Solid Wood Doors On A Dime…

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Have you ever looked at your boring, builder grade, white doors all thru your house, and wished it wouldn’t break the bank to replace them with beautiful solid wood doors? What if I told you that you could do that for next to nothing? Are you following? It’s all about tricking the eye and that doesn’t have to cost much! Let me show you what I mean…

Recognize this? You should. It’s probably the same doors you have throughout your whole house too! Okay there is nothing exactly wrong with it. It opens and closes. It’s even got raised panels so I should be happy, but no. They’re boring. And cold. And have absolutely no personality.

So….ideas? Paint? Buy new doors? Nope! Time for my favorite General Finishes Gel Stain! I’m serious! You can even use this stuff on something that isn’t solid wood and you do NOT have to sand or strip it first. Just make sure it’s clean and dry…I used the color Java because I had it left over from my kitchen cabinets – you can find the tutorial here.

Off to my “workshop” (aka garage) I go with my door under my arm. I set it up off the floor on paint cans so I could easily do the edges at the same time as the top. I chose to completely remove the hinges off the door and the frame because I didn’t want to have to tape them all and I took the opportunity to paint my door jambs and trim at the same time.

As always I put a latex glove on my hand and then used an athletic sock over that to apply the stain. Particularly when you want the look of wood grain, having the variation from your fingers inside the sock is very helpful. Be careful to go in the direction the wood grain would go and in the case of the paneled doors, make sure you stop and start where each individual “piece” of the door stops and starts. This will make it look more realistic.

This is after 2 coats over the entire door and the odd additional touch up here and there to smooth out the color variation and get the look I wanted. This is also before poly so it has more of a dull finish. If you like that look, feel free to use a matte finish poly and I’d recommend 2-3 coats. Allow it to dry completely before hanging the door back on its hinges and installing the doorknob. I waited several days before I put the doorknobs back on – except for on the bathroom door! 😁

Voila! Here is the finished product after several coats of a satin poly (I chose satin instead of matte for better washability due to having 5 kids!) I installed a lovely new, oil rubbed bronze doorknob. I did all the doors in my entire main floor like this and I LOVE them. Everyone who has seen them thinks they are solid wood doors and it adds such a rich warmth to the space.

As for cost, I already had the gel stain from a leftover project and the same thing with the poly. The only money I spent on these doors was $15 each for new knobs! Pretty good, I’d say 🙌🏻.


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Garden Fresh Scramble…

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I had planned to have another lovely project all finished up, photographed and ready to post by Friday….that was 2 days ago and I don’t even have all the photos taken so apparently that isn’t going to happen.  Why not?  Well…..have you ever heard of a lovely thing called MIGRAINES???  I’ve had the misfortune of having regular headaches and migraines for most of my teens and all of my adult life.  Why?  That’s never been able to be determined.  What I can tell you is that I have discovered things that can trigger the migraines but nothing that will get rid of them altogether.  Believe me – I have tried a lot of different things!

Anyways, last Monday morning I got started on a project and it required some stain.  I merrily got out a little can of stain I have used before, plenty of times, and set to work.  Within minutes I felt awful (and yes, I had opened plenty of windows to provide what would normally be adequate ventilation) and it progressively got worse and worse.

To make a long story short, I ended up with the worst migraine I have ever had in my life.  It lasted for 4 days, 2 of which I had to be in bed (which I NEVER do) and 1 of which The MR had to stay home from work to care for me and especially the kiddos as I was incapable of doing so.  I mean, I WAS DONE!

Even after the migraine was over it has taken me days to get back on my feet.  There is some good news out of all this however.  I now have realized I am going to have to come up with alternatives to some of the stains and polyurethanes I have been using, without incident, for years.  That means I will be trying some new products and will give you feedback on what I think of them!  Can’t wait!

Since my project didn’t end up anywhere near being finished, I thought I would give you a recipe instead.  This is a super simple breakfast idea that is very versatile based on what veggies you have on hand – what better time than when you have fresh garden produce?  I happen to love zucchini so I almost always put some in when I make this.

Garden Fresh Scramble

½ medium onion, diced.

1 baby zucchini, quartered lengthwise, then sliced.

1 medium or large tomato, diced.

2 large eggs.

Salt and Pepper to taste.


¼ c shredded Italian blend cheese or a sharp cheddar.

Fresh basil, minced.

*Any fresh veggies you have can be added or substituted.  For example, carrots, spinach, kale, peas, green beans, peppers, celery, summer squash etc.


Sauté onion and zucchini in a small amount of butter or oil. When just tender, add shredded cheese, basil, eggs and salt and pepper to taste. Cook just until the eggs are done, stirring often as you would to scramble eggs. Toss in diced tomatoes just before it is done – they will be warm but not cooked.

**If you like spicy food you can always toss in a little finely chopped jalapeno or red pepper flakes. Sometimes I use a Mexican cheese blend that has habanero peppers in it.

Buon appetito!
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Carriage Doors for $20? Seriously?

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This is what the house looked like originally.  It would appear that I didn’t take a picture showing the full garage door, or at least if I did I can’t find it.  Perhaps because everything was just so bland and unimpressive and I’ve had to train myself to take pictures of “ugly” so I have comparison photos.  Anyways whatever the reason, this is what I started with.  The house was in need of a paint job anyways so we decided that would be the perfect opportunity to make a huge change with the color.  Neither of us liked the drag green on the house before.  It just has no personality and is basically the same as every other house in this subdivision.  It would have been fun to completely revamp the pillars, change the style of the windows, change the door, move the garage door to the side so it wasn’t a focal point….sure.  Fun.   Then again it wouldn’t be MY blog you’d be reading because that isn’t how I do things.  I’m all about DIY and making huge improvements on tiny budgets.

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The MR and I prepped the house for paint, scraped it and filled all the nail holes and primed various things like downspouts etc.  Then we had a professional painter do the actual spraying thereby saving quite a bit of money in the process.  After months and months of going back and forth we finally came up with our color….we call it “Tuscan Wheat”.  The trim color is also a custom color.  The front door is Sherwin Williams “Rain”.   At the time we painted the house I wasn’t positive which direction I wanted to go with some details so I just went ahead and painted the garage door and trim the same color as the body of the house.  I didn’t really want to accentuate it.

Recently I began, once again, admiring carriage style doors.  I checked into them….again….and again discovered just how much it would cost to buy a brand new garage door like that.  Obviously that wasn’t in the budget so as I always do, I came up with an alternative.

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Here it is before…

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I taped off the wall beside the door trim and the garage door opener keypad and then I gave it two coats of the cream colored trim paint.

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After the paint had thoroughly dried, I began taping off the very TOP raised panels.  I used the 3M painters tape….I will be honest, it’s what I had on hand.  My favorite by far is the Frog Tape.  It sticks so much better and makes a much more crisp line.  It’s worth the extra few dollars in my opinion.  My tape was 1″ which was the ratio I felt would be best for the grids due to the size of the average panel in this door style.  I marked with pencil where one side of the tape would be (find center and then add 1/2″ one way or the other.  This is your mark) on the horizontal and vertical lines in each panel.  For the edges I ran the tape right along the very edge of the raised panel.

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After pressing the tape down very well, I painted over this entire area with the ORIGINAL color.  This is extremely important when doing any sort of striping with two different colors, if you want the edges to be very sharp with no bleeding.  The original color seals the edges tightly allowing none of the accent color to bleed underneath.  Trust me, it works!  As you can see here the tape was lifting where it wasn’t stuck down by paint because it wasn’t the Frog Tape 

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Next I applied 3 thin coats of Rustoleum black gloss paint to the panels.  It is important that it is gloss because that will look more like glass when it is finished.  Be careful not to go over the edges of the tape along the outside.  Let it dry thoroughly between coats.

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This is what it will look like at this point.  You are probably going to think you have lost your mind and likely your neighbors will also.  Stick with me – I promise it will be worth it!

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Once the final coat of black was dry, I peeled off the tape carefully.  I applied these faux carriage hinges and hardware and I also taped and painted a very thin black line in the exact middle of the garage door in the same manner as I did the grids across the top.  I used 1 1/2″ tape for this however, due to the width of this middle vertical panel.  My black line is barely 1/4″ wide.

For the faux hardware I was originally planning to use some that were designed to be attached with screws.  I had looked at the type that attach to metal doors with magnets but I wasn’t sure if they would hold tightly enough.  After seeing a friend show how she had applied some of the magnet type and how well they stuck, I decided to take a chance.    I purchased these Faux Carriage Door Hardware from Amazon.  They were a very good price and I couldn’t be happier with them.  They stick very well and are actually a bit tricky to move if you put them on slightly crooked.

Before….and after.

All in all I spent $15 for the hardware and $5 for the black paint.  I already had all the painting supplies I needed.  My grand total was $20.  I seriously have even had neighbors come up to me and tell me how amazing it looks and think I got brand new doors!

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I have other plans still for the front of my home but this has made a HUGE difference in the curb appeal in my opinion….


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(The opinions in this post are my own.  I was not compensated in any way by any company or provided any discounts on materials)