A Prodigal Door Returns

Okay, it’s a lightweight job and it’s not even for my house. But after several months of heads-down work on a software task for my client, The Children’s Health Fund, I’ve got another DIY project. Maybe it will kick me back into gear to finish the cabinet doors and stained glass projects that have been dogging me all summmer. Well, some of it for a lot longer than that.

The job is stripping an old interior door and replacing its center panel with some sort of a screen. Karen is a licensed wildlife rescuer and needs this door so her animal room has adequate ventilation. She wanted to install an aluminum screen door but my relentless bleating about what a hideous scar that would leave on her old house succeeded. I suggested that she instead do some dumpster diving for a 30″ door and we’d modify it so it would at least have some architectural integrity with her old federal style house. She agreed.

More importantly, I figured that would keep her busy until sometime next year, when she might forget all about it.

No such luck. She brought over the door on Wednesday. I noticed something strangely familiar about it until I realized it was MINE! I tossed this door out eight years ago, the week I moved here. My kitchen had one of those double-hinged swinging doors. These things are navigational hazards. I’ve always hated them. There’s either a hundred pound dog sleeping on the other side or the rebound smacks you in the head. It didn’t appear to be original to the house and the hinge hardware was broken so I chucked it.

What I didn’t know is that Karen had recovered it from my trash night and hauled it out to her sister’s house on Long Island. Sis wanted a door like this for her kitchen but it turned to be too narrow. So it sat in her garage for all these years.

Now it’s back home, at least temporarily.

It may not be original to the house but there’s still six to eight layers of paint on this door — so much so that I can’t tell if the center panel is wood or glass. Over the next couple of posts I’m gonna walk through a typical stripping job, or at least typical to me.

Then there will be an atypical butchery of an old door.


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Welcome to Brooklyn Row House

This blog is about the challenges of renovating an old (1903) Brooklyn, New York row house.

My last major renovation project was the master bedroom, most of which is about finish carpentry. You’ll find other completed home improvement projects in the Projects submenu at the top of this page.

I’m not a professional builder and don’t pretend to be. I’m just an experienced amateur raised in a family of committed DIYers. I try to closely follow local and national building codes but don’t mistake anything on this site to be professional or even accurate advice! Your mileage may and definitely will vary.

This is the third iteration of BrooklynRowHouse.com, from scratch-built to Drupal and now Wordpress. I hope you enjoy your time here.