Monday, November 29, 2010

The French Doors - Oui Oui!

We have had a number of pleasant surprises in this house as we undo the work of previous owners in an effort to return the house to its former configuration.  Since the house had been turned into 3 apartments in the 1940s, some odd things happened - like the closing off of the foyer so that a bathroom could be placed there!  Access to the living room was probably closed off to the front door as well, since the front door probably accessed the upstairs apartment.  The exterior door in the living room accessed the apartment on the right side of the house and the exterior door into the former doctor's office accessed the third apartment on the left side of the house.

For those of you familiar with houses from the late 1800s and early 1900s, there was often a set of French doors separating what most of us use as a living room now from the main foyer.  The previous owners of our house had re-opened the doorway from the foyer to the living room, but only to the width of a single door.  It was obvious to us that there had been a wider doorway there.  There was a square indentation in the floor for the French door to lock one of the doors closed and the framing was new.  When we were at the stage of removing walls that didn't belong, we found that - yes, indeed! - the original opening was wide enough for French doors!

Unfortunately, though some of the trim and doors that had been removed had been stored in the basement by some forward thinking person (or pack rat!), we did not still have the French doors.  Fortunately, Black Dog Salvage is nearby.  Now, if you enjoy looking at treasures from old buildings, check out your nearest architectural salvage store.  It's great fun and you can find details you didn't even know you needed.  Fortunately for us, we found a great set of oak French doors that are stained the color of the rest of our woodwork.  My husband swears they might be our original doors.

Because we needed to build the oak door frame and had far more important tasks on our plate, these doors have been languishing in our doctor's office waiting room/library/dining room/office for far too long.  As part of The Great Rearrangement, it is finally time to install the doors.  As of Sunday afternoon, we have the stationary French door installed.  The little matters of some missing hinge pins and a need to rearrange the living room so that the other door has room to swing kept us from completing this task, but those are quick fixes that should happen this week.  The door looks great and really adds some class to our foyer!

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