The challenging thing about building a house is that you have to think about a million little details, and then you have to think about how each of those little details relates to the other little details you’ve already thought about, and sometimes that means you end up having to rethink the little details you thought you already figured out.

Yeah.  It can be as exhausting and confusing as that first sentence.  But to be honest, I mostly love thinking about all the little details and how they relate to one another.  This past weekend, the details I focused on were interior doors.

Now, this is the kind of thing you wouldn’t necessarily need to obsess over if you were building a house.  You could easily tell your builder you want white, solid core, smooth finish, two panel doors (for example), and that would be that.  If you specified that you wanted to approve the door selection, your builder would come back with one or two options, and it would be pretty easy to say, “Yup, that’s a perfectly nice looking door.  Carry on, dear builder.”  And you would almost certainly be perfectly happy with the doors and would probably never even give them a second thought.

If my timeline was tight, that’s the approach I’d be taking with my own building project.  However, I will have spent approximately three years planning and dreaming about my build before I even file for a permit.  Three years is enough time to dive into virtually every detail of the design.

Which brings me to the point of this post: choosing the interior doors for my house.  I’ve already decided on the windows, which has helped narrow my search for doors.  The windows are Integrity Wood-Ultrex Double-Hung windows in the cottage-style configuration.  These windows are a cool product because they have fiberglass on the exterior side and wood on the interior side.  The fiberglass is maintenance-free and will hold up well in the elements.  The wood on the inside gives a nice warm, high-end look.

I couldn’t find a photo online of the cottage-style configuration, so I snapped a photo from the Integrity product book I picked up from a vendor:

Integrity Wood-Ultrex Windows - Cottage Style

I’ll be getting the windows with unfinished clear pine on the interior side, and I’ll stain them a warm brown.  The stain will be something similar to one of these Minwax stain colors:

Minwax wood stain in Early American
Early American


Minwax wood stain in Golden Pecan
Golden Pecan


Minwax wood stain in Gunstock


Minwax wood stain in Special Walnut
Special Walnut

Ideally, I’d like to get interior doors that are clear/white pine wood and stain them the same color as the windows.  There will be a lot of white walls in the house (not all the walls certainly, but quite a few of them), so the warmth of a wood tone will be very much needed.

Choosing the windows not only helped me narrow down my search to stained wood doors (preferably clear/white pine), but it also helped me hone in on the style of door.  I want the doors to mirror the windows, so I’m looking at three-panel, craftsman style doors.  Here’s a sketch of this style from Allegheny Wood Works:

Allegheny Wood Works door - three panel craftsman


See how it sort of mirrors the lines of the windows?  I like that the lines are very similar, but reversed with the divided panels on the bottom.  Another option would be a four-panel door that has three panels on the bottom instead of two. That design is even more similar to the windows, but I’m worried that three panels across the bottom might be too busy on a door.  What do you think?

Allegheny wood door - four panel craftsman


So let’s compare some of the options.

First, here are the two doors mentioned above from Allegheny Wood Works (note: these show style only, not color or wood specie):

Allegheny Wood Works door - three panel craftsman
Three-Panel Craftsman Door


Allegheny Wood Works four-panel craftsman door
Four-Panel Craftsman Wood Door


Advantages of the Allegheny doors:

  • Solid wood construction
  • Available in a wide variety of wood species
  • Can be stained to my specifications
  • Lots of options for door styles and sizes

Disadvantages of the Allegheny doors:

  • Lead times – These doors are built to order so they take many weeks to arrive.  There are a few negative reviews on Houzz related to their shipping dates that cause me some concern.
  • Cost – The cost of a 36″ wide x 80″ high door in either of the styles shown above would be $575 each.  That price includes the door, the jamb, and staining and varnish.  It also includes a 5% discount for orders of eight doors or more, but does not include shipping.

The $575 price tag is quite a bit more than off-the-shelf options from places like Lowe’s and Home Depot.  Let’s take a look at some options from those sites.


Krosswood Craftsman door in Knotty Alder from Home Depot
Krosswood Craftsman door in Knotty Alder from Home Depot – $341


Advantages of the Krosswood door:

  • Solid wood construction
  • Lead time – The doors are kept in inventory and ship relatively quickly
  • Confidence that Home Depot would resolve any issues with the order
  • Price – savings of about $234 per door over the Allegheny door

Disadvantages of the Krosswood door:

  • Only available in knotty alder, which is a different wood specie than my windows.  The knots in the door may be more visible and distracting than I’d like.
  • The doors ship unfinished, so I or my builder will have to stain and varnish them.


Jeld-Wen Craftsman door primed white from Home Depot
Jeld-Wen Craftsman door primed white from Home Depot – $168

Advantages of the Jeld-Wen door:

  • Price – This is the least expensive option of the bunch at $168 each.
  • Lead time – These are stock doors that ship relatively quickly.
  • Available with primer only, which allows me to customize the paint finish to match baseboards and other white trim

Disadvantages of the Jeld-Wen door:

  • Not solid wood construction; some concerns about quality based on reviews
  • No option to stain the doors for the warm wood tone I’d like to incorporate into the design


Milliken Craftsman door in primed white from Home Depot
Milliken Craftsman door in primed white from Home Depot – $222

Advantages & disadvantages of the Milliken doors:  Pretty much the same as the Jeld-Wen door.  The Milliken door is slightly more expensive, so maybe that means better quality…?  Maybe, maybe not.  There aren’t any customer reviews on this product so it’s hard to say.


Masonite Craftsman door in Sea Mist from Lowe's
Masonite Craftsman door in Sea Mist from Lowe’s – $179

Advantages & disadvantages of the Masonite doors:  Again, pretty much the same as the Jeld-Wen and Milliken doors from Home Depot.  These doors come in a variety of fun colors, but they don’t appear to be offered with primer only.  Also, these doors have hollow core construction instead of solid core construction.  That’s a big negative for me as hollow core doors feel rather flimsy and don’t do a great job of blocking sound.

At this point, my preference would be the Allegheny doors, but based on their lengthy lead times, it sounds like I’d have to pull the trigger almost as soon as I file for permits!  Depending on how the budget for the build is looking, my next choices would be the Krosswood knotty alder door and the Jeld-Wen primed door, in that order.

So that concludes the world’s longest blog post about doors… sort of.  See, all of this discussion has been about the basic doors for the house, but there are two areas that call for something special – the craft room and master bathroom. The craft room is located right near the entrance of the house and it’s a room that doesn’t require much privacy, so that creates the opportunity for a show-stopping barn door or perhaps a salvaged antique door.  The limited space in the master bathroom will require either a barn door or a pocket door, so again, that presents an opportunity to find something unique and special.

If this post hasn’t caused you to OD on doors, check back later for Interior Doors – Part 2 about the hunt for unique doors for these two areas of the house!