In the course of scrounging, dumpster diving, and exploring junkyards for our building materials, we came across a pair of crazy-beautiful 1930’s french doors for five bucks. Sold! What we didn’t realize at the time was just how expensive cheap doors can be.
Nearly all the materials that have gone into building our tinyhouse are recycled. Partly because we figured this was the cheapest way to build something. And partly because this was the best way to build a low-energy-footprint house, given our modest means. But there’s more to building recycled than meets the eye, we’ve found…
Ok so we had our $5 doors. Beautiful. First they needed a solid frame (out of recycled timbers) and then they needed to be ‘hung’. And this is where it all got a little tricky.
It turns out that when you use recycled timbers for an aspect of a house such as a doorframe, you can run into problems. Our beautiful recycled timbers were all a little wonky – not quite square, the tiniest bit warped.
Perfectly straight to the eye, but to the builders level and Pythagoras’s theorum, not so much.
Much jiggling and shaving and grumbling ensued, until we had a beautiful door frame which had cost a great deal of time and effort. Huzzah! Now for some doors.
Hmm. Antique doors. Turns out they’re not quite straight anymore either. It took Shannon the carpenter over 2 days to hang them properly. At $45 an hour.
The result: two beautifully hung and framed antique recycled doors. Doors cost: $5. Doors install: about $800.
The doors will outlast us and the doorway is a beautiful thing. I am proud of everyone involved. But that’s the last time I believe in such a thing as a $5 door. Ah, the joyful discoveries of owner building!
Yes, they are beautiful, and you’ll always have a story to tell!
It’s always the way! In time the financial sting will fade and you’ll be very glad you persevered.
Mmmm sounds strangly familiar….
These are the same beautiful curved glass ppanel doors used in my parents 1960’s Gavin and Shallalah built house in Sydney-very chic at the time. I LOVE them, but I can tell you that replacement glass panels are almost impossible to source and if you do find them very very expensive to reglaze- I suggest you seek another pair of doors from somewhere and put them in the shed AND ban kids on pogo sticks around the doors……..
Aha yes I am expecting the curved bits will over time tun into flat squares as life intervenes… but we also have some spare panels so fingers crossed…
Even with new doors… hanging them *properly* is an art. Most contractors just throw them in there, and then a few years later they stick, or they no longer close properly, or the scrape against the floor. I think normally though, if you were doing a stick-built house you’d have your framing and then a separate door jamb with shims in between. The shims allow you to torque the jamb as necessary to custom fit whatever slight variations you might have in the shape of the door. It looks like you just have a single piece of wood that acts… Read more »
They are stunning though – and an exquisite entrance to your new home.
How wonderful to have put $800 back into the local economy….. love the door!
Hey erik.. the jamb is separate… but made out of 200mm x 50mm 100 years cut Australian hardwood.. hence a little hard to torque.
The real hard bit was in remaking the rebates and finding and replacing the mortice locks for a very thin door. 🙂
We had a similarly difficult process with adjusting the earth bag dome design to fit around a particular door that we salvaged and love! We still haven’t got it in, fingers crossed it will work as the height of the dome is designed around it!
Doors look great, good luck with the rest!
Cheers, Jo 🙂