Using Salvaged Doors to Maintain Character

Door Illustration

When Daniel and I walked through our house for the first time, I fell in love with so many of the historic details that made it unique. I could see the potential in the hardwood floors, the mouldings, all of the original wood windows were still there, and every single door in the whole house was solid wood with the original brass hardware. At the top of my house-hunting wish list were charming historic details I could highlight and this was a treasure trove of charm.

Before we moved in we built a separate laundry room and added two closets. We also wanted to add doors to the oddly sized doorways in the attic-turned-master bedroom. Because of all these changes, we needed three new single doors and one set of double doors. I strongly desired to have these fit in with the quality and character of the rest of the house.

At the top of my house-hunting wish list were charming historic details I could highlight and this was a treasure trove of charm.

I visited some local architectural salvage stores that sell hundreds of doors of various types. Preservation Station has their doors organized by interior/exterior and number of panels. I brought the dimensions I needed with me and looked for doors that matched the ones I already had. They amazingly had doors that matched perfectly for all the downstairs doors we were adding!

For the finished attic, I had to find doors for two really strangely sized doorways. Since nothing in this part of the house was originally there, I didn’t mind using mix and matched pieces. I found one really rough-looking door at Preservation Station that was $55 and close to the size I needed. The doorway to the master closet is so tiny that I had to go on a hunt to find a door that would work. I went to Hailey’s Salvage and quickly realized that finding anything specific was like finding a needle in a haystack. There were hundreds of doors with no form of organization whatsoever.

But then…I saw it. A hobbit-sized door sitting right in my path and it was only a couple of inches off of my dimensions!

Preservation Station also helped us out with hardware that matches the old stuff—something that I knew very little about. They showed me how to measure for the right size, the different parts involved in door hardware and how they work, and how to put it all together. We ended up with doors that look like they’ve been in our house since it was built!

What are your most cherished details in your home?

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