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Pre-war single panel doors

Started by RandyinNY
over 8 years ago
Posts: 38
Member since: Aug 2012
Discussion about
I am buying a 1950s co-op which has a pre-war feel. I love the unit and don't plan on any renovations except the interior doors. Currently, it has raised, 4-panel interior doors, which look new. The doors also have that the horrible, brass, ornate, shiny, l-shaped handles. I want solid, old, single panel doors. Are they hard to find?...expensive?....hard to restore and install?
Response by NYCMatt
over 8 years ago
Posts: 7523
Member since: May 2009

I don't know how hard they are to find (or how expensive they may be), but from first-hand experience I can tell you they are BEASTLY heavy!!!

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Response by NWT
over 8 years ago
Posts: 6643
Member since: Sep 2008

It probably originally had flush no-panel doors, and some previous owner put in the 4- or 6-panel pseudo-Colonial ones you have now. Maybe even with the fake wood-grain texture for the true double-wide feel. They're even found in Asia now.

There're lots of manufacturers for what you want. Just google doors and MDF to see all the panel layouts. Or for old doors to strip/modify/rehang, see https://streeteasy.com/nyc/talk/discussion/29776-where-to-find-old-stuff-sink-for-new-apartment

The new MDF ones are pretty heavy, as Matt said, even though the one big panel isn't that thick. The older ones were laminated wood and lighter. (One-piece wood will warp in a door.)

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Response by kylewest
over 8 years ago
Posts: 4455
Member since: Aug 2007

We installed exactly what you are discussing. I wanted solid feeling single-panel doors with great hardware. We used Trustile: http://trustile.com/catalog/paneldoors/default.asp?series=10&panel=14 We chose 1-3/4" thick and could have done with the slightly thinner ones. We applied mirrors to the backs of a couple of the closet doors. Sizing was a little off so we used the custom order feature.

Hardware was polished nickel knobs by Samuel Heath like these: http://www.samuel-heath.com/products/product/centre-door-knob-p2134b/1549/ Hinges were in matching polished nickel. You can get an idea of the cost of these indulgences by the fact that Samuel Heath calls the knobs "door furniture."

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Response by nyc10023
over 8 years ago
Posts: 7614
Member since: Nov 2008

I bought all my doors from www.interiordoors.com

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Response by RandyinNY
over 8 years ago
Posts: 38
Member since: Aug 2012

Thanks for your help. You've provided some great resources, which I will investigate. To me, the doors and hardware are extremely important. I don't want to go so far as to say fetish, but I have a thing for the old pre-war doors. I am going to make it my mission to get them replaced...as long as the co-op board approves the request. I can't image they would prefer the new, cheap doors currently being used.

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Response by RandyinNY
over 8 years ago
Posts: 38
Member since: Aug 2012

...and yes, the ones I have even have the fake wood-grain texture. What were they thinking?

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Response by alanhart
over 8 years ago
Posts: 12397
Member since: Feb 2007

It sounds like you just want solid-core slab doors, readily available at Lowe's and HD, practically free.

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Response by NextEra
about 8 years ago
Posts: 114
Member since: Jun 2008

When we renovated our UWS pre-war a couple of years ago we bought solid wood single panel doors made by Simpson Doors http://www.simpsondoor.com/; almost all were painted white but we also bought 2 French doors that were stained to match the adjacent floors. I think our contractor bought them through Dykes Lumber on W. 44th Street where you can look at samples and also get prices without any sales pressure. Dykes could probably also give you advice on prepping and installation.

We then used Frank Allart hardware http://www.allart.co.uk/ ; we chose cushion knobs in unlacquered antique brass. Simon's Hardware carries the entire Frank Allart line.

We remain very happy with the result and were unprepared for how huge a difference having the right doors and hardware (especially without a century of paint on the doors) can make. But it was also an unexpectedly big hit to our budget. So do lots of shopping and research before you buy.

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Response by northsouth
about 8 years ago
Posts: 7
Member since: Jun 2012

We also chose Simpson doors from Dykes (single panel) for a pre-war reno and were similarly happily surprised experiencing the sharp detailing of paint on all edges. They don't look "luxurious" so much as "just and properly right". But new doors may look jarringly incongruous if existing door frames are enshrouded in old paint gobs. We went with period glass knobs, but these might look odd in 1950s building. ditto on advice to do lots of shopping and research before buying, as the choices are mind boggling.

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Response by bramstar
about 8 years ago
Posts: 1895
Member since: May 2008

Check out salvage places like Olde Good Things for wonderful vintage hardware. Also Rejuvenation and House of Antique Hardware have modern repros.

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Response by alanhart
about 8 years ago
Posts: 12397
Member since: Feb 2007
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