The sensitive restoration of a period property raises a number of questions relating to the choice of interior joinery details and door design.
Regardless of whether the property is listed or not, we urge you to consider door designs that date from the same period as the property, made from high quality natural materials and in the traditional manner. Such doors will not only last for generations, but also harmonise with the proportions of the room and the original architectural features.
Atkey and Company is one of just a few contemporary door suppliers who can accurately replicate the period design aesthetics and workmanship of traditional British craftsmen. We share our knowledge with those considering whether to repair, restore or replace a period door.
Reclaimed & Salvaged or Authentic Reproduction?
When period doors in a property need attention, you can choose to restore the door closer to its original condition. Or, if that is not viable, you can opt to replace them with reclaimed or salvaged doors. Alternatively, you can choose to commission and install an authentic period reproduction.
Each option is accompanied by its own benefits and challenges which need to be weighed up with care.
Repairing or Restoring your Existing Old Door
Restoring original joinery in a period property is a noble and sustainable option. Original architectural features have a special quality that is not easily replicated. Skilled craftsmen will have used higher quality timbers than available on the current market. The doors may have been designed specifically for your property to work in harmony with windows, skirting, architrave and other details present in the property.
Original detailing on old doors tends to become obscured over time by successive layers of paint. It’s possible these layers could include toxic lead-based paints and removing them safely without damaging the underlying timber is a job for specialist professional. To achieve a quality restoration it is worth choosing a builder with specialist heritage joinery skills – although such trades are few and far between it is best not to compromise on this point.
While door repair and restoration may be desirable, this route may not be practical. If doors are found to be warped or split beyond repairs, or you require a natural wood finish, it’s time to consider a sensitive replacement.
Replacing doors with Reclaimed & Salvaged Doors
Original doors created for a specific property, and of a particular period, can be removed from their original context and repurposed in a new setting. Giving old doors a new home has a certain romantic appeal. They retain character, high quality of craftsmanship and materials. The story of their provenance may tell a story that is as individual as it is intriguing.
Realism is required when assessing an old door’s condition. Old period doors in good condition are seldom replaced, so it’s likely that doors which have been reclaimed and salvaged will show signs of ageing. Even well restored doors will be imperfect. Expect to see areas of damage where hinge and door furniture has been cut in. Inspect the rails for signs of water damage, warping and rot. The process of paint stripping using industrial caustics also influences the doors’ structural integrity by weakening glue in the joints and opening them up. Cutting a door ‘to fit’ a space it was not designed for would spoil a door’s proportion, structural stability and overall aesthetic balance.
Furthermore, if reclaimed and salvaged doors interest you, we advise vigilance when confirming from where an item has been sourced and how its date and designer have been verified.
An obvious challenge when sourcing repurposed doors comes when you need a complete set to match your home. Finding interior doors with the appropriate style, and which harmonise with the other original fittings is far from easy. Attempting to achieve this by scouring reclamation yards is a Herculean task, so many prefer to commission a set of reproduction doors to their own bespoke designs.
At the end of the day, your most practical and aesthetically pleasing option is to commission your own individually curated set of reproduction doors, especially if you require multiple door sets, doors in natural finishes, or if you need to match existing joinery detailing.
Authentic reproduction doors will be in perfect condition, with no warping, wear or tear. They enable the achievement of total consistency throughout the property. Atkey and Company are one of few businesses that specialise in creating authentic reproduction doors, using authentic designs and traditional techniques. We can advise on styles and detailing that will be in harmony with the architecture of the property and any original features.
Commissioning authentic period reproduction doors allows one to subtly alter the detailing from one space to another, and to differentiate one space from another according to its status and function. The creation of bespoke doors means you can choose differing harmonious panel details and mouldings for each side of the door leaf. This can create zones within your property, each with its own distinct character and feel.
Old doors that have been restored typically need painting to cover previous repairs, cracks and staining. New internal doors offer the possibility of a feature timber finish in oiled, stained and lacquered oak, walnut, or mahogany. The natural colour, tone and grain of wood creates a luxurious design of character.
Lettings for ironmongery of your choice can be cut in. The result is a perfect finish in keeping with the original design ethics and your style.
Atkey and Co doors are individually designed to fit exactly to the door spaces in your property and in accordance with your individual design preferences.
Would a More Contemporary Style Door Better Suit Your Design Needs?
Listed properties may have to adhere to architectural codes precluding the use of modern designs in favour of authentic period detailing. We can create reproductions mouldings and door types that satisfy these strict criteria.
With non-listed and new build properties allowing greater freedom in design, we offer a collection of contemporary door styles. Drawing on 300 years of British architectural heritage and aesthetic detail, we gathered our favourites to create a range of modern doors that complement contemporary tastes and living.
The door panelling applies the same principles of proportionality as Georgian, Victorian and Regency counterparts and comes with a wider range of mouldings from our collections. These doors are crafted with the same passion and care as our period pieces.
Explore Our Collections Further
We invite you to explore our full collection of authentic reproduction doors and contemporary doors. Should you have any questions or queries, please do not hesitate to get in contact.