Our Interior Doors

Its hard to believe that for several months, Brandon and I lived in our house without any interior doors. It had been the norm for us as we went about our day to day lives here, but whenever we had guests over we became painfully aware that the only thing blocking the bathroom from the outside was a curtain hanging from a tension rod. We knew we needed doors up, but there were other items that took priority, like our closet kitchen, for example. Finally we got to the part of our to-do list where the doors were and we began this next project.

Brandon and I went back and forth on the style of doors that we wanted. We really wanted to pay tribute to the old fashion style that our house has, but add our own flair to it. We searched around at the big box stores, but we ended up finding the best prices for solid pine wood doors at our local Grossman’s Bargain Outlet. (Our bathroom door is 36″ wide and our bedroom door is 32 wide”) For our bathroom we planned for a sliding barn door style; and for our bedroom a traditional swinging door. We bought the door jam kit for the bedroom and and sliding door hardware at Home Depot. Below is a look at what the doors looked like before.

1- pumpthejam
^ Brandon assembling the bedroom door jam. #thatsmyjam

The first thing we did after taking them out of the packaging was sand both sides with a random orbit sander. Next, we needed to make a 3/16th inch bevel in the hinge side of the door so that the corner wouldn’t scrape into the jam as it opened. Most pre-fabbed doors with the jam included already come with this bevel, but since we bought a solid door without any hardware we had to add it. Brandon measured and cut the bevel in the door with the circular saw.

After the bevel was complete, Brandon chiseled out all the areas in the wood for the hinges and the mortise lock set and door knob I chose for the door. I didn’t realize how much extra work it would be to have the mortise locks over the standard door knobs, but I’m so happy we went with that style. When the hinges and lock set were on, we brought the door up for a dry fit to make sure it would fit in with the jam.

The bathroom door was so much easier to do because all it needed was the hardware screwed into the top of the door and set in the track installed on the wall. The tricky part of the bathroom door was it was about 2 inches too short due to the added height of the sliding door hardware at the top. Brandon actually measured and milled an extension for the bottom with a groove at the bottom for it to slide on a track. He used our famous Kreg jig to drill holes through the side at an angle, and screwed it in after reinforcing it with wood glue. Then he filled in the gaps with plugs.

^ Using a circular saw to create the 3/16 ” bevel in the door for the swing.
^ Chiseling out the wood for the mortise door and lock set.
^ Test fitting the mortise door knob.
^ Drilling holes in bottom of the door and adding the 2″ extension and track.
^ Wood plugs to fill in the holes at the bottom of the door.

We debated a lot on whether or not we wanted to just paint the doors white, or stain them. Ultimately we decided that we would stain them and if we hated the outcome, then at least we could paint over the stain. If we did white first, we couldn’t go back and stain them if we didn’t like them.

I had a vision in my mind as to what the doors would look like as the final product. I wanted them to be on the darker side so they would highlight the dark details in our floor, but didn’t want them too be to dark.  After staining a lot of test pieces, of Minwax stain in several combinations of “Ebony” and “Jacobean” and not being happy with any of the results, I decided I needed to add some gray in the mix to lighten it up. Then, after several iterations of mixing “Jacobean” and “Classic Gray” the sweet spot in color was 2 parts “Jacobean” and 1 part “Classic Gray.” I measured and mixed a quart of “Jacobean” with half a quart of “Classic Gray” and that is how we came up with our door stain color.
^ Home Depot didn’t have a quart of Jacobean, so we had to buy 4 half quarts.
^ We used the Minwax pre-stain before applying the stain.
^ Its important to apply stain generously with a proper stain brush, wait 15 minutes so the wood absorbs the stain properly then wipe away excess with a rag.

I wanted a matte finish on our doors so they looked like they had been aging for years and years. For polyurethane, we bought a clear satin finish to seal and protect the doors. When using polyurethane, its very important to mix it thoroughly before applying it to the wood. Brandon stirred the can for at least 10 minutes before we began to poly.

We applied 2 generous coats of polyurethane to our doors. In between the first coat we sanded them with 220 grit sandpaper.  For the final finish, instead of sandpaper, we used steel wool to sand so it would give it that aged weathered matte finish.
^ The chunk of poly at the bottom of the can- this is why its so important to mix!
^ Using steel wool instead of sandpaper for a smooth matte finish.

In the end, I didn’t like how the glass door knob looked on our door. It looked too formal and elegant for the rustic shabby chic look I was trying to obtain. I found this white porcelain door knob online and I think it completes the door.
^ Screwing in the mortise lock and knob to the door.

Keep in mind that each step of the process, we waited about a day to move onto the next step. Even when we initially sanded the doors, we waited a day before staining so that the dust would settle and we wouldn’t have tiny specs of dust sticking to the stain on the door. Then, each time we stained or added poly, we waited a full 24 hours before adding a coat or sanding so it would have the fullest amount of time to cure. The whole process took about 3 weeks (with one weekend off when we had to go out of town), and we originality thought it would take only one weekend.

Overall, I am so pleased with the way these doors turned out. I can’t wait to have these same type of doors downstairs when we finish down there.

More house updates to come!


There are 4 comments for this article
  1. Pam at 9:22 am

    Mags!!! These look AHHH-MAZING!!!! (said in my best sing-songy voice ever) WOW. Your patience is a virtue. I REALLY need to learn from you….that said….bonfire this weekend? 🙂

  2. Jessie Z. at 9:32 am

    Oh my gosh, Maggie! These doors are BEAUTIFUL. You guys did an incredible job. I’m beyond impressed.

  3. Iloveapplepie at 8:53 pm

    Wow, you guys! They really are beautiful! Great job!