By Sara

I spoke a bit about why I decided I didn't want to buy new construction home in this blog post back  in December.  I truly wanted to make this home our own and felt like my best shot of that was with an older house.  The thing is, this entails a lot more than just creating your own floor plan and choosing your favorite tile.  For me (and a lot of designers) this means bringing in custom created pieces that you won't find anywhere else.  Conversation pieces that really stand out.

Enter my children's toilet door.  

My contractor looked horrified when I told him I was going to recycle a door and make it look like a vintage public school door.   He is used to more high end clients that like things shiny and new.  It took him the better part of the year we have worked together on this house to realize that I was dead serious when I said to "leave the original shitty in."  I'm still not convinced he's happy about it.  

So here's is the project.  The children's bedrooms, playroom, and bathrooms occupy the entire 3rd floor of the house.  It's all theirs.  My design inspiration for this floor was a high school. Their long, 25 foot hall reminded me of a school corridor. Simple as that.  

Since I couldn't really do glass classroom doors for their bedrooms (turns out kids like their privacy too - even at 4), I decided to create an old school door for the shared bathroom on the floor. I wanted the kids to share; I grew up sharing a bathroom with my sisters and it made us closer. Or stronger. Or something.

Here's how the door started.  

$45 at a salvage store in Chicago called the Rebuilding Exchange.  If you're in Chicago, check it out.  There is so much renovating going in the city and this place saves doors, sinks, light fixtures, hardware, cabinets, etc. from the buildings getting gutted all over town. 

I found this doorknob on ebay for around $40.  Ebay had a million NY Public School doors but this was the only Chicago that I found. Major score. This picture is taken in my car because I clearly had to rip the box open as soon as I picked it up at the post office.

Next I went to my wood refinisher and told him to remove the wood panel at the top, stain the whole thing black (stain, not paint - I wanted to be sure you could still see the wood grain), and install the hardware. This process cost about $400. Finally I went to my glass guy and had him make a piece of "toilet glass".  Again, had to explain it a few times.  He also questioned my choice of glass saying that it was usually just used in patio furniture.   I laughed.  Patio furniture and public bathrooms, perhaps.

For obvious reasons I didn't want clear glass and I felt that this textured glass had more of a vintage, institutional feel than typical frosted glass.  This piece of the project ended up costing $150.

Here's how it turned out.  The first picture is still in the shop with the plastic on the glass and the second one is when it's waiting to be installed in the house.  It wasn't the most economical of projects ($635 + my time) but a brand new solid wood door would have run me around the same and it's these little details that make this house feel like its mine.

What do you think?