Repurposing a Doorway Repurposing a doorway title


While we did do a floor plan change on the 2nd level of our 100 year old house, I’m all about keeping as much integrity and being the most efficient of a renovation project in a space, if it makes sense. However, I won’t allow something to hold the renovation project’s creativity hostage either. So therein lies the balance… Does it make sense to keep it, possibly adding to the character of the space, or would it open up more design avenues if it was torn out?

That’s what we were faced with when we renovated the 2nd level bathroom.

When we first started the renovation, the bathroom was THEE bathroom… the one and only place to take a bath or shower… It was entered in the hallway right at the top of the front stairs. When you came up the stairs, this is what you saw: doorway before

It was ugly and was a horrible floor plan. I’ll show you the whole bathroom renovation project in a different post, but we ripped it all out: during reno

This space was to become the master bathroom, no longer was access from the hallway going to be needed, or wanted.

But we still had the beautiful old doorway in the hallway. So instead of ripping it out and filling it in with just flat wall, I decided to make it a focal point.

I actually find a lot of times in design, it’s the very thing that presents the challenge, that becomes the feature.

In this case, I visualized it looking like a built in niche. inset and trimmed back board base


Here you can see how the inset of the doorway was left. We added the baseboard molding on the back to make it look finished and not a closed off doorway, (which it is, but no need to look that way)

I must interject something: my carpenter… he did the actual installation of the trim, etc. though I designed the whole house renovation, he was a fantastic resource to bounce stuff off to be sure it was feasible and he was very willing to make my designs work. Working with a carpenter with a great attitude makes a world of difference for the stress level of a renovation project, as well as just the joy of being creative in the design. He was happy to hear my creative design plan, and then was happy to do the work to bring it to fruition!

I then found this antique pier mirror on Craigslist. It originally would have come off an entrance table with a marble top most likely. But this is all the gal who was selling it had… perfect for me. Long and narrow. For this gorgeous piece, I paid less than $100! I couldn’t have touched a new mirror this size for that price, let alone with this beautiful carving and detail. You just gotta watch your local sales, antique stores and resources for real treasures, they’re out there, trust me!

To hang it on the plywood back of the doorway niche, I attached 2 heavy duty ‘D’ rings to the mirror. attached hanger on back of antique mirror

The Eastlake Victorian styling of the frame of the  mirror are very pretty. (My parents have a lovely Eastlake Victorian piece you can see here.) woods shows off against white

The warm rich wood tones of the mirror are wonderfully set off against the white painted woodwork. (That’s a good example how a painted finish compliment wood tones so well) thickness of cavity of old doorway

Another great feature of the mirror in the doorway, is when we closed off this bathroom entrance, we also lost the natural light of the bathroom window in the hallway, but this mirror now reflects the light from the stairway window, accomplishing the same effect as before. reflects window light

So all in all, I’m glad we decided to keep the doorway intact and work with it, repurposing a doorway into the mirror niche it now is. I don’t feel we sacrificed the design, instead, I feel it added to it!

So when you’re working on renovating projects, I hope you’re encouraged to consider and weigh out if it makes more sense to keep it, or lose it. Sometimes it makes sense to keep it.


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