Making an Entrance

I could start this blog by talking about a beginning—the start of my career, my first renovation project, or my first design-related memory, perhaps. But since this is about decorating, let's just start with the front door, hmm?

Ever since moving to Boston in 2000, I'd coveted one of those grand townhouses with city curb appeal. You know the ones: scrolling metalwork, a dramatic set of hand-carved double doors, and gold numbers painted on the transom above.

It was nine years until my husband Dave and I got our hands on an actual single-family townhouse, and the one we got had warped front doors coated in peeling red paint. One of the door panels had been punched out at some point, and was replaced by a plywood plank. There was an office-style nameplate with the previous owners' surname taped above the rusted mail slot. Curb appeal? Ha. 

Seven more years have passed, and we've replaced the doors, refinished and repainted the alcove, added a mailbox, and changed out the pendant light. Lately I've been in the mood for a little bling to accompany the new building permit on the front window, and, coincidentally, my son recently decided to pry off the brass house number we had tacked beneath the doorbell. 

Obsessed with the hand-painted house numbers you see around Beacon Hill and Back Bay, I started looking online for resources. I quickly realized that hand-painted, gold-leafed numbers (like these beauties by local outfit Best Dressed Signs, below) were more than I wanted to get into—at least for now.

Hand-painted address numbers on a transom by Boston-based  Best Dressed Signs . Swoon.

Hand-painted address numbers on a transom by Boston-based Best Dressed Signs. Swoon.

Next idea: Custom decals. House Number Lab has gorgeous options and plenty of fans, but the characters and shadows I wanted edged the tab over $150. Frankly, I'd rather put $150 toward the real deal (above).

Finally I stumbled upon the Holy Grail: Vinyl decals from Historic Houseparts. They're practically unGoogleable, but I spied them while searching the site for brass rosettes for some of our interior doors. The stickers are individual characters, so I could split them between our two windows. Grand total? $30. 

My decals  in situ.

My decals in situ.

The gold numbers shipped quickly, were a piece of cake to apply, and they were cheap. They're not as posh as the gold leaf variety, but I think they turned out pretty well, don't you? What are some of your favorite, inexpensive ways to spruce up your home's exterior?