For the past 18 months, my company, New Dimension Construction, has been involved in the renovation of a 3,800-square-foot Midcentury Modern–style home in Rhinebeck, N.Y. The project is a blend of design features faithful to the home’s original style—namely clean and simple lines (particularly with regard to the interior finishes)—and increasingly common eco-conscious amenities such as an 85-panel solar array on the main roof, geothermal heating and cooling, and an earth roof on a detached pool house.

In this story, I focus on the installation of interior doors with butt hinges, a process more akin to assembling steel knock-down door frames found in commercial buildings than to a typical installation (and trimming out) of wood interior doors in residential work.

Tight Tolerances
The architect’s plans called for Modern-style wood trim at doors and windows where the drywall edge at the rough opening would be covered by a mere 1/2-inch return in lieu of a traditional casing trim. For interior doors, the 1/2-inch returns were shown to be integral to the door frames while those for windows (and exterior doors) were to be integral to the jamb extensions. These “casingless” doors and windows would require precise framing and drywall installation at all the rough openings as well as exacting finish work.

Milled frames. With the doors, we briefly entertained the idea of splitting the frame in half to install it from either side of the wall (covering the fasteners under an applied door stop). Instead, we decided to mill the door frames into a C shape with a separate applied door stop. The C-shaped profile would require us to install the interior door frames in pieces—first the hinge side, then the head, and the strike side last—similar to how commercial steel knock-down door frames are assembled.

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