; get it as smooth as I can, but still a little proud on the surface.
I let it dry overnight, so next morning I went over the proud rough patches with some medium-grit sandpaper, and then fine sandpaper to get a smooth, paintable edge that you wouldn’t even be able to identify by touch.
I was lucky to still have much of the original can of Mixed Berry Behr paint from when I originally painted the door. Left in the morning sun to dry, by afternoon I was ready to install the new peephole. Did you know the two ends just screw together? Note scratches on the door in the second picture; just caught my eye this morning in the right light. They’re from the wreath that I hung back up, but you really don’t notice them with the rest of the wooden door texture when you stand back further than the camera was zoomed.
How easy, and for <$6, what a big difference this makes in my life.
As an easy 5-minute task (if you don’t splinter the door), it’s the true definition of an easy DIY project. Try it for yourself.