How to customise internal doors.

How to customise internal doors.

Here is a picture before we customised the doors.


Ok. Honestly, what are your thoughts on the doors? They functioned well enough, there wasn’t a problem in that respect. Mr Sidestepping-Normal thought that it was a waste of time and hardly a priority to customise the internal doors. I could see his point. We have got far more important things to focus on…but I’m impatient…and I whine until I get my way!

You’ve probably picked up on the vibe that I wasn’t a big fan. I was trying to figure out how we could customise the old doors rather than buy new. There’s no way we could justify buying new doors when we had perfectly good working ones. My biggest problem was the dark colour. It made the space feel small and cramped, plus the flat expanse was lacking any detail or design.

“My biggest problem was the dark colour. It made the space feel small and cramped, plus the flat expanse was lacking any detail or design.”


On a positive note they are very heavy-duty, solid, fire doors and they feel weighty and…well…nice! You know what I mean, don’t you? When something is made properly, there’s a certain satisfaction when it fulfils it’s purpose with ease. These doors have substance and weight behind them and they close with a satisfactory ‘click.’

They didn’t however, fit in with the airy whitewashed look I was going for. If you want, have a look at part 1 of our villa renovation.

I’m very lucky that my dad is a carpenter, so when I came up with some ideas, he was able to guide me on how to achieve ‘the look.’ We conned him here on the guise of a holiday and put him straight to work!

“We conned him here on the guise of a holiday and put him straight to work!”

Playing around with different ideas and measurements.

Let the customising begin…

First of all we removed the doors and I rubbed them down with sandpaper. This creates a ‘key’ on the surface for the new layer of paint to stick to. It’s time consuming and dusty, but if you don’t bother, you will have future problems with the paint chipping off.

Next, We measured and marked where we wanted the lengths of beading to go. In my head I had a clear picture of how I wanted it to look. I knew I wanted to break up the plain expanse to create panels. I also really like vintage and traditional designs. Luckily my dad is somewhat of a door geek! Although he primarily trained as a carpenter, he’s also a talented lock smith. He’s spent half of his working life inspecting different doors!

“Luckily my dad is somewhat of a door geek! Although he primarily trained as a carpenter, he’s also a talented lock smith. He’s spent half of his working life inspecting different doors! “

He recommended that to achieve the look I wanted, we should make the top panel slightly larger than the bottom panel. Also, he recommended that the very bottom length of beading should sit slightly higher, thus creating a bigger bottom rail than the top and middle rail. When you look at vintage doors, they often have a lager bottom rail and one panel is larger than the other. You wouldn’t imagine that such small details would make much difference, but we played around with different measurements, and of course…he was right! He always is in these situations! It’s far more pleasing on the eye.

Once we had decided on the measurements, my dad cut all of the lengths needed to customise the three internal doors. He created mitres on the corners (45 degree angles) so that the two pieces of beading join neatly at the corners.

Next…

we worked together to glue and tack the lengths of beading. We ran PVA wood glue along each strip and then secured it in place with panel pins. As the panel pins were hammered in, the glue was forced out of the cracks. I used a damp rag to push the excess glue into all of the cracks and crevices. We filled the gaps and cracks so that it would create a more seamless surface for the paint to adhere to.

Once the glue had dried, I applied a water based undercoat. The undercoat paint was specifically for use in conjunction with the top coat paint we were going to use.

After a couple of coats of undercoat, I applied two layers of the top coat. We opted for a durable, spirit based, mat-finish paint for wood. Because it’s spirit based, it has a slight sheen to it, which means that any grime will sit on the surface and you can easily wipe it off.

Because we were customising all three internal doors at the same time, we created a production line. Whilst my dad was pinning the beading in place, I was painting, and whilst I waited for one door to dry, we cracked on with next door.

The end result…

What do you reckon? We are really pleased with the result, it was exactly how I pictured them in my head. Every time I see them I smile because they are now pleasing to the eye. Mr Sidestepping Normal also loves them too. It’s transformed the feeling of the space and it feels much lighter and more airy now.

By choosing to customise the internal doors, we’ve created something beautiful for very little money. Furthermore I got to spend time with my dad and learn some of his tips and secrets:)

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4 thoughts on “How to customise internal doors.

    1. Hiya! We didn’t make any adjustments to the hinges. The changes we made didn’t impede the hinges ability to work, so we just removed the doors to do the work, and then put them back on.

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