Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Little Door to the Little Room


When we built the first part of our house which we lived in for a couple years while building the main portion... it was pretty tight quarters... so we had to use every bit of space to our best benefit...

On the second floor we devised a way to make enough room so we and our son could each have our own rooms... but in order to do this we had to have a very narrow doorway between the two.......... This door leads into his old room... the ceiling was tall enough for us to make a sleeping loft... the beams of the floor can be seen through the doorway... it doubled his space which had only been 8' x 8'... he climbed up a ladder to sleep and used the small main floor for playing...



We went out to the barn to look through our old door collection that we had been scavenging for years... a thick double boarded door with a beautiful paint patina, seemed like it might work... since we could easily cut it to the necessary size... full thickness tongue and groove boards running up and down on one side ... across on the other....

This door came from an old house on Bull Moose Hill , Kings Co., New Brunswick, yes that is its actual name... that was half fallen into the ground.... but still standing in areas supported by the doors...
This was its cellar door in the winter kitchen..... a porcupine had chewed quite a large portion off the lower corner.... so he could have easy access to his new abode... to go up and down and in and out...


The door was too large ... so we cut it down to a narrow 18" width and 6½' tall ... and because we have a knack of finding a way to make things much more difficult than is necessary... we decided it would look really nice arched!!... careful measuring and soon we had it cut to a lovely curve... then sanded and it was nice.................

This was when we looked at each other and thought... at the same time... "why can't we ever do anything the easy way???


...........Building a house is a Huge Learning Curve ... Don't ever let anyone kid you on that one....



... here's one reason... although it is easy to cut a curve on the top of a door.... it is not easy to make and finish a curved opening in a wall ... especially for people who never did it before...

Good thing we work for ourselves because no one would ever, have given us this much time off to work... or was it play on a project...

This took more time than we had planned but eventually after days ... and weeks of procrastination, head scratching, scribbling and researching...... we figured it out..... and it worked...


....and because of its unusual dimensions... it feels really fun to walk through every time...



John creates steel metalwork but this beautiful handle was made by an ironworker in Nova Scotia who had a booth near ours at a past craft fair.... and whose name escapes me at the present ...... We also attached a hammered sheet of copper in the area under the handle to cover the unusable original doorknob hole ............

The old door has served many... the people from back then... the porcupine and his friends... and now us...


..est. age of door... 150 yrs.

23 comments:

Ruth said...

Ohhhhh. Ohhhh.

So many things.

The door is a result of hard work, hard thinking and true craftsmanship. I can totally see how you would love walking through it. It is gorgeous, I love how the boards run different on both sides. The hook is fabulous. Major major kudos!

I see your spinning wheel there! I think I have before too. Yes, you spin.

I see that gorgeous quilt too. So, you quilt, do you?

The floor: is that the floor I've always wanted? Painted cement? We have been talking about doing a floor like that forever. Thought about it for the studio but ended up with the pine.

The light is just great there too.

Big sigh. Oh, and I liked the "learning curve" in the context of the arched door.

asti said...

Wonderful...the door and the perfect handle to it...like it should lead into a woodland realm or something! Spied the spinning wheel too......my Grandmother has said I can have her Ashford but I daren't even go there - not right now anyway....so much to do and so litle time !

Jazz said...

OOOOOhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!

I love doors. And this one is insanely beautiful.

A tiny arched door. You did good.

Don said...

Now that is a door! As you know, I love old doors and this one is probably the finest example I have ever seen. I was also looking at the floor. Is the floor made of reclaimed materials? It looks like cherry or something like that.

Fabulous.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Asti, my wheel is an Ashford... really easy to use... take her up on it.. it is so meditative.. and my kids used to love teasing the wool for me, then jumping into it and disappearing..

Thanks Jazz, Ruth and Don... We have a passion for old doors!!

I Love quilting but I cannot tell a lie... this one I picked up at a flea market, for a deal that I could not have even bought the basic fabric for... let alone do all the work... although I spent many years where this was my main activity... mostly piecework... when my older children were small. they used to play under the quilts in their little tent-house while i quilted above them..

yes, you are very observant!...this is a concrete floor.. it is a very economical and extremely hard wearing floor..

you can create any patina you like on it with an acid etch.... we wanted an aged appearance in this area...sort of what a castle floor might have in it...

We put concrete floors in the entire main floor(our finished slab, no basement) and in the portion of the second floor(here 20' x 20') over the first section of the house... The concrete had to hauled up to the second floor in buckets and dumped... that was time consuming and back-breaking but we hada couple fellows help with that...

there is a method that the concrete could be pumped through a hose but that would have been way out of range cost wise and it also was not available in our area...

on the second floor the concrete is only 1½" thick over 13" thick floor joists and 3/4" plywood.... main floor is 4" thick on lots of gravel and rigid foam... also acts a great heat sink for holding heat from the sun...

Thanks for asking...

Sandy said...

I LOVE it!!! What is it about doors that people love, really nice old doors, doors with personality, doors made from materials that never knew they would be a door like this. So cool.

My son has taught himself so much to do with construction and I watched him from an archway and I know they sure require a lot more than just the standard lines.

I hope you let us peek in on more of your place. I think its' incredible that you and John are such craftsmen and have build such a unique place.
sandy

Sharon said...

Thanks for letting us peek inside your space Gwen. It's a great door. I can't even imagine how much work it must have been to get that arch right but it really gives you the feeling that you are entering a passageway to someplace mysterious. How in the world did you get the jamb to curve....did you have to soak it before hand????

Gwen Buchanan said...

Thanks sandy, I am always tempted and teased when it comes to doors and what is behind them, they let us in... and keep us out... Love to see the arch your son did, too..

... these pictures turned out darker than I had hoped...

Thanks Sharon, We had to do a lot of close, evenly space Kerf cuts (cuts made ½-way through the thickness on the back of the lumber) to get it to gently bend without breaking. never had to soak it though... then we glued, clamped, screwed, puttied... and then all that head scratching was covered up when we were done ... No one would ever know how frustrating it was... at least to us...

It really gave us an appreciation of how much work must go on behind the scenes of much more complicated jobs, you see in older homes... built back in the day when labor , lumber and time seemed to be more abundant!!

Anet said...

What a whimsical door! The history seeped into it's wood is amazing to think of. Who past through this door? What were their lives like?
The Cellar door....it was well worth the work!

Gwen Buchanan said...

You are right Anet.. having a bit of whimsy brightens up the day in such a quiet area as this...

I hope the porcupines cousins don't find it now!!!

Sharon said...

Is there any chance that we might get to see some of your quilting?

Gwen Buchanan said...

thanks for asking Sharon... maybe I'll try posting about a favourite one tomorrow...
Have you ever done quilting?

sherrieg said...

I adore that door!

Sharon said...

I'm not sure what I've done would qualify a quilting........maybe more under the realm of experimenting! :)

We have one we use on our bed (in bad need of repair since Mattie chews quicker than I can quilt, one over the couch as washable a barrier between the animals and the actual furniture and one for Goth.

But I do love quilts and am excited to see what you've done.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Sharon, I'd love to see your experimenting... experimenting is always the best!!!
and when they serve a functional purpose, thats even better... I never like to see things wrapped up in plastic and locked away because they are too special to use... I always think that if you like it, use it... why not enjoy it!!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Thanks Sherrie , you had a great old door or window in one of your earlier posts that I really loved...

and your batch of "Oatmeal, Milk and Honey Soap" looks good enough to eat!!!

Ruth said...

I have an old spinning wheel (19th c.) that I inherited. A lady in our town spun on it for a home show one year (at my parents' home), so I know it still works. My daughter would love to harvest wool and learn to spin (she was a fibers minor at art school). One of the many "some day" projects to learn. When you come have hot cocoa in the studio you can show us how to work the spinning wheel, ok?

Gwen Buchanan said...

Sounds Fun, Ruth!!!

Gwen Buchanan said...

And it would be a joy to try an heirloom !!! I'm sure you daughter would love it ... so when are you getting Sheep?

J said...

Beautiful and unique. You're right gwen, it just wouldn't be the same if it were normal width. A tall, narrow door like that calls out to me to walk through it.

And you had to arch the top. That is what makes it complete.

You do know that you'll never be able to leave this house. There is too much of your family's heart and soul built right into it's very structure.

Oh - and I love the dogs on the woodpile. What an extremely serene, inviting photo. I can almost hear the quietness, if that makes any sense, after having spent the last 20 years in the clatter of the metropolis that is Southern California. I miss that quietness.

Ruth said...

Don would get sheep in a second if his curmudgeonly wife didn't keep saying, "no animals that require vets." They would be pretty sweet out in the orchard.

Gwen Buchanan said...

I know what you mean "J"... next time around I may have to live in a tent!!

Strange how boards, nails, sticks and ideas can end up wrapping themselves around your heart strings!!!

I love the feel of your very meditative statement...."I can almost hear the Quiet".. that is really beautiful!
thank you ,gwen

flyinamber said...

Georgeous!
What a great idea-using of this old door in your new house-the old door has a new life!