Un-replacing my woodwork

I’ve always been a snob about things like this; when I was about 6 years old I told my parents that I was tired of the “standard” woodwork in our Cape Cod style house. Twenty years later, I got it in my head that a little surviving charm made buying a non-rehabbed house worth all the aggravation. Still I had some dilemmas about what to do upstairs. The circa 1893 woodwork is mostly intact, but not all in great shape, and there’s not one original door in the house. I thought of sticking with the midcentury style flush doors that were still there or of buying more of the hollow core raised paneled doors that the previous owner installed in half the openings upstairs. Either of these might have made sense, but they both would have also made me sad. Then, much to my delight, I went to Philadelphia Salvage and found 5 matching doors that may as well be original! I dug up one white porcelain knob that was in my mom’s old house, a caretaker’s residence on a country estate in (no longer rural) South Jersey, built around the same time as my house. I also went ahead and picked up enough white porcelain knobs to do all the other upstairs doors, one keyhole escutcheon, two mortise locks, and a pair of hinges. I still need a little bit more of this hardware, and I’ll happily wait till I find it below eBay prices. I also went to Tague Lumber and found a woodwork profile that’s almost a dead ringer for what’s in my house! It’s a special order item, so I’ll probably have to pay plenty for it, although it sounds like I might also be able to mill my own. In the midst of going nuts about expensive plumbing and electrical work, I can’t tell you how good it feels to get a handful of pretty things in the front door.


Door as table for new hardware


Good match, eh?


This door even has the perfect level of crookedness!


Fun with paint stripping. Having the salvage yard do this would def have been worth the money, if I had it to spare.


Oh, I’m getting original window envy, too. These aren’t exactly authentic. My house would have had 1 over 1’s, although 2 over 2’s were common around the time my house was built. But I found them cheap on Craigslist and they’re gonna work nicely in the back bedroom. It’s the one place in the house where they don’t have to match. I even like them enough to drive to north jersey to get them. Soon the room I care about least will come pretty close to its original appearance; the other rooms will have to wait. UPDATE: My grandmother saw this picture and said her childhood home 3 blocks away had 2-over-2 windows.

And while we’re talking woodwork, I’ll show you the one door I’m keeping downstairs. This and all the downstairs woodwork are from the early 20th Century, and I think it’s just fine that the two floors of my house will have millwork in 2 completely different styles. IMG_8503


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