Choosing Wood Doors for the Fixer Upper {DIY}

January 02, 2017

I posted about my affection for knotty alder the other day and our decision to upgrade doors here at the fixer upper to a rustic door style, and I want to share a few specifics about why these beautiful doors from Pacific Entries stand out from the pack...after all, you have a multitude of wood door choices whether you are in the market to renovate, upgrade, or build.

To see them up close in a video I just made

Since I am hoping not to bore you to
death or sicken you with ugly pictures
of the big mess installing doors creates,
let's have a little Q and A fun.

Pacific Entries partnered with me,
supplying wood doors for our fixer upper
in exchange for my honest review.
All of these opinions are my own.

image result for alder wood door 2 panel plank rustic collection Pacific Entries
Our beautiful knotty alder doors from Pacific Entries

Me: Your white doors looked fine...why did you decide to replace the existing interior doors at the fixer upper?

Me: They were awful even if they looked okay. We grew annoyed as we lived here more than a year with papery doors which were not properly hung, did not function well, did not match, and appeared to belong on a Hollywood set rather than a real home. We knew the upgrade would add value to the property and enhance our everyday living...which is worth a ton. Since I love timeless and tranquil style, I knew bringing in solid wood doors that could stand the test of time and improve with age would help this place in the style department now and for future owners! Our home was a hodgepodge of colonial, modern, European, and disco, and I am trying to unify it and bring it a modern farmhouse identity

image result for best photo of disco roller disco sexy blonde
Not that there is anything wrong with DISCO, per se...or thigh high tube socks.
Me: How did you decide on this particular unfinished knotty alder 2-panel plank door style?

Me: I have been enamored with vintage wood doors since moving into our first home, a charming 1920's Chicago bungalow with gorgeous original doors, knobs, woodwork...but quickly realized it would take too long to shop for and acquire the number of matching doors we needed. I wanted an informal style, and this planked door has it with its rusticity which works so well juxtaposed with contrasting elegant finishes and furnishings.

image result for unfinished knotty alder door Pacific Entries
Rustic Unfinished 2-Panel V-Groove Solid CoreKnotty Alder Wood Reversible Interior Door
image result for Eleanor Cummings modern farmhouse living room antiques rustic elegance Milieu
Modern farmhouse living area by Eleanor Cummings in Milieu magazine

I also knew I wanted a sliding barn door for the lower level where there wasn't a door and to make things easier on my husband this time around since at our prior home, he built two huge custom barn doors for the media room there.

image result for unfinished knotty alder wood barn door kit Pacific Entries
Rustic 2-Panel V-Groove Knotty Alder Barn Door Kit...was just installed in our lower level!

I also wanted farmhouse charm, and this alder door is perfect for modern farmhouse decor and was actually my top choice for our prior Euro-style home. For that project, I picked out a pre-finished white painted door, but when the contractor goofed and ordered a style without planking, we went ahead and installed to stay on schedule.

Rustic doors don't have to be dark or even stained...paint works too.

Finally, I really liked its versatility for finishing since I knew I could take my time deciding on a finish for the doors. The alder wood is great for staining AND painting. Since I knew I might be painting some doors and staining others, it made sense to order unfinished doors.

Me: Why choose Pacific Entries doors?

Me: They're beautiful. The minute these doors arrived, we loved their velvety goodness, and not just because they look remarkably better than our old doors...they look and feel solid, timeless, and crafted with care. The V-grooves (or planking) is more than simply a minor rustic farmhouse detail, it truly does add to the beauty with its texture, interest, and depth.

image result for Eleanor Cummings farmhouse bench wellies and hats
Eleanor this moment in her modern farmhouse/country house.
I know it can be daunting to shop online for big ticket items for your home, so it's such a pleasure to report that the doors are even better than they appear in images very lovely.

I fell in love with the idea of introducing contrast with a natural wood door paired with white walls. I have posted this image from Brooke Giannetti's Patina Farm home a zillion times,but it is worth more than a thousand words:

image result for Patina Farm Brooke Giannetti laundry room hallway antique door limestone

In fact, we're not just contrasting the wood door with white walls, we've gone with wood jambs and white painted trim. (You have the option of choosing white jambs in the kit though.) I'm not the only one who likes the look of contrast with door and trim, here's what a designer told HGTV:

Me: Tell us about the quality of the doors.

Me: It really shows. Pacific Entries is a company with more than 75 cumulative years of experience building, designing, and engineering wood doors, and their attention to detail clearly shows. Even though you and I might not realize the importance of insisting on exact tolerances, the moisture level of wood components, or the importance of hand selecting each piece of wood which will become part of a door, they do. It's what sets them apart and results in quality craftsmanship.

image result for Eleanor Cummings modern farmhouse linen window seat in Milieu
A sweet spot in a country house by Eleanor Cummings

We have been renovating and updating homes for ourselves and family for more than 20 years so we have seen our share of the good, bad, and the ugly when it comes to doors...and these knotty alder ones are our favorite because of the quality.

image result for Pacific Entries wood working in process
Pacific Entries

Me: Were the alder doors easy to install? 

image result for gif real houswives nene snapping just like that bloop

Me: They were. My husband did the installation himself and repeatedly called out "Tell that company they did a great job with this design--makes it so easy!" And what he was talking about is Pacific Entries is the only company to have a Patented Goof Proof Jamb System.

Here's a video for how to install the doors:

image result for knotty alder door installation
In progress...the knotty alder door for the master bath going in.
For anyone who has ever gone online to order a door or run to a big box store or lumber supply to select one, then you know you have always needed to know the door's dimensions and the handing. And if ever you goofed on the handing...

image result for gif Zoe sobbing on floor with tissues and boxes

then you know it is not at all fun to have to turn around and return (or ship!) a door that is likely heavy and around seven feet tall and three feet wide.

image result for knotty alder door Pacific Entries in master bathroom with clawfoot tub
Easy does it! The installed door to the bathroom.
We feel so grateful to have found a company that decided to respond to that frustration and created a fool-proof way to get around that headache.

image result for Pacific Entries knotty alder door painted white
I painted the side of the door inside the bathroom white, and I love it!

Here's the lowdown:

Pacific Entries
offers something no one else can:
a patented door with a reversible jamb kit
so that handing can be determined at installation.

No More Handing “Oops!”
Never worry about LH or RH mistakes.

A Stronger, Cleaner System.
Installing frame through the jamb stop channel allows for installation adjustments and no nail or screw holes to repair or putty!

Less Damage.
Reducing inventory means less space required, less handling needed and ultimately less damage caused.

reversible interior frame

You no longer need to spend time checking whether the door you need has right or left handing because either installation is possible with this system which comes with everything you need.

Pacific Entries created a video to illustrate the benefits of this reversible jamb system works for easily installing their doors...and a youTube is so much friendlier than pages of fine print!

Me: But what if I'm having someone else install?

Me: It's still an important feature because...newsflash...professional tradespeople and contractors order the wrong product all the time too! If you have ever been involved in a reno or construction project, you know how important timing is, and when the wrong product or damaged product arrives, delays can add up to hundreds of dollars quickly.

image result for Eleanor Cummings modern farmhouse Texas rustic elegance Milieu
Combining rustic wood with white makes a harmonious design statement...this is by Eleanor Cummings

And it's not just the handing feature, the whole kit is designed with the installer in mind, to save time and headache for a smooth installation. Whether it's you personally or your contractor installing the door, as long as you have the right size door (which is super easy since you just measure the old door!), the handing is going to be right!

Me: What if I'm nervous about the whole process?

Me: Since Pacific Entries is a sponsor of this fixer upper project on Hello Lovely, I have had the pleasure of working closely with the company, and they are fabulous with customer service.

If the rest of our renovation projects had come with this sort of
friendly, down to earth, knowledgeable support and quality, I would have a lot less grey hair and dark circles under my eyes. 

Pacific Entries stands behind their craftsmanship enough to offer a five year warranty on their doors to give customers peace of mind.

image result for Eleanor Cummings modern farmhouse dining room Texas rustic elegance
Because 10,000 images of her country house is still not enough (Eleanor Cummings).

Me: Was it an expensive part of the renovation?

Me: Let's talk value. Solid wood doors like ours cost between $200-250 (less if you're buying a quantity) for a complete kit with solid wood jambs and oil rubbed bronze hinges. Another wood door with v-grooves I had my eye on costs three times that without the jambs.

I guess lightweight, hollow doors constructed cheaply with a core of honeycomb paper come with a much lighter price tag for good reason. They aren't built to last or do what only a solid core door can do.

Stretching the budget for new construction and home improvement projects is everything. But doors...

image result for funny gif woman crying while eating in theater it's so beautiful

Oh my Lord, I love them almost as much as chairs. They're so hardworking and honest. There are so many door metaphors, songs, and quotes about them...including more than 39 million links on Google.

Me: Do you really think nice doors will boost the property's value?

Me: Yes, m'am. If it's at all possible, spend your dollars on good ones that will stand the test of time and endure daily abuse for decades.

We bought a custom home a few years back that was new construction, and even though the floorplan wasn't perfect for us, it had these expensive and unusual 2-panel tiger oak doors that just blew our minds and totally charmed us into buying the place! While we lived there, we designed and built our Nordic-French big house and used custom arched South American walnut doors with speakeasies for the front entrance. Those doors alone may have sold the place for us since they charmed everyone. We aren't design gurus at all...lots of high-end homes have doors like that, but in this neighborhood, no one had an unusual front was all boring stuff from off the shelf. 

So what I'm saying, and I don't hear too many folks talking about this, is that you may be able to set your home apart on the market with some smart timeless interior doors (without turning it into a white elephant) if the balance of homes in its price range has ho-hum doors and trim.

Investing in good doors amounts to much more than an interior design statement. Doors are used constantly every single day for years and years, work hard insulating and reducing sound transmission, and add property value to your investment.
Let's face it, although some cheap doors may get recycled, many crappy ones pile up in the garbage after getting used up and discarded.

Here are some images taken yesterday of three doors being installed by my husband...three doors installed in an afternoon is not too shabby. These gorgeous oval knobs in oil rubbed bronze (they are a black color) will go on after we seal them.

image result for Pacific Entries Oval Door Knobs
Helmsley Oval Door Knob Set - Pacific Entries

The jamb going in.
Tools for the project.

I love the contrast with all the white in this bathroom.

You can leave the shrinkwrap on to protect it from dust.

The reality of what a DIY whole house reno looks like daily.
Me: What do you think now that your paper doors are gone?

Me: I am so thrilled with the decision to upgrade our doors and partner with Pacific Entries to use these doors!!! They look even better than we imagined they would, and there's nothing to get used to because they look as though they have always been here...doesn't that just sort of say it all? Even though we have to finish sealing them and installing the beautiful oval knob hardware, they look absolutely incredible. Beautiful, high quality, functional, solid doors that will last a lifetime or two. We were initially planning to paint the wood jambs white like the trim, but after seeing them installed, we love how the natural wood looks next to the white so I'm so glad we have taken our time.

Me: What's next for the fixer upper?

Me: Since all the interior doors are in, it's time to address the front door which is also from Pacific Entries and part of the sponsorship...

image result for Pacific Entries rustic alder exterior door speakeasy
Rustic Alder 2-panel V-groove Exterior Door with Speakeasy and Walnut Finish

This handleset will be a huge upgrade from what
we have now which is so ridiculous I won't even waste
room here showing you.

San Jose Bronze Handleset

Need more rustic door inspiration for your own project?

image result for pink plank door 40 beautiful doors inspiration

Very soon this fixer upper will be a wrap,
and I will be sharing the reveal photos of
these beautiful knotty alder doors and more.

Peace to you right where you are.

Linking with these lovely blogs.

You Might Also Like


  1. I am definitely keeping this information to use on our next home. They look wonderful and well engineered.


Your comments add to the beauty...thanks in advance for your kindness.


Farmhouse Finds!