Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Pi-pa-pocket doors - Part I

When we bought our Ugly Duckling of a House a year ago we didn't know that the original pocket doors between living and dining room were still in place, hidden behind an ungodly amount of caulk. It was like a belated Christmas present for us when we discovered them (you can read more about that here) soon after we started tearing into/out the non-original walls in the former entry and living room areas to restore the original floor plan.

After freeing them from their hidey-hole inside the walls, we continue to marvel at and love this original feature. For the most part they stay almost completely open with just a bit of door and hardware showing (this is how we love it best) but with colder weather moving in, they will allow us to create smaller, more intimate pockets inside the house to stay warm more easily in cozy rooms. Bigger isn't always better, y'know.

Here's what they looked like after I managed to pry out the left half. Gee, that was way back when the brick fireplace was still all bricked up and brick red. Oh, and the living room was painted that lovely shade of "swine" (which looked all the more pink thanks to the big red brick structure).

Shortly after that we created a big mess busting open the fireplace for a simple gel fireplace insert, painting the brick white (there's really no good way to remove paint from brick so we went with it and just changed the color) and the walls a beautiful warm dark grey a la Restoration Hardware.

A few days before Thanksgiving the husband decided that we should tackle the pocket doors. And again, life confirmed what we'd learned throughout the past couple of months: everything will take longer than on HGTV.

We scraped old flaky paint for the better of two days. In the end we decided that they wouldn't get finished in time for Turkey Day, I gave them a quick coat of primer so they'd at least be a uniform color and called it a day.

Fast forward 1 1/2 months ( I know, shame on me, but hey! Time flies! Especially over the holidays) :

Like a criminal I returned to the scene of my crime:

One fascinating aspect of primer is that it will point out to you the spots you missed during your first patching and sanding session. So rather than finally getting to paint the pocket doors I spied so many new old dings and scratches that I gave up, gave in and broke out the wood filler again.

It never ends.

Happy - for now - with my patching I then went for the caulk gun. You see, old trim is never just a one-piece deal. More often than not trim is an elaborate affair consisting of several simple pieces that together build up to a more complex piece. After scraping all that old paint and removing some of the old caulking with it, the seams between those individual pieces needed some patching as well.

Fortunately, I actually enjoy caulking :o)

Today, the pocket doors should finally be ready for their fresh coat of paint, and with a little luck I should be able to present them -all done and pretty - to you tomorrow. That is if my DIY ADHD doesn't kick in again and I get sidetracked, y' know ...


  1. haha.. this sounds exactly how the last few days have been going for me! Prime, patch, caulk (I also enjoy caulking).

    I love those pocket doors. They're going to be even more gorgeous soon enough. :)

  2. Sarah - The joys of old home ownership, right? :o) God thing it does look so much better in the end, right? Makes it all worthwhile.

  3. Katrina - Thank you! I hope I get to see more of your renovation/restoration work some time in the future. I read about what happened to your lil' old house - how awful! I hope they (insert some choice words not suited for polite company) get caught ...