Security Door Inspiration

Seeking security solutions that are beautiful

Inspiration, ,

We are lucky enough to live in a neighborhood with many beautiful older homes. I often drive by the Perrine House which has been declared a Historical-Cultural Monument by the city of Los Angeles. I have always been struck by how nice their front door looks.

The screen door has been modified by adding a metal grill. While this has the benefit of providing security, an issue in our neighborhood, it looks much more attractive than the metal beast of a security door gracing the front of our house.

If you look closely, you’ll see that the decorative flourishes of the metal grill work mimick the pattern found in the stained glass windows in the door and side lights.

The door has a beautiful entry set and matching lock.

This security door is our inspiration but we would like to do something a little more humble for our bungalow. We would also want to insert a screen behind the grill so that we could keep the door open.

Well, we’ve found our next project!

Comments { 3 } January 26, 2005

Alarm Window Screens

Restoration Diary,

I want to go barless! No, I’m not thinking of giving up my favorite pub. Nor am I considering walking around without adequate support. After I announced my desire to the alarm company salesman his face turned bright red. He looked at me eyes wide, mouth agape and managed a confused, “Er….um…?”

“No, NOT braless. BARless. The security bars. I want to take them off. Off the house. The security bars.” I point to the windows.

The salesman is relieved to have a place to look other than the floor. David lightly pokes me in the back and gives me his best, “I can’t believe you just said that” expression.

In my quest to live without bars on the windows, I stumbled across alarm window screens. The window screens are interwoven with detection wires. The detection wires blend in and look like normal window screens. If someone cuts the screen it will trigger the alarm. There is also a connector between the edge of the screen and the window frame causing the alarm to trip if the screen is removed. This is wired into your alarm system and can be turned off at any time (to clean the windows, etc).


I like this because, unlike our existing alarm system, an alarm will sound before an intruder has a chance to even get inside our house. Not all alarm companies are supporting this technology yet but a large number of them do.

Some companies even make the window screens with wooden frames. We may end up purchasing the alarm screens directly from a manufacturer and paying for our security company to hardwire them into our alarm system depending on how the different quotes come out.

In the mean time, David has requested that I refrain from saying “I’m going barless.”

The company that we have decided to go with is:
Alarm Screens Van Nuys
7661 Densmore Ave #7
Van Nuys, CA 91406
ph: 818.901.9033

They specialize in custom burglar alarm security screens, installation, service, repair, regular screens, and window cleaning.

We had our alarm company run the wires and wire them into our alarm system. The screens are being made and should be ready in a week.

Comments { 15 } August 18, 2004

Look Ma, No Bars

No longer living behind burglar bars

Restoration Diary,

We removed the security bars from the windows on the front of the house. The first night without the bars I was uneasy and had trouble sleeping. Although we have a good alarm system, I was worried that every little bump in the night was someone breaking in. Now I’m sleeping like a baby.

And, see how much nicer the house looks…


Work on the house is moving along. Lots of sanding and patching at this stage.
Check it out.

Comments { 9 } May 29, 2004

Security Bars Revisited

Living without fear, it’s a choice

Restoration Diary,

We have decided to remove the security bars on the front of the house, causing my mother and grandmother much concern.

“What if someone gets into your house while you are home alone? You NEED those bars.”

They do have a point and I have thought about the possibility, but I don’t want to live in fear. Something like what they are imagining could happen anywhere, even in the Midwest where I grew up and my family still lives.

About a third of the houses on our street have no security bars on the front of their homes, some have no security bars at all. While in the minority, they look so nice and inviting – like home. My Grandmother jokingly said, “They can say at your funeral: She is dead but her house looks beautiful!”

David and I researched crime in our area. Statistically our neighborhood is safer in terms of murder, assault and other violent crimes than our old “safe” neighborhood in LA’s Westside. Of course, it did occur to me that crimes might not be reported as frequently in our current neighborhood. There is a prevailing attitude that the “police don’t care” and that “someone would have to be almost dead before the police would respond.”

In coming to this decision we questioned how we would feel while we were away? Would we be constantly worrying that we were being robbed? Would I feel safe in the house alone, especially if David was working late?

We intend to leave the bars over the windows on the rest of the house and keep our security doors. The bars can always be put back on the front windows if we change our minds. We received a post about security windows that were specially made for an old Craftsman style home that were in a Frank Lloyd Wright pattern. I hadn’t thought about having bars made that were attractive.

Our biggest concern is being robbed. The Los Angeles Police Department website suggests drilling a small hole in the corners where double hung windows meet and inserting a pin so that they cannot be opened. The company that put in our security system said that most old windows have been painted shut so thieves break out the glass instead.

The Los Angeles Police Department website also encourages engraving all electronics and valuables with the last 4 digits of your social security number and posting a sign stating that all your equipment has been engraved. I question if a sign serves as an advertisement that you have something to steal? Engraving (or marking) your possessions supposedly cuts down on the price the item can be sold for on the black market and helps to ensure your items will be returned if they are recovered.

We have also tossed around the idea of an alarm that would sound when glass breaks and a security camera. Overkill? I’m not sure if that is really necessary since we have an alarm system inside the house? Our neighborhood is so quiet and our neighbors are so nice that it is easy to forget that this area is considered rough.

Comments { 5 } May 7, 2004

Do We Remove the Security Bars?

Will I feel safe without bars on my windows?

Restoration Diary,

We are getting serious about starting the exterior restoration. I am going to call Kevin from Fresh Air Environmental Services to schedule the removal of the asbestos siding. We aren’t sure what condition the wood is in underneath the siding. Like most projects we start I am hoping for the best but preparing myself for the worst.

Our big debate, aside from what color to paint the house, is if we should remove the burglar/security bars covering the windows?

We have spoken with several members of the preservation society who encouraged us to remove the bars because they are a fire hazard and to rely on our security system.

Our neighbors, on the other hand, feel the neighborhood has gotten worse with drug dealers and prostitutes on the street corner a block from our house! I wonder how this is happening and I didn’t even realize it? I am often outside working in the yard and I had no idea. Our neighbors strongly advise us to keep the bars on for our protection.

At times I feel like there are two different worlds in our neighborhood. There is the world where people are buying these old homes and restoring them – the world without bars on the windows. And then there is the other world behind bars where most of my neighbors live; avoiding drug transactions and prostitutes while homeless people push shopping carts full of their worldly possessions down the street. The world where homes are allowed to decline because there is not enough money available for upkeep and home maintenance.

Sometimes I catch a glimpse of a homeless person walking down the street and feel guilty that we have the money to live in our house and to fix it up. I am not sure how to reconcile these two overlapping worlds?

Comments { 4 } April 4, 2004