Question: I would like you to discuss front doors. I would like a new one, but don't know if it should be solid or what. I see them advertised as oak. Is this the usual wood, and then is it stained and varnished? I would like to know what you recommend.
Answer: Actually we did discuss front doors in this column several months ago. And yes, I do recommend a solid door for the front door, rather than a hollow-core door. In fact, a solid door is better for all entries, because they withstand the elements far better. And even though you're in sunny Southern California, it does rain, and areas close to the ocean have to deal with a lot of moisture--moisture that can cause veneers to separate and warp.
Oak is a very sturdy wood that lends itself to entry doors, but if it's just stained and varnished, you must be sure you like its heavy grain; some people don't. You can, of course, paint the oak to cover the grain.
Aesthetically, the style of a front door is very important. You might say the door is the face of a house and sets a mood for whoever enters your home.
The Fiber-Classic entry door that looks like wood, but isn't, is relatively new in this area. The core is foamed-in-place polyurethane that's covered in compression-molded fiberglass. The price is a bit steep, with the average being about $400, but the manufacturer claims the doors are immune to climate-related problems such as warping, splitting, swelling or delaminating. There's a five-year warranty.
For more information, contact Deborah Sullivan, Georgia-Pacific, 10385 San Sevaine Way, Mira Loma 91752. There are about 20 styles to choose from.
If you go a less-expensive route and buy an unfinished door, use a polyurethane finish, which will resist moisture and can be washed off if it becomes dirty.
Q: In magazines, I have seen refrigerators that appear to be made of wood on the exterior. I would be interested in knowing more about these, because I have an Early American kitchen.
A: Sub-Zero Freezer Co. Inc., Box 4130, Madison, Wis. 53711, manufactures refrigerators and freezers that can be covered in a wood, Formica and a variety of surfaces. I suggest you drop a line to that firm and ask for information or a catalogue and the name of your nearest dealer.
Q: My friend had her kitchen remodeled, and in some of the base cabinets they installed drawers, rather than the usual storage cupboards for pots and pans. She seems to like this idea. What do you think of it?
A: Big, easy-to-open and -close, drawers are wonderful in the kitchen. When the drawer is rolled out, you can see all of the pots and pans easily and make your selection. Also, you don't have to get down on your hands and knees to dig to the back of a cupboard for those seldom-used pots. Drawers can also be used for storing canned goods of the side so labels can be easily seen.
Q: We were talking about home security at a party the other night, and one man said he lights his backyard with a light that goes on when it gets dark and goes off when daylight arrives. What should I ask for if I order a light like that?
A: It's a light with a photocell that is sensitive to light and dark. Many of the mercury vapor lights that are so effective in lighting areas around the house include a photocell.