I found the solution to my broken kitchen door a few months before the door actually broke. At a sale of salvaged house parts collected by the city of Minneapolis before demolitions, I found a swinging door identical in style and finish to the original in my basement. Although the city was selling the doors in lots of ten, they let me buy just the door I wanted. Price: $25.
When the kitchen door broke, I got to work fitting my salvage find as a replacement. (I’m keeping the original swinging door untouched for a time when the kitchen tile is removed and the floor returned to its original height.) To make the salvaged door fit the raised tile floor in the kitchen, I trimmed about an inch and a quarter off the bottom of it. This included re-cutting the notch for the spring-loaded swinging hinge. I actually had to do the saw work twice because I was too conservative in my measurement the first time and couldn’t quite fit the door in place. By far the most laborious part of the process was chiselling the small notch to receive the mounting tongue at the end of the hinge.
Like the door, the hinge is salvage, bought from Guilded Salvage in North Minneapolis. I later went back for some salvaged brass push plates once I had the door in place.
I am proud of the fact that this project yielded a great aesthetic improvement on the previous door, and that it was a restoration done completely with salvaged original-to-the-era-and-geography parts.
The door isn’t perfect, but its scratches and finish flaws are a big part of its appeal. In a way few new replacements could (and for a lot less money), this salvaged door looks like it belongs in my octogenarian house and it wears its age appropriately and with grace.