A long time ago in a land far away–master craftsmen built this house.

They added amazing staircase moldings.

And 12 inch crown to the ceilings.

And fireplaces with marble surrounds.

And beautiful oak floors throughout the house.

And then?

Just when the house couldn’t get any more all about itself.

They added these incredible, awe-inspiring, character-filled five-panel doors and stained them.

Somewhere along the way people decided that dark doors weren’t a thing anymore.  “Paint them white,” they decreed.  And so it was that every door in the house was painted a shiny, glossy, beautiful white.

No judgment.

I get it.

I understand.

I painted every door in the farmhouse white.

But with this house–I wanted something different.  I knew the wood underneath was so pretty and all that history and character and charm was covered up by a little paint.

And I wanted to set myself and the doors free.

So now?

Here’s the same angle as above with doors that look like this.

And this.

And from this.

To this.

Can you even?

All the downstairs doors are back to where they started.

Where it all began.

In 1908.

Here’s the doorway from the kitchen into the dining room.

It swings between the two rooms.

Here it is open.

And here it is closed.

I found an amazing local craftsman who stripped the doors down to their original finish and then restained them.

And he polished up all thebrass handles and key holes on the doors.

It might be hard to tell from the pictures, but the doors are stained slightly darker than the floors.  The also have a slightly redder tint.  The door wood is pine and with the aging process the original wood turned slightly red.

I’m so happy with them.

I didn’t want everything to match.

I wanted the doors to take on their own personality.

When he took the doors off to work on them, he told me they wouldn’t be perfect.

He told me years and years of living had left dings and cracks and chips in the doors.

And then he asked me if I wanted him to repair the doors to look almost new.

I shook my head.

“Please don’t,” I said.  “I love the cracks and the knicks and the dings.  They are what make the doors special.”

“I don’t want the doors to look new.  They worked too hard to get where they are.”

And besides.

Those cracks are loved.

Those dings and knicks and chips are celebrated.

Because those doors are one-of-a-kind.

Because those doors are a sign of a life well lived.

Because those doors are perfectly imperfect just the way they are.

Just like me. 🙂

PS  I hope I look that good when I’m 110.  I’m just sayin’. 🙂

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  1. Image for Jacqueline Jacqueline

    I really liked the doors white,but I agree, going back to the original dark stain does more justice to the history of the house!

  2. Image for Laura Nuss Laura Nuss

    That’s how I feel with every stain and spill, Nerf bullets in the 2 story entry light. They tell the stories and hold our memories! Every year when I pull out the nativity scene there’s a Nerf bullet lodged under the manger. I I think Jesus would want it there too!

  3. Image for Regina Merrick Regina Merrick

    Oh my. They are beautiful!!! Our upstairs doors are all painted, and I would love to strip them and restain them. What are your plans for the trim? Keep them white? Strip them? It’s definitely a conundrum for me!

  4. Image for Lisa Lisa

    Yes, yes, and yes! I'm sure the painted white doors came in when we made the switch to cheap builder grade doors in new construction homes. Let's face it, the doors in homes now probably wouldn't look all that great stained. Or would they? I love the stained wood, it adds so much warmth and depth and character. I'll stop now. Lisa

  5. Image for Melissa Melissa

    Ahhhhh! Doors of my dreams! I loved them white. Until I saw them in the original beauty. Your local craftsman did an amazing job and they look just perfect. Good call my friend.

  6. Image for Robbin Robbin

    I agree with Lisa. My husband says you only paint over cheap wood!! I love the original doors and I love that you left them "weathered." Like you said, they worked hard for those dings and dents. Your home is lovely. If I lived closer I'd invite myself over for a tour and a cup of tea. Blessings from Missouri dear lady!

  7. Image for Cathy Weber Cathy Weber

    I'm glad you left the little dings. Your house has too much story behind it to try to make it as if it is brand new. They look beautiful.

  8. Image for Lisa Lisa

    I was waiting to see how you managed to strip and stain them all because that is a huge project. I had a 1902 home that had a giant pocket door painted white that I wanted to strip. I tried. I really tried but it was just too much so it got repainted white. I did strip the banister and the entryway but that was about all I could manage before the kids came along. Yours look beautiful. Next time I get the itch I’ll send them out to be done.

  9. Image for Linda Linda

    I absolutely love this. My first response was I sure hope she shares how she did all of those doors because I love it. ow I know. Hire someone. That just might be possible for us to do and I hope affordable because we live in Amish country, home to many craftsmen. Did I tell you I love the doors?!!

  10. Image for Sherrie Pfeiffer Sherrie Pfeiffer

    Stunning! So rich, elegant, homey, and warm. I would be rubbing my hands all over them in disbelief! How lucky that you found someone to do that for you. LOVE!!!

  11. Image for Terri Terri

    Clearly the gentleman who asked you about making the doors look new ... did not know the Old/New Homeowner?? :) ... Those doors are amazing and beautiful!!!!!

  12. Image for Diane Anderson-Edwards Diane Anderson-Edwards

    I'm glad you were able to find someone to take the paint off and stain them and do it well. I cringed when I thought of all the work involved. As the person who has been responsible for all of the painting, sanding, etc. in this house, I know what a daunting project this would have been for me, one of those projects where I would have thrown up my hands in dismay in the middle of it, wondering if it would ever end.....! Right now, half of my kitchen cabinets are off, waiting for painting because I just can't find the energy to finish the project.

  13. Image for Cecilia Cecilia

    sigh, I love those doors! They bring back memories of the doors in the house I grew up in. Beautiful wood doors. Glad you're letting the wood shine and I'm doubly glad you kept the dings, cracks and imperfections. I love your house! hugs, Cecilia PS Where did you get the chairs in your living room?

  14. Image for Renae Renae

    I love a dark door...all of our doors are new construction (though our house is NOT) and replaced the hollow core doors of their era. But I wanted something other than white...we did Urbane Bronze and I love them. Not quite as much as I love yours...but they'll do.

  15. Image for Susan Ronnfeldt Susan Ronnfeldt

    I so love that you left the personality in the doors. It is so very very special to have all of those marks of history in those doors. You are truly feeling the love that has been within those walls.

  16. Image for Janette Deans Janette Deans

    OMG, they have gone full circle just like you I suppose, how amazing do those beautiful doors look, wowsers.....LOVE them Karianne.....once again you did good...Happy Easter......xx

  17. Image for CK CK

    Absolute beautiful!! Not only are the doors lovely on their own, but they warm up all the white! You knocked it out of the park with this one!!

  18. Image for Sharon Sharon

    Our home is a rather ordinary 1897 farmhouse. It had been a rental, on fire, etc. when we purchased it. It has beautiful woodwork and never had paneling. Thank heavens!! The walls had wallpapering hanging down...you get the picture. While my hubby was in the hospital for 5 months, I put in a new kitchen and bathroom and had thewalls redone. I did not have enough money to put in new drywall. The funny thing, is, the workman wanted to know if I wanted to replace the interior doors as they are kinda chippy and have cracks. No, no, no. I like the character; however, they are painted white and will remain so. I love our little home; it suits us just fine!! Blessings to you.

  19. Image for Sharon Sharon

    I love that you did that. So many people wouldn't but that is the character that was screaming to come out! It's great that you did that and understand the need for it.

  20. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    I can see that the doors are smiling! Yes, they are!! They are so beautiful in their natural beauty. Honey is always the one to say, "We are not painting over that wood!" Well, my reply is that I really dislike that blah oak!! Needless to say, it's still the blah oak. But wooden doors like yours? I wouldn't do it. You are making your house happy!!

  21. Image for Susan Takeda Susan Takeda

    They are lovely. If I may ask, where did you get the door signs? I noticed in a previous post that you have a Laundry sign and in this post you showed an Office sign. I just love the character of these signs.

  22. Image for Marilyn Shann0n Marilyn Shann0n

    I love what you did to the doors. I live in a 90 year old house in Fort Worth and our doors have been painted so many times that they hardly close and when they do some of the paint invariably comes off. So if you don't mind me asking who did your door for you? I would love to have mine striped and stained. Thank you

  23. Image for Penny Penny

    The warmth of that wood gives so much character! Great decision to change the house back to what it was meant to be. Love your one-of-a-kind blog!

  24. Image for Glenda Glenda

    I have followed your blog for 3-4 years and have enjoyed each post. I was thrilled for you and your family when you were able to move into your childhood home. It has been exciting to watch you remodel this home to meet your needs. The more the changes have happened, the more an opinion has been floating around in my thoughts. However, there is nothing worst than unsolicited opinions so I have refrained! But your beautifully stained wood doors have given me courage to voice my thoughts....I feel you should add more color (other than white and beige) to your decor. Maybe the rugs, or pillows, or a chair or two.....just something to add some warmth. Just a thought...

  25. Image for Teresa Gonzales Teresa Gonzales

    Love your doors. Left our doors original too in our 1920's cottage. They are dinged and not perfect but just what I wanted. Left the dark spots on the original floors too.

  26. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    Stunning! So glad you had the vision to see them restored. I would have happily kept painting and missed it. I know the house is applauding right now. Wise choice, my friend!

  27. Image for Botanic Bleu Botanic Bleu

    Beautiful stained wooden panel doors! Not all doors are made equal... inexpensive faux wood doors need paint. Bless their hearts. But yours? Beautiful stained wood that accentuates the white walls, trim, and furniture. Judith

  28. Image for Margaret Shipley Margaret Shipley

    Oh my goodness. Those doors are the most beautiful things I've seen today-except for the double rainbows (we finally got rain in west Texas!!)! But oh my! They are so beautiful.

  29. Image for May May

    Yes! I am doing a happy dance. I am all about natural wood. Every time I see someone paint wood work or a wooden piece of furniture, I cringe. Those doors are gorgeous, and doesn't the house feel so much warmer now?

  30. Image for Sherry M Sherry M

    Love the look. Warm, welcoming, charming yet elegant in a farmhouse sorta way. I hope there are a few squeaks in those lovely doors! Good call!

  31. Image for Kris Kris

    Beautiful. A friend of mine moved into an older home years ago--similar doors, which had also been painted white--so pretty when she stripped them. I think the surrounding white walls gives them a nice contrast and helps them stand out.

  32. Image for Joy Shanor Joy Shanor

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE this!!! I LOVE that you have restored the doors to their original glory! Your home is beautifully decorated to show THE HOUSE'S personality! I live in a newly built home and while I love my home it doesn't quite have the personality of an older home with all of its cracks and dings and scars from life. Seeing these beautifully restored doors makes me think of my grandma's home when I was little. My favorite part of her house was always the old scratched up, dinged up real hard wood floors. I am not a "make everything farmhouse just because I can" kind of person but I absolutely LOVE everything you are doing with your home!

  33. Image for Julie Briones Julie Briones

    Love! Have you told us all what color the walls are just outside the bathroom? (I bet you have, but this middle-aged brain can't remember!) Everything looks just lovely, KariAnne!

  34. Image for Jill Jill

    I find the door knocker on the bathroom door amusing. Is there a story with that? I like the wood stained interior doors. They really help warm up your spaces. I don't like dark stained baseboards, crown molding, and chair rails, however. I think they darken a space and try to steal the show rather than being a background detail. And I'm wondering what Jean means when she said, "beautiful doors, but a bit silly with your blog." Come on, spill it, Jean. Inquiring minds want to know!

  35. Image for Rebecca Pyper Rebecca Pyper

    This is amazing, and most people won’t understand how amazing. We just remodeled our 1930s house, and I was bound and determined to save the doors and hardware. Do you know how hard it was to convince someone to do the work? And I just wanted our doors to be stripped and repainted! Ours don’t look near as gorgeous as yours, and someone tossed all our lovely old hinges too. So bravo for you and your house! These doors add such richness.

  36. Image for Pat Pat

    I love white but natural wood can't be beat. I have the same doors (and they're white!) in my 1907 house. Hmmm. Great post. Hugs from Bringing French Country Home, Pat

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