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Trying Out “Architectural Salvage” Pantry Doors

Hey there lovelies! Hope you’re having a good week!Despite the fact that we don’t live in a farmhouse or have a shabby chic style, Mark and I have a thing for architectural salvage doors. We especially love the patina they bring to a newer home, or a basic house like ours that doesn’t have a lot of character.

I might have a mild obsession…..


When we had plans drawn up for our kitchen, it was so exciting to see our ideas for renovating this space on a computer and really get a feel for what it could look like. We were originally thinking about replacing our side-by-side pantry closets with a wall of built in cabinets, but we’ve been contemplating using old doors on our existing pantries instead to bring in some contrast and charm to a brand-spanking-new space.

Just look at some of these beauties from the Nor’East Architectural Salvage in New Hampshire! Can you imagine how gorgeous they would look cleaned up a bit and paired with shiny new everything else?


This one looks like it is from a hotel doesn’t it?

I love the mail slot in this set! How fun would that be in a kitchen or opening up to a home office?

Check out this gorgeous barn door……hubba hubba!!

And these beauties??!! ahhhhhh I love them.


Back to my pantry. While we’re in a holding pattern on our kitchen reno the existing pantry doors have been painted a few times.Our relationship with them started like this – the pantry of basic standard colonials all across the land.

I think these doors were the very first things I laid a paint brush on in this house, the day we took ownership! They were white for a long time, and then black…..

An improvement from where we started….

however this is a house with three teenagers who literally are hungry ALL the time – these doors see a LOT of traffic and take a lot of abuse! They have been looking pretty beat up (and not in a cool, old door kind of way) and I was hard core imagining how amazing salvage doors would look in their place, if we reworked the wall a bit and took out the hollow space between the existing doors.

Can you see it?

While we’re at it let’s fantasize about marble countertops and beautiful lights too…..


Okay that was a fun little break from reality.

The reality is that these two doors are here to stay for a while. The plus side is that they are solid wood, the sad, sorrowful part is that the paint was peeling and chipping something fierce – so I decided to strip it all off in the garage and try out the salvage door look on them to see how we like it.

This is my favorite stripper – it is not as noxious as others on the market and it does the job the best.

I used a small foam roller to cover most of the doors and then got into all the nooks and crannies of the panels with a throw-away brush. After letting it sit for 20-30 minutes, all the layers of paint came right off the flat parts of the doors with a scraper.

Stripping paint off doors with Citristrip.

The layers and layers of paint and primer were harder to get out of all the paneled details, even with repeated applications of the stripper. I got off most of it, then scrubbed down the doors with dish soap, water and a nylon pad to remove all traces of the Citristrip.

After they were good and dry, I went at them with a sander to try to reduce the orange tint of the wood, but realized it wasn’t going away without some major elbow grease.

After all that stripping, scraping and sanding, they looked like this:

I really love the old door patina they have in their natural state, and they worked really well with our laminate floor, 

but uggggg….just a bit too orange!

To remedy this situation, I sampled patches of Minwax Weathered Oak and Walnut stains, but both of them seemed to exacerbate the orange tone rather than reduce it.

With my wax-limed dining room table and paint-limed coffee table in mind,

An old table found on Craigslist is given a warm, aged, lime oak finish.

I next attempted to take the orange down with a bit by dry brushing grey paint on and then wiping it off, then dry brushing white paint and wiping off, trying to get it into the nooks and crannies that I had just spent hours scraping paint out of 🙂 and keeping the wood grain visible. This worked out much better than the stain.

I used regular Ben Moore wall paint I had on hand – Classic Grey and Simply White. To dry brush, I placed a small amount of paint onto a paper plate, dipped the brush into it, then tapped off as much I could onto the plate before brushing it onto the door. I also used a fine grit sandpaper to distress the paint a bit.

Here’s how it came out on the orangey wood.

Side by side comparison…..I like both but the limed version fits into our house better.

The doors look a bit pink here but in real life they are more a weathered grey tone.

We’ve lived with them like this for a few months and really like having these doors a little different than the rest of the house. When we do remodel I think we will probably go for it and add some real architectural salvage doors with some interesting old hardware but in the meantime we’re enjoying this change.

What do you think? Are you a fan of this look or no?  Check out my pantry door Pinterest board to see salvage doors in lots of different spaces. Even if this look doesn’t appeal to you, I hope you are inspired to try something a little different and make your house uniquely yours.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Thursday 1st of March 2018

This came out awesome, Lisa! I liked them once they were stripped but I LOVE them with their new weathered look. If only we all looked better with a little weather :)


Friday 2nd of March 2018

HA!! If only!! Thanks's really lightened up our kitchen!


Saturday 24th of February 2018

Susan that's a smart idea! I'm thinking we might reframe this wall to suit salvaged doors if we find a double door set we fall in love with!

cassie bustamante

Saturday 24th of February 2018

i love them and weathered gray always photographs a bit pink- i get it! i have two salvaged doors in my garage i want to use in my kitchen on the closet and the pantry but i would have to reframe.... so it hasn't happened. ;) one day.


Saturday 24th of February 2018

Oh that's exciting Cassie! We'll probably end up reframing this wall too, and that's project 10837587 that needs to be done around here, but we can both daydream about our doors in the meantime!

Stacy Connolly

Friday 23rd of February 2018

I like it! Adds some character. I love the Limed look. I have double bifold pantry doors and am stumped on what to do with them. It's a narrow area just outside the dreaded bathroom off the kitchen and the door into the garage. So lots of doors in a small space.....


Friday 23rd of February 2018

Stacy I know exactly what you mean with all the doors. Look on Pinterest - there are so many great ideas for making pantry doors a feature!

Uta Zacharias

Friday 23rd of February 2018

I love the limed doors! Fabulous!!!


Friday 23rd of February 2018

Thank you Uta! It's been a fun change!