Monday, April 28, 2014

It's the little things...

I have always thought the little details are what make things special. When trying to achieve true vintage style, the details are really important.

Pin It

When I found the stack of perfectly preserved solid wood doors from my great grandfather's old house,  I knew I had to use them somehow. 

I was beyond excited to find that there were enough large ones to replace most of the doors in our house. We had added two to the new closet in the master bathroom just before Luis got hurt. 

I was determined to continue working on them by myself believing it would really make a difference in the house. And so I did. I knew this was something I could do...provided they were not too warped. 

I had to haul 8 of them from the little house to our back yard to work on them. Some had mold, so I wet them down, then scrubbed with a solution of 20 parts water to one part bleach with dish detergent added, then let them dry. 

I sanded them all and after trying a couple different finishes,  I ended up applying Minwax oil-based stain in "Jacobean." I brushed it on, then rubbed it into the wood, wiping off most of the excess.

I was really lucky they were mostly square. I did have to use my electric hand planer to even up some edges, and I had to add 5" to one of the doors, but that is an entire post on how to do it the old fashioned way with hand tools, ha! (I'm still a little gun-shy since Luis cut his wrist.)

Somehow, I restored, squared and hung all 7 doors by myself. Oh yes I did:-) Honestly, I felt so good having accomplished that while Luis is recovering. 

My plan was to use white porcelain door knobs and rim lock sets just like the doors had originally. They still had the holes from the original locks. However, I had some trouble finding antique rim lock sets. New ones run about $70 per, so that was way out of my budget, and I really didn't want new anyway.

Then, I ran across a seller on etsy who had four complete sets of rim locks with glass door knobs. They ended up being very affordable, so I ordered them and they finally arrived today.  They were painted blue, pink and white, so I painted them black, as they would have been new. 

I am fascinated with these locks and the ease with which they are attached. The rim lock goes on the back of the door, and a plate (keeper) attached to the door jam catches the latch.

For the front, I added antique brass plates and left them in their distressed state.

I actually had two doors with mortise locks. One had the lock in place, and the other just had the hole. I was able to find a perfectly matching mortise lock on ebay and just installed it right into the original hole. 

I have several more doors to add knobs to but have enough pieces to put together with the porcelain knobs and rim lock sets I have found from the old house. 

I cannot tell you the joy I have opening and closing these doors. They make such a HUGE difference in the house already. There is nothing that feels like closing a heavy antique door, and the feel of the antique locks when they catch, makes it feel like a really old house. The doors would not have the same effect if I had just put new door knobs on them. The rim locks and glass door knobs make all the difference.

It really is the detail that makes something special. And going from this... this, is a big accomplishment for me.

People must think I am crazy to do all the work I had to do to get these doors in shape and hung. Honestly, I thought I was crazy for a while, but my patience paid off. When my dad first saw the doors outside, while I was working on them, he mentioned what a great job I had done. Then, to see him smile when he saw them in the house and remember these same doors from his childhood, was priceless. Price. Less. That made it worth all the work:-) And that's why I do what I do here.

All the projects are moving at a snail's pace, but I am determined to do what I can to get ready for the photographers next month. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I have to give my best for. 
Luis is going to therapy three times a week and has regained some movement, but the wound is taking its time to heal. He is amazing and has faith like no one else. It is really hard for him to not be playing, but he is trusting God. His recovery is my first priority.

Thanks for stopping by and for all your encouraging comments, thoughts and prayers:-)


I'll be joining:


  1. I bet that was so much work but the doors look amazing! I love the knobs too. I have a couple of old doors that came from my dad's 104 year old house. His house was a boarding house for a period of time so he has some extra doors. Isn't that funny?

  2. Continued prayers for Luis' recovery.
    Go you!! What an accomplishment Anita. Well done. They look awesome! I am in awe..., total awe.
    Enjoy the fruits of your labour .
    Hugs, Gee

  3. Anita those doors are GORGEOUS and I love the fact they came from your grandfathers house! Glad to here Luis is improving!

  4. They look wonderful Anita. They have so much substance.

  5. I sure can identify with your hard work. I have done much the same:
    It's SO worth it, and your doors and closings look fantastic!

  6. Your doors are amazing and you hard work has truly made a difference. We have old doors and knobs in the old part of our house and that is a big part of why I was drawn to our house.

  7. Once again, I am struck by your love for family history and for keeping it alive in your home. The doors are phenomenal, and I can only imagine the stories they could share. Luis remains in my prayers for a full and complete recovery!

  8. The doors are beautiful Anita. They were so worth the work as the wood looks so warm and has such great texture. I love the antique hardware, as well. We are restoring the house my grandparents built in the 30's and my sister had all of the hardware restored. Will be praying for Luis. Also praying for you guys tonight as the storm passes you.

  9. Great job, and I'm so glad Luis is making progress.

  10. Wonderful treasures! Everything you do just makes me love that house of yours more and more .

  11. Your doors are just gorgeous and I am so impressed! I'm pretty handy myself, but not sure I could have or would have tackled that many doors and the locks probably would have been beyond my abilities. Very, very impressive and I applaud you for all your hard work. I guess we never know what we can do until we try and when I get stumped, I always ask Jesus, the master carpenter for help. I know you Father must be truly proud.

  12. Absolutely beautiful! You are an amazing woman! I have done many things by myself in my old house but I haven't hung doors! That is a big job, of course you know that! Be careful and prayers for Luis.

  13. These doors and knobs are amazing. I love them and so happy to see them used again. Fabulous.

  14. Love the knobs and the doors! Wow! Love it!

  15. I grew up in my Grandmothers house and those doors and knobs are from MY childhood too!!! Oh, this brought back such memoriesof that house. Solid wood, heavy doors are GORGEOUS!!! You are amazing doing all this yourself! I am sorry I didn't know Luis had hurt himself. Here's hoping it heals fast and he gets all his movement back!!!

  16. Anita, you did a fabulous job. The physical work on the doors is far beyond me, even on my best day. With all you do, you still find time to scour ebay for what you want for your special project, and do it perfectly. Luis and your dad must be so proud of all you're doing now. Great to know Luis is gaining movement. God does move in His perfect timing. Prayers.

  17. The doors and knobs are beautiful! What a difference they make in your home!

  18. What a treasure, to not only get beautiful antique doors, but ones that belonged to your grandfather! Thanks so much for sharing at the Vintage Inspiration party at Knick of Time. I'm giving you a shout-out on my FB page here -

  19. You are probably too young to remember, but there was an episode of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" when Mr. Grant told Mary, "You've got spunk!" You, Miss Anita, have got SPUNK!!! Of course, Mr. Grant went on to say, "I hate spunk!" I only hate that I don't have it!!! I applaud you a million times over for tackling this on your own! What an amazing job!!! You really did it up! I wouldn't know a saw from a sap, so I have to hand it to you!

    I hope Luis is feeling much, much better. I've been away on vacation and probably missed a few posts, so I'm just trying to catch up. Glad I caught up to this one. You did great!!! have a great weekend, and rest that little body of yours!

  20. Those doors and your efforts are priceless!

  21. You did a great job!
    Greetings from Serbia:)