A Door from Scratch

By: Holly Bayer, ASID

Part of my children’s homework each night is reading aloud. Our current read is Little House on the Prairie, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. As a kid, I too had to read the books from this series but I had forgotten all about the third book, when Pa actually begins constructing a home for their life on the prairie. When we came upon this chapter in the book called, “Two Stout Doors,” it had renewed interest for me. In this beautiful paragraph, Laura recounts every single step of Pa’s handiwork in crafting a door for their little log home. “Pa said he would make a door that very day. He wanted more than a quilt between them and the wolves, next time.”

The first thought I had was, where’d he learn to build a door in a day? At what point in a man’s life was this skill learned? Further, he claimed he could build it without any nails! And indeed, he does. It had strap hinges and a stick for a latch. Not terribly secure from thieves, but there weren’t too many of those yet. “That made the door. It was a good oak door, solid and strong.”

Wolves seem like a very good reason to install a door, but they serve us in more ways than just security. Doors protect our interior environment from the elements and create a visible entry point into our home. They’re far less drafty and more energy efficient than the first slabs which were fitted into an opening made from a couple of posts and a lintel. This might seem redundant and terribly obvious to the reader, but think for a moment how many doors you move through in just one morning, or one day, or a week.

A simple luxury when compared with pushing a rock out of the way in order to leave the cave for breakfast!