How Could I Resist A Challenge?


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A few weeks ago I recounted the sorry tale of a door.

If you recall we’d acquired three reclaimed doors to cut down and fit into various locations around the study. All went well until the now infamous ‘Creosote Door’. As Mike had started to rub the thing down it became clear that what we’d thought was paint wasn’t that at all.. the black surface coating didn’t come off easily as expected, instead it got sticky and clogged up the sander. And then there was the unmistakable smell. Not what I needed in the house at all.

Cathy from Rambling In the Garden (here) immediately set me a challenge. If we couldn’t find an old door to suit, why not knock one up using reclaimed wood? How hard could it be?

Armed with little more than a list of promising places for lunch we set off around the salvage yards again. No need for a white van this time, the single planks would fit nicely into the car. Of course they would.

There was one particular yard I had high hopes for. It has a massive stock of everything, even a Russian armoured personnel carrier casually parked slap bang in the midst of the garden architectural antiques. It’s not for sale. How do I know this? Because Mike asked. Why? WHY? As if we actually NEED a Russian tank? His war against the mice may be getting a tad out of hand.


I digress.

  The owner of the yard spent several minutes showing us around his fine array of portals. Ancient oak, absolutely gorgeous and bearing price tags that rose logarithmically with age. And then a selection of made to order examples in pine. Mike’s eyes started twinkling. Our new chum got into his stride. Could he be pushing at an open door? But, alas and alack, none of them had the required look for me. No, what I was after was Rustic.


And I’d spotted just the thing in a heap on the floor..


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We spent the best part of an hour sorting through the pile of old boards to select the best examples..

 settled with the owner upon a reasonable price..

and then borrowed a saw..

with which to fit them into the car.


Please excuse the appalling state of the path. The photo is from a while ago and we’d yet to do any post winter clearing up.

The metal object on the far left of the picture is a mouse trap. Of course it is.




Now, this was never going to be easy. Mike is a man who takes great pride in workmanship and there followed a very long ‘debate’ on the true meaning of ‘Rustic’.


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I managed to secure unequal widths of board and successfully fought to keep the sander away from the front face of the door.

But I did have to concede that the planks would fit tightly together and that the cuts at each end would be even. In this picture they are resting on top of our old friend Creosote Door. Trimmed to size ahead of its aborted installation, it could at least be used as a template.


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Final assembly.. fixing the ledges to the back of the door


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Have Marigolds Can Lime Wax..

Liming gives the wood a weather-beaten appearance.


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Ta Daa..


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Who’d a thought it. Perfect!



Against this paragon of rusticity, the main door to the room (just seen in profile) now looks too new.

There’s only one thing for it then.


I’ll try and get a photo of the tank while we’re there.


2017-10-24T19:32:47+00:00April 27th, 2015|Tags: |


  1. haggiz April 27, 2015 at 3:27 pm - Reply

    Is there anything you wont turn your hand to? It looks fantastic… like it’s always been there x

    • Jessica April 27, 2015 at 8:40 pm - Reply

      Chimney rebuilding (no head for heights). But it’s next on the list.. with a man in, of course. Thanks Julie.

  2. Em April 27, 2015 at 3:35 pm - Reply

    Nice job! X

    • Jessica April 27, 2015 at 8:41 pm - Reply

      Ta muchly x

  3. Mise April 27, 2015 at 4:15 pm - Reply

    I don’t see why Mike can’t have the tank. Is that the wrong thing to say? But in my redemption I think the door looks great, just as though it belongs.

    • Jessica April 27, 2015 at 8:49 pm - Reply

      Now don’t start. You’ll get him all excited. I know he wants it. Let’s just hope, if it ever became available for sale, it would cost thousands. And if I have to have it I’ll plant up the turret. And have something trailing coming out of the end of the gun.

  4. justjilluk April 27, 2015 at 4:21 pm - Reply

    Fantastic. A second income making doors?

    • Jessica April 27, 2015 at 8:50 pm - Reply

      Could be..

  5. Mark and Gaz April 27, 2015 at 4:26 pm - Reply

    All’s well that ends well and it looks great!!

    • Jessica April 27, 2015 at 8:52 pm - Reply

      Too good… now I want doors like that everywhere 🙂

  6. Marian St.Clair April 27, 2015 at 4:37 pm - Reply

    The future is certain!

    • Jessica April 27, 2015 at 8:52 pm - Reply

      Practice makes perfect..

  7. Dorothy @ The Nature of Things April 27, 2015 at 4:43 pm - Reply

    What a nice project and the results are worth all the effort.

    • Jessica April 27, 2015 at 8:53 pm - Reply

      Thanks Dorothy. It turned out even better than we expected.

  8. Backlane Notebook April 27, 2015 at 5:03 pm - Reply

    Looks great. I love a bit of recycling combined with home improving-it’s inspired me for a potential project here..

    • Jessica April 27, 2015 at 8:55 pm - Reply

      Salvage yards are a real treasure trove for me. The trouble is as they’ve become trendy the prices have got silly.

  9. Charlie@Seattle Trekker April 27, 2015 at 5:19 pm - Reply

    I know that it is all so much work, but the results are so spectacular…I really enjoy your posts and getting to follow your progress.

    • Jessica April 27, 2015 at 8:57 pm - Reply

      Thanks Charlie. Nearly there with the study now, just a few more loose ends to complete. It’s taken a long time but it’s been worth it.

  10. Sigrun April 27, 2015 at 5:39 pm - Reply

    Great! You make doors by yourself – I’m impressed again.


    • Jessica April 27, 2015 at 8:58 pm - Reply

      It was a lot easier than we thought. The most difficult part of the next one will be sourcing the wood.

  11. hb April 27, 2015 at 6:03 pm - Reply

    Mike and you did a beautiful job on that door. The craftsmanship is impressive.

    I await the photo of the Russian vehicle with great anticipation. Don’t be a tease!

    • Jessica April 27, 2015 at 9:03 pm - Reply

      How a Russian tank came to be in the south west of England, that’s what I want to know..

  12. The Middlesized Garden April 27, 2015 at 6:11 pm - Reply

    Lovely door!

    • Jessica April 27, 2015 at 9:04 pm - Reply

      Thanks Alexandra. Mike did a great job.

  13. Sue@GLAllotments April 27, 2015 at 6:24 pm - Reply

    Definitely achieved a result!

    • Jessica April 27, 2015 at 9:05 pm - Reply

      He may regret it.. I still have to do the count of how many more we need..

  14. Denise April 27, 2015 at 6:25 pm - Reply

    Marvellous! I hope you have attached a ‘Made in England by J & M’ label somewhere. And that you point it out to ALL visitors!

    • Jessica April 27, 2015 at 9:08 pm - Reply

      In the last place we had a staircase built and the joiner etched his initials and the date into the back of it before he sealed it up. I think all that’s left on this one is Mike’s DNA..

  15. Joanna @edinburghgardendiary April 27, 2015 at 6:30 pm - Reply

    Fabulous door!

    • Jessica April 27, 2015 at 9:24 pm - Reply

      Hi Joanna. Thanks and welcome to rusty duck!

  16. bumbleandme April 27, 2015 at 6:30 pm - Reply

    Fabulous job Jessica! Feel free to pop round to ours, we have a couple of doors that could with you’re magic touch! X

    • Jessica April 27, 2015 at 9:33 pm - Reply

      I could do with some time away…

  17. Rosemary April 27, 2015 at 6:36 pm - Reply

    A sense a bit more sawing, hammering and waxing afoot. The door looks lovely you must be delighted.

    • Jessica April 27, 2015 at 9:35 pm - Reply

      It feels right to be going back to how things were done centuries ago. Although then they didn’t have salvage yards and gastro pubs to stop off in for lunch.

  18. Christina April 27, 2015 at 6:46 pm - Reply

    Great job!

    • Jessica April 27, 2015 at 9:35 pm - Reply

      Thanks Christina.

  19. pbmgarden April 27, 2015 at 6:48 pm - Reply

    Doesn’t every project lead to another project? This turned out great.

    • Jessica April 27, 2015 at 9:37 pm - Reply

      Oh it so does. An old house never ever gets finished. Thanks Susie.

  20. Pauline April 27, 2015 at 7:06 pm - Reply

    Fantastic, just what was needed!

    • Jessica April 27, 2015 at 9:39 pm - Reply

      It does look the part. Mike has a job for life.

  21. Vera Coe April 27, 2015 at 7:07 pm - Reply

    Lovely door! A friend made a similar one for the lounge when we first moved across to the house from the caravans, but alas and alack, it is to go to the bonfire heap because we are having half glass oak doors in the house to make the rooms look lighter and so I can have hand made net curtains up at those door windows for prettiness!

    • Jessica April 27, 2015 at 9:41 pm - Reply

      Yes, solid doors do block light. I need to find a similar solution for a bathroom that has no window.

  22. Angie April 27, 2015 at 8:30 pm - Reply

    I’m sorry to say that I just could not stifle a snigger at the end of your post Jessica. I’ll bet your friendly Architectural Salvage Year Man things you are back for the tank when he sees you drawing into the car park.
    What a great job and it does look the part doesn’t it?

    • Jessica April 27, 2015 at 9:43 pm - Reply

      Then friendly Architectural Salvage Man will be disappointed. I hope..

  23. Amy April 27, 2015 at 8:42 pm - Reply

    You and Mike make me rethink the possibilities of the words “do it yourself”…! (So does Cathy, I might add.) At any rate, I am entirely impressed and think it’s a perfect look 🙂 Have to go; my to-be-repurposed china cabinet is due to arrive shortly. Destined to be a lovely new yarn and textiles storage unit, which I need badly… 😉

    • Jessica April 27, 2015 at 9:46 pm - Reply

      Oooh, that sounds fun! I do love it when we can turn old stuff into something useful.

  24. CJ April 27, 2015 at 8:55 pm - Reply

    It’s FABULOUS. I can’t imagine why you didn’t think of this to start with. Re the Russion armoured personnel carrier. It wouldn’t hurt to have one tucked away. It’s always good to be prepared for every eventuality. And just think how cool you and Mike would look rocking up to a party in it. CJ xx

    • Jessica April 27, 2015 at 9:49 pm - Reply

      If you see one on the M5 this weekend, it will be us.. 🙂

  25. Julie April 27, 2015 at 9:01 pm - Reply

    I have serious door envy! This is beautiful, I love your path too and the view along your outbuilding, all very lovely.

    • Jessica April 27, 2015 at 9:51 pm - Reply

      The path, thankfully, looks a bit better now. Could still be improved, but at least swept! Thanks Julie.

  26. mattb325 April 27, 2015 at 10:17 pm - Reply

    The door looks fantastic! Seeing how handy you both are with a saw and wood planks, surely you could knock up a replica personnel carrier from the offcuts? 🙂

    • Jessica April 28, 2015 at 10:17 pm - Reply

      Would it be bombproof? 😉

  27. Sarah April 27, 2015 at 10:34 pm - Reply

    Good to see those sheds and outbuildings being put to good use! And the door looks perfect, as if it’s always been there. Well done Jessica, you two make a great team and I’m looking forward to seeing the full reveal soon.

    • Jessica April 28, 2015 at 10:20 pm - Reply

      There are a few odds and sods to get sorted. Waiting for a rainy day. And then there will be a reveal. But at least I am moved back in.. That much is good!

  28. Amy at love made my home April 28, 2015 at 12:03 am - Reply

    The door is fabulous!!! Great make Mike!!! Were you at Wells Reclamation by any chance, they have a Russian Tank – and lots of other odd oddities!!! xx

    • Jessica April 28, 2015 at 10:21 pm - Reply

      It’s a great place isn’t it. I could (and have) spent hours poking around there.

  29. Alain April 28, 2015 at 12:36 am - Reply

    You are ambitious! What a lovely result though!
    I still have a door from the cellar of our former house. It includes a board that is about 2 feet wide. I am waiting for the appropriate place to use it. The problem is that it is too short (the cellar had a very low ceiling). I have been giving thoughts of making it into a coffee table.

    • Jessica April 28, 2015 at 10:33 pm - Reply

      I scoured salvage yards a few years ago for a short door that I could use for a very special built in cupboard and found just the thing eventually, at a huge cost I have to say. Yours sounds wonderful, wide sections of board are to be treasured.

  30. woolythymes April 28, 2015 at 12:57 am - Reply

    is there anything you two can’t do???? This is terrific. (Only a Russian tank could be—possibly—better. Just kidding!)

    • Jessica April 28, 2015 at 10:36 pm - Reply

      I have nowhere to put a tank, that’s the trouble. Unless.. Could I use it as a potting shed? OK maybe not.

  31. jannaschreier April 28, 2015 at 1:08 am - Reply

    Just gorgeous. You are clever. Makes me sad for our 17th century cottage we sold in 2013. We had so many beautiful doors like that. When I feel sad I just have to remind myself that most of them were half that height and I spent most of my life rubbing a very sore head. Yours look superiorly practical!

    • Jessica April 28, 2015 at 10:42 pm - Reply

      The door leads to an en-suite, a retrofit when the previous owners used the room as a guest room. Thus it is modern building regs height. That’s the problem, finding an old door this size is next to impossible!

  32. Josephine April 28, 2015 at 2:02 am - Reply

    It’s a grand door, and probably somewhere out of the eighteenth century I would imagine !
    I love it when projects once flitting around in one’s head, turn into fruition.
    The Lime Wax is the perfect finish and sets it off beautifully.
    You two are quite the pair of DIY ‘ers , where are you planning to plant the tank ?

    • Jessica April 28, 2015 at 10:45 pm - Reply

      This assumes that he will be allowed to have the tank…
      At least the metal shell will keep the mice out 🙂

  33. Kris P April 28, 2015 at 4:21 am - Reply

    Okay, I thought my husband had the patience of a saint but yours may have a lead on him.

    • Jessica April 28, 2015 at 10:48 pm - Reply

      I think Mike would probably say the same. They should be grateful to have such innovative and forward thinking wives.

  34. Vintage Jane April 28, 2015 at 8:06 am - Reply

    Looks fab!

    • Jessica April 28, 2015 at 10:51 pm - Reply

      Thank you. You know how I love a bit of vintage charm!

  35. Jacquline April 28, 2015 at 8:55 am - Reply

    Beautiful Jessica ……. I mean Mike !!!!!! ……. I mean Jessica and Mike !!. It’s perfect and I love the liming. We have had a limed kitchen and it has lasted for 20 years so far. XXXX

    • Jessica April 28, 2015 at 10:53 pm - Reply

      The liming has worked well, it’s made the floor and the doors really light in colour as well as giving them a bit of character. Just the look I was after.

  36. Joanne April 28, 2015 at 11:01 am - Reply

    Oh well done you, the pair of you really! Oh my a tank in the middle of a reclamation yard. It may be in the name but my Mike would also enquire about it x

    • Jessica April 28, 2015 at 10:55 pm - Reply

      It’s definitely a boy thing, can’t see the attraction myself..

  37. Sue April 28, 2015 at 1:19 pm - Reply

    It sounds like your man’s version of rustic is the same as my mans 😉

    I was all for buying a beautiful rustic, and relatively cheap dresser for the conservatory a couple of months back but in his opinion it was ‘too rustic’ … it was gorgeous!! “I’ll make you one with smoother sides and squarer corners” he said … NOT the same. Oh well, I’ll wait until I’m out on my own one day and then it will be fait accompli 🙂

    • Jessica April 28, 2015 at 11:01 pm - Reply

      Oh that sounds very familiar! I agreed to the use of the sander on the back of the door which was a bit rough even by my standards, but watched like a hawk to make sure the front was left alone. Good luck finding the dresser, plenty of nice rustic ones in Wales I’ll bet 🙂

  38. Jo April 28, 2015 at 1:24 pm - Reply

    It looks fabulous, I’m very impressed. Well done to both of you.

    • Jessica April 28, 2015 at 11:03 pm - Reply

      Thanks Jo. It was actually a lot easier than we thought it would be. Phew!

  39. Jayne Hill April 28, 2015 at 1:36 pm - Reply

    A tank? Oh Lord . . . your husband and mine must NEVER meet, I don’t think either of us could cope with what might happen should Management find a kindred spirit to encourage him. Every now and again I discover he’s been “just watching” something on eBay . . .

    Your door is quite gorgeous, unfortunately such beauty does have a habit of showing up less than ideal adjacent items. As we have also discovered, albeit in a smaller way, renovation projects are never finished and one job has a horrid habit of generating three more.

    • Jessica April 28, 2015 at 11:08 pm - Reply

      Mike has yet to embrace eBay. Which is odd, because he does love anything a bit technical. It’s probably just as well…
      As to meeting up, you’re making it sound more fun by the minute. Put the coffee on.

  40. Donna@Gardens Eye View April 28, 2015 at 1:49 pm - Reply

    Oh you are amazing…you just imagine it and it is so!

    • Jessica April 28, 2015 at 11:12 pm - Reply

      I just imagine it, I then have to spend about three weeks persuading, then there is a lot of trouble and strife, one step forward three steps back, and eventually it is so. Kind of.

  41. SeagullSuzie April 28, 2015 at 2:01 pm - Reply

    How clever you are…that looks fantastic, I don’t know how you do it!

    • Jessica April 28, 2015 at 11:14 pm - Reply

      It really wasn’t that hard, honest! Four bits of wood held together by three cross pieces and a few dozen nails.
      (Mike may beg to differ)

  42. Freda April 28, 2015 at 4:35 pm - Reply

    Brilliant post. Brilliant door!

    • Jessica April 28, 2015 at 11:16 pm - Reply

      Thanks Freda. I really do like the door.. Mike has a few more to make now 🙂

  43. Alison April 28, 2015 at 4:35 pm - Reply

    Well done you! I’ve had similar conversations with Nigel about the virtues of “rustic.” At least Mike seems to understand the purpose of repurposing.

    • Jessica April 28, 2015 at 11:21 pm - Reply

      What we disagree most about is anything painted. For him it has to be a perfect surface. He can’t abide anything that has been deliberately distressed.

  44. Chloris April 28, 2015 at 8:30 pm - Reply

    I am impressed, there is no end to your DIY talents. I think Mike deserves his tank after doing such a good job on the door. But what exacltly does he want it for? He’ s not going to invade Cornwall is he?

    • Jessica April 28, 2015 at 11:29 pm - Reply

      I dread to think what he wants it for. The image I can’t quite shake off though is that one of Maggie Thatcher with her head stuck out of the top of a turret wearing goggles and a head scarf. It’s doing the rounds again under the guise of crazy election photographs or some such.

  45. casa mariposa April 29, 2015 at 1:44 am - Reply

    I love that you made your own door! That is so cool! Had we tried that my husband would have ended as a double amputee and we’d still be doorless. We are best left without power tools of any kind.

    • Jessica April 30, 2015 at 12:18 pm - Reply

      Thanks Tammy. I am coming to the conclusion that us and power tools may fall into the same bracket. See next post..

  46. bittster April 29, 2015 at 2:27 am - Reply

    Fantastic job! And the story behind it is just icing in the cake. When you give tours of your home it might take hours as you retell each and every project story, you might need cards printed to direct visitors to the appropriate blog post lol! Just as long as the tour doesn’t end with a tank ride 😉

    • Jessica April 30, 2015 at 12:21 pm - Reply

      It could.. We have the terrain for it. And that would be one way to kill off a few brambles.

  47. Brian Skeys April 29, 2015 at 6:47 am - Reply

    As someone who’s DIY skills are ‘Rustic’ I do admire Mikes ability to produce quality work to his ‘Clients’! satisfaction.

    • Jessica April 30, 2015 at 12:23 pm - Reply

      He is very precise, which tends to conflict with my interpretation of rustic. So to end up with a door that we are both happy with is a result!

  48. Linda aka Crafty Gardener April 29, 2015 at 12:54 pm - Reply

    Fantastic work … I think you just want another visit to that salvage yard to see the tank.

    • Jessica April 30, 2015 at 12:25 pm - Reply

      There are plenty of other attractions there for me, but it will make an excellent carrot for the chief carpenter..

  49. Chel @ Sweetbriar Dreams April 29, 2015 at 6:01 pm - Reply

    Absolutely brilliant! Your door reminds me of my doors in my old Cottage when we were there. Those little catches and the grain of the wood – just beautiful! As for the tank, maybe the mice will prefer to live in it rather than nibbling on your plants!! 🙂

    • Jessica April 30, 2015 at 12:27 pm - Reply

      Now, you may be on to something there. Where is it I’ve seen mice living in their own installation like that, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy?

  50. paxton3 April 29, 2015 at 8:14 pm - Reply

    Quite brilliant my friend!
    Leanne xx

    • Jessica April 30, 2015 at 12:27 pm - Reply

      Thanks Leanne 🙂

  51. sustainablemum April 29, 2015 at 8:21 pm - Reply

    It is perfect. One job always leads to another……..

    • Jessica April 30, 2015 at 12:28 pm - Reply

      It’s uncanny how that happens. We will never be bored in this life will we.

  52. Rick Nelson April 29, 2015 at 8:35 pm - Reply

    Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together! Impressed.

    • Jessica April 30, 2015 at 12:29 pm - Reply

      Thanks Rick. If only it always worked that way!!

  53. jenhumm116 April 29, 2015 at 10:11 pm - Reply

    Just a-door-able! (Sorry!)

    • Jessica April 30, 2015 at 12:30 pm - Reply

      Very good!

  54. elaine April 29, 2015 at 10:25 pm - Reply

    Perfect – well done Mike.

    • Jessica April 30, 2015 at 12:30 pm - Reply

      Thanks Elaine. Bit by bit, ever onwards.

  55. Karen at Lady of LaMancha May 2, 2015 at 7:07 pm - Reply

    I’m so envious that your husband actually knows how to make things! I really like your rug, too. I recently saw a similar one, bit I was afraid it would be difficult to clean. Is it?

    • Jessica May 4, 2015 at 2:42 pm - Reply

      It’s a new one so I haven’t had to clean it yet. I have to admit though, I am worried about the practicality of such a light colour on the floor. On the plus side the study is about as far from an outside door as it gets and we only ever wear slippers inside the house so hopefully it will not get exposed to too much grime. It’s not a hall rug that’s for sure!

  56. pollymacleod May 7, 2015 at 5:31 pm - Reply

    That door looks beautiful, you are both so clever. Looking forward to seeing a photo of the tank!

    • Jessica May 8, 2015 at 6:51 pm - Reply

      It really is much easier than you’d think. The hardest part is finding suitable wood, but most reclaim yards have old pine floorboards.

  57. Island Threads May 8, 2015 at 9:05 pm - Reply

    wonderful, I am relived it is a door you have and not the tank, now I understand the comment you make in your more recent post with the voting boxes, well done you it looks great, Frances

    • Jessica May 8, 2015 at 10:17 pm - Reply

      Thanks Frances. We are getting there, bit by bit.

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