Friday, October 19, 2007

New (Old) Doors!

This post has been a while coming. A couple of weeks ago, Mom & Dad took us to the big antique show at Round Top. It's an annual event that attracts vendors from all over the US, who rent tent- and hall-space in the fields around the tiny hamlet of Round Top.

Our goal was 2-fold: to find some antique doors and door knobs to begin replacing the hideous and dinky modern doors at Chez M, and to get a little education about armoires, which we will hopefully be buying next year. (We don't have anything like enough closet space in the master bed, so Matt's been storing his clothes in a hand-me-down Elfa unit in the hall. It's bohemian-industrial-yuppie chic.)

Imagine our surprise and delight when Mom & Dad called to tell us that they'd gone up to Round Top early, scouted around, and already found a whole set of doors that matched the style and measurements we sought. They also learned some stuff. For example, the two remaining original doors in the house (the mudroom door and the study door) are raised 5-panel doors. This helps to date them, say the antique guys, because doors with 5 panels that don't have a raised rectangle in the middle are characteristic of a slightly later period. Our doors, they say, date from ~1903-1907. Yet another tantalizing piece of data about our home's age! Mom & Dad also offered to buy the lot for us as an early Christmas present, which made us happier still.

The doors Mom & Dad found are varnished and made of pine. They're really in pretty good shape--we'll need to strip, sand, and paint them, but on the whole, they're beautiful doors--so much so that I'm tempted to re-varnish them instead of painting, only then they wouldn't match any of the trim or woodwork in the rest of the house. I named them Dottie, Greg, and Ezekiel.

(We're like a university--if you give us goodies, we'll name them after you. [Ezekiel isn't named after anyone--it just sounded like a turn-of-the-century sort of name to me.] So we've also got The Dottie & Greg Ulrich trellis, The Aunt Pauline and Big David paint jobs, The Chuck Vest outlets, and The Ladonna Vest valances. Matt & Bianca gave us a very generous Lowe's card when they came up to visit, so we're probably going to add The Matt and Bianca sawhorses to the collection tomorrow.)

Dottie, Greg, and Ezekiel

Three of our door frames were too small for most 5-panel doors, according to the antique guy. He said the size we were looking for didn't become common until later, when door styles had changed. As the doors go to our built-in in the bedroom and the hot water closet--all later additions--this isn't surprising.

He did, however, have 3 mahagony (!) doors from the 1920s from an old hotel in Columbia, South Carolina. These were in a different style, but they did fit the frames. Meet Pointdexter, Edith, and Flossie.

Poindexter, Edith, and Flossie

We also really cleaned up on door knobs. We found complete matching sets of steel plates and knobs for the 5-panel doors, and we got some crystal knobs (I do love crystal knobs--they were positively sparkling in the sun when I took these pictures) to go with the plates that came with the hotel doors. I especially like that combination--the plates have a charming Edwardian flourishiness--not the full-on Victorian ornateness, but definitely plenty of art nouveau flair.

Poindexter's plate

You'll notice, as well, that two of the knobs are a match set, which is kind of nifty. We could have gotten a third that also matched, but I was drawn to a slightly more curlicue version (middle below) that we'll be using in our bedroom. Matching is overrated, anyway.

Steels knobs and plates, along with crystal knobs and assorted hardware

Dad has compounded his kindness by offering to do the restoration work on the hardware, which will entail polishing them on a wheel and putting a protective finish on them. As we have plenty of toilet-installing, edging, mulching, and electrical work to keep us busy over the next several months, we were more than happy to turn the goodies over to him.

Ooooo! Sparkley knobs!

In other news, Matt successfully pulled down the rest of the chinaberry yesterday--its defeated corpse lies in pieces all over the back yard. As it fell, it sent bushels of half-rotten fruit flying, with the result that our side yard smells like putrid apples. Truly disagreeable trees, chinaberries, in life and in death.

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