“Poor Doors” in London, is this a social division?

Crossways Estate in London, image © Suttonpubcrawl and used under CC license

Crossways Estate in London, image © Suttonpubcrawl and used under CC license

There was an interesting debate reported recently in the papers regarding the use of “poor doors” in housing development plans in London. Whenever a building company begin work on a new housing project, they have to include a proportion of affordable housing within the scheme. Some developers in London have included separate doors to segregate residents of affordable housing from those who have paid higher market prices for their properties. These affordable entrances have been referred to as “poor doors”. While this sounds like a social division, the developers argue that full paying tenants like services such as a concierge and a luxury entrance, however such facilities would incur a high service charge, which would be unaffordable for other tenants.

The mayor of London has to review and approve planning for developments with 150 or more homes in the city and Boris Johnson has said that he does not like the practice of creating separate doors, however he has not banned the use of them in apartment blocks.

A number of similar debates have taken place in New York where developments feature a similar system with a luxury entrance at one side and of the development and a “poor door” entrance for affordable housing tenants. Following claims of discrimination and exclusivity, a recent plan has been redesigned to eliminate the separate door and separate amenities that were included in the original project.

At Kershaws Doors we do not discriminate and we cater for all budgets. Whether you are looking for a luxury door for your home or a more affordable budget design, we have a wide selection covering a range of prices. On our website we have a collection of clearance rack doors if you want to grab a bargain, but you’ll need to order these quickly as they may be end of lines or limited availability.

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Old Doors used for Frog In The Bog

Frog In The Bog

Frog In The Bog Door

One of the joys of having a three year old daughter is that we can go to summer Fayre’s and Galas. If you don’t have a child in tow, you can feel a bit of a fraud. I am genuinely a big fan of these very English events and I love the traditional games such as Hook-a-Duck and Splat the Rat. During the summer holidays we went to a few of these community events. So, where is the connection to doors you may be wondering? A few weeks ago we went to a charity gala and there was an interesting use of an old door. Somebody had decided to cut a large hole out of the centre of the door and place a toilet seat over the hole. This was an interesting version of Frog in the Bog. The challenge was to throw a frog through the centre of the toilet seat. This proved a popular game for my daughter and nephew as well as many other children that were there. Whilst attempting to take a discreet photo of the door I was forced to explain that I wanted to share this unusual use of a door on our blog. The stallholder was a little bemused, but happy to share his unusual construction.

I am always interested in finding out new uses for doors and I would much rather see an old door being re-used for a new purpose than being thrown away or burnt on a fire.

At Kershaws Doors we sell a wide range of modern and traditional style doors. Maybe we should consider compiling a list of possible uses for old doors for customers who are replacing their old doors. I am sure there are some great practical and humorous uses for doors that have reached the end of their life.

Kershaw’s Doors often have slight seconds doors or ex-display doors so if you need a low cost door for any reason please give us a call.

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Christmas is Coming – Order new doors in plenty of time!

I know many people are in denial about this, but there is no point ignoring the fact that Christmas is just a few weeks away. Theres even a website provides a countdown clock

keep-calmWith this in mind, I have begun some much overdue decorating at home as I want to make sure I have spare rooms fit for guests as well as some updates and a general tidy up around the house.

As part of a decorating plan many people will require new doors and at Kershaws Doors we have a vast selection of internal and external doors. If your doors are looking a bit past their best then they can really drag down the overall look of your home.

Many of our doors are available within seven days, but some have a longer lead time depending on availability from the supplier so if you have a date in mind, like a Pre-Christmas deadline, it is worth thinking about your new doors now. So do give us a ring so we can do a stock check your chosen style or offer you alternatives. You may also need to arrange for a joiner to fit your door so you should also consider the time required for preparation and fitting.

We can offer express delivery on certain items if you are in a rush to receive your doors, but there is an extra charge for this service so it is always best to be organised in advance. We tend to find that people have a good look around our website for a couple of weeks before deciding on their favourite style so I’d recommend you get looking earlier rather than later.

Once you have found a door design that you like, you may wish to call our helpful customer services team to check on the availability of the door. This will help to ensure you will receive it in the time required. Happy hunting and don’t delay!

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Love is an Open Door!

At Kershaws Doors we have an interest in anything related to doors. My latest find is in the hugely popular Disney film called Frozen.

There is a song fairly early on in the film called Love is an Open Door, which is a duet between two characters called Anna and Hans. I have had to watch this film a number of times as it seems to be a firm favourite amongst young girls, including my three year old daughter and all of her friends. We have been to a couple of Frozen themed Birthday parties and the children all sing along and dance to the songs from the film so it is certainly popular.

Whilst the target audience for this film is probably quite young, the underlying message of this song is quite complex. The character called Anna has led a lonely life being shut away from her older sister from a young age. Hans appears to be her knight in shining armour, but various lyrics in the song indicate that he has motives beyond simply being attracted to Anna. It is suggested that the reference to an open door is that Anna is a door into the Royal Family and a position of power for Hans. I must admit, I hadn’t realised the significance of these words when hearing the lyrics. I just assumed that love is an open door related to opening up to a new life with someone else.

It seems that there are a lot of references to doors throughout the film, including the fact the Elsa, the older sister shut herself inside her bedroom door in an attempt to protect Anna and herself. Later in the film, Anna pleads with her sister not to slam the door on her. Once you work with doors, you start to see and hear references to doors in all sorts of places.

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Repair or Replace Timber Doors?

fixAre you the kind of person that repairs an item or would you rather go out and buy a new one? There are lots of websites, such as houselogic.com with free tips on how to repair items.

I recently repaired a pair of trousers because the hem had gone and I did a quick sewing job to fix them. As I was doing this, I wondered how many people would actually repair their trousers in this day and age. For me, I find it difficult to find trousers that fit well so once I do, I like to keep hold of them and if it’s a quick fix then it will be worth it for me.

When it comes to other items, I am less inclined to repair them. With many electrical items such as White Goods I assume it is cheaper to replace them than call out someone to repair them. For example, we had a problem with a tumble dryer recently and I decided that after four years, we had probably got our money’s worth out of it and I imagine the call out fee alone for a tumble dryer would be fairly pricey. Often I suppose it depends on the price of a new item against the cost of repair, or sometimes it is a time issue and whether you have the skills or the time to fix something.

So, how about doors? Do people want to repair their doors or replace them? At Kershaws Doors we find a bit of a mixture amongst our customers. We find that some people contact us about how to maintain and repair their doors, though after discussion, often realise that starting afresh and then maintaining them with our recommend timber finishing products is often the way forward. There are an increasing number of people who do not have the time or inclination to fix household items and they simply want a new model. We will happily advise customers on how to maintain and repair their door or if you are looking for new doors we have a wide range to browse on our website.

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What are the Origins of Bonfire Night? Saving King James I

Bonfire Night image © Lewis Clarke and licensed for reuse under this CC Licence

Bonfire Night image © Lewis Clarke and licensed for reuse under this CC Licence

Bonfire Night is just around the corner and I thought it would be interesting to remind myself about the origins of this event.

Bonfire Night, also known as Guy Fawkes Night, is an annual reminder of events that took place on 5th November 1605. Guy Fawkes was a member of the Gunpowder Plot, which was intended to blow up the House of Lords and assassinate the Protestant king to replace him with a Catholic one. Fawkes was arrested while guarding explosives. The plot was averted and King James I survived the attempt to kill him. Following these events, the day was marked as a day of thanksgiving and people continued to light bonfires to celebrate the fact that the king had survived.

Every year people continued to light fires to celebrate the prevention of the assassination. As time has gone on, people are less aware of the origins and just enjoy the celebration. The addition of fireworks is a more recent extension to the celebration replicating the explosions that never did occur that evening. Fireworks manufacturers changed the name of the event to Fireworks Night during the 20th century. In recent years there has been a reduction in the number of organised bonfires and fireworks displays, partly due to increased health and safety requirements.

At Kershaws Doors we are aware that some of our customers who are in the process of buying new doors for their homes will be saving their old damaged doors to burn on a bonfire. We understand that people are looking for combustible materials, but we are always a little bit sad to see an old door being disposed of in this way. If you are celebrating Bonfire Night this year then we hope you enjoy the event and make sure you stay safe.

Please note: if you are burning old doors then consider that the old paint or varnish used on them will probably be of a type which will give off toxic fumes, any painted items can also flare easily. Always stand well away from the fire any way but particularly with items that can be toxic and flare when they are burning, and remember, animals and children should be well away from Bonfires and Fireworks at all times.

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Door to Door at Happy Halloween is an Old Custom

Halloween Sidelight Signs

Halloween Sidelight Signs © Bless’er House

The final day in October is that night of the year when children throughout the world go from door to door asking three words to the homeowner who answers the door – “Trick or Treat?”. So where does this tradition originate? I assumed it was a fairly recent tradition founded in the United States, however it seems that the practice of going door to door in search of treats or food goes back to the Middle Ages. There is a similar old custom called “Souling” which involved poor people offering prayers for the dead in exchange for food. This took place on All Souls Day, which is 2nd November.

Dressing up in disguise has been practised in Scotland for some time and there is a record of people going from door to door dressed up and carrying lanterns back in the 19th century.

The term “Trick or Treat” appears to be an American invention and it was not commonly used elsewhere until fairly recently after it was picked up from films and cartoons. Personally I have noticed in the last couple of years that children are increasingly saying “Happy Halloween” when I answer the door, which I guess is a more positive phrase and it removes the threat of devious behaviour and damage.

Are you looking forward to the knock at the door from dressed up children or do you dread this time of year? I don’t mind the tradition and will stock up on sweets and treats ready for the event.

With all these new guests calling at your door, it may remind you that you are due a new one. If your Front Door is the scariest looking thing on Halloween night then check out the vast collection of wooden doors at Kershaws Doors where you are sure to find a style to suit your home.

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Halloween Decorations for Doors

Halloween garden decorations

Halloween garden decorations

Halloween is fast approaching and this is one of the key times in the year for decorating your door. In fact, I can only really think of one other, which is Christmas time with a much tamer approach to door decoration where most of us will simply fix a seasonal wreath.

Last year I was amazed at the lengths people had gone to decorate their doors, windows and gardens. I felt like I had let the neighbourhood down as I drove past life-sized gravestones as garden decorations, mannequins, strobe lighting and gruesome stickers and decorations on and around people’s doors. I was a little embarrassed by my small effort of a hand carved pumpkin with a candle inside and I vowed to make a better effort this year.

My daughter is only three so some of the extreme bloody and creepy decorations would be a step too far for her so I have opted for younger style decorations including cute looking ghosts and pumpkins as well as a full size poster to hang on the door saying ‘Happy Halloween’. I am pleased to hear that most of the children who come knocking at the door say ‘Happy Halloween’ these days rather than ‘Trick or Treat’ as it’s a much nicer greeting. I think we have moved towards the American celebration style, which is more fun and a bit less scary.

There are some great ideas for Halloween decorations on Pinterest and Houzz and if you have time on your hands you can create a fantastic door display without spending a fortune. However you may wish to avoid creating the most amazing display for miles as one of my neighbours has discovered. Kids came from miles around to see her decorations and she has already been asked several times what she will be doing this year!

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Timber Doors form part of a Colour Scheme Inspired By Nature

At Kershaws Doors we are aware that many of our customers are buying doors as part of a wider decoration or refurbishment project. While the doors that we supply typically have a white or Natural Timber finish, some are finished with an on trend neutral grey finish which are ready to fit. Customers sometimes ask about complementary colours to ensure their new doors will fit the scheme they have selected for their rooms. Our unfinished wooden doors can be painted especially the Clear Pine options and unfinished Oak doors with their lovely grain can be stained in a variety of hues.

Moodboard

Moodboard image © Katherine Melançon and shared under CC license

Choosing complementary colours can be difficult and many people end up looking for inspiration online or in interior magazines or in the brochures of furniture and decoration suppliers.

Some of the interior design experts suggest creating a mood-board combining colours and textures to help piece together an attractive decoration plan. I have found this useful and I tend to find images online of attractive furnishings and objects and place these alongside colour swatches from paint companies and samples of wallpaper.

So, where do you start when you don’t know what colours to choose? I read an article recently that suggested that the natural world is a great source of inspiration for finding colours that complement one another. If you think about your favourite flowers you may be inspired by the colours. For example the lavender shade of purple is a perfect complement to the Greyish green shade that you would see on the stem of a sprig of lavender. Alternatively you can consider your favourite landscape scene. Whether it is the pastel shades of pebbles on a beach or the vibrant colours in a summer meadow, you will find that the colours in nature naturally go well together. You can even consider your favourite season and this could inspire an Autumnal combination of oranges, reds and yellows or a Spring inspired mix of bright green, yellow and white.

Whatever colour shades you go for in your home, you can be sure you will find the perfect door within the Kershaws Doors collection to complement your colour scheme. Please note: it is important to follow manufacturers advice when painting unfinished doors.

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Yorkshire – It’s All Going On for businesses in Gods County Yorkshire

Hillside Artwork

TDF (Tour de France) Hillside artwork image © rawdonfox, cropped and shared under CC license

Kershaws Doors is based in West Yorkshire and we are delighted to see that our county seems to be blooming at the moment.

Hosting the first part of the 2014 Tour De France Grand Depart in July was a major boost to the county with many visitors from all over the UK and Europe and beyond. Many of our local businesses and homeowners made the most of the event with welcoming decorations and messages for the riders and spectators. This is not the only sporting event that has raised the profile of Yorkshire recently. During the Commonwealth Games this summer we saw 46 medals won by athletes that were born or trained in Yorkshire, including gold medals for boxing, gymnastics, table tennis and triathlon. In fact, if Yorkshire were treated as a country, the achievement would have made seventh position in the medals table. This follows an impressive performance for Yorkshire during the 2012 Olympic Games.

Along with sport, Yorkshire has contributed significantly to popular music over the years and Leeds Festival was on the television recently featuring headline act Arctic Monkeys, who are originally from Sheffield. This is the Northern partner event of the Reading Festival, which both take place over the August Bank Holiday weekend each year.

Yorkshire people are known for being proud of their county and it is true, amongst the Kershaws Doors team we are a proud bunch and we are pleased to see our local area appearing in the news with a positive message.

One of the stereotypes for Yorkshire people is their friendliness. Our customer service team spend a lot of time speaking to customers about doors and they often comment on how friendly and helpful we are, so in this case we are pleased to fulfil the Yorkshire stereotype.

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Inequality – Access for Disabled People

 

The access ramp outside our showroom

The access ramp outside our showroom

Blog Action Day is a global event where bloggers throughout the world blog about one important topic on the same day. The topic for 2014 is Inequality and so I have decided to write a post about the issue of access faced by disabled people.

In 2004 the Disability Discrimination Act was updated in the UK with requirements on goods, facilities and service providers to provide access to disabled people. This includes service users, customers and people employed by organisations. The additional requirements mean that many businesses are expected to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ where required to ensure disabled people can access and make full use of their premises. Unfortunately there are still many areas that are overlooked for disabled people and this means they miss out on many of the day to day activities and opportunities we take for granted.

Doors can be a major hurdle for disabled people and there are a few issues to consider related to doors. Using contrasting colours for doors and walls helps visually impaired people distinguish doorways. A common complaint related to standard width doors is that they are too narrow for wheelchair users. This applies to both external and internal doors. Kershaws Doors offer custom made doors so you can specify the width of the door to ensure your premises are compliant with the legislation and more importantly, to allow full access to all people. Another issue related to doors is whether the door opens in or out. This is particularly important in tight spaces such as toilets and wash rooms where a simple adjustment to the fitting of a door to create an outward opening door can allow access to wheelchair users.

According to the Disabled Living Foundation there are more than 10 million disabled people in Britain. This represents a great number of people who should be able to access your business premises. The Disability Discrimination Act is now part of the Equality Act 2010 and if you would like to find out more about your requirements as a business then you can see the full Act on www.legislation.gov.uk. If you have any specific queries about new doors then please contact our customer services team on 0845 467 1910 or email us at help@kershawsdoors.co.uk.

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Find a Good Joiner to fit timber doors

JoineryAt Kershaws Doors we cannot recommend a joiner beyond our local area of West Yorkshire, however we have customers throughout the UK and we know that customers sometimes find it difficult to find a good joiner.

Finding a good joiner or carpenter is like looking for any other Tradesperson and here are a few tips to increase your chances of finding someone you feel confident in.

Often the best place to start is to ask friends and family for a recommendation. A proven positive experience can be the best way to avoid a cowboy joiner.

You can always stick a pin in your local business directory however this is a big gamble.

There is an increasing number of schemes designed to help you find reputable local businesses and independent reviews from past customers. TrustMark is one example, which is backed by the government and the use of this logo shows that the person or company has agreed to a code of practice that covers insurance as well as good customer service. There is a website where you can simply enter your postcode and find a list of traders within your local area.

Rated People is another service recommending tradespeople. This system is slightly different as you enter your requirements and up to three recommended traders contact you to provide a quote for your project. Once the job is done, you return to the website to rate your trader and this feeds into the overall review process. You can always check out the other reviews from previous customers. These are just two examples of websites that can help and there are others.

Once you have chosen a joiner it is a good idea to be clear when specifying your requirements and agree a start and end date in advance. Most good joiners will happily provide references allowing you to speak directly to previous customers. We hope you can find a good joiner to help fit your new doors from Kershaws Doors so they will look their very best when fitted.

Very important: when having timber doors fitted make sure that your joiner understands the construction of the door you have ordered and what the recommended tolerances for any trimming of the door/s has been advised by the supplier. In addition remember that timber doors must be finished with the recommended stains/varnishes before fitting, if a joiner says that this is not necessary then be wary, as your supplier guarantee will not be upheld.

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Good News Internal Pitch Pine Doors now available again from Kershaws!

Pitch Pine Tree

Image © Leonard214 via Wikimedia Commons under CC License

We often receive enquiries about our internal Pitch Pine doors which are one of our best selling door styles we have supplied for many years. Unfortunately over the last year we have had to advise our customers that sadly we could no longer supply Pitch Pine doors, as the sources supplying the timber were not responsibly sourcing Pitch Pine timber.

But now we have great news as we are able to supply these doors again as the Pitch Pine timber used is now available and will come from more environmentally responsible timber suppliers. Pitch pine is a slow growing timber, unlike a lot of Pine species and some availability was reduced due to environmental concerns. The timber used for our Pitch Pine products now has satisfactory accreditation.

The Latin name for pitch pine is Pinus Rigida and other commonly used names include coast pitch pine and long leaf pine. Pitch pine was used extensively in the shipbuilding industry and heavy construction because the wood’s high resin content preserves it from decay. It is classified as moderately durable so it was very suitable for making doors.

We have an attractive selection of these in both Victorian and 1930’s Traditional styles which are always very popular with customers renovating older properties.

Pitch pine is warm yellowish white in colour and features an attractive visible grain similar to Oak. Fans of pitch pine doors typically liked the authentic traditional look of the timber. While they could be painted, most customers will simply stain or coat with a clear varnish to bring out the naturally attractive look of the timber.

The styles of these doors are also available in an Unfinished Oak Collection. We have over 300 Oak internal doors and over 200 Oak external doors displayed on our Door Website. If you are looking at doors on our website, you can always click on the image to zoom in and see more detail to give you a better view of the timber. Obviously due to the nature of timber, the exact appearance will vary from door to door, but you can get a strong impression from the photos on the website. If you do not see the doors you require please give us a call to discuss styles and finishes with our sales team.

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What is Door Breaching?

British police using a Big Red Key to breach a door - image by Zatoichi1564 via Wikipedia

The term Door Breaching is one I have not come across before, but this relates to the use of force or mechanical tools to gain entry to a property. Typically this will be performed by the emergency services. For example, when a paramedic needs to gain access to a home where the owner has fallen and cannot open the door or when police wish to gain entry to a property to search the contents or to avoid alerting the people inside.

Police will often use a battering ram and breach the door through force whereas a paramedic will typically try and avoid excessive damage and find a simpler way in if possible. There are strict rules on when police can use such force and they will not do so without evidence or a genuine reason. If the police did breach your door without such grounds then they would have to pay compensation so that you can arrange repair or replacement for your door.

Where a vulnerable person lives alone and is at risk from health conditions such as a heart attack, stroke or unconsciousness, they may be able to arrange a special vault for a spare key outside their door and they can advise close relatives and friends the security code to gain entry. In addition, they can get a medical alert device, which will alert the emergency services that there is a problem and provide the security code so that the paramedics can easily gain access without any damage to the door.

At Kershaws Doors we sell a variety of internal and external doors and we would hate to think of them being damaged or broken down by brute force. It is reassuring to know that there are options for people at risk that can prevent this from happening and avoid the upset and hassle of having to repair or replace the door.

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Designer Glass in Stunning Designs

Kensington decorative glazed door

Kensington decorative glazed door

We recently went to a lovely wedding in North Yorkshire and the bride and groom included a sweet little poem with the invitation about wedding gifts. The couple have lived together for several years and they have both been married before. The note included this fact and explained to guests that they did not require any household items such as kettles and glasses as they already had all of these kinds of things. The poem stated, in a humorous and artistic way, that if guests wished to provide a gift then they would really appreciate money towards a stained glass window that they wished to purchase for their home.

We included a cheque within the card as did most of the guests and once the couple had returned from their honeymoon two weeks after the wedding, we received a lovely Thank You card, which included another sweet poem. This poem thanked all the guests for joining them on their big day and for every one’s contribution to their beautiful new stained glass window. There was also a photo included in the card showing the pretty window fitted in place at their home in all its glory.

At Kershaws Doors we sell a wide variety of timber doors including a number of glazed doors. Some of these doors feature intricate patterns and we have a selection of decorative glass from geometric shapes to flower designs. Typically there is a premium associated with patterned glass doors because there is extra work involved in manufacturing these doors. If none of the designs we supply match your requirements then you may wish to purchase one of our unglazed doors and we can point you in the direction of glazing experts who are skilled in producing unique custom glazing designs.

If you are unsure what to request as a special present, maybe you could ask for a contribution to a new door. The beauty of this present is that all your contributors would see it when they called at your house so they could see how you spent the money.

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