A Long Post About Pretty Doors, and Flow, and Basketball Players

Since last Friday, we’ve been doing a slight remodel on the house. We’ve gotten a new side door (that actually locks-don’t tell anyone we lived here for over a year with a sketchy door) and a new storm door for the front of the house.

We could see daylight through the framing of the side door, and underneath the front door, and our energy bill is higher than we’d like, so we had to fix it. I was afraid to spend the money, especially since the doors had to be custom ordered (more about our old house and its’ weird doors in a minute). I don’t like to spend a lot of money, but Barry is sure as he can be that is (one of the reasons) why our energy bill is so high, and he promises that this will help.

*stands with hands on hips, tapping foot, waiting for the next energy bill*

Here is the old side door with the crappy broken storm door:

The door will make a wonderful crafty project at a later date, so we will keep it. The storm door and frame are gone, and we have a beautiful, newly framed door in place of this. Do you see that small silver plate just below the window in the pic of the storm door just above this paragraph? Well, one night the wind caught the door and almost ripped it right off the house. It wouldn’t close properly after that, so Barry went out and jimmied it so that the door would close again. Two screws were sticking through the outside of that door, and, while it was ugly, it fixed the door temporarily.

Now we’ve come to the part of the story where I tell you that if it’s not nails, paint, screws, or duct tape, it is beyond our level of home improvement skills. We hired a friend from church to install the doors for us. Here are some pics of the work being done:

Having a huge hole on the side of our house for most of a day was very strange. I’m just happy we did not acquire any new “pets” (or kids) during that time. We also locked up the cats, so they were perfectly safe.

Bye-bye old doors… and good riddance to the storm door.

Hello pretty new side door, with your gorgeous, brushed-silver doorknob. (I have to secretly say, though, that I am really going to miss the old door knob. I liked it so much. However the brushed-silver knob, with a working dead-bolt lock, is nice, too)

When I saw the hole in the plaster around our door, I was beyond relieved that we didn’t take this project on ourselves. Thank God we know our limits.

Look! The hole is patched. Even though I don’t have a picture of it, Craig also primed the whole wall around the door, so that when we re-paint (next project) we won’t have to worry about priming it. It will probably be a few weeks before we paint the hallway here, so it will be white for a while. I’m still thinking about what colors I want to come home to.

He also put up trim around the whole door.

Isn’t it just beautiful??? We are so happy. Although we’re still getting used to not having two doors, getting groceries in is SO much easier. The old storm door use to come after you like a rabid wolf, and if you didn’t jump in and get out of the way, the door would try to eat your foot. I lost a shoe or got a bruise from that old door more than once. This new door is so much nicer.

The fun thing (I use “fun” as loosely as possible here. Feel free to replace it with “expensive”) about owning a very old home (over 100 years) is that the doors, if original, are all custom made to fit each and every doorway. I think it’s the opposite now. The doorways are made to fit the standard size doors, and if you do anything else, it’s crazy expensive. In our home, they ONLY fit THAT doorway. We have (except for the new side door, basement doors, and back door) all of the original five-panel doors that were installed when the home was built. When we replaced the side door it was not a typical size, so the door had to be custom ordered. That’s why all the mess of re-framing and such had to be done. The new side door is wider. A professional was hired. We are not stupid, just frugal. We can paint. We cannot re-frame. We are smart enough to know our limits.

Now to the front door. The front door is the original door. It is OLD. When we originally looked at the house years ago (when it was first up for sale, and I put my foot down with a shaking finger, and a firm “No. It does not have air-conditioning, and I will NEVER live in a home with no A/C”) there was a storm door on the front of the house. It was in poor shape, but it seemed to do the job nicely enough. In my mind, the storm door has a few functions. Mainly, keeping the weather OUT, keeping the cats IN – while letting a breeze blow through the house, and PROTECTING the front door.

For whatever reason (I think because it was so crappy) the storm door was removed before we bought the house (still with no A/C – and after I priced having it installed, it will stay that way).

The front door of our home is SEVEN FEET tall. If that doesn’t sound very high, think of it this way: Most professional basketball players (average height in the NBA is 6’7″) would not have to duck – at all – walking through our home. Those are tall doorways. Our ceilings are 10 feet in most of the home, so the doorways don’t seem that high.

The front of the house looked funny. I couldn’t quite explain it. I thought it was the ugly porch color, so we painted it a pretty ocean blue. Not it. I thought it was the empty porch, so we got new porch furniture to fill it up. Not it. It was the door. The front of our house is white, with dark shutters on some of the windows (not too many-just enough)…and the problem was this big, tall, brown door. It looked out of place. It kind of messed up the flow of the house. I love brown, but it was bothering me. It was kind-of like, white…white…white…BROWN!…white…white…white. Does that make sense? Barry will NOT let me paint the front door, so I was stuck. I couldn’t figure out how to get the flow going. I’m happy to report that the flow is back! (And much to his delight – and, honestly, my own as well – the door is still brown)

It only took half a day for our friend Craig to install it, so I don’t have any “during” photos. You’ll survive, I’m sure. Here are the pics of the front door:

I almost missed getting a “before” pic. He’s so quick to get started :)

This is a view from inside, after the storm door is installed, and you can’t even see it! That is exactly what I wanted. I love having that big window in our front door, and the view we’ve always had is still there! YAY!

Still from the inside of the house, but with the front door open. It’s a split-screen storm door, meaning the top part is screened, and the glass from the top slides down to the bottom to give you great air flow, while your view still remains as full as possible. This way we can finally get some air flow from the front of the house, without having the front door gaping open and losing our cats. (They would only go under the front porch since once they got out they’d immediately freak and hide. But still, it’s a pain to get under there to dig them out.)

A couple close shots of the door so you can see how great it looks! The second one is off a little so that I’m not in it. This reminds me that it’s time for a new “welcome” mat. This one is getting pretty faded. I hope Target has another one just like it. Maybe I should buy a few of them… Oh right! Back to the doors…sorry.

This is only important to me…but my pretty mailbox and the door handles match (as closely as possible). I refuse to move my mailbox, and it was important to me, since they’re so close together, that they are as close to the same as possible.

This last pic is as much of the front of the house as I could manage without getting too much of the trees. We have two beautiful, big trees in the front yard, and while they provide a lot of shade, and cool, rustling sounds, and cooler temps, and sound amazing during a rainstorm, they are in the way of getting a great, straight pic of the front of our house.

I tried.

See what I mean about the flow? It looks “finished” now.

So, there you have it…the last week of our lives. And hopefully cheaper energy bills to make the price of two custom doors and installation worth it in the long run.

*crosses fingers*


Brain Dump Friday

Giraffes are my favorite thing about going to the zoo.
I have had such a great week with my girl! A whole week, (mostly) just the two of us.
I love aquariums. As a place to go, they make for a great date or family outing. Especially when they have the tunnel you can walk through so the fish are all around you. It’s aaaaah-may-zing!
Our side door is being replaced today. A huge thank you to our friend, Cindy, for loaning us her husband again. Hopefully between this, and the new storm door we get next week, our energy bill will go down. A hot house for a couple of days, is ok for a cooler/warmer house the rest of our lives. Considering there is not an ounce of insulation in any of the walls (thank you very much previous owners for siding the house and not doing insulation first, so now we have to remove siding and drill holes-someday), we need all the help we can get.
I’m trying to come up with some kind of crafty thing to do with the old door. It’s a gorgeous door. Probably over-painted, but the glass is in really good shape. I don’t think it will fit any other doorways in the house, so I’m thinking about making it into some sort of organizational piece, or DIY decor of some kind. We don’t need a coffee table, but that would be an amazing idea. (we have a huge ottoman that came with our even-more-huge couch) I’m going to keep looking at blogs and Pinterest to see what I can come up with. (qualification: what I can come up with, that Barry will say “OK” to)
I finally made a zoo photo album today. Take a look.
I am missing my son more than I can say. I got to talk to him for almost 20 minutes last night. I was smiling as I went to sleep. It was the best I’ve slept all week. I cannot wait for him to be home.
A lot is on my mind, but it’s probably best that I not share it all today. I hope you have a great Friday, and a great weekend.
That is all.

The Evolution Of The Extra Room

Not many people are blessed enough to have a home with an “Extra Room”. I’m grateful every day for the space we have in our home. I hope and pray that this room is used to its fullest potential, and is comfortable to all who stay in it.

When we moved in a year ago, it was the Office. It also functioned as a napping room for one of my daycare kids. It was also a storage room.


Then, when we decided to bring my mother into our home, it became Mom’s Room. A couple of friends came over and helped me strip the wallpaper off the walls and ceiling. That took 7 1/2 hours. It was a Saturday.



The next day (Sunday) was my anniversary, and the next day (Monday) was the day my mom went into the ICU in Des Moines. She never left the ICU. That week was Spring Break for me, and I had planned to use that time to finish stripping the walls, and paint the walls, and get the room ready for my mom. I moved into the ICU room to be with her every moment. She died Friday of that week.

The room sat empty (and incomplete) for over a month. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t go in there. Every time I walked in, I cried.

We had to have the ceiling repaired (due to cracks underneath the wallpaper), so a friend of ours came in and did that. The ceiling was drywalled, and textured, and painted, and it looks like new now.



I can finally go into the room without bawling every time, so we have now finished painting the walls.The picture molding is up. A carpet remnant is down on the floor (which is not in the best shape), and we moved my mom’s furniture into the room. Her furniture has been sitting in the garage for nearly three months because the room wasn’t finished.


All that needs to be done now is to decorate. I think that will be fun. I’ve decided on some coordinating colors to go with the walls, and it will be the first room I’ve ever decorated.

I think that (aside from the color) my mom would have loved the room. Boysenberry Jam is the name of the color. It’s Valspar. We got it at Lowe’s. It took two coats to cover the walls. Our walls are plaster. As you can see from one of the above pictures, one coat wasn’t enough. I’m not a big fan of purple, but I’m using it anyway. I can’t have all the rooms be a grayish-blue and brown. (This is me branching out; growing as a person)

Our first guest comes into town on Friday to stay with us. I hope it is comfortable for him. He’s a Navy buddy of Barry’s, and I’ve never met him.  ::nervous::

I will post a couple more pics when I get the room completed.

EDIT: It’s done! Here are a few more pictures…

Since the walls are a deep purple, I’m trying not to use much purple anywhere else. I want that to be the main color. The sheets on the bed are green, but they won’t be seen, so the main color for the bed is a silver/gray color. Two pillows are purple, but they are a nice accent with all that grey. Also: Gray cat. *sigh* There’s a picture above the bed with trees (because I have to have trees). The tea cart has pics of friends and family, and those pictures will change now and then. I wanted green to be the “punch color”, so there are pops of bright green all over the room. There is a green lamp with a white shade that has green trim. Next to the bed is a green side table and the hideous old dresser (that magically matches the wood in the room). On the dresser is a glass thing with green decorative balls in it. Above the dresser is a mirror, framed in a dark silver, that I hung by myself. *pats back* Gray guest towels are ready to go on my mom’s hope chest, and a rocker that’s as old as Noah. (Not really, but I think it’s the chair my grandmother rocked my dad in as a baby…so that’s pre-1932) All in all, I’m pretty happy with it. There are a couple more things I need, but it’s done enough for now.

– Kicks