Saturday, October 23, 2010


Something About Doors We go in and out of doors countless times in a day, mostly without giving them the slightest thought. Yet doors hold a place of profound meaning in our lives. They are the magical openings to worlds we want to explore; they are the barrier and protection against the unknown; they are the holder of intimacy and secrets; they are the place of vulnerability in our defenses; they are the agents of welcome to the world beyond. They are the very moment of transition. We speak of standing on the threshold of some momentous occurrence. We have all experienced it; when one moment our lives are a familiar landscape of the expected, and then something happens and it is as if we have crossed into a world we never saw before. It happens when we fall in love, or when a beloved becomes ill or dies. The world is not the same on both sides of the doorway. So it can be no wonder that we honor this importance by giving our doorways the most beautiful of decorations and design.
I have included a photo from that book I have mentioned so often, that shows the beautiful details of local Vermont architecture from the late 18th and early 19th century. This is the type of doorway that my Lovely Old Dollhouse's doorway is modeled on. Because houses were all hand built back then, no two doorways were exactly the same, but you can see the similarity in shape and position of windows. The door itself is solid with no windows, made of panels inset in a double cross frame. I have copied this style of door for the dollhouse.

Even in ancient times, the doorway was given prominence by surrounding it with the most elaborate decorations. Here below is an example of the carved Romanesque style doorway that I used as the model for my Castle Dollhouse doorways. The arch was rounded, not pointed as in the later Gothic period, and the archway itself was often deeper and "heavier" than the supporting pillars would appear to want.

And while the style is similar, my "carving" on the Castle Dollhouse doorways is far from as detailed as the one shown above. I have not yet painted any of the exterior of the Castle, so you will have to pretend you are seeing "stone" walls and carvings. From ancient times, the most basic purpose and function of doors was defensive. So the solid wooden doors of the Castle had to be able to withstand the enemy assaults. The doors were built from several layers of oak planks all bolted together with great iron straps and hinges. I have not yet added all the details of iron work to this door.

Would you like to come in and see some of the other doors and doorways in the Castle?
Come on in!
This is the Guard Room. I know it is a little dark in here... I don't have enough torches to light it well, but if you squint you can probably make out the doorway surrounding the Great Hall entrance.
And watch out for the lion guarding the door, don't let him bite your ankles!

You can see it better with the doors shut! And you can see the "iron" strap hinges I have made from sculpey. They are a bit crude, as they were the first ones I made. But if one thinks of the Castle and the process of it's construction over the centuries, this doorway would have been the older, original exterior doorway before this second tower was added.

But we will open the doors again to enter the Great Hall.

And once we are in the Great Hall, if you will turn around and look back the way we came, you will see the ornamentation of that doorway from the inside of the Hall. I have tried to make each doorway a little different while still following the same basic style.

And then continuing to the far end of the Great Hall, we have a trio of doorways each with a different purpose, and thus a different treatment. The smaller door on the left goes up the stairs to the Lady's Solar, so it needs no door to close the opening. The larger central doorway leads to the Chapel, so it is ornamented similarly to the entrance doorway on the opposite side of the Hall. And the small door on the right leads downstairs to the kitchens and dungeons. There is a wooden door to close, although I am not sure why it is needed. I think I just love to add the little doors on their real little hinges!

Come on into the Chapel for a moment! If you look back at the doorway, you can sort of see some of the decoration surrounding this door. But I will be sure to show you more of that another time.

I want to show you the doors downstairs in the kitchen.
Okay, I know you've seen them before, and I know the lighting is pretty bad. But this door also has some sculpey "iron" strap hinges. Soon I will attach all the door handle hardware too. But for now you will have to use your imagination! This is the cellar, and just the kitchen, so no fancy treatment was given to the door frames.

Would you like to see the dungeons?
They're just through this door! Are you sure?
You're not afraid of the dungeons?

Crrreeeeeaaaaakkk....... (door opening!)

When WAS the last time anyone went in here......?

NOT very recent by the looks of it!

Shut that door fast!
Whew! One door too many!
You may remember me mentioning, waaaay back in the beginning of re-building the Lovely Old Dollhouse, how much I wanted to add doors, real working doors, to all the doorways in the house. I had made doors for the downstairs rooms in my teen years, but the upstairs bedrooms still had no doors to open and close. Well, I finally got them made and attached!

They are plain paneled doors much like the ones downstairs. This is the view from the hallway. So much is "said" with a closed door. Hush. Don't disturb me. I am apart. I wish to be alone.

But, with a knock, perhaps we can enter?

The world revealed within is so different from that without.......
Warm, enticing, full of promise.....

Do come in!

But close that door! THIS world is full of dreams and secrets!

But we will not stay there forever.
There are more thresholds to cross, or at least to peer into.

The mystery of the room within..... is it always so much richer before entering?

Perhaps we will pass it by and come back another time.

Although we all know we cannot ever come this way again....

not precisely.... for we and it will have changed.

How many doors do we pass and not enter every day?

There is just SOMETHING about doors!

But Pollyanna is not too concerned. She is young (and in love!) and she has THINGS to do!

She is preparing TREATS for Halloween for when the children come knocking!

And she helped Arthur decorate the porch of the Folly!
(You didn't really think he did that on his own, did you?)

And she gathered some Indian corn to decorate the front door of the Lovely Old Dollhouse....

And she carved a jack-o-lantern for the front step!

Now she's ready for whatever comes her way!



  1. I just love this post, especially the description of door being moments of transition :0) And the pictures of the doors in the castle is an adventure, I was almost breathless when walking down the stairs to the dungeon, it was scary but exciting... Thanks for a thrilling morning trip.

  2. What a great read that was - your attention to details is marvellous and I especially like the arched doorway.

  3. I love all the doors , Betsy! Especially the ones in the castle which you built from scratch. Bravo, girl! Your castle is sure to be most magnificent.

    I also love the ironworks which you fashioned fro sculpey! Very impressive! But the wonders for me is what's behind the doors. Some of your rooms (lovely old house) are just breathtaking. It's the murals and your choice of rugs. I have enjoyed myself in your homes :):)

  4. I enjoyed the message. Beautiful doors, always an atmosphere. Well-designed, congratulations
    groetjes Ingrid

  5. Una entrada "Muy leer el párrafo COMPLETA. Las puertas pertenecen Cada uno Entorno. Las Tu colocas Muy bien párr Cada epoca Cada Escena y.
    Ya tienes.Te Mucho Adelantado de la decoracion párrafo de Halloween.
    Me encanta.
    Besos Clara

  6. So many lovely doors! In your houses they really are magical openings to worlds we want to explore! I love all the ones in your castle, you have done such a beautiful job on all of them, love the guarding lions too! And when I first saw the doorway of your Lovely Old Dollhouse I thought it was a real house, with the perfect worn and aged wall and details and the lovely light from the inside!

  7. Now I am envy of the doorways you build from the scratch;)Great work!! Thank you for the door tour - lovely!!

  8. Wow! You made a great work. I enjoy.

  9. Hi Annie! Thanks for your comment! I am so glad to be able to give you some shivers! It is almost Halloween! :)

  10. Thanks Irene! I am a detail-oriented person! I LOVE details.... so it is just the beginning of details for the Castle!

  11. Hi Sans! I am very glad you are enjoying your visits to the Lovely Old Dollhouse! You are welcome to visit any time you like! I know you are looking at the carpets.... because you have such beautiful carpets of your own making... and are wondering about mine... but that is a whole other blog story at SOME time in the future! :)I will not tease you about it any more!
    Thank you for your compliments about the doors I have built... in my eyes they are much too rough and crude... and I know I could improve the details if I would decide to take the time... so I debate with myself about that all the time! But for now they are good enough! :) I am glad you are enjoying them!

  12. Thanks, Ingrid! Atmosphere is one of the things I strive for! I am glad you enjoy it! Thank you for commenting!

  13. Hi Clara! I am still working on learning to translate the Spanish! I am glad you comment! I am glad you enjoy my blog! Thank you!

  14. Hi Helene! I am glad you love all my doors! I was thinking as I wrote that the modern "open-plan" style of living has taken away so many of our doors! I did not think too long about it... did not delve into the psychology of it... :) but I have noticed it! My Castle has a great many doors..... more still to come!
    And the doors for the Lovely Old Dollhouse are very eloquent for me! They are the archetypal doors of my native region (New England) so they are very dear and familiar! I think that is why I have captured them so well in mini...!

  15. Hi Ewa! You should not envy my doors because I have seen your Snape's door! I was swooning over the snake-style hinges you have! I have not really made most of my "iron work" and will be having another look at yours!

  16. Thanks Varma! Welcome to my blog! I have enjoyed looking at your Knight's Hall very much! I love the atmosphere! And your fabrics! And your dolls!

  17. I love doors too, these are all so magical, especially love the one looking in on the fireplace. Such a pretty blog, Catherine x

  18. Wow, lots of well-deserved comments. Looking through the doors into the lit rooms is magical! And the skeletons in the dungeon - brrrrrrrrrr.
    Happy Halloween, dear Betsy - keep it up, we are all enthralled.