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New Doorway Trim For The Kitchen: Making New Wood Look Old

Once we painted our kitchen a light, light gray (Benjamin Moore White Wisp), I was stuck on the doorway trim. I was leaning toward painting it white to match the cabinets and shelving we have, but something kept telling me to hold off because there may be a better option. I spent the next few weeks fighting the urge to pick up a brush and paint over the existing trim. One night while sitting on the couch with Josh, though, I literally sprang up and went off on a tangent about an idea I got.

"Ohmigod what if we make our own 'reclaimed' wood doorway trim and buy planks at Home Depot and beat it up and stain it a color that ties into the dining room and OHMIGOD seriously it'll look amazing with the gray walls and will go so well with our rustic-y dining room and seriously, we need to do this."

It took about a month after that to start the project, but I'm so excited to report that we've put up our tester trim around one doorway, and I'm like, so thrilled with the outcome.

Since finishing the cabinets in our kitchen, I've been looking for ways to tie the dining room into the kitchen. Our dining room table is very warm and rustic-y, and the room will be painted a really pretty warm peachy color once we get to it. Our kitchen, though, is bright white and light gray, which tends to look a bit more modern at times. But, the two rooms flow right into each other, and I wanted one element in both spaces that brought them together. I really think the doorway trim does that.



We plan to put this kind of trim around all the doorways in the kitchen and mudroom, around our kitchen window, and around the main entrance that connects the kitchen and dining room. Sooooo, it's a project. But, the great thing is, we can do one doorway at a time, and one only takes a weekend-ish to do. 

Rather than investing what would end up being at least $1,000 for reclaimed wood for all the doors, we went to HD and bought basic planks in the sizes we needed, and did our best to make them look old. To do this, I looked at photos of reclaimed wood online to see what characteristics made them stand out, and also, read a few techniques on distressing wood on different house blogs. In the end, here's what I did to our planks to make them look older than they were.

First, we picked out wood that had the most imperfections. We looked through the entire stock and selected the ones that had a lot of knots, texture and inclusions.That alone did a lot of the work for us.

Then, THEN, I got to relieve a lot of stress. 

I started by lightly sanding all the corners of the wood. New wood has sharp edges, and old wood does not. So I needed to fix that.

To start distressing the wood, one of my favorite things was just taking a hammer to one concentrated area of the plank to make it look like it had been, well, hammered a lot over the years - like it belonged in an old barn or something. It was hard to see what kind of difference it made when the wood was in its natural state, but once it was stained, I LOVED the way it came out. 



My second favorite thing I did was something I tried to copy from our dining room table. Our table has saw marks on it (or, what I think are saw marks, I could totally be lying to you right now), and I decided to try to recreate them on our planks by hammering a thin piece of sturdy metal in clusters. Not all of them came out exactly as I had wanted, but for the most part, it worked, and I was rather proud of myself for figuring out a way to do that.

Our dining room table.


Lastly, I just plain old beat up the wood. I took the back of a hammer and made some light jabs at it. I also threw screws at it, dragged screws across the wood with my hands, and used the pressure of a hammer to roll screws on the wood.


Rolling screws over the wood with the pressure of a hammer.

For the stain, I deliberated on this a lot, actually. I bought like six samples of Minwax stains, and after quite a few tester boards, I chose to go with Early American. It had come down to this one and Provincial (which is what we ended up using on our mantel), but I liked how EA was warm, and also went pretty dark over knots in the wood, so it had a lot of dimension to it. And I wanted warmth, but not so much so that it was reminiscent of all the oak that was in the kitchen before we changed everything. I had every intention of even mixing stains to get the perfect color, but EA was perfect already, so thankfully, that part was pretty easy.


The planks needed two coats of stain, and two coats of poly. When they were done, it was so amazing to see them exactly as I pictured them in my head. Once they were actually up, I'm pretty sure I jumped up and down.




One doorway down, six more to go!

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