The life of two scientists, creating a small home, in big mountains

Brighten Interior with Paint

When we first moved in, every interior door in the ranch was brown.


I love a good wooden door. But these doors are far from perfect. They have holes, broken corners, missing screws…Our bedroom door has a fist-size hole in the middle and was patched over with a piece of thin brown paper.


However sweet the message is, we do not wish to live with these doors. Slav hated these doors from the day 1 and was nagging me all these time to paint them white. It is interesting how different details bother us differently. Slav was so bothered by old paint on the floors, the dirty grout in the bathroom and kitchen, and the baseboards vent covers with peeling paint. I on the other hand, cannot stand carpet,  nail hole on the walls, or dusty surfaces.

Painting doors is actually a lot of work – if you do it right. The doors need to be removed, properly cleaned and dried, patched and sanded, then primed and painted. The hinges and screws all need to be taken off, cleaned and painted as well. The previous owner painted the wall white without taking the doors off, so all the hinges were more or less covered in white paint and these are very difficult to remove. When getting painted, hardware usually need many thin coats of spray paint, and take a couple days to completely dry.

But the result is worth it when you go from this:


to this:


The pictures were taken on the same time of the day, both in sunny afternoons. You can see how much brighter the hallway is now with white doors. I personally adore a good black door, but Slav was like “what!?”. Since I knew that we are changing the main floor plan and all the doors will be replaced one way or the other, I picked my battles and moved on with white.


Not only white, FREE white. We inherited a bucket of interior eggshell paint in the garage, which was likely used for trims. Eggshell is not a particularly good sheen for doors, but I could not argue with cheap. So interior eggshell these door shall become.


The first batch of doors I painted were two closet doors for linen closet and pantry. This was actually the same time when we painted the hardware for our shed. In total we have nine interior doors on the main floor, if not counting the one between kitchen and garage. There are two bedroom doors, two pairs of closet doors in the bedrooms, bathroom door, linen closet door, and pantry closet door. We took down both pairs of the closet doors during carpet removal, and eventually rehung the pair in Slav’s office. In our bedroom, we opted for grey curtains which give a much softer look.


That day was a massive paint party among me and the dogs. They love to hang out in the garage whenever I am working there with the garage door is open, probably because they can see people and dogs walking by. But every tail wagging brings dust and hair onto wet paint, so I have to lock them inside sometime. In such situation they usually sit by the garage door and whine to remind me they are waiting (!) to be let out again…oh dogs.



The closet doors are small and dried quickly. They were up in just the next day. And what were left includes the two bedroom doors and a bathroom door. It took me another month before getting them off the hinges – I just did not want to work on them. They are heavy, damaged, and just gross. It is funny that I chose to live with them but not work on them.


Above: the bedroom door on the left and the bathroom door on the right; Below: Office door (left) and bedroom door.


On the Labor day weekend, I stopped procrastinating and brought them out to the garage. This was how they look after a good cleaning Friday night:


Saturday morning, I set out my rollers, primer and paint. I like to prepare everything ahead of time and work in big batches.


By noon, one coat primer was on:


This primer gives pretty good coverage so I moved on with paint. It took two coats and some touch-ups at the end, so the paint game lasted until Sunday morning.


I also sprayed paint all the hardware black, just like what I did with the closet doors. I had to soak all the hinges in paint thinners and scrape the old paint off – they were finally ready (well most of them) Sunday morning:



I like to have the handles and knobs dry upright. Fruit boxes from Costco came in very handy:


We let everything dried for more than a day with the garage door open, and brought them in by the end of Monday. Here is Slav’s office door in white:


And this is the same door before:


Our bright little hallway:


But the work is not over yet – all the screws are still in their golden glory and need touch up.





So I sprayed the same black paint on a take-out container lid and brushed all the screws with a small brush:





And this is what our hallway looks like from Slav’s office: white, white, and white.


A fresh coat of paint made these doors looking a lot better, but they are flawed and we will replace them down the road. After living in this house for 2.5 months, Slav and I started to feel clear how we want to update the floor plan of the main level. None of these door, if we stick to our (secret) plan, will be used in the new plan. So stay toned!


Setting Up Our Compost


Curb Appeal Take III – Replacing the Window Wells


  1. Anna Słoniowska

    Alison, this is amazing job.

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén