Friday, May 22, 2009

Hurricane Natalie

Much of my current at-home time has been spent either job-hunting, or wiping up the aftermath of my daughter. Like a typical 8-year-old (or so I'm told), Natalie has what I guess you could describe as a very narrow area of focus when she moves about the room. To put it in simpler terms, she doesn't pay any attention to what the heck she's doing. Be it shutting the bathroom light off when she's done brushing her teeth, leaving her poor little sister standing there in the dark, or grabbing something she wants out of the refrigerator only to cause a cascade of vegetables and Tupperware to come tumbling from the shelves, she's like a Tasmanian Devil on caffeine pills.

Case in point. A few weeks ago, she innocently walked out of our master bathroom, and somehow managed to take the entire closet door with her...along with the hinges, the door frame, and the drywall. As I entered the planning stages of THAT home improvement project, while watching a squirrel scamper across the front yard she leaned a little too hard on the curtain and somehow managed to rip the curtain rod out of the wall, leaving hole 2" in the drywall. And today I noticed that her ability to inundate the bathroom with water whenever she washes her hands is doing wonders for the paint job in that new bathroom. So despite my grand plan for the construction of workshop cabinets to be my first big project during my time off, I've had to put that project off just to keep the house standing.

I learned a few things during my door replacement project. First and foremost, you know those Project Starter coupons that Lowes sends us in the mail and includes in their circulars? Home Depot accepts those! You're welcome.

The door she ripped off was an inexpensive luan bifold door. I decided I wanted something a little nicer than that to replace it, and I also did not want them to be bifold. So I framed the doorway with some good quality pine, and then hunted for a new set of doors. Given my drastically reduced buying power as of late, I decided the best bet was to buy a set of solid pine bifold doors, remove all the bifold hardware, and trim them down to the right size.

One thing I discovered early on was that the door frame was not truly square; the faces of the frame were "splayed" out, such that if I hung a door on its hinges the door would not close flush with the frame. I got around that by trimming the hinge-side of each door at a slight angle, so they would close all the way.

Additionally, here's a handy tip for buying bifold doors off the rack at Home Depot. Inspect the doors before purchase EXTREMELY carefully. Notice, in the picture, the left hand door, about 9 or 10 slats from the top? Yeah, nice warp there. I didn't catch that until after I'd cut and stained the doors.

Also, bifold doors like these are not meant to be cut down to narrower widths. I took about 1/4" off each side of each door. As a result there are now exposed dowels, and the hole at the very top where the bifold pivot was to go is now exposed. Luckily all those defects are on the sides or inside of the door. Also, when screwing the hinges on I had to take a bolt cutter and cut about 1/8" off the ends of the screws or they'd stick through and ruin the slats.

It turned out that the doors were also narrower than the hinges. It looks fine in the end, but you can see how the doors are set back from the face of the door frame a bit rather than being flush, to account for the fact that the hinges were wider than the door was thick.

Despite all this hackery, I think they came out pretty nice. You might ask why I didn't order custom-to-fit doors to begin with, to make life easier? Because it meant the difference between a $48 pair of doors and a $248 pair of doors, that's why. And given Jessica will be turning 8 in only three short years, I figured I'd better save up for her inevitable destructiveness.

Oh, on a final note. I just read in the paper that our local town council gave developers the go-ahead to begin building a Lowes that will be within WALKING DISTANCE from our house. Dear lord, I need to get a job and FAST.

1 comment:

Carrie said...

Watch out for ballet moves on the towel racks! :)