the door to nowhere.

I have a fondness for old doors, how about you?  I love the original solid six paneled doors throughout my 1904 farmhouse.


And then there is my pantry door, which is a vintage door that I purchased via craigslist because I wanted a door with a window in that spot to let that amazing light into my kitchen.


When we moved into our house all of the doorknobs throughout the house were a dingy brass except for one pretty glass knob on the closet door in what is now the guest room.

I have since swapped out most of my brass knobs for porcelain knobs.  At first I chose white porcelain, but then I discovered that I really loved the black porcelain too. So I have some white and some black, often on the same door.

Changing out my knobs didn’t happen overnight, it has taken several years of just switching them out whenever I find some.  Believe it or not, I’ve found most of my porcelain knobs at garage sales.  Apparently there are people who remove these fabulous old knobs and replace them with something else.  Check out garage sales in neighborhoods with old homes that are being renovated if you are looking to score some knobs yourself.

If you don’t happen to live in an older home with great doors, I think the next best thing is to bring in a door that goes nowhere.  A beautiful old door that you lean against a wall.

I have one of those too.  It sits behind the desk in my q branch.

It’s just an old door with the top panel painted in black chalkboard paint.  Placing it on the same angle as the desk creates a good backdrop for the desk and it covers up some radiator pipes that run up the wall in that corner.

 I’ve added a vintage light, some vinyl Cricut numbers and and old hanger with an inspiring message.

When I saw this tall vintage door (behind the sign) at a garage sale last summer I thought about my own door to nowhere and decided to snatch it up despite its banana yellow paint.


I knew I could cover up that yellow and give it a new lease on life.

Originally I had a different plan for this door and I painted it with one coat of Fusion’s Coal Black.  That did a great job of covering up the yellow.  But then I switched gears.  I wanted to experiment with my ‘perfect chipping’ method by layering some milk paint over Fusion paint.  So I added another coat of Fusion, this time in one of their new colors, Brook.  This is such a gorgeous color and certainly one that might be found in the many layers of paint on an old door.

Once the Brook was dry, I rubbed a thin layer of Homestead House Beeswax Finish (a.k.a. Salad Bowl Finish) over it knowing that I would get chipping wherever I placed the wax.  And I wanted a fair amount of chipping.

Next I added three coats of Miss Mustard Seed’s Farmhouse White milk paint.  I tend to think that I use more coats of paint than most people.  That’s because I like a really opaque finish.  That’s a personal preference thing.  Some people might have been happy with two coats of the white.

I had a weird thing happen with this project.  I could see flaking paint already with the first coat of the milk paint.  The 2nd coat of milk paint also showed some flaking.  But by the time I got to the 3rd coat, I had plenty of crackling but paint was hardly flaking off at all.  Odd.  Then I pulled out my 220 grit sandpaper and expected some chips to sand off, but no, they didn’t.  Finally I tried the painter’s tape trick; pressing a strip of tape onto the surface and then ripping it off, sort of like using tape to remove lint from your black slacks.  And bingo!  The tape pulled off plenty of chipping paint.


I should also note that I was very careful with sanding the edges of the door.  I did not want to see that banana yellow peeking through anywhere.  Luckily I had that warning coat of Coal Black under the Brook.  If I started to see black, I knew to stop sanding.  The only spot where I ended up with some yellow showing is the door latch.


It actually looks kind of pretty though, don’t you think?

This technique of using milk paint over Fusion paint with a little Beeswax Finish in between could easily be used on a piece of furniture, or anything else that has an original color that you don’t want to see.

Finally, I added a stencil to the top of the door just to give it a little more character.


I shaded the numbers in a slightly darker grey to add depth.


It was so fun being out in the photo cottage again this past week!

But today we are expecting a snowstorm here in the Twin Cities.  So much for the faux spring we were all enjoying, right?  I’ll be back inside the house this weekend for sure.

So tell me, do any of you have doors to nowhere in your homes?  Or do you have any clever ideas for how to use this door?  I’d love to hear from you!

22 thoughts on “the door to nowhere.

  1. First, I want to say that I love the blue walls you have painted in your home and the beautiful plates you have on the walls. And the pantry door is amazing. Yes I really like the repurposed door and I do think it will add something special to anyone’s wall. Perfect place to put a wreath or painting to layer in the farmhouse way of decorating!


  2. Quandie, I love old doors, too! Our king bed headboard is an old six-panel door like yours, and the bedroom closet door is an old door on a barn-door track (with a white porcelain knob, no less). Yep, I also have a door with glass that leads to our entry closet to let in the light from the window in the closet (I know, sounds crazy, but was actually planned). And….I have an old weathered door that goes to ‘no where’ in the living room. Kindred spirits, I’d say! Yay for doors with character, and thanks for your wonderful photos and story!


  3. I am a big fan of old doors but I am also obsessed with door hardware. Love the black ceramic door knob. I would love to incorporate those into my home. I had been leaning to an egg shaped oiled bronzed however now I may have to reconsider.


  4. Not only do I love old doors for their character, but old, chippy, painted shutters also call my name. Your decor/staging is so fun to study! Understated, balanced, real. Oh, and the painted stuff is good too!😉


      1. I would like to mount a nice chippy pair on either side of a window in lieu of a window treatment. Still looking for the perfect pair…may need to create my own!


  5. Love your home, especially those porcelain door knobs! The black one is stunning on your pantry door. Thanks for sharing!


  6. Love this door. You are so talented. I haven’t investigated where to buy Fusion paint. Can you point me in that direction, please?


    1. Of course I can! You can buy locally in Stillwater, MN at Reclaiming Beautiful. But if you’re not from around here just head over to Fusion’s “Where To Buy” page on their website here.


  7. I love everything in that first photo! The wall color, the door, and that fabulous old cupboard! The vintage door to your pantry is a fabulous find, too. I had a walk-in pantry in our previous house and I still miss it and all of the glass doorknobs, too. Love the finish on your newest door!


    1. My pantry isn’t exactly a walk-in pantry. It’s more like ‘walk-in pantry meets a fall to your death’ because in reality the stairs to my basement are behind that door. But the ledge around them (which is where the shelves are) was wasted space until we put in the shelving. It functions well for us, but when people visit my house for the first time they tend to step into the pantry without noticing the stairs which could result in disaster. I try to keep a close eye on all new visitors 😉


  8. I enjoy your blog so much! You are so creative and full of energy to complete so many projects! I love your choices; they are wonderful! Thanks for sharing your talent!


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