American System-Built Home, decorating, Frank Lloyd Wright, Our Story

We Found the Original Dining Room Doors for Our American System-Built Home!


Dining room doors in an American System-Built homeOn our very first visit to the Dream House, we tried to look over every last inch of the it – from the house to the garage to the old carriage house and even the yard. Having endured the five hour drive from our city apartment to the house, we wanted to make sure we were thorough in our inspection of the space. We saw two small doors stashed over the rafters in the garage way back then but it took us six months until we were finally able to get a closer look. And now that we have gotten to inspect the doors more closely, we’re beyond thrilled with them!

Door hardware spring We knew before we even climbed up to the rafters that the two skinny doors with glass inserts were once installed between the dining room and the living room. The screw holes and indentations from the hardware are still evident in the floor of the doorway between the two rooms. Based on what we could see from down on the ground, we assumed that the glass in the doors was frosted. It wasn’t until we had pulled the doors down from the rafters and cleaned them up that we discovered that the glass isn’t frosted at all. The glass was so dirty that it looked frosted but it is in fact clear.

two glass pane doors from our american system-built homeThere’s no telling how long the doors have been stashed above the rafters. Judging by the layers of dust and dirt on them, it’s been at least a few years. We cleaned the doors straight away and were delighted to find that they’re in very good shape. The Mister used Murphy’s Oil Soap diluted in a bucket of water to clean the doors. The doors were so dirty that he had to dump the bucket and start with clean water at least four times.

The Mister cleaning the doors for our American System Built home

The original spring hardware is still attached to the doors. I’ve been spraying the springs with WD-40, letting it fully penetrate the rusty old springs, and then spraying them again. The spring is embedded in the bottom of the doors, along with a bracket that attaches to the floor. The only thing that seemed to be missing was the hardware that attaches to the top of the door frame. Fortunately, we were able to locate that hardware in a shoe box that we found in the basement months ago.

testing the doorsWe lugged the doors inside the house and held them in place to see how they’d look. As we suspected, they look amazing! If I had had my way we would have installed the doors right then and there. Unfortunately, the hardware that needs to be attached to the top door frame will need to be embedded before that can happen. And to do that we’ll need a router to create the indentation for the hardware. Lacking a router, we knew we’d have to wait to install the doors. Besides, we should really try to strip the paint off the door frame before we install them.

041414-doors07My parents are going to be visiting the Dream House in a couple of weeks. Since my dad is quite handy with all things woodworking, we’re going to enlist their help installing the doors. I hope to have the door frame stripped of paint by then. But even if the trim is still painted when my parents arrive, we’ll still install the doors and then worry about removing them to strip the woodwork later.

Welcome back inside the Dream House, doors. We can’t wait to make you a part of the home again.

— J. Blandings

Images: Mr. and Mr. Blandings


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1 Comment

  • Reply Tommy 04/19/2014 at 7:05 am

    It’s wonderful to see the return of original features that you & the Mister clearly appreciate…unlike the owner who removed them. At least that owner had the sense to store them onsite. Good job and good luck!

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