Nine years ago, Barbara and Don McKee stopped dreaming about the changes they wanted to make to the home they’d shared for 40 years and started implementing them. The couple wanted to inject a dose of whimsy into their vintage Victorian. Keeping in mind Don’s motto—”Never make anything simple and efficient if a way can be found to make it complex and wonderful”—their fondness for Art Nouveau, and “elfin shapes,” they designed and built this hobbit door. The couple designed the stained glass together before Barbara crafted the glass. A former engineer and self-taught woodworker and sculptor, Don built the door, engineered the hardware, and sculpted the center knob. Trimmed in faux gold leaf with a brass kickplate, the door could grace a home in the Shire. It is set into a wall of bright blue shingles and is reached by following a paver path, which the couple also designed and installed. The door’s custom locking mechanism is complex: Turning the inside knob counterclockwise engages three dead bolts and disengages the outside knob; turning the inside knob clockwise re-engages the outside knob, disengages the dead bolts, and engages two latches. Should the stained glass need repair, the interior and exterior halves of the mahogany door can be separated by removing wooden pegs that hold the parts together. Double-glazed and tightly sealed, the round door has a diameter of 5-1/2 ft. Read more about Barbara and Don McKee in “Tailgate: Barbara and Don McKee, Artist and Engineer” (FHB #242).
Design and construction: Barbara and Don McKee, Louisville, Colo.
Photos: courtesy of Barbara and Don McKee