I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since we participated in the Fall 2019 One Room Challenge – during which Chris and I remodeled my dressing room. (More on that at the end of this post.)
Part of the remodel involved rebuilding a small door and giving it some much-needed character. That was a fun project, but things were moving along so quickly during the One Room Challenge that I never had a chance to talk about it in detail.
So I’m sharing it with you today.
The Door Rebuild
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The dressing room has a sloped ceiling that follows the roof line of the house. As a result, the east wall of the room is very short. There is a door on that wall that measures just over five feet tall and leads to an unfinished attic space.
It is a hollow-core door that is not original to our circa 1927 house. The two-inch moldings surrounding the door, and the brushed-brass doorknob, were likely installed around the same time as the door – maybe in the 1950s or 60s.
No doubt it was difficult to find such a small door, and whoever installed it made no attempt to match it with the original single-panel doors in the house (example below).
But, with our remodel underway, we were finally going to change that.
Making Space For Period-Appropriate Molding
The door’s only redeeming feature was the beveled mirror. We carefully removed it and stashed it somewhere safe. Then Chris pried off the cheap two-inch molding that framed the door.
The molding he would install in its place would be four inches wide. So, Chris used his Ryobi multi tool to cut back the baseboard on either side of the door by two inches to accommodate that wider molding.
Installing Reclaimed 1920s Molding
We actually had the right molding on hand – and it was original to the house! It had been removed from another room we’d remodeled, and Chris had been saving it for just this type of occasion.
Now the molding around the door would match the other moldings in the house. It was in slightly rough shape, but we could fix that later by sanding and spackling.
A Molding/Doorknob Conundrum
So as I mentioned earlier, the other doors in the house are the single-panel doors that are very common in 1920s houses. We decided the easiest way to make this door look like the others would be to install molding around the perimeter of the door itself to give it the appearance of a single-panel door.
Adding molding to the door would mean that the location of the doorknob would have to change. So, Chris created a wooden plug for the existing doorknob hole. This plug would be concealed later by spackling and paint.
Now the molding could be installed around the perimeter of the door.
Sand, Spackle, Prime, and Paint
With all the molding installed, it was finally time for me to sand, spackle, prime, and paint the door and moldings. I used Benjamin Moore’s Simply White.
Once this was done, it was time to add some pretty little details.
A Vintage Doorknob
All the original doors in the house have either glass or antique brass knobs. We had some 1920s vintage door hardware on hand, but most of it was too large and out of scale for this petite door.
Luckily, we’ve collected a pretty good stash of old house parts over the years and, rummaging through it, we found these elegant little beauties.
Their small and narrow profiles would fit the door. But there was no lock mechanism to go with them. And even if there had been, it may not have worked with the door.
But Chris made do. He installed the faceplate and the knob. For a door latch, he installed a ball catch – much like you would find on old cabinet doors.
So, when I open the door, I don’t actually turn the knob. I just pull. And to latch it closed again, I just push. It’s very simple but it works – and it looks pretty.
We also replaced the flimsy hinges on the door with vintage hinges we had on hand which, besides being very well made, are identical to the hinges on the home’s original doors.
Re-Installing The Mirror
Then it was just a matter of re-installing the beveled mirror.
The door is exactly what I wanted in this room: 1920s elegance, feminine but classic, and in a soft vintagey white.
Our efforts to keep things in scale for this small door paid off. Looking at this photo, you wouldn’t immediately notice that the door is only about five feet tall.
But there is one small drawback: The molding we installed on the door itself does not sit flush with the molding that frames the door opening. So, the door appears to protrude a tiny bit, as you can see from the photo below.
But the overall look is such an improvement that I feel it’s a small price to pay.
To recap, here is the before,
And the after.
This was a fun little project that made a big impact.
The door now looks like it’s been with the house all along.
More On Our Dressing Room Remodel
For this remodel, we challenged ourselves to work on a very tight budget – and to keep the carbon footprint small by using repurposed items that we either had on hand or found at salvage shops. Since we were trying for a very specific look, we really had to get creative. The challenges we set for ourselves made the project fun!
If you want to see more of this remodel, check out my posts below.
- Week 1: Planning a Dressing Room Remodel
- Week 2: Flooring, Walls, and a Door
- Week 3: Stenciling The Floor
- Week 4: Customizing a Craigslist Wardrobe
- Week 5: Putting The Pieces Together
- Week 6: The Final Reveal
- Organizing My New Dressing Room
- Creating DIY Built-Ins Using Repurposed Pieces
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