|Project by mmh||posted 10-26-2008 03:07 AM||3921 views||1 time favorited||1 comment|
We found these doors at an antique dealer’s warehouse and they were so unique that we had to have them. The price tag was a little “pricey” but they were in decent condition and we really liked them. When we were ready to pay for our items we found out that the price was “per” door!!! They are a matching pair that are ajoined so I don’t know why anyone would even consider only purchasing one door, as the latch goes from one to the other. Despite the marketing scheme, we bought them and stored them in the basement for several years, as they each weigh about 80 lbs. and we could not quite figure out how to install it without damaging our circa 1956 home’s fragile wooden frame and sheet rock.
Then one day we were cleaning out the basement and realized we still had these wonderful doors that were gathering dust. My husband had to slightly alter the old wooden pegs style legs that hold the door upright with 8” bolts. He had a hard time drilling into this very old oak and hand sawing took quite a bit of sweat. He had to build a 2”x4” frame inside the closet along with a foot and head base to hold the weight of the door. We added some fatigued wooden trim to enhance the doors and I found a solid jade bat carving that I installed above using pegs, so it can be removed. I believe it is a burial piece, as treasures were frequently buried with royalty and aristocrats and there are calcium deposits showing on the jade, suggesting that it was buried for a long time. Bats are considered good luck so that’s why you frequently see their image in furniture and other decor.
The wooden panels are covered with a fabric or leather that were then painted with several different paints over the years. This covering is very hard, but brittle. The crackling of the paints add a lot of character and are somewhat fragile so the heaviness of the doors were something to deal with and not damage the painted area. I had to glue a few pieces in but I didn’t want to ruin the original antiquity so I left it alone and just hope it stays together. The added metal hardware makes the doors even more weighted and it takes a good hard pull to open them, but they slide open easily as my husband did an excellent job engineering this project.
I do not know how old these are, but guestimate they may be 300-600 yrs. old. I believe they were installed outside in a sheltered courtyard so that they were not directly in contact with rain or snow, but did have the temperature fluxuations to endure.
This is the entrance to our coat closet (aka: dungeon). If you visit and misbehave you may just find yourself behind the doors!
-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe