Should I Restore 40s Maple Doors or Paint?

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Q: Picture it: a 1946 stucco home with expansive lathe-and-plaster arches, corner windows, and original hardwood floors. Not to mention honey maple doors like no one can afford to buy anymore — perfect for restoring to golden glory.

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Except, in 20 years of living in the house Nana and Granddad built, I haven't — restored, refinished, reloved, whatever name you choose. These doors remain smudged, splintered (just one and it wasn't my fault!) and scratched, the once-clear stain darkening over the years. We've done all kinds of extensive renovations, about twice over now, but I lack the courage to tackle these doors:

I just cannot imagine having enough time and patience to make them beautiful once more. Last week blasphemy nearly occurred when I thought, "Self, just paint them already for a clean look and forget you ever knew their true beauty."

I am not a preserve-wood-at-any-cost person, but I do fear lowering the value of the house if I paint these over. And I may regret doing so in my own time here, projected to be another 12-15 years. Yet... yet... I can't live with the way they look now. Send help.

And did I mention there are 11... ELEVEN... doors to redo?

Sent by Sheila

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(Image credits: Sheila)

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Regina is an architect who lives with her husband and children in Lawrence, KS. As a LEED Accredited Professional and longtime contributor to Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn, her focus is on healthy, sustainable living through design.