DIY Projects – Modern Rustic Door

DIY Projects - Modern Rustic Door

DIY Projects – Modern Rustic Door

BACKGROUND – Modern Rustic Door

Some of the best projects come from casual remarks and good friends. This is one of those projects. It all started with a dear friend mentioning that her condo door needed fixing and ended up becoming an amazing journey to create a Modern Rustic Door to fit in a standard door frame. 

INSPIRATION – Modern Rustic Door

I’m no stranger to finish carpentry and woodworking. When my friend Amy mentioned her door was sagging and no longer locked, I would normally consider this a quick in-and-out project by replacing the sagging door with a new door from the local Big-Box-Store. However, Amy has a unique style and I wanted to propose that her door should reflect this. So I pitched her to install a rustic door in the following tongue ‘n cheeky text.

DIY Projects - Modern Rustic Door
Text thread that started it all


DESIGN – Modern Rustic Door

The idea was out there and nothing in the bylaws said she couldn’t have a royally awesome door. It wasn’t a stretch to get from idea to creation on this. The door frame was standard 36 in. x 80 in. I really wanted the door to be arched but arches can be difficult in a square frame. That’s when I decided to arch the center panel of the door inside the rectangular edging.

DIY Projects - Modern Rustic Door
Design CAD of door


SURVEY – Modern Rustic Door

Never take a job site unseen. The survey is the most important part of a project. I always take lots of pictures and lots of measurements. In this case, I actually got inspired to go lighter on the door stain so it would really stand out in the dark hallway.

Door to be replaced sagging in the frame

Close up of exterior panel

Took a little inspiration from this top molding for door color

You can see the floating panels


WOOD PREP – Modern Rustic Door

Doors are knot easy to make. There are a lot of environmental issues at play that needs to be considered when putting them together. The most common 6-panel door has a stiff frame with floating panel inserts. The panels float so the door can expand and contract without cracking. But what if you want cracking? In a normal door, you wouldn’t want the panels to crack or split. But in a rustic door, you’d want the cracking and splitting of the wood. All that corse and rough texture adding to the rough and tumble look. I decided this door was going to be one solid piece and over time it would split and crack. I used a high-grade douglas fir for the edge of the door to give me lots of solid bite for the hinges and the door latch. The inside I used white fir barn boards joined together. These were 3/4 inch thick and my solution for preventing the cracks from going all the way through the door was to glue-glam a 1/16 in. fiber-reinforced project panel to the middle of the door.


Wood stock

Close up of White Pine panel in the clamps

White Pine panel drying in the clamps

White Pine panels fresh out of the clamps

Roughing out the door

1 string 2 nails draws a perfect arch

Laying out my arch

Sting oval

Line drawn

Making the cut

Top Arch cutout

Smoothing out the acrch

Sizing up the arch top to the center panel

Pickle coat on the White Pine drying

White Pine pickled

Rough cutting the White Fir frame


PULLING IT TOGETHER – Modern Rustic Door

While the door looks rough, the dimensions have to be spot-on. I don’t want the door sagging or warping out of place. This required a lot of glue and pressure to make sure everything glammed together perfectly. The pyramid head screws aren’t just for looks, either. I sized them up to get the most bite into the wood without poking through.

Center Panel drying

Close up of the finished Concrete Blond stain color

Front and Back of the center panel

White Fir frame waiting for assembly

Getting ready to sandwich the project board between the 2 center panels

Rolled on a hearty amount of glue

Project board tacked to the center panel

Flipping the center panel

Front and back inside panel glued and dried

Close up of the center groove

Center groove cut in the bottom kick board

Glue is good

Lining up the bottom kick board

Rough in of bottom kick board

Getting ready to sandwich the center panels together

Glue is good

1/2 done

Top Arch frame with the center groove cut

Lining up the side frame board

Bottom frame boards lined up

Oversized tab glued up and tapped in

White Fir frame clamped and drying to center panel


HARDWARE – Modern Rustic Door

Hardware is so very important. The speakeasy door was a great find on It shipped in from India and it’s a solid, heavy, steel piece. The corner plates are from Stanley Hardware. The corner plates not just decorative. They’re also structural. They help to join the edge and inhibit sagging over time. It’s important to space the inside and outside corner plates so they don’t perfectly line up. Otherwise, you can bang screws and they’ll askew as they go in 😉

Sealed with 3 coats of polyacrylic

Pre-drilling to prevent burring

Top screws going in under the arch

Cut screws drilled in

Checking to make sure the door isn't warped

Final inspection

Angle brackets going on

Cutting the hole out for the speakeasy door

Finished Door

Wrapping up for transport


INSTALLATION – Modern Rustic Door

On installation day I brought everything over to Amy’s place. It was a quick put in. The hinges were repurposed from the old door and the Kwickset handleset lever I choose lined up easily with the existing lock pockets in the frame. This thumb latch handle is smooth and gives you single key entry via the deadbolt above. This lock features Smartkey technology that allows you to re-key the lock at any time. You don’t have to change the locks anymore. Just change the key.

Installation day

Leveling of to mark the hinges

Door Handle unboxing

Lock and handle installed

Close up of the corner

Close up of plaque

Close up corner detail

View from the hallway

View from the inside

A view from inside looking out

The lighter stain makes the hardware pop

Dare to compare doors

Standing out in the hallway but matching the top panel trim


WRAP UP – Modern Rustic Door

Every craftsman, maker, and carpenter makes a living building stuff. All that stuff day in and day out can get repetitive. It’s the projects like this Modern Rustic Door, that take a step outside the usual and remind me of the spark that drives us all to create. I loved making this door. I love seeing this door every time I visit Amy. And, most of all, I love that one of my besties LOVES it and can say I made it for her <3.

Keep DIY’ing everyone!

Thanks for tuning in,


Click here to SUBSCRIBE to Blocks and Spots and get updates on when the next blog comes out.

One thought on “DIY Projects – Modern Rustic Door

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *