The Front Door Project is a very cool blog that features historical homes, their quirky doors and the stories attached to them. I was a fan long before I met the brains behind it all, Deb Cohen. Now that I know Deb, I like The Front Door Project even more.I was instantly drawn to the blog for 4 reasons… 1. The beautiful photographs. 2. The interesting stories entangled with the featured homes and communities. 3. Deb’s writing. She’s that intelligent writer who communicates in a non-fussy way. It’s as if she simply gave you a call to share something she’s jazzed up about. 4. A specific niche. Deb has created a clear cut focus for her blog that many bloggers/entrepreneurs (including myself) struggle to do – she doesn’t try to be everything to everyone. Take a look…
The Beautiful Photographs
The Interesting Stories
Sarah Whitman Hooker House, West Hartford, CT. – Built c. 1715
Did you know the owners of this home allowed their slave, Bristow, to buy his freedom in 1775 for 60 pounds? This was decades before the onset of the abolitionist movement. P.S. The newest middle school in town is named after Bristow.
Brownstones on Capitol Avenue, Hartford – Built c. 1870s
Well known architect, John W. Gilbert, designed the curious row of brownstones on Capitol Ave. Even more curious… his wife, Ellen, was a chess champion when women didn’t really do that sort of thing. Deb discovered that Mrs. Gilbert was dubbed the “The Queen of Chess” due to her success in correspondence chess. In Deb’s words, “What is correspondence chess, you ask? But of course it is a game of chess played through the mail or by electronic correspondence such as the telegraph. Can you imagine?”
Tariffville Historical District, Simsbury, CT. – Established in 1824
The first carpet mill in the US opened it’s doors in the Village of Tariffville in 1825. The few (& amazing) Greek revival homes overlooking the Farmington River were built for the mill supervisors. In 1878, tragedy struck the village with the Great Tariffville Train Wreck. The bridge in town gave way and scores of people died. Many of them were coming back from a Protestant revival meeting in Hartford led by the famous evangelist, Dwight L. Moody. Due partially to the wreck, the Connecticut Western Railroad closed two years later.
The Non-Fussy Writing
Childhood Home of Deb’s Dad, College Park, MD.
One of my favorite Deb stories revolves around a photo she snapped on her iPhone and posted to Instagram. She had dragged her kids and husband to check out her father’s childhood home in Maryland. They pulled up and Deb “promptly burst into tears”. Her parents met as kids when her mom lived across the street and her grandparents raised their 5 children in the home. They lived there forever. The relatable way in which Deb writes about this place makes me miss my own grandparents and the mischief my sisters, cousins and I created in their farm house. After I read this, I knew Deb Cohen even though we had not yet met.
By narrowing her focus on beautiful old doors and the stories behind them, Deb has created a serious following…
Over 1300 followers on FB, several hundred on Twitter and a whopping 15,000+ on Instagram
The traction has led people to reach out and request help in researching the history of their homes. Deb now offers a menu of services, including, home ownership histories and photography.
Ultimately, Deb has found success with The Front Door Project because she stumbled across something she completely loves. A title from one of her blog posts says it best, “How Taking Pictures of Doors Changed my Life”. Her excitement for lovely homes and their stories is contagious. Take a look for yourself…