This is How Every Project Goes At Our House. Our Old Old House.

When we were house hunting, I had four very specific requirements.  1.  a dining room 2.  an entryway.  3.  no garage in the front and 4.  a house you stepped UP to, with a front porch.  This house had all four of those things and so I bought it.

Anyway.  I have had big plans for the front porch, right from the beginning.  Tile the cement with terra cotta tiles.  Add a fancy light and an olive tree in a pot.  Wrap the skinny posts in nice wide wood cladding.   And buy a new exterior front door with lots of glass in it, add an old fashioned door knob to it, and paint it red.  And then get a new screen door.

Unfortunately our house is suffering from years of neglect and we pretty much do projects on a “this just fell off oh my god” basis.  I am not even sure I can remember everything we’ve done, but a quick list goes something like: painted all the rooms including the ceilings, restored the fireplace including a new mantel, ripped the water heater out of the kitchen and hung a new one on the back of the house, removed three trees and graded and landscaped the side yard, replaced the garage roof, new gate in the backyard, entire new backyard (we didn’t do all of that ourselves), new light fixtures in every room but one, new medicine cabinet, new back porch, painted the kitchen cabinets, new landscaping in the front yard and the other side of the house, replaced and resurfaced the plaster in the hallway, added a dishwasher, and misc. plumbing and electrical disasters.

This doesn’t include replacing all the appliances and buying a houseful of new furniture, so we’ve been busy.  And poor.

Also, I would just like to add that whenever I see a real estate walking through a house with a couple and saying over and over “Oh, paint is easy and cheap!” I just laugh.  Because painting nine rooms including the ceilings (which sucks) when you have two kids and don’t own any painting supplies and have to repair plaster and fix cracks is a lot of things, but it’s not really that cheap or that easy.  Just saying.

Anyway, I’ve been slooooowly working on the front porch, not that you’d know it.  We bought a mail box. I scraped all the chipping white paint off the ceiling and the roof (this SUCKED) and patched it and repainted it.  We put new house numbers on, and when Smith & Hawken went out of business I hustled over there to buy their cast iron doormat and spray painted it black.  I am ashamed to admit that I also jumped the gun spectactularly, and one of the first things I bought when we moved in here was a gallon of red paint for the front door I was going to buy someday.  And then I bought an old doorknob on Ebay.  And then this stuff sat in my garage for three years.

Do you have any idea how hard it is find a real wood front door that’s not a thousand dollars? It is difficult.  I am sure I could find an OLD front door, at ReStore or something, but I honestly do not think that Mr. E and I possess the skills required to get anything other than a prehung door on this wonky ass old ass house.  Which means a $50 door at ReStore is going to cost me $1000 in labor anyway, because I’m going to have to pay someone to work some serious mojo on it to get it in the space.

So then I decided that I’d just make the best of things, because shit, I have the paint. I have the doorknob.  I can’t find a new door I like anyway.  So I would just paint the front door I have red, and that might be better in the long run anyway, because even though it doesn’t have a window in it, I am not sure I’ll ever be able to fit another door in this space (seriously, you should see how much they had to cut down the top of this door to get it in), and again,  I can’t find a wood door.  I just needed a deadbolt lock, because the door knob that is on the door now is one of those cheap interior locks (I know) and there’s no dead bolt.  There’s a dead bolt on the horrible iron screen door, but I wanted to take that off, obviously.  The new door knob doesn’t have a lock, so I needed to add one to the door.

No problem. I take everything off the door and buy a lock.

Then I leave the bag with the door lock in it, which I have paid for, at the check out at Home Depot.

I go back to Home Depot.

I bribe Eli, who REALLY doesn’t want to go back to Home Depot, with Jamba Juice.

I get back home and carry Katie and a cup of Jamba Juice and a lock and my purse and my keys up to the front door, and she pries the lid off the cup and flings Orange Dream Machine all over the porch, and all over me.  It is in my hair, all over my shirt, all over my skirt, all over my shoes, all over Katie.  It is my TOES, and I am wearing sneakers.

I prime the door, and start painting it red.  It’s the weirdest looking paint in the world, it goes on  hot pink, and it’s over white primer, so it looks AWFUL, and it’s apparent I will have to put 7,000 coats of this paint on this door, but whatever.  Project Red Door is a go!

Katherine vomits all over me and the couch.  Then while I am cleaning that up,  she poops all over me.

I have a big fight with Mr. E about the front door,  because this project involves work, which he is allergic to.

I realize that the old doorknob I bought on Ebay is just the knob, literally, and has no tongue or innards, and won’t fit with the workings of the doorknob I removed, and I have to order a special part to make it work.

I open the package for the lock, and realize I need a hole saw.  Mr. E and I have another fight about how much money this project is costing.

I go back to Home Depot.

Mr. E reads the lock directions, and starts to figure out where to put the lock.  I hear a lot of mysterious tapping and banging and then some yelling.  Then more yelling.  Perhaps a bad word or two as well.

We realize that the FRONT EXTERIOR DOOR of our house is actually AN INTERIOR HOLLOW CORE DOOR.

Because of this, I cannot add a lock, since the door is hollow and there’s nothing to drill into.  So glad I bought that hole saw!  I cannot use my pretty new (old) door knob, because it doesn’t have a lock in it, it’s just a door knob.  I can’t take off the UNBELIEVABLY UGLY iron security door, because a HOLLOW CORE INTERIOR DOOR  (!) isn’t secure as a front door.   ARGHHHHHHHHHH.

Oh for god’s sake.  Sometimes I want to write the previous owners of this house a really long letter.  In this letter I would use I use ALL the bad words.  A great many times.

Whatever. I’m still painting the stupid door red.  Sparkling garnet, if those kinds of things are the kinds of things you need to know.

13 Responses

  1. These are how projects tend to go in our house too and this house IS NOT THAT OLD FTLOG. I get so irrationally angry at the shoddy workmanship of everything in this house, when we want a project to be simple (AND IT SHOULD BE) it never is and everything is covered in POPCORN TEXTURE and just STABBY MAKING.

  2. Lady, I totally hear you!

    However, the color you chose is LOVELY!!

  3. This is how every DIY project goes in our house, which is why all of our walls are still white and it took 3 weeks for Garrett to make the most generic of all jewelry holders (which is awesome and I still love even though it is not fancy.)

    This is also why I read websites like Young House Love with rage. I’m sure they are nice people, but everything JUST CAN’T GO THAT SMOOTHLY, PEOPLE. 😉

    But seriously, I love a red door.

  4. I have always thought the “paint is so easy” line is crap. Especially when you’re painting over someone’s crappy paint job (they got paint all over the baseboards, which my husband refused to paint or replace since they are original to the house and match the baseboards in the rest of the house, so he spent two weeks with a heat gun, steel wool, and lacquer refinishing them BEFORE sanding, priming, and painting the walls.)

  5. I’m glad I’m not the only one with oddly specific house requirements. When we bought our first house they were: 1) two stories 2) vaulted living room ceiling and 3) an east facing window in the master bedroom.

    Any time I get ideas for house projects it goes like this:
    Me: How much work/money would it take to ….?
    My husband: More than we want to do/spend.
    And 8 years of construction experience wins out over my many hours of HGTV watching every time.

  6. The color is lovely–is that your house in the flickr picture? I want a house tour!

    The house we sold two years ago was a flip (for someone else, we bought the pig wearing lipstick). Never again. From afar, everything was lovely, but then you peeled back the carpets and what have you and the entire house was rotting and flaking away. After a year the kitchen floor started to collapse in the back, and taking off the baseboards showed a four inch gap between the floor and wall. Oh yeah. It was quite an (expensive) education. And sometimes I contemplate suing the home inspection guy.

    If you get a cheap $100 exterior door from Home Depot, it is about $500 installed. We did that, because we had a door that was more suitable for a garage as our front door—all glass up top, easy to just break the glass and reach inside the door to unlock it. That was the first thing we replaced.

    I feel your pain.

  7. Elizabeth. OH MY GOODNESS. this kind of crap happens to me all the time! Especially the husband who is allergic to work thing. And the uncooperative kids. And the getting your ass kicked trying to do a simple job thing. YES.

  8. Have you ever heard of free cycle? My mom found 2 wooden doors on there recently. She’s planning on using them for head boards. We also have a Seconds & Surplus which sell doors much cheaper.

  9. Ugh! I hate projects like that!
    However, I totally love your new front door color and can’t wait to see pictures after those 12 coats of paint are up! 😉

  10. Gah, this is why I am afraid to do so many things. My house was built in 92 and apparently by monkeys. It’s had so many problems and we’ve put in SO MUCH money on invisible shit. new roof, siding, shutters, heat and air, garage door. Crap that needed to be done but that does not look like a kitchen! You know? It is out dated and sad and I am not that handy so when I start something it always costs 3x’s more than I thought and ugh. it just sicks sometimes.
    I LOVE that red. I hope it makes you happy despite the hollow core business.

  11. Painting sucks, it just sucks. I am always impressed at the number of things you get done with two kids in tow!

  12. Yeah, this did not make me want to be more crafty around my house. At all. I may have cringed and shuddered through the entire thing.

  13. Oh dear.

    Perhaps this isn’t the best time to mention the words “tinted primer….”

    When we pained our dining room red the guy at Lowe’s said “GET THEE TINTED PRIMER” or yes, we would have ended up putting on 100 coats of red paint.

    If you lived closer I would take you to the architectural salvage place in Grass Lake which is a stunning cornucopia of all things Ye Olde House. I guarantee there’s a front door in there somewhere.

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