I love me some crisp white molding… and I love that we have all the gorgeous original trim around our windows and chunky baseboards from the early 1900’s. We took it to the next level when we added the board and batten and crown molding.
Lately I’ve been seeing some designers opt to paint their interior doors a dark charcoal or navy blue, and I love the dark contrast and think it looks so classy and full of character.
This got my head spinning. What if our interior doors weren’t white?
I think what originally made me start thinking about this, is the fact that the door to our studio is an ugly tan color… (you can barely see it in the picture above). But instead of starting with that door, I wanted to tackle the front door first, because I knew how gorgeous it would look.
Impulsively, I wrangled Nick into helping me remove the door from it’s hinges.
We laid it out on a sturdy table in the garage and removed all the hardware.
If you’ve been following along on Facebook or Instagram, you know that we DIDN’T paint the door. We stripped it! Because in all situations, we choose the most complicated possible scenario. It seems like that at least… but in this situation, it PAID OFF!
With all those nooks and crannies to strip, I’ll show you some new strategies in addition to the basics of stripping from our Stripping 101 course. You’re tools are pretty much the same though.
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- Hefty Scraper (we love this one)
- Simple wire brush
- Stripper (we’ve tried a LOT, and this one is the best. Hands down)
- Detail Stipper
- Chip brushes
- Rubber gloves
Slather on some stripper with a cheapo chip brush. You’ll almost instantly see the paint start bubbling up.
After a couple minutes, begin scraping with your hefty Purdy scraper to get the bulk of the paint off.
Repeat that step again, but this time after scraping, scrub it with your wire brush. This gets the paint out of the grain, loosening everything up. Then simply wipe away the goobers with a rag. At this point, your surface will be ready for sanding/staining.
But this particular door has lots of gorgeous details… which is definitely a headache when it comes to stripping. But I love a good challenge. And I knew how amazing this would look, so I persevered!
To start with, I used the same techniques as I did above to get the majority off… which left me with this hot mess:
At this point, I applied some ‘Detail Stripper’ (Zinnser Detail Stripper) and let it soak into all those nooks and crannies. The detail stripper is very watery, which is exactly what you want for all this detail. After about 20 minutes, I hit it with the wire brush real hard. Be careful about it spattering into your eyes… eye protection people! And the parts where the brush wouldn’t reach, I used a flat head screw driver.
WARNING… this part is not fun. Some of that paint that’s deep in the cracks can be very stubborn. Get it the best you can, and then just be done. JUST.BE.DONE.
We sanded everything down with 220 grit until it was as smooth as you can possibly imagine, and then stained with Rustoleum Dark Walnut.
After wiping the stain off and letting it dry overnight, I polyed with an oil-based satin finish. When polying, I recommend using a more quality brush (unlike the one I’m using in the photo) because you don’t want little brush fibers left in your gorgeous finish. I knew better, but couldn’t find a nice brush… so I went with it and just picked out the fibers when they came off.
FINALLY this beauty is ready to put up!!!!!!! WHAT WHAT!
I am completely smitten-head-over-heels-in-LOVE with this look. UGH!
I’m a little bit sad that the side with all the details is on the outside, but it’s ok. Especially since this we often have it open in the summertime.
Things to note about the above photo:
- The patch of plywood on the floor is from when we removed the wall and still haven’t found a perfect match of wood to go with our 113-year-old original hardwoods.
- The maroon chairs were a craigslist find, and although they’re in pristine condition, I’m still toying with the idea of reupholstering them if I can get past my upholstery-intimidation-syndrome.
- We’re very close to purchasing a couch.
- We’re very close to making a decision on curtains.
So there you have it… my personal reflections on stripping detailed nooks and crannies for you to take and implement into your own stripping strategies. And the best part is that these strategies can be utilized for stripping ANYTHING… including furniture!
Luckily we only have two more interior doors on the main floor to tackle, and they don’t have all this detail so it should be a breeze!
Do you have any experience with stripping? (and I’m not talking about lap dances). Or tips you’d like to add? Do you like the look of interior doors being a different color than the trim? I DO!!!
(if you missed it, here’s our Stripping 101 post)