Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Dining Room Door

So, last December we completed the back steps project, which I explained here and here. In the process of getting bids from contractors for the stairs, we asked them to also give us a bid to turn the dining room window into a door. Our theory was that they were two sort of similar projects in the same part of the house, so it might be cheaper to do together.

Well - we ended up doing the stairs on their own because the contractors never got back to us in time. Then, one of the contractors did finally get back to us, after the stairs were already done, with a nice quote for the back porch project. So, even though it wasn't a huge priority and we only ever intended to do it in combo with the stairs - low and behold, we decided to go ahead and do this project now.

The Problem
There is a small patio on the back of the house, off of the dining room windows that we cannot use. When we first moved in, there was a very narrow walkway from the back door, behind the pantry, over to this little porch. During the Big Renovation, we expanded the old pantry to make the new half bath (which I swear is actually going to become a functional bathroom this year), which cut off the little walkway. At the time, we thought that we could just access the porch through the dining room windows, but I think that only happened once or twice before I got massively pregnant (no longer able to get myself through the window) and then the kid arrived (didn't want to carry him and stuff through a window). So, basically we just lost access to our little porch.

the small inaccessible porch

The Goal
We have a nice back yard with a table and chairs and an umbrella, but we don't use it as often as I would like. In the summer, it gets really hot. Even with an umbrella, it's not really covered from the rain and only offers shade to some of the chairs. Even though the new stairs are awesome, it's a bit of a hassle to bring dishes and stuff up and down the stairs and through the two back doors. The table and chairs are nice, but not very comfortable for conversations. So the theory is that the little porch would be an alternate outdoor space that would be more accessible to the kitchen, covered and therefore cooler in the summer. I'm thinking this would be a great morning coffee or evening glass of wine kind of spot.  It's pretty small - so we're not going crazy with lots of extra furniture.

dining room windows, looking out at the small porch

Step 1: Wait
Once we finally signed the contract, we waited for the special-order door to arrive. Then it snowed which caused more delays. Then the door finally arrived, and they could get started.

Step 2: Remove the Window
The first day of work, they removed the old window and cut out the bricks below. They grinded down the remaining cement and stuff to make it flat and smooth and level with the dining room floor.

Day One: Old Window and Bricks are Removed

Step 3: Install the Door 
The next day, they installed the new door by creating a door frame for it and attaching the hinges. They patched the wall, but didn't paint or install the door knob.

Day Two: Door is In

Step 4: Finishing Touches
On the third day, they finished up the trim, and painted the walls.

Day Three: Nearly All Done

Step 5: Paint
We saved a bit of money by having them install a primed, but not painted door, that I planned to paint myself. That, of course, took like a week to finally get around to doing. But eventually, I painted the door, we moved all the furniture back - and this project is done.

Next up, we will want to fix up the patio itself, but since it's still basically winter - that can wait until later. For now, this is already a huge improvement - we get so much more light in the room. Looking forward to actually using this new little space.

All Done - door from the inside 

feeling conflicted about the painted and unpainted trim in the same room

view from the outside

a surprisingly big little porch

so much more light coming into this room

While this was sort of an odd project to do now - we are happy to have tested out a new contractor. We're hoping that we can use them on some future projects, so it was great to get to test them out on something pretty small. Obviously, there is no shortage of projects to do around this house.