Back to Reality: DIY Door Surrounds

After looking at the beautiful, no expense spared, dream kitchens, I’m coming back down to Earth with a DIY project that (I think) adds an element of interest, value, and sophistication…

With all the architectural activity in our kitchen, the poor, lowly door surrounds really started to look puny and pathetic. They had to be addressed! I wanted to copy the cabinet design, so all the molding currently around the doors had to go – meaning ripped down.

Luckily, all my HGTV viewing had finally paid off and had taught me to do this (and of course, my winnings in playing casino and sports betting games at helped a lot with the funding): Spray warm water around the molding to soften up the caulk and just leave it there for a little bit. With a knife score the caulk around the doors. Then, insert husband :-) Works every time!! He then hammered a chisel into the molding in different spots and pried it off.

The completed design!

I used the same molding set-up as I did on the cabinets, but added a larger “shelf” on top to give it weight, which was just a thick board cut size.

I used (per door):

  • 2 plinth blocks (bottom blocks)
  • 2 bull’s eye blocks
  • 2 lengths of fluted casing
  • 1 2″x 8″ board (for the top “shelf”)
  • 1 length of crown molding (matching cabinet tops)
  • 1 length of frieze (matching cabinet tops)*

*This was the only thing I had to custom order. Everything else is available at Lowes, Home Depot, etc.

First, I laid the molding out on the floor the way I wanted it to go to see where things were going to meet. Then we dry stacked it (because not knowing what we are doing, we had to make sure it all would look the way I wanted it to and where to cut, etc.) Then, we started from the bottom and built our way up, nailing and puttying everything along the way. The frieze will go right on the top lip of the door jamb, between the two bull’s eye blocks.

I haven’t finished painting here, but you get the idea…

We got fancy and copied what we did with our desk design and did little “punch-outs” , but it was a lot of work (for us anyway), so make sure you really want it and have an extra 30-60 minutes per door.

Really, you can get so creative with pilasters once you get over having to pull down the existing molding…but remember, the width of your molding will be hindered by your light switches, so measure how much room there is!!

I can’t tell you how many times I have gone to the library and checked out all the books they had on historic homes and just looked at door surrounds, molding, ceilings (which we will get into!!!) and paneling for ideas. I’ve done different pilasters in a few rooms of my house. In some other rooms, no existing molding had to be taken down to get stunning results.

I’ll show more options in future posts for pilasters and door surrounds, some easier and some….well, we’ll see!! I’m not sure yet because I’m about to start the project of adding split columns to serve as pilasters with Roman Corinthian caps and a heavy header! And of course, I have many more doors to go ;-)

Thank you for reading my post and I hope to see you for the next post!

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