Guide to old Chinese antique doors and Chinese old door panels, from collection to restoration.

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I was in the warehouse just a few days ago, looking over a batch of antique door panels which just came in and it really reminded me just how cool some of these pieces are, especially the iron hardware, the various textures, and the overall character and charm of these bits of history.

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Antique iron hardware on an old Chinese door
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In the raw and just in…

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Old Chinese doors that have just been collected

You can see all shapes and all sizes come in from smaller doors from private homes, to huge double doors which look almost as if they came from the doors guarding a castle.

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Chinese Houses: A Pictorial Tour of China’s Traditional Dwellings

This ambitious and comprehensive survey of Chinese residential architecture introduces a fascinating selection of Chinese houses from every region of the country. In beautiful detail with never-before-seen photographs and illustrations, Chinese Houses offers a sweeping introduction to the diverse architecture in China. From the stately and ordered four-sided courtyard house of Beijing to the cave dwellings of Henan, from the wind-swept adobe houses of Kashi to portable yurts, this exhaustive book covers all the main residential architectural styles in China, with a special focus on ethnic minorities’ residences.


Restoration and cleaning them up.

 

Often the door frames may be badly damaged and need to be reconstructed. Supports or other missing sections are replaced in the same manner and construction as the original.

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Here you can see damaged sections which have been replaced using old wood, in this case the bottom stretchers on the frame and a support for the lock in the back.

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Repairs made to the damaged frames

Once both structures of the doors and frames have been repaired the doors can be hung in the frames once more.

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Finally, missing hardware will be replaced and wax or a clear coat of lacquer will be applied to the wood, with the end result similar to this solid wood antique door at asian-collections.

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A restored door in a new frame

Salvaged as materials; a second life.

Sometimes doors are simply treated as salvaged wood and used as material. The frightening pace of construction in China, means that as people trade in their old Chinese traditional courtyard houses and hutong dwellings for new high rise buildings salvaged building materials abound and doors are no exception to the rule.

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Courtyard homes recently demolished
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Reclaimed old doors stacked and waiting for their next life

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Ming Furniture in the Light of Chinese Architecture

MING FURNITURE IN THE LIGHT OF CHINESE ARCHITECTURE is the first book to show the essential kinship between Ming furniture and the buildings they were designed to be placed and used within. Sarah Handler’s special perspective sheds a luminous glow on the concepts of interior and exterior form, function, placement, and purpose and reveals the inextricably intertwined relationship of Ming furniture to Chinese architecture. Decoration, construction, and function come together into a harmonious and indivisible whole, just as the Chinese artisans envisioned.


Uses in decorating, remodeling and construction

Essentially, these are architectural antiques and construction companies like this one (this one is named Demxx Deconstruction) are starting realize customers can incorporate these elements into their home and consequently, are beginning to import salvaged old doors for projects.

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And then there is these two ideas for converting antique panels and doors which I came across on the blog of a lighting designer, and are absolutely brilliant. “Camouflaging a refrigerator with door panels” is by far one of the best ideas I have seen so far. Kudo’s to Sherwood Cox who created this particular kitchen!

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There is no reason why this cannot be applied with oriental door panels as well. In fact, I have a friend who has done so in his place (unfortunately I have not taken any photos yet). 

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Or they can be built into your home or apartment like the owner of this spectacular home in Maui did by incorporating Asian influences. In order to enter the master suite, you need to pass through these antique Chinese doors which he imported from Indonesia. It looks great and an added value is, it increase the overall value of the real estate.

 

Conversion from salvage into beautiful furniture

Some people turn them into desks like this “do it your self,” Antique-Door Desk made with salvaged architectural elements and an old door.

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The same idea has been applied here with a vintage door which have converted into dining table. This one from Asiatic Treasures, was created by building a base for a brightly painted Vintage Tibetan Door panel.

Tables made from old doors is not a new idea, and it works well for this old door dining table

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A large table built from old reclaimed Chinese doors

Though they range from large to small, space seems not to be an issue with doors, as they are flat and lean nicely against the wall as seen in this smaller Bohemian boutique. “Old door” cabinets are an interesting “medieval sort of look” as well, even if this particular one in our reference catalog is made from a reproduction.

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Any other good examples? Let us know!

 

2 Replies to “Guide to old Chinese antique doors and Chinese old door panels, from collection to restoration.”

  1. Hi there. I know this is a really old post, but I’d love to know if you have an address for anywhere I can find doors or salvaged wood. It doesn’t need to be antique specifically. Anywhere in HK or South China would be amazing. Love the pictures in this article.

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