before and after

before & after: sofa made from old doors

by Kate Pruitt

You know my love of “frankenfurniture” (a neologism I’m desperately trying to spread around), and it should come as no surprise that I adore this sofa that D*S reader John Doucet made from old doors. Now the key to successful frankenfurniture is not just a novel idea of how to combine or turn one furniture object into another, it’s also the execution. A sofa made from old doors could be a big old mess if designed poorly, which is why I admire John’s piece all the more. I love the look of the subtle tilt, the decision to leave the old metal details and the hours of work John put into stripping the doors down to their beautiful raw state. This is a truly gorgeous piece, and for $55 (!), you could not score something of this quality in a million years. Can you tell I want one of my own? :) Wonderful job, John! — Kate

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)

Read more about John’s awesome sofa after the jump!

Time: 2 days (about 30 hours to strip doors and 12 hours to refinish and build)

Cost: $55

Basic Steps: Our old couch broke down, but we liked the cushions, so I decided to make a new frame for it. Since people tend to throw away beautiful old doors in our neighborhood, it seemed appropriate to use them. Once you have the cushions, measure the size the doors need to be to frame them, but also make sure your couch will be appropriately comfortable for height and depth. For this project I used one door for the back, one for the sides (cut on a slight diagonal because I like a couch that leans back a little) and a strip of a third for the front facing (though this isn’t necessary, since it’s barely visible).

Once cut, I stripped them (Warning: extremely time consuming!) and sanded them, though I left a little paint residue, as it gives it a slightly rustic look once stained. Finally I assembled it using recycled screws (from a previous project) and wood glue. I pre-drilled a wider hole for the screws in order to fit some 3/8″ doweling to hide them. I also used wood filler in the visible holes of the doors. Then I stained with a mahogany-colored polyurethane, sanded lightly and stained again. Once it dried, I added old swinging door plates as details on the sides of the couch. And to finish, I cut one leftover cushions to make elbow-rest cushions.

You have to love a project to commit 30 hours to stripping: This is not necessarily suggested (or maybe someone has a better idea, like an commercial stripping service?), and it’s also quite toxic, more so if the doors were painted with lead paint. Furthermore, the front facing was very delicate, since it previously had the doorknob mechanism, so I had to strengthen it with plywood, which is not visible. Also make sure the screws are long enough to hold the frame together but not so long as to start digging into the thinner panel parts of the door, which may end up splitting or weakening. Most of all, I think this project has endless possibilities for size, shape, location and look, so please muse on this idea and let me know what you come up with! — John


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