Three of a Kind

I love being on the Franklin Heritage Home Tour, for several reasons. We get to see lots of amazing houses, we get to support preservation in our town, we meet people who love old houses and feel like best friends from the moment we say hello…. these are all great reasons.

But THE BEST is the kick in the pants that we get when we walk around the house in the weeks before and say, “Crap. We have 119 small projects to finish.”

You know all the things you know you need to get to – and you WILL – but actually – you NEVER DO? Those little things that would take 10 minutes, so you never start them because you’ll ALWAYS have 10 minutes later, and 5 years later (or, 10 minutes x 262,800), you STILL haven’t painted that one piece of trim? If you’re on a Home Tour – you knock those projects out.

The basement door was painted white. And it’s in this little nook with two other doors – the door to the future study, and the dining room door. Both of those doors are the beautiful stained wood of the house. But the basement door was white. And it stood out like a sore thumb.

Want to see a picture of it before? Yeah. Me too.

I went searching through my thousands of pictures for a “before” shot. Finally, I saw one!

Ugh. Just kidding. See that doorway on the left of the former kitchen cabinetry? That’s the basement door. But I forgot that when we bought the house, the door was off the hinges because the foreclosure company put up a 2×4 railing and the door wouldn’t close.


So, this is the only picture I have of the door hanging up. For the love. I fail.

See it? On the left.

Here’s the built-in when it was painted white! Because that’s similar enough. Right?


So, over a year ago, I decided I wanted to strip both the basement door, and the servant stairwell door. I worked on them for a week, and gave up. (Spoiler alert : the servant stairwell door isn’t done yet. But it’s nowhere near as critical.)


I started with Soy Gel.



I was really hoping the wood would look great underneath all the paint.



I slathered them up, and let the gel work.


If you’re letting stripper work for hours (and you should) always cover it with plastic to keep it wet for as long as possible.


When it gets scaly, it’s so exciting!



When the plastic came off, much of the paint did, too! The wood looked to be in great shape, which was such a relief.


While I loathe the fact that someone painted these doors, it’s really fun to see what the layers look like. Look at that pink!!! I long to know what the kitchen looked like when it boasted pink doors.


Who are we kidding. I’m going to pretend it looked like this.


Scrape, repeat.


Scraping doors is like a full renovation project, because the final 10% of the job takes 90% of the time. All the nooks and crannies…. toothbrushes and dental picks and a heat gun, and other strippers…. I finally gave up, and said, “This’ll take just a few minutes some other time.”

Fast forward over a year, and through one Christmas party where we clamped plywood across the door so children wouldn’t go tumbling into the basement. It was super classy.

So, last weekend – Labor Day – was BEAUTIFUL. And I thought, “You know, I should finish that door, so the home tour people don’t tumble into the basement.”

And just an hour later (and some dry time… and over a year of procrastination….) the basement door is stripped, sanded, stained, and sealed.


WHY?!?! Why would you paint over this? I’m sure there was a good reason. Because I love thinking the best of people.


Matching doors! Three of a kind!!! The door on the left goes into the Study, and the center door swings into the dining room.


I realize the basement door looks like a little Hobbit Door. But it’s 6′ tall. The other doors are 8′.


The end result makes me happier than I ever imagined it would.


Safety first! I’m so glad this is done. No one will tumble into the basement.


So, now that there’s NO CHANCE that you’ll fall into the basement, come to the Franklin Heritage Home Tour!!! We will be in the house on Sunday (but not Saturday – the house will be open but we’ll be at Marching Band!).


Here is some more information, and pictures of all of the homes and buildings on the tour!!! Hope to see you there!!!


  1. 1) Cleaning and having company works much the same way… it’s motivation to clean something you’ve neglected because it just needs five minutes of attention that you can do later.
    2) Stripping paint is so satisfying for some reason!
    3) I like to think my 1950s house used to have that pink kitchen, although I doubt.
    4) But most of all, the door is GORGEOUS now. Love it!

  2. This makes me smile. I have stripped and stained many doors and lots of woodwork. I also have several projects that have taken 7 years and 20 minutes, 2 years and an hour and 5 years and 3 hours. You get the idea…,

  3. I just binged your blog and I have to say, your custom-work is so inspiring! I have found so many little ideas from your blog that have really got the wheels spinning in my brain ha ha! Specifically the salvaged stained glass! Just a question since I don’t think I saw a single picture of it, what do one of those windows look like from the outside?

  4. I could have sworn you had a picture of the white door posted on your blog early on…oh, well, doesn’t matter. We get the idea and the end result is wonderful! Also, that pink kitchen? Divine! And black walls! Ha!

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