Recreating a regency door surround.


When Dai refurbished his house (you can see more details on this website) he did not replace the front door surround, despite it being clearly

a) not original and

b) in poor condition.

Over nearly ten years living with a door that often let in draughts, always felt insecure and was undeniably crude looking, he knew that replacing it was something that had to be done. One question was coming up with a design, and another was finding someone to do the work.

Dai was sure that the design would be an exercise in classical detailing which would be right for the age of the house (1812). That probably meant it would include a pair of columns, and he was tempted to go for the elaborate scrollwork of the Ionic order. He toyed with ideas for using computer controlled techniques to achieve this, but it never looked as if it would come out right, and his wife always felt that this was over-elaborate for the house, which as a vicarage had always aimed for a level of sobriety.

Eventually he came to see that the Tuscan order offered the right tone, and was also a practical proposition using the ordinary woodworking techniques. Looking around he noticed that a pair of houses on Hope St had a similar combination of a stone architrave to the windows above the front door as at the Old Vicarage, and a design to the door surround that would work as a good model. This became the basis for a Listed Building application.

Dai met joiner Boris Afinogenov at a seminar on eco-building and invited him to take on the work. Boris brought in cabinet maker Ryszard Gorbenko to help.

They dismantled the existing door and interior trims, which were disassembled, stripped and repaired meticulously. The new frame with its columns, entablature and sunburst fanlight (double-glazed) were constructed and the whole lot was spray-painted before installation.


  • Dai Gwynne