Doors – Hitting the Jackpot at the Salvage Yard

Dec 13 2020
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Gorgeous Doors – Winning big at the salvage yard. As you all know I am a bit obsessed with anything that’s old. Anything that’s new, plastic, not-solid-wood, made-in-china, total-crap-that-will-fall-apart-in-two-years, does not impress me no matter how high the price tag might be. But REAL wood and OLD pieces of furniture and yes, that includes doors, make my heart skip a beat. We needed four doors and I would not be moved unless I got exactly what I was looking for… and it didn’t matter to me how long it might take! Remarkably, it only took one trip and ten minutes! JACKPOT!

As most of you know Lodi and I live a bit out of the way in northern Minnesota. The closest town boasts around 3,000 people and one salvage yard. I was prepared to drive the up to two hours it might take to find what I was looking for but our local salvage yard is where I started in the search.

Door NUMBER ONE: Needed to be OLD. It absolutely HAD to match the rest of the home’s doors and it was absolutely the most important door to me.

Door one would be the door to Lodi’s new “room” which is the back hall/giant closet that we’re converting into his own space.

It was the most important door because it would be in a hall with four other doors that are all original to this house. I would not be moved. This is the door that had to be PERFECT.

Doors NUMBER TWO AND THREE: Also needed to be old and keeping with the look of the original doors that were already here.

However, they didn’t have to be exact, I would have been willing to compromise in this case but I really needed them to at least match.

Doors two and three would be going in the basement, mounted on rolling door hardware, for the door to the bathroom and the closet. They would literally be side by side.

Door NUMBER FOUR: Actually needed to be new lol or at least “new” to us. Minnesota winters are nothing to take lightly and this door needed to be a relatively new, insulated, steel, exterior door.

Our back door is a total piece of junk as far as doors go. I installed it years ago with every intention of replacing it one day. Not only now are we going to be replacing it we’re also going to be moving it into the workshop.

Steel exterior doors are generally a dime a dozen so I wasn’t worried about finding that one. However, it would need to be cut off so a steel door that was simply solid, no windows, no moldings etc. would be ideal.

Going into this I really didn’t think there was any chance of finding all four doors at once especially not at our small salvage yard. It would be just too unlikely that out of the twenty or thirty doors they usually have that I would find everything I wanted.

Leaving early from my day job I headed over there with Lodi on his way with his truck to meet me there.

I hit the door jackpot!

I paged through their doors and the first two I spotted I bypassed at first because they were narrow at only two feet wide but I went back and pulled them out anyway.

They were quite old, solid wood and they were almost identical – having clearly come from the same place.

And they were extremely similar to our original doors and I knew I could make them wider if necessary for the basement. I set them aside feeling like I had been blessed by the door fairy already.

Gorgeous Doors - Winning the Lottery at the Thrift Store, getting lucky and finding all FOUR doors we needed at one time shopping!

Next was the easiest door to find.

There were several choices when it came to newer, steel, exterior doors.

Some were painted, most of them were pretty banged up and all but one of them had a window. If the windowless door had not been there I would have conceded to one of the others but this ugly thing was absolutely perfect.

Both the front of our home and where the workshop door will be is nearly a foot shorter than the standard exterior door height. So, knowing we would have to cut it down and knowing we would also be cutting a dog door into it – a plain steel door just like this was exactly what we needed.

(We rushed into using the new exterior door so quickly that I didn’t get any pictures of it with the other three doors so you guys get a sneak peek of what it looked like first hung up in the workshop!)

Gorgeous Doors - Winning the Lottery at the Thrift Store, getting lucky and finding all FOUR doors we needed at one time shopping!

The last door is the one that stopped me in my tracks.

I imagine it came out of a home around here, around 100 years old just like Grandma’s house and maybe out of an old library, school or post office etc. It’s an exterior door that we got very lucky with because, obviously, it opened out into a screened in porch or protected vestibule etc.

It clearly saw very little weather on its exterior side for being as old as it is.

It is almost exact to our own original doors and it gave me one thing I had only hoped for and hadn’t even bothered expressing out loud because I thought it was a pipe dream:


Our back hall is already dark as heck and with us putting a wall and a door here to make Lodi a space we would be essentially plunging this space into eternal darkness.

Except that the perfect door also included a window!

The hardware had been replaced with a knob and dead bolt from probably the 70’s. (They’re not my favorite but they came with keys and they work fine so we’ll just keep them.)

(Lodi’s room will be locked from the outside so I can send him to time out whenever he annoys me… actually, we’re just responsible gun owners and I want a place to lock up our other valuables etc.)

I conceded that we would do whatever he would like in his space, paint color etc. (within reason) so, when he saw the door, he asked if we would be painting it.

I said yes.

He asked if we could keep his side real wood and I showed him the other side of the guest bedroom door (which I stripped and refinished) and we agreed.

Looking close at this door damned near gives me goose bumps.

The interior side doesn’t even really need to be refinished at all – it is in SUCH GOOD SHAPE. I’ll clean it up thoroughly though before having Lodi decide if he would prefer a different shade of stain.

Gorgeous Doors - Winning the Lottery at the Thrift Store, getting lucky and finding all FOUR doors we needed at one time shopping!

Gorgeous Doors - Winning the Lottery at the Thrift Store, getting lucky and finding all FOUR doors we needed at one time shopping!

Gorgeous Doors - Winning the Lottery at the Thrift Store, getting lucky and finding all FOUR doors we needed at one time shopping!

Gorgeous Doors - Winning the Lottery at the Thrift Store, getting lucky and finding all FOUR doors we needed at one time shopping!

The weathered (exterior) side I will be painting to match the other four black doors in the hall.

The reason I refinished that one side of the guest bedroom door is because it was the only part of ANY of our original doors that weren’t already covered in layers upon layers of ancient oil based paint.

The oil based paint on all of them had cracked in some of the COOLEST ways and I knew from experience that attempting to get it off would be days of stripping and sanding.

And I loved the look of black doors anyway so stripping and refinishing them just wasn’t worth the head ache to me.

The basement doors could be refinished, they are not painted and they are solid wood, however, at least one of them I am going to have to figure out how to make wider so paint is the easiest answer to covering up the weirdness that that will create.

The ugly steel exterior door clearly has to be painted something so I will be painting it out in black rustoleum high gloss paint like all of the others.

Lodi was cleaning out his truck in the garage the other day and it didn’t matter what I did eventually I would always find myself back here, in front of that perfect old door, just staring at it.

I still just can’t believe how perfect it is!

Or how we managed to get all four doors that we needed with one twenty minute trip to the salvage yard.

On top of that, all four doors only cost $100!

As you might have suspected there will be at least a month of blog posts devoted to installing doors lol We’ve got work to do!

Gorgeous Doors - Winning the Lottery at the Thrift Store, getting lucky and finding all FOUR doors we needed at one time shopping!


    December 13, 2020 at 11:43 am

    wow you were really very lucky to find all of your needed doors so quickly and good shape …love all of them …enjoy your new adventures…great pictures to show us all of your great work thru out the house…wow…

  2. D Gehman
    December 13, 2020 at 12:06 pm

    I do love me some 5 panel doors. Just think – if you had gone anywhere else first – you might never have found 1 door, let alone all 4. Grandma’s looking out for you.

    • December 14, 2020 at 10:27 am

      Oh D, thank you! Grandma was definitely looking out for me that day!

  3. December 13, 2020 at 12:21 pm

    The doors are gorgeous! You most definitely lucked up that time. Great find.

    • December 14, 2020 at 10:28 am

      Thank you Clearissa, we were so fortunate that day!

  4. December 13, 2020 at 1:13 pm

    They are gorgeous doors! I love the way old doors look and feel!

    • December 14, 2020 at 10:28 am

      Thank you Beth, I am SO excited!

  5. Susan Prendergast
    December 13, 2020 at 7:57 pm

    Wow! An early Christmas gift? What a cool turn!

    • December 14, 2020 at 10:29 am

      For sure Susan, thank you!

  6. Lorraine Wilby
    December 13, 2020 at 10:11 pm

    Well done, what great finds and fantastic price. No wonder you’re so happy πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»

    • December 14, 2020 at 10:38 am

      Thank you Lorraine, we were SO lucky that day I think Grandma was looking out for us πŸ™‚

  7. December 16, 2020 at 10:25 am

    I LOVE your beautiful “new” doors! You really did hit the jackpot!

    Niky @ The House on Silverado

    • December 16, 2020 at 10:57 am

      Thank you Niky, I am SO excited about them!

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