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Diary of a Mad Renovator: From Floors to Doors

Written by Jaqui Lividini

Last week we tackled the logistics and heartache of replacing the original hardwood floors as part of our ongoing beach cottage renovation project. This week we’re on to doors. This house has a LOT of doors. Let’s break it down: there are the glass doors leading out to the porch, carriage doors on the garage, the front door, and all of the inside doors. Guess what? They almost all need replacing.

Let’s start with the interior doors. There are a few original 1901 doors remaining so the goal is to find additional doors that match as closely as possible. This is not an easy task, but we are up for it! Out of necessity, some of the configurations have changed. For instance, some sliding doors will become pocket doors, and some will become French doors, etc. 


Original doors and original hinges

Moving on to the exterior, the garage is an authentic four-door carriage garage. I had found beautiful antique carriage doors in Harborside, Maine at Architectural Antiquities and designed the exterior of the house around them. However, when I went up to Maine to purchase them only one of the three pairs remained – talk about heartbreak! Now we need replacement carriage doors as well.

Original carriage doors

Next up on our replacement door agenda are the breakaway doors. Breakaway doors are a functional necessity for any home on the water. In the event of a hurricane or other calamity, the breakaway doors allow water to run right through the bottom of the house. The water pressure forces the doors open and the water flows through, leaving the house unscathed (theoretically). We are having our breakaway doors made of lattice, which is more authentic to our circa 1900 cottage.

Finally, we are on the lookout for an authentic front door. If anyone reading this has the lowdown on good sources for antique doors, please speak out and share your information with this weary (yet hopeful) mad renovator. Because nothing ruins a house faster than the wrong door!

The front door before the lift.

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