We have a 1950's era 4-level split level house in the Chicago suburbs. The
top floor, with 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and several closets, has a total
of 3 30-inch doors, 2 28-inch doors, 10 24-inch doors and 1 18-inch door.
These doors are all original 1950's hollow-core, flat slab style, with a na
tural wood finish. We want to freshen things up and are considering painti
ng the doors a slightly off-white color to go with the adjacent walls.
Rather than completely replacing all these doors, we are considering adding
/gluing trim to these doors and then painting them. The idea would be addi
ng trim to the doors in the shape of a digitized "8". This would make them
resemble, slightly, a normal 2-panel door. The trim would be moulding str
ips from a local home-improvement store, about 2.5 inches wide. The thing
we don't know/understand, is the height/location of the middle cross-piece
of the "8". Obviously it would be somewhere above the equator of the doors
I plan on doing some measuring of doors at our local home-improvements stor
es, and maybe using strips of paper scotch-taped to a couple of our doors t
o envision how they would look with the new trim.
My question now is how to set the height of the middle cross-piece? I am pr
etty sure that it should be at the same height across all doors, no matter
what the width of the door, but how high?
Polite responses requested.
In you case I'd use a narrow strip of molding to "frame" 2 panels onto the
door . Bottom "rail" should be about 8" wide , center rail and top about 5"
. The mid rail is centered on the knob , stiles (vertical strips on the
sides) are usually around 5" wide too . There are moldings specifically made
for this type of trim .
On 4/11/2016 12:37 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
seeing wood as "wood", where possible. Just something to consider
(once you paint them, going back is a lot harder).
You will discover that there are lots of variations. Exterior doors
tend to have the "split" (waistband?) higher.
You should consider what is adjacent to the doors "on" the walls.
E.g., wainscoting might bias your "waistline" up or down (probably not
EVEN with the top of the wainscoting as that's often pretty low).
But, if your waistline ends up too close (in height) it may look
visually jarring (as if to conjure ideas of "hmmm... shouldn't those
things have LINED UP with each other?"). If, instead, you deliberately
alter the levels so that there is no question that they are NOT
intended to be aligned...
Likewise, a chair rail, bannister, etc. also have visual impacts on
this waistline "competition".
Don't take what you see at the millworks as "gospel"; evaluate the
decision in your own context.
I'd suggest cardboard instead of paper strips as the depth effect
will alter your perception of the "finished" door (the stuff you
tack on will give "visual weight" to the door in a way that
paper strips can't convey.
You should also think about whether you want a truly plain Shaker style
"trim" around each (imaginary) panel or something more ornate (quarter
Finally, look at more than one of your doors, this way. What looks
good in "quantity one" might get overly busy if you have it on lots
of doors (esp if you can see multiple doors from any given vantage
point). We opted for simple, rounded "slab" doors on our ~40inch kitchen
cabinets simply because any amount of detail (even a simple Shaker
trim) got to be *too* busy with all those doors in close proximity.
We wanted the wood grain/character to be the focus, not a bunch of
machines bits of wood.
On Monday, April 11, 2016 at 3:37:07 PM UTC-4, email@example.com wrote:
he top floor, with 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and several closets, has a tota
l of 3 30-inch doors, 2 28-inch doors, 10 24-inch doors and 1 18-inch door.
These doors are all original 1950's hollow-core, flat slab style, with a
natural wood finish. We want to freshen things up and are considering pain
ting the doors a slightly off-white color to go with the adjacent walls.
ng/gluing trim to these doors and then painting them. The idea would be ad
ding trim to the doors in the shape of a digitized "8". This would make th
em resemble, slightly, a normal 2-panel door. The trim would be moulding s
trips from a local home-improvement store, about 2.5 inches wide. The thin
g we don't know/understand, is the height/location of the middle cross-piec
e of the "8". Obviously it would be somewhere above the equator of the doo
Above the equator? Don't most paneled doors (2, 4, 6, +) have the rail (or
the lower rail) *below* the equator?
Assuming we're on the same page, you could (obviously) go to a home
center/door and window store and measure, or you could use an image
like the one below and determine the percentage of top vs. bottom.
| The thing we don't know/understand, is the height/location of the middle
cross-piece of the "8". Obviously it would be somewhere above the equator
of the doors.
It's really up to you. The knob is typically at
about 36", so that's a good place to put OC.
But there are different kinds of panel doors. We
have old ones that are 4-panel, with the crosspiece
about 24" OC. A typical 6-panel door, in contrast,
will have the large panel at the bottom. So it's
really just a matter of what you think looks good.
I've seen designs like you're describing where
the molding forms a semi-circle around the door
Aesthetically I'd find the idea questionable.
You're pretending the door is something it's not,
which will just make it look cheap. Panel doors
can be had for about $80 apiece. Failing that,
flush doors are not bad, especially in a modern
There was a great diatribe about this in
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,
by Robert Pirsig. He goes on about what he
calls Quality, by which he means something
like dignity and elegance, as opposed to
degradation, debasing, artlessness. One of his
examples of degradation is plastic cabinets with
walnut grain contact paper. I thought he was
making a very important design point: Plastic
cabinets are not great, but they have their own
dignity. There's nothing wrong with them.
Covering them with a picture of expensive wood
grain doesn't make them look better. It just
expresses an attitude of poverty and degradation:
Our world isn't good enough on its own merits.
We feel depraved, that we need to lie about
ourselves and try to somehow be more impressive.
Kind of a philosophical point, I suppose, but that
kind of degrading design is very common and
does affect peoples' state of mind. The world of
fashion, name brands and product design is one
big display of that attitude.
A weird example of it currently is plastic doors
and shutters with wood grain texture. If it's
real wood we try not to have grain showing
through the paint. Yet with plastic doors there's
a sort of embarassment about the plastic, so
the manufacturer goes overboard in the other
direction, applying a ridiculously overdone pattern
of wood grain, as though that might somehow lend
some kind of authenticity to the plastic. But the
plastic was always authentic in its own right. It's
just not authentic wood. With the fake wood grain
it becomes debased junk, no good for any use.
| >. One of his
| >examples of degradation is plastic cabinets with
| >walnut grain contact paper. I thought he was
| I've seen plastic shutters and fences but I don't think I've ever seen
| plastic cabinets. Where would I find them?
Good question. I don't think I remember plastic
cabinets, either, other than maybe for medicine
cabinets. But I do remember lots of "walnut grain"
contact paper. (There was even some knotty
pine contact paper. :)
Pirsig's book was from the 70s.
I'm not certain, but I think he might have been
in a motel when he saw those. I haven't seen that
book for many years, but I remember the setting
of his diatribe was a motel/hotel. It made a big
impression on me at the time because I had never
thought about design, but immediately recognized
what was wrong with things like walnut grain
contact paper when he pointed it out. Whether
it's the gaudy, monarchical fetish of blue-collar
kitsch, or the pseudo-socialist, understated,
Scandinavian-quasi-intellectualist design of social-
climbing hipsters who festoon their sterile environs
with "modern art" carefully chosen not to express
anything in particular, there's a sense of shame in
the whole thing -- that the owner feels a need for
it to be something more than it is. That they feel a
need to be something more than they are.
That I remember. My mother even used some, but it was a good idea in
that case. The finish on something was terrible, maybe a card table,
with folding legs with a paper top, that couldn't be refinished any
other way that I can think of. I think it had metal corners which she
tucked the cedges of the contac (no T for the most popular brand name)
And I used something heavier at the end of a formica counter which had
LOL When I feel the need to be something more than I am, I post on
On 04/11/2016 2:37 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
The "center piece" is the middle rail (verticals are "stiles")
As another said the typical installation will have the lockset centered
on the rail; if it's just a simple knob that will be centered; in an
older house with a long rectangular escutcheon and skeleton key, say,
the escutcheon will be centered so the handle will be somewhat offset.
The actual proportions will be somewhat variable depending upon the
number of panels (4, 6, ...) and somewhat lesser degree, the age of the
door (those in the old farmhouse (ca 1916) here are somewhat wider
bottom rail than most modern doors, but the ceilings are 9-ft on main
floor rather than current common 8-ft which tends to need a more
massive-looking door to counter. (The baseboard is 10", too.)
Anyways, as the above piece from This Old House shows, do some layouts
to find pleasing proportions that are consistent across all the sizes so
you don't end up with a higgledy-piggledy hodge-podge.
On Tuesday, April 12, 2016 at 10:26:45 AM UTC-4, Vic Smith wrote:
The OP didn't post a picture of the current doors, but based on what I
picture as "1950's hollow-core, flat slab style, with a natural wood
finish" door, I'm guessing he's going for this something like this
...without the writing on the door, of course. ;-)
On Tue, 12 Apr 2016 11:07:30 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03
That looks better, until you get close enough to open or close it.
I just think this is a bad idea. A paneled door can be bought for
$40, and a real wood one for about $100.
I suggest the OP do one of each and see which looks good.
Time was - maybe still - a lot of frame and panel doors were made by
"sticking" the panel; i.e., the panel was not in a groove but was either the
same thickness as the frame or thinner and let into a rabbet so it would
wind up flush with the frame. In both cases, the panel was retained by
"sticking" a molding; on one side if let into a rabbet, both if flush.
for vic smith,
I agree, the moulding that was shown in the video stuck out way too far, but the idea of adding something to the flat panel is what I was interested in. My wife will have the final say-so on the door design and on the moulding.
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