>Faux Wood Doors: One Project A Weekend

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I’ve always loved the look of rustic wood doors, stained dark with wrought iron hinges, “clavos” (decorative nail heads) and ornate handles. It reminds me of our honeymoon in Italy and the look we’ve been going for in our home since we moved in 10 years ago – an eclectic mix of Spanish/Italian Mediterranean: Spanish Colonial, Rustic Tuscan Villa, Mediterranean Revival. Below are some examples of my “dream doors”…they’re all gorgeous, but waaaay out of our price range right now.
Real wood garage doors by Dynamic Garage Door.

A client’s door faux-painted by EITAK Design (me) to look like a wood door, over a previously painted base coat (please excuse the bad iphone pic and the painter’s paper in the window panes).

Many of my clients in Rancho Santa Fe have fabulous homes in these styles…and most of them have real wood garage doors. The garage doors of the suburban “tract” homes in my neighborhood are painted aluminum…which I’ve been dying to redo since I started faux painting garage doors years and years ago. I just haven’t had any time…like I’ve said before, I’m too busy painting clients’ homes to do anything to ours. And when I’m not painting, I’m working on invitations, single-handedly running my business, and being a mom and wife. So, when my mom-in-law planned a visit in April…she said she would help me take care of the kids and the house so that my husband and I could have some time to paint the garage door like we’ve always wanted. Is she awesome or what!!! I knew we’d only need a couple of days…so I took a break from work and she totally took care of EVERYTHING so that Aaron and I could complete this project in a weekend.

Here’s our garage door: BEFORE, a weird pinkish tan due to 10 years of oxidation and exposure. I can’t even remember what the original color was.

Here’s our front door: BEFORE, a faded rust-brown, you can see where a wreath has been hanging over the years.
Here’s the inside of our front door: BEFORE.
We started by wiping down the door (you can also wash and prep the door with TSP-trisodium phosphate) and then priming with KILZ. P.S. – My mom-in-law took this photo…had I known she was going to snap this, I would have worn some of my “cuter” painting clothes and not these baggy dungarees!
Then we painted a tan-yellow exterior eggshell base-coat. Basically I chose a color similar to the look of raw, unstained wood, but wanted a tad bit more yellow in the undertone than real wood.  It’s actually very close to the color of the house.

Base-coated front door.
Then, using my own custom mixture of several Minwax oil-based Gel Stains (Walnut, Aged Oak and Chestnut), as well as a few drops of Universal Colorant, I quickly brushed the stain onto each panel of the garage door, using brush strokes in one direction. I used a cheap china bristle brush or throw-away chip brush, because the coarse bristles leave more brush marks in the stain (as opposed to more expensive brushes that tend to soften or feather brush strokes). Plus the metal door is already embossed with a wood grain texture which helps create the look without having to do traditional wood-graining or faux bois. Since the Gel Stain is of a thick consistency that applies more like a glaze than a wood stain, the layering and overlapping of color gives it more of a natural wood-stained look, where there are darker patches (i.e. in natural wood where you would find knots or uneven grain absorption). And some of the original base coat subtly peeking through the brush strokes keeps the finish from looking like a solid brown painted door.  It’s a quick and very cost effective faux wood door effect. Until the day we can afford to make the investment in a beautiful real wood door, this faux painted door will do just fine. 


AFTER: The finished door. Some of our neighbors thought we had a new wood door installed. Yep, that’s what I was going for! Now we just need to add some of the black wrought iron accent “hinges” and repaint the rest of the house. My husband plans to rebuild the shutters and I’ll stain them to match the doors.
AFTER: The finished front door. I still want a speak-easy and some clavos for that Spanish/Italian Mediterranean look that we LOVE.
AFTER: The finished inside of the front door.
My husband sprayed both sides of the door handle with an antique brushed nickel color. Rust-Oleum makes a fantastic product that goes on beautifully, dries quickly and is really durable. He sprayed a few coats and it looks great…no drips or funky, rough patches.
I had my husband do a quick Photoshop mockup of what the house will look like once we have it painted. I’m not sure if we’ll go this yellow, but I do want more of a golden color and cream/antique white for the trim.
On another note…you may recall that I posted about a bird’s nest I discovered in our front door wreath when I started painting the door…here’s a recap/update…
Before painting the front door, I took the wreath down and found this neatly formed nest. It was so perfect that I thought it  must have been part of the wreath when I bought it (on clearance at Homegoods about 6 years ago).
The very next day, there was one egg.  On the third day, there were two….
And on the fourth day…there were three perfect little eggs.  After painting the door, we put the wreath back up so that Mommy Bird and her eggs would be sheltered from the crows and other predators. But it wasn’t easy for her, we kept going in and out of the front door, sometimes forgetting that the nest was there.

A couple of weeks later, one of the eggs hatched.  This is the Baby Bird a few days after hatching.
A week or so later, the Baby Bird’s feathers had all come in and it was fluffy and cute, alert and  ready to spread it’s wings.  The day after this picture was taken, the bird did indeed fly away. We threw away the wreath (the two other eggs never hatched), and cleaned the bird poop off the door. The finish is durable enough to withstand caked on bird poop and simply wiped off without damaging the stain.
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This entry was posted in About Me, Blog Series, DIY, Home Decor, Minwax, One Project A Weekend, Paint. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to >Faux Wood Doors: One Project A Weekend

  1. Rach says:

    >OMG!! THIS.IS.INSANE!!!!!!! I can't believe you DID that!!! It looks so gorgeous!!! Amazing. Well done!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    >Aloha, we are ordering a door and are wanting to follow what you guys did.. after stocking the neighborhood and learning we are to cheap to pay that much for the real thing, we wanted to know if your door was painted wood or painted metal , to begin with?thank you .. love love yours!The Riners

  3. EITAKdesign says:

    >Rach – Thanks for your comment, I love it when my painting is "insane"…that's the kind of stuff I like to hear…you made my day!Aloha, Riners! Thanks for checking out my blog. The door is painted metal (aluminum)…just the standard builder grade doors that come with suburban tract homes these days.Best, Katie

  4. >Katie, we wanted to stop by and thank you for featuring our real wood garage doors in your blog. Faux painting these days is an excellent option for a budget-minded homeowner. It really has several advantages over the real thing if you can live with the fact that you don't have the real thing. First off, the maintenance level is extremely low compared to that of real wood garage doors. The consistency of the grain pattern and color is much more manipulative than with authentic wood. There is no cracking or splitting as it occurs in natural wood. The cost is absolutely the major difference! Don't get me wrong, natural wood doors are extremely characteristic and nothing shows grain quite as beautifully as mother nature does with authentic wood – that being said, if you are willing to overlook the differences and you want the look of a BMW on a Honda budget faux painting the way to go and you'll be supporting our environment by saving a tree. We do offer composite wood garage doors at a mid level budget between a faux painted steel door and real wood doors for those who prefer a more customized garage door design look. Kudos to you and your family, your project looks fantastic and I would only suggest you not go with the yellow in the picture above but go with a more earthy color like a beige or paper bag brown, it will really make your dark faux stain pop and look more natural. Call us at (714) 900-3667 if you need any advise.

  5. >Impressive blog and I really enjoyed reading your information and mostly peoples are like your blog. Most of the wood doors are very colorful and artistically designed, so they will make very attractive and cool your house. Thanks for your wonderful sharing.Toronto Bathroom Renovations

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