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June 8, 2017

Mike and Sara Rehab a 60s Retro Ranch : Front Door Restoration

By Sara In AZ


So, we have this front door. A solid wood front door. It’s a secret I’ve been hiding….but we’ll just bust that little secret wide open right here and now!

It is the original front door from the 1960s…the decorative flower like designs match the built-in hutch in our dining room.

It was one of those things that I just didn’t want to deal with when we moved in. It was in horrible shape and I just didn’t know what to do about it at the time.  We contemplated getting a new retro looking door, something more “mod” looking with the little glass window insets. But each time I thought about a new door I felt guilty and horrible at the thought of the original door going to the dump.


You can see is it in epically HORRIBLE shape! I seriously think absolutely nothing has been done to this poor door since the house was built in 1966! Eeks!

It’s just so sad isn’t it?! The door is especially weathered at the bottom where the rain and sun have been beating it down for the last 50 years.  Ugh.

Then we contemplated painting the door??? I was totally on the fence on this idea too. I’m not against painted doors at all, I just felt bad painting it when it was supposed to match the built-in in the dining room….stained wood look and all…..and I thought those cute little flower accents would probably get all globbed with paint up along the way.

I thought there must be something I could do to give this door more life!?


Short of pulling the door off the hinges and doing a hardcore refinish on it I threw caution the the wind one day and busted out the sandpaper!


I used 150 grit which is a more fine grade sandpaper and went over the whole entire door with it. I didn’t go nuts trying to get into every single nook and cranny – esp. on the flowers……just an overall sand down on the bigger areas.


Then I cleaned the door with mineral spirits.


And then I broke out my old favorites……the Howard’s Restor- A- Finish and Feed and Wax  products!!! You might remember them from my kitchen cabinet restore…

Mike and Sara Rehab a 60s Retro Ranch : Can These Kitchen Cabinets Be Saved?



I went to town slathering the Restore-A-Finish all over the door and thought it was looking better already!


Almost done with the Restore-A-Finish!


This is a close-up of the “flower” panels….the one on the left is finished and I am still working on the one on the right.


After I finished with the Restore-A-Finish I then lathered on very generous amounts of Howard’s Feed and Wax.

And here is the final outcome!!!! Whoooooooo-weeeeeeeee!!!! I’d say that door looks like a million bucks now, esp. compared to what it used to look like!!!


I’m SO glad we didn’t paint the door or change it, I think it looks so beautiful now! I love that we were able to save the original front door and I think with just a little bit of maintenance with the Howard’s products the door with have a long and happy life!

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10 Responses to Mike and Sara Rehab a 60s Retro Ranch : Front Door Restoration

  1. Melinda Reply

    June 8, 2017 at 6:15 am

    The door looks beautiful! And I love the green bottle glass sidelight, too.

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      June 8, 2017 at 5:18 pm

      Melinda – thanks so much….and I totally agree – I am in love with the side window!

  2. Andrea Reply

    June 8, 2017 at 10:11 am

    Love, love, love that door, Sara! You definitely did the right thing by keeping it/restoring it. Looks fantastic!

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      June 8, 2017 at 5:19 pm

      Thank you so much Andrea, we are definitely super happy with the results!!!

  3. BobinAlabama Reply

    June 8, 2017 at 11:07 am

    Great job, and congrats on restoring the door rather than replacing! Many people forget that 60s homes were sometimes “modern” and other times what was referred to as “Mediterranean” in style (think living room furniture of the period). So, the use of floral and geometric embellishments were common.

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      June 8, 2017 at 5:23 pm

      Thanks so much Bob! And I definitely know what you mean about the Mediterranean elements in 60s houses…I’ve seen it a lot around here!

  4. Susan from Boston Reply

    June 12, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    Ah-may-ZING Sara! Well done.

  5. RetroRuth Reply

    June 13, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    Nice job! It looks a hundred million times better!

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      June 14, 2017 at 6:53 pm

      It is K-Razy how much better it looks now isn’t it Ruth?! 🙂

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