this here doorknob
June 3, 2014 2:21 PM   Subscribe

This door is in the corner of our (soon to be) dining room. It formerly lead to the kitchen but now leads no where and is nailed shut. should we keep the knob on it?

We gotta decide fast because drywallers are coming in the next two days and will seal up the other side, after which we won't have access to the knob.
We are of two minds. Would you keep it or remove it and what is your reasoning?
posted by Baby_Balrog to Home & Garden (35 answers total)
Remove it. More aesthetically pleasing, especially if you paint/paper the door the same color as the rest of the wall.
posted by harrietthespy at 2:23 PM on June 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

That wallpaper is going as well, I should add. Dunno what color the wall will ultimately be.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 2:24 PM on June 3, 2014

Remove it. You might rearrange the furniture to where the doorknob gets in people's way. (That is my situation; people's clothing sometimes catches on the doorknob of the door-to-nowhere as they sit down in the chair in front of the door.)
posted by Bentobox Humperdinck at 2:26 PM on June 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Why not just remove it? You say drywallers are coming and "will seal up the other side" - they're going to drywall off the other side of the wall? I'd remove the door and trim and just have them patch what is essentially a large hole.
posted by Big_B at 2:26 PM on June 3, 2014 [4 favorites]

Removing it makes the most sense but I would probably leave it. Couldn't really give you a good answer as to why other than: I feel bad for the little knob and I'm fond of completely useless things.
posted by AtoBtoA at 2:28 PM on June 3, 2014 [4 favorites]

Big_B we're leaving the door and jam in place in case future owners want to restore it.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 2:34 PM on June 3, 2014

we're leaving the door and jam in place in case future owners want to restore it.

Then you should only remove the handle if it will be possible to reattach it later. But its probably so old this might not be possible, so just leave it. A door that goes nowhere will be a conversation piece, so go with it and keep the handle.
posted by NoraCharles at 2:38 PM on June 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

Well, I personally think it would be hilarious if you completely drywalled over the rest of the door and then just had a random doorknob sticking out.

If you are a normal person, though, remove it.
posted by rmless at 2:40 PM on June 3, 2014 [13 favorites]

It doesn't look like a particularly special doorknob (then again...what do I know about doorknobs? What I mean is that it isn't crystal or attached to an elaborate plate or anything.) If you remove it, would future owners be able to easily replace it with a historically accurate knob?

Personally, I'd keep it. It's in a corner, I bet it won't be as in-the-way as one might think. You could hang something decorative (or useful?) on it. Not sure what though...
posted by Elly Vortex at 2:41 PM on June 3, 2014

Is it too late to turn it into a shallow shelf cupboard?
posted by TWinbrook8 at 2:44 PM on June 3, 2014 [7 favorites]

I think removing it will make it obvious that the door is not usable. I think that is an argument in favor of removing it.
posted by soelo at 2:48 PM on June 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

I would keep it, because even though I knew it didn't lead anywhere a door without a doorknob would disturb me in a way I can't quite explain. Hope that helps!
posted by billiebee at 2:49 PM on June 3, 2014 [10 favorites]

I would keep it because of weird, hard to describe, superstitious/fairytale/maybe eldritch horrors idk reasons.
posted by elizardbits at 2:51 PM on June 3, 2014 [5 favorites]

If you remove it, put it in a bag and tape it to the other side of the door, sealing it up behind the drywall.
posted by alexei at 2:53 PM on June 3, 2014 [8 favorites]

Okay. So I'm assuming the door opens away from you in the picture because you can't see the hinges. In that case I'd take it off. it will be hard/impossible to get to if you decide to later. If you want the handle back there's probably a way to just install that side for looks.

Interesting dilemma.
posted by Big_B at 2:58 PM on June 3, 2014

Also maybe a super sketchy "DO NOT OPEN" on the side that is getting drywalled. Imagine the next owner ripping down the drywall and wondering what kind of hellscape gets opened when this door that just appears to go the next room gets moved.
posted by Big_B at 3:00 PM on June 3, 2014 [8 favorites]

Take the knob off; it should make it easier to deal with for sealing off, I'd imagine.

But if you don't and the door can open on the side it's still visible, PLEASE paint a brick wall on the backside of the drywall. Then let people open the door.

That's probably only hilarious to me.
posted by xingcat at 3:02 PM on June 3, 2014 [13 favorites]

If you're keeping the door, keep the knob.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:09 PM on June 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

It's going to look weird and ugly without a knob. Either leave it looking like a door or get rid of the door, but otherwise, it's going to look broken.
posted by sageleaf at 3:33 PM on June 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

Take the knob off and keep it someplace where you'll be able to find it then you can over the hole in the door with something like this.

You could find it in a finish that you like or just paint it the same color as the door.
posted by VTX at 3:35 PM on June 3, 2014

Lose the knob, replace it with a picture of a knob. Yes, seriously. It'll sooth your brain's familiar-pattern-matching mechanism without actually protruding anything from the wall. Your brain will accept the visual texture of an apparent knob without you also having to deal with the nonsensical protrusion of the knob. It doesn't have to be an elaborate photo or anything-- a dark-colored circle should do the job.

Any guests who try to open the door unthinkingly will probably grasp (ahem) the lack of a knob in time to save themselves from faceplanting against the door.
posted by Sunburnt at 4:27 PM on June 3, 2014 [4 favorites]

Big_B we're leaving the door and jam in place in case future owners want to restore it.

Yeah, no. Leaving a useless door there just looks, and is, totally half-assed. If future buyers think there should be a doorway there, you can just say, "hey, the framing is already there, just knock out the drywall." If you want to be really thorough, put the door *and* the knob in the basement in case this ever actually happens (not gonna).
posted by bricoleur at 4:41 PM on June 3, 2014 [6 favorites]

Big_B we're leaving the door and jam in place in case future owners want to restore it

Who cares about the hypothetical future owners? You're going to have this weird door that either has a doorknob and guests will try it and be confused, or doesn't have a doorknob and people will see it and it'll look broken. If you want to put furniture there it'll be in front of a door, and that makes it look like you're in college. You don't want to live that way.

Just take the whole door out.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:44 PM on June 3, 2014 [6 favorites]

I agree you should probably take the door out -- if the trim around it were historical or of amazing craftsmanship I might say otherwise but really a nailed-shut door that doesn't go anywhere isn't enhancing your room and future owners, if they decide to put a door back in, can easily do so.

That said, if you're going to keep it, before you seal it off for good put in some sort of sound-reproduction device so you can play scratching sounds coming from behind the sealed door. That's how you create maximum value for future owners..
posted by Nerd of the North at 5:19 PM on June 3, 2014 [3 favorites]

I'm really in favor of keeping the door functional and building a shallow storage space behind it (you could hide Wi-Fi and computer crap in there, maybe?), and you'd have this weird door and tiny closet that you could tell stories about.

My wife would never go for that, because it's whack, and not in a good way, just like she wouldn't go for the old toilets recycled as planters idea, either, why can't you just be sensible?

Remove door, knob, and jamb, wall over both sides, and resent the decision until the end of your days, like sensible people do.
posted by notyou at 7:37 PM on June 3, 2014 [4 favorites]

Yeah, no. Leaving a useless door there just looks, and is, totally half-assed.

I did a poor job of explaining the situation. It's a named house from our city built in 1866, around the time our town was invented. It has been abused throughout the years and we're attempting to restore it to a single-family home - the way it was originally built. We're trying to preserve as much of the original material as possible. It's almost impossible to tell from the photo - but that is original trim around the door (sadly, painted) put there by the tyrannical capitalist lumber-baron that built the house. If we take the trim down it will never go up straight again. You could spill a glass of water in this house and it would beat you to the back door.

We are blocking out one doorway to make room for counter-tops on the far side, but we want to avoid the abuse that previous owners engaged in. Perhaps, in the distant future, another owner may wish to restore this original doorway.

It appears that removing the doorknob and preserving the hardware is in order.
I'll cover the little hole with a bit of copper or something, and perhaps convert the entire thing into a shallow display case. Thank you all! Also, voting is still open if people think I'm crazy.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 9:08 PM on June 3, 2014 [3 favorites]

notyou, that's not possible because the other side will be a flat wall with cabinets mounted on it.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 9:10 PM on June 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

But maybe not. I am still very conflicted!
posted by Baby_Balrog at 9:13 PM on June 3, 2014

Because it is a historic house, I would keep it and keep the doorknob on it.

I've got a 100-year old house with an "extra" front door that was nailed shut when I bought it (although both sides of it are accessable, unlike yours). I like it. It 's a decorative door.
posted by Violet Hour at 10:19 PM on June 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Great idea to make in into a shallow display case. You could keep all your 'good' glasses there.
posted by Cranberry at 10:22 PM on June 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh! Historic house? Keep door, jamb, and knob. Working or not.

Even my wife would agree with that. Eminently sensible.
posted by notyou at 10:40 PM on June 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

1866 in Nashville (per your profile)? That's gold. I mean, I know old house can be pain to live in sometimes (although I only lived in a 90-year-old house), but it's nice when the house has a story to tell. Did the door really go to your kitchen, or was it a gateway to the Underground Railroad somehow, wink wink? Maybe the door's all that's left from the house burned in Sherman's March? So much potential for yarn-spinning here.

You should ask in the forums at This Old House if they have any thoughts, but I'll stand by my previous post. The knob might be worth something to somebody if it's a vintage piece, or else keep it yourself if you have any others like it left in the house. If you remove the door, you should assess its vintage for the same reasons.
posted by Sunburnt at 10:49 PM on June 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'd take off the entire door and put it in the attic, doorknob in tact. I'd leave the moulding and have the drywall folks do the back wall, and the sides. This will leave you with a door-sized area in your dining room, about 6-8 inches deep.

Something like this.

Install some shelves in there. Display your nice bric-a-brac there. Hell, get fancy and put pretty glass doors over the top part and some decorative doors on the bottom. You can put your tablecloths and napkins there. Or Kool-ade jugs, whatever.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:39 AM on June 4, 2014

I did something similar to that when removing a wall heater. Used stained veneer glued to the drywall and nailed to insides of studs, routed some shelves that stick out about an inch, and then trimmed it out with some nice oak. Makes for a nice display of framed pictures and rocks (geologist).
posted by Big_B at 9:13 AM on June 4, 2014

This is all wonderful feedback!
We reversed the knob so that the set-screw is on the outside. This means we can remove the knob at a future date if we desire to (and the other side will fall into the wall space behind it). It's in a corner, so we're not too worried about it getting in the way.
In the mean time, we will retain the knob.
Perhaps we'll instruct guests that the door leads to a parallel Earth populated entirely by sentient dinnerware. Still working on that.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:46 AM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

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