What a Difference a Door Makes

If you have ever purchased a home, either brand new construction or previously owned, then you know about homeowner projects.  Even the most well maintained and beautiful homes will require new owners to do work on them to make them their own.

One of the projects at the top of our list when we purchased the quirky old house was to add a door to the master bedroom.

Yes, there was no door on the bedroom.

Bedroom Doorway Before

Here is the real estate picture of the doorway to the bedroom.  It is right off the front room.  The kitchen is through the doorway on the right.

Now, we know the previous owners and having no door on their bedroom was not an issue for them.  They were empty nesters and didn’t have anyone else living with them although the did have occasional visits from relatives and grandchildren.

Now, we are nearly empty nesters, too.  Our two youngest children are in college, but are home for holidays and breaks.  But not having a bedroom door was – well, it was just weird.  Even when we were the only ones home.

Back when we first got married, we never closed our bedroom door.  Well, we never closed it except at certain times.  If you know what I mean.

When we got custody of our niece through the Division of Family Services, we were required to take 16 weeks of parenting classes.  Yes, we had four children, but we had to take parenting classes before we could add this fifth child to our family.  Those who really needed to take them, did not.  But I digress.

We did learn a lot from these classes.  While a lot of the information was really common sense parenting, there was a lot of information shared about parenting children who are the victims of abuse – physical, emotional, and sexual abuse.

One of the biggest takeaways was that everyone should always sleep with their bedroom doors closed (and not just for fire safety reasons).  So, we all started sleeping with our bedroom doors closed.  But, we never locked our door except at certain times.  If you know what I mean.

I’ve had this conversation with other mothers, and we all have stories about being interrupted at certain times by children.  Younger children who get out of bed for whatever reason and want mommy and daddy.  Older children, who do not consider that their parents have an intimate life, barging into the bedroom without knocking when they need something.

Knowing that their parents do more than just sleep with one another causes children angst, but most parents end up with funny stories to share about being interrupted by children.

So, we’ve gotten used to sleeping in a room with the bedroom door closed.  Sleeping without a door and getting dressed without a door, among other things, just felt weird.

New Bedroom Door Jobsite 1

Who knew that installing a door required so much equipment?

Anyway, after 5 months and 10 days, we finally have a new door installed on our bedroom.  Now, you would think that getting a door installed would be no big deal.  The first problem is finding a contractor who is willing to do the work and then to fit it into their larger and more lucrative jobs.

After getting a few bids, we decided to go with the guy, Adam, who was higher priced.  Why?  Well, working on these older homes can be challenging.  While most of our home has had all of the historical character and parts renovated away, the front rooms are different.  The front rooms have the high ceilings and plaster walls and originals doors and woodwork for the most part.

And, while there are a lot of construction materials tucked away in the garage attic, none of the original fixtures remain.  Unfortunately, a lot of people renovate these old homes and trash the old hardware and doors and other fixtures.  So sad.

New Bedroom Door Jobsite 2

The rest of the equipment required to install our new bedroom door.

Adam is well experienced installing doors and working on older homes.  It’s sort of his specialty.  When he came to look at the job, I was impressed with his attention to detail and his explanation of what it would take to do the job correctly.  You could just tell he has a passion for his work.

A neighbor had given us an actual antique door that matched the other ones, but after looking at it, we decided to have a new door milled.  It would have cost us more money to use the old door and, since so much of the house is not authentic, we decided to take this option.

So, a solid wood door was ordered.  After several pictures and another visit, it was milled identical to the existing closet doors.

New Bedroom Door 1

The view of the doorway from inside the bedroom.

Adam and his sidekick had to carefully remove the old moldings minimizing damage, as much as possible, on the plaster walls and the moldings which would be re-installed.

New Bedroom Door 2

The view of the doorway from outside the bedroom.

The moldings on this side were not original, but they did have to be careful of the plaster walls.

The other issue was the hardware.  You cannot just go to the hardware store and find hardware to match what was already there.  This is where Adam got creative.  He suggested we use the doorknobs on the insides of the closet doors so that the ones that are visible are all the same.  He had plenty of hinges, but finding matching knobs is difficult.  We could replace the inside knobs with other antique knobs that might not match exactly, but no one would see them anyway.  Genius.

New Bedroom Door 3

Here is the door almost completely installed.

Who would have thought that installing a door would take two guys the better part of an entire day?

Adam was very careful and measured, measured, and measured some more as he built each part from scratch.

The fun part of this is the hinges are identical to the ones we already have on the closets.  They came from a 130 year old home that Adam had renovated in another part of town for a family that owns the major apple, peach, and pumpkin picking farm in the area.

New Bedroom Door 4

The finished door.

I agreed to do the painting.  Painting a door and a door jamb is tedious work.  It actually takes longer than painting a room with flat walls and only the edges to cut in.

But, after a primer coat and two additional coats of paint we have a bedroom door that looks like it has always been there.

And now our kids can come home for the holidays, and we can still have our privacy at certain times.  If you know what I mean.  Except that the door does not lock.

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