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Vintage Doors in Modern Condo

The challenge:  Use antique Chinese doors to add warmth and charm to modern condominium sales model.


The old doors date to the 19th century and they are "monumental" in scale. Note that they show no signs of hinges. They were "courtyard doors." They were actually the walls of a room that opened to a courtyard and they fit into tracks in the floor and ceiling so they could be removed when the weather was warm. The segments originally stood 121" tall so the house must have been a mansion!

First we carefully cut down the height to fit the modern room. The frame of the old door was disassembled from the bottom, the lower interior panel exactingly cut, and the bottom frame reattached.
















Once resized, our workshop added an enriching stain and sealed to the surface.



Next we added a frame of modern cedar wood to add width. The cedar was lovingly wire-brushed rasped! Sanded and stained to match the old doors. Our whole team--carpenters and finishers--helped.



Next, we added a saffron yellow backing to the open lattice. The backing was added a few inches behind the lattice grilles to create a feeling of depth. Once installed, it looks like yellow light coming through and suggests a room behind.










Next we added a display shelf to accommodate vases or sculptures.












Finally, installation day! The large doors were designed to hang on wooden cleats. The cleat is securely attached to the wall and the doors slide on to the cleat. Install took barely an hour.























The doors look stunning in the modern room. The lines on the doors compliment the fireplace. The doors have intricate carvings but do not overwhelm the simple architecture of the space.

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