Thursday, 8 November 2012

The hall closet doors

Well, the doors took a lot more time to finish than I expected. Not that the number of hours I worked on them was large, but I seem to have spent a lot of time procrastinating about finishing them. I'm so happy to have them finally hanging where they belong and not kicking around the house like they have been for the past couple of months. I was worried that the glass inserts would get knocked over and broken since they were just leaning against one wall or another.

Because the hallway is only 49" wide and the closet is at the end of it, we knew that narrow double doors would be much more functional than a single wide door. So the search was on. Since we were looking for a non-standard size,  new doors would have to be special ordered. Which seemed to equate to "very pricey".

We made a trip up to The Door Store to see if we could find something old, and really lucked out. The  doors that we found were about 16" wide each, apparently a very unusual size for them to have in stock. The guy at the store told us they had been used as sidelights, but we figured that we could fix them up and hang them as doors. And the best part was that they only cost about a quarter of the price that we were quoted for plain five-panel doors that would match the rest of the doors in the house.

I love the look of them; the glass inserts are really heavy glass with a beveled edge, the doors are made from solid oak and are faced with tiger oak, and they have a little mail slot on one side.

Since they'd been used as sidelights, they had a line of black crud all around the edges so they had to be refinished. Otherwise I would have been happy to just hang them, even though the colour wasn't precisely the same shade as our hardwood floor. I sanded the fronts of the doors down to remove all of the old finish, stained them the same colour as the hardwood floor, and put on three coats of satin finish polyurethane.

I wasn't interested in being able to see into the coat closet, so I had to figure out what to do with the glass. I though about lining it with fabric, but decided to frost it instead. On the weekend I took them out onto the porch and sprayed them with a frosted glass coating made by Excel. It's a special spray paint for glass and was really easy to apply. I put on about four coats before the can ran dry.

The glass is still a little more transparent that I would like, but it's does a pretty good job blocking colour from coats showing through the windows. After I finished the glass I had to reinstall it in the doors. When we bought them the windows were held in by a few flimsy nails, but I wanted to make sure that they were good and secure.

I got out my handy-dandy chop saw and cut quarter round to fit the inside of the window frame. A few nails (that I held my breath while hammering as I was terrified I would hit the glass and shatter it) and the windows were in. The quarter round gives them a good secure fit, but still allows a little bit of movement in case the wood flexes or swells with humidity in the summer.

All that was left was to wrestle them into place. I tried to get them up myself but it was impossible 'cause they're so heavy, so I had to wait for muscles to get home from taking Matthew to hockey practice (did I mention he plays hockey five or six times a week?).

I love how they look in place. It reminds me of the old style wooden telephone booths - like the ones used by the Beetles in A Hard Day's Night.

I still need to figure out handles for them. The doors fit snugly together and stay closed so we don't need anything that latches. I can't decide if I should put on round door handles, or small pulls, or glass knobs, or ......  Any suggestions?


  1. I love the doors without any sort of knob. What you really need is some sort of really subtle trompe l'oeil in the demi-lune above the closet door. Remember Grammie Maxwell's dining room ceiling? Or Suzanne's entry ceiling?

    1. They're kind of tricky to open with no knobs, but maybe I could put in those push-latches like people used to have in glass-faced stereo cabinets. I have been thinking about what to do for paint in the hallway, especially around the doors and the demi-lune. I was thinking maybe stained glass, but a trompe l'oeil would be beautiful too. Any ideas for what to paint in it? Any chance you'd come in and help me, sis?

  2. Wow a pantry doors a having a glass so classy, I want to try it in between the dining room and the living room.


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