Restoring Door Jamb

Snapshot of the den on November 17th, 2011. I still need to finish painting the walls, restore the firebox, line the chimney, strip the floors and add interior shutters.

We’ve never talked about how we restored the door jamb in the den, so here it goes. When we bought the house the original jamb had been cut out and removed on the right side. We assume this was done to fit furniture into the house—the doorways are only 26 inches wide.

We removed the frame and realized the wall was crumbling. Paneling was carefully removed and the wall was gutted to the corner beam. We went back and forth on whether to keep the doorway expanded because it was more convenient and it allowed more light into the space or not. Many of you shared your opinions on this post from January—the widen doorway was more favored.

We found three doors in the basement that were mates for the den. Greg decided he wanted to restore the door and use in the space. I like the idea and thought keeping the symmetry of the room was the right move. When the renovation is complete we’ll be able to close all three doors and light the fire on cold winter nights.

The molding profile that was removed was difficult to source because it didn’t match anything modern. We got a tip that Blue Anchor Woodworks carried many of the knives used to cut historic molding profiles found in Marblehead. We were able to match the molding with a knife in their inventory and bought 32 feet for $200. Having a custom knife made would of been a lot more expensive.

When we replaced the beams in preps for a new ceiling we also built out a new wall and installed the molding. Blueboard was hung in the wall cavity and then plastered over. The molding has been painted and you can hardly tell the difference between the old and new. Well, except that new molding doesn’t have nearly as many dings. I’ve taken care of that and made it more authentic by accidentally knocking it a few times with the vacuum cleaner.

We still need to fix the little gap between the top of the door and the molding. Can you even see that or does it just glare at me? I think the best tactic is to fill the gap with some wood and paint it green so it blends. Below photos of the project.

Den when we first bought the house.

Removing ceiling, stripping paint off molding and removing damaged door jamb.

Doorway expanded allowed more light in but I didn’t like that it threw off the symmetry of the room.

After we removed the ceiling and replaced with new beams we also put the door jamb back in. The paneling in the corner is original.

We had custom molding made for us at Blue Anchor in Marblehead to match.

Making sure the corners line up.

Carefully nailing the molding into place.

Adding molding to opposite side.

Blue board was installed and then plastered over when we did the ceilings.

View of the two doorways restored.

View from library looking into den with doorway restored.

A close-up of the corner after plastering.

Priming molding and painting the walls in the den.

Den this morning on Nov 17th, 2011. I still need to finish painting the walls, restore the firebox, strip the floors and add interior shutters.

Related Posts:
Expanding Doorframe in Den
Base Coat Plaster Ceiling
Narrow Doorway
Fixing Doorway & Ceiling Conversation

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  1. great job.
    so let me get this straight you went for Farrow & Ball’s Verte De Terre and James White for the walls ?
    What happened to C2 cucumber? and did you say earlier you were going to do the walls green and and the surround cream/off white. I’m only asking as Im painting my internal doors now and so messed up with Colours. Im thinking Clunch on doors and Winbourne white for frames and skirting… there is too much choice.


  2. I could certainly live with the tiny gap over the door (never even saw it until reading the post), but I have “gudenov” standards.

    It looks terrific — I so admire what you folks are doing in your house.

    Will you have the same problem of fitting furniture into the room now that the door is back to its original size?


    1. The gap will get fixed this weekend. Greg promised me.

      Yes, it does make it harder to get furniture into the house. But everything has to be brought in through the windows because of extremely tight staircase.

      We have the biggest problem with modern furniture but the proportions of new pieces are wrong for the house anyway. I’m sure we’ll figure it out.


  3. How beautiful. I love the symmetry of the doors. What an admirable choice you made to restore it and how well you have done it. I appreciate the work that goes into these millions of details, such as finding the molding, because we have many similar little problems that need to be fixed. Unfortunately, we are not so handy as you, and neither are many contractors. I have one question and I hope you don’t mind: Why is the paneling in the corner higher than the other paneling in the room?


    1. Hi Mopar!

      I have no idea why the paneling is higher on the right and it’s very plain and less decorartive. We were able to remove the molding before removing the wall and then replaced once we got it back up. Greg and have wondered if a cabinet was in the corner?


  4. Thank you for those last three posts – all faves – home restoration from the period of your house, fine auctions, and also Strawberry Banke – what a great concept they are developing – I wish more people, ibcluding developers would do the same!!
    Again Kate, thanks! And have a great Thanksgiving too.


  5. Gorgeous! And I am dying because one of the guys has on a shirt that says “Kitty O’Shea’s” and that was the bar we all went to in college. I wonder if it is the same one.


  6. Ack that freakin wallpaper!

    I was trying to get it all off so I could paint all the walls at once. But who ever feels likes scrapping tiny pieces of wallpaper on a Saturday?


  7. It’s very charming. I love the view into the little room (where the wallpaper won’t come off the wall) where the little plants are.


  8. Really inspiring. You’re doing such a great job. I love the way the original door width provides just a glimpse into the adjacent room. And the window/plant vignette seen through the door is so charming.