The big reveal – all 7 refinished antique doors

What a weekend! Meaning it sucked. I got 3 coats of finish onto all 7 doors that need it. Plus 2 on the banister. The doors are a little bit shiny. I wasn’t sure of this at first because they have a distinctly rustic look, but now I like it just fine. I’m also super excited about seeing hardware on them! Like, you have no idea. I think the white porcelain knobs could be historically accurate for the house, but there’s no way to know for sure.


And then there are the front bedroom closet doors. These took the stain differently and remain a little lighter than the other doors. Also, I had trouble with the finish drying before I could wipe it off, so there are a few noticeable streaks. I think I’m ok with. It’s all just character now right?


And don’t forget the giant fancy pocket door pulls I put on them. You can also see how I tried to faux paint over the old patch where there once was a lock.


And in the back bedroom I’m using these Georgian brass knobs because the closet doors came with one and I was able to trade in the porcelain knob I had for another one. There was a dent in the rose, which you might be able to see in this photo. I ground it off with the Dremel so it wouldn’t scratch the door when I put it on. And made sure the bad spot would face down. There is no wood behind the screw holes for the escutcheon, so that’s something to figure out later.


And the smaller pocket door in the upstairs hall coat closet got this darling little window sash lift. One small problem with this door though. The stile running through the middle of the door to the right of the pull never cured right – the finish is sticky. I think the devil might be trapped in this particular piece of wood. While I was stripping it I kept thinking one of my neighbors was cooking with fish sauce. The third time I realized it was the door. And then that one spot on this door didn’t take finish right. I’m hoping if I let it cure for a little while it’ll either cure right or I can put an extra thin coat on and take the tackiness out.


I noticed that the window alcoves were not completely stripped so just skipped them. They need to be stained before the floors are redone, but the other doors were all I could stand to do anyway. They’re up soon though. And yes, they’re getting stained.


And that sweet little pan light that shorted out all the lights on my second floor? Down it came. Womp womp.


I’ll get a pigtail up when I get a chance, but at least the other lights on the second floor work now. This isn’t going back up until it’s really fixed, and I couldn’t tell you when that will be. Maybe I’ll be motivated to do it in January. Maybe.

(And a quick shout out to my major sources for this hardware. The giant fancy pocket door pulls came from Charleston Hardware. One of the porcelain knobs came from my mom’s old house (before my dad) and the rim lock came from eBay, but all the doors and most of the other hardware came from Philadelphia Salvage.)


8 thoughts on “The big reveal – all 7 refinished antique doors

  1. Mary Elizabeth

    Lovely, lovely doors, and each with its own character, as you said. As for the porcelain knobs, the house I grew up in (built 1900) had brass and glass knobs on the first floor and on the second (family bedrooms), while there were white porcelain knobs on the third floor (maids’ bedrooms). So I think all were period appropriate but some were fancier than others. I slept in one of the maids’ bedrooms, since we had no maids except me and my sisters. 🙂 My guess is that they were all original, as nothing else had been changed by the 1950s when my parents bought it–original wallpaper, iron and porcelain kitchen sink, etc.


  2. Julia at Home on 129 Acres

    I think the doors are looking really good. If I can offer one piece of advice, I think you might want to do as many coats as you can on the banister. My mom talks about doing 7 or 8 coats on her and my Dad’s banister, just because it gets so much contact and you don’t want the finish to wear off. I don’t know if there’s any issue with the finish building up and getting sticky though.


  3. coteetcampagne

    Yes , you will get a sticky/tacky surface if you “over finish”.
    I am flying in the face of conventional wisdom here, but if you would like my long experience/views on varnishing/staining etc, my brain is here to be picked.
    I may of course be too late and you will have done all your woodwork now..?




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