As seems to happen with most of the projects I start, I had no intention of working on this one anytime soon.
I didn’t know it at the time, but it really started years ago when I started renovations on the rest of the house, and decided to paint the original clapboard on our enclosed porch.
I am not really sure what I was thinking, but I went to Home Depot yanked a pine green swatch off the wall and left with a gallon of exterior paint.
In my zeal, I started painting right away. It was going quickly and I was pleased with the progress… until I took a step back. No, no, No. I did NOT like the color and I stopped mid-painting. There ended any emotional attachment to the porch, no longer used for dinners or lounging in the sunshine. Dead to me.
It was around that time that extra shit that I didn’t want to see inside, or have the room for started to make it’s way outside to the porch. A radiator from the kitchen (still unattached to the plumbing, but now back in the kitchen!), the extra couch when Ugly couch came along. The old tv console when I made over the craigslist credenza. Before I knew it, our porch was white trash as hell and I didn’t even care.
We would just walk past it and straight into the house. I of course had the wherewithal to die a little inside anytime a guest would come over, natch.
Then this past summer, my husband suggested that maybe we should spend some time on it. I was working on the pantry, and pushed it out of my head, kindly suggesting that he could get started on it.
After finishing the pantry (updates soon!), I thought that maybe he was right. Maybe it didn’t have to look quite so terrible. Maybe when the mail man dropped off our mail they wouldn’t assume that we had a distillery upstairs in the bathtub making moonshine.
It was late summer at this point and in Minnesota we never know when fall is going to happen.
I drove off to my local Ace Hardware and picked up a gallon of Clark + Kensington flat exterior paint color matched to Behr Cracked Pepper and a gallon of satin paint color matched to Benjamin Moore Black Tar.
It was relatively quick to clear most of the stuff out of there. After vacuuming and wiping down the walls with TSP, I got to painting! YES! So good to see the green disappear. The clapboard got a coat with a paintbrush in the Cracked Pepper and the trim got the satin Black Tar.
Then… the aluminum storm windows stuck out like a sore thumb. And I HATED the steel exterior door that fit so poorly in the door jamb and almost ruined my marriage.
You probably didn’t think an inanimate object could do that, but it most def can. Last fall, my husband and I were trying to re-hang the door and adjust it so it wasn’t so drafty. This led to such annoyance and aggravation, which led to a ginormous fight. I was bitterly reminded of this when I looked at the door, and my feeling toward it quickly turned to contempt.
I feel all the feels – strongly.
we I (as soon as I bought the paint somehow jurisdiction of this project became mine and my husband slinked off to the shadows, thanks hon) was going to spend time painting and beautifying the porch, why would I leave such ugly storms and door?
This is where our littlest room gets affected.
As is common with a lot of older houses in colder climates, there’s a very small room between the exterior door and interior house door. In the case of my house, I have the porch door, the exterior house door, the small room (I’m going to call it a ‘vestibule’) and interior door.
I hate the porch door too – it’s only 29″ wide! Ugh. Can’t hardly fit anything through it.
Anyways, hating two out of three doors was too much for delicate psyche and I made some decisions.
I liked the interior door, it’s solid hardwood with a nice glass pane. And the measurements were 36″x84″… which are the dimensions that the exterior jamb needed and the contemptuous steel door fell flat of (thus the draft.)
OMG! Brillz idea. Let’s get rid of the steel door, move the existing wood door to replace that one and then order a new door for the interior! One with lots of glass that will lighten the area visually.
Except, apparently this is no longer a common skill. I mean, I knew it wasn’t one of my skills, but I figured someone had it. I made several, several phone calls and got the same response: “we only install pre-hung doors.”
Pre-hung doors come from the manufacturer screwed to a jamb and sill. Old houses have to be retro-fitted for that kind of sill, which raises the frame opening up.
I pouted. I already have a jamb and a door. I don’t want a pre-hung door.
I turned my attention to something I could do. Removing some trees that obscured the street from the porch and painting the aluminum storm windows.
It only took about 40 minutes to cut down these trees and bundle them up! Sunshine on the porch!
The previous owners hated me. They must have. That’s only exclamation I can think of for why they put non-paintable silicone caulk on every surface they could.
It took me probably 15+ hours with a putty knife and razors to remove all of it from the 10 window frames.
I removed the bottom glass pane to leave only the top and screen, vacuumed the hell out of them and scrubbed them with TSP and a brass wire brush. I found a garden sprayer to be invaluable for this! It’s a wet process though, I recommend keeping the wet/dry shop vac close by. At one point, I was like a dentist. Spray/suction combo for the win!
After giving them several hours to dry, I re-caulked and carefully taped the glass off with frog tape and painters plastic. I left the screens in and put plastic loosely on the other side (I did run into a problem with this, but I’m not sure of the solution.)
I purchased the Campbell Hausfeld DH380000AV Pressure-Feed Spray Gun from Amazon and used a 6 Gal pancake compressor. The manual says it won’t work, but it does.
Two coats of Zinsser latex primer and two coats of the exterior paint in Black Tar went like a breeze! The sprayer made things so so so much easier. I was thrilled.
The issue. The plastic on the outside got stuck to the screen with paint, causing some paint to stick to them. I have decided to re-screen them when I have the chance!
Anyways. YES. DO THIS. It made such a difference visually.
While I was working on that, I started asking my coworkers for recommendations on handy men or carpenters. One suggested a good friend of hers. I gave him a call, explained the situation, he looked at it and promised to come back later in the week to move the door.
Happy dance! Nervousness. Things never go that smoothly.
I had picked out a door to order, but held off since I was worried that there may be in issue moving the door and then I would have a useless door taking up room and mocking my life’s decisions.
As promised, Arnie and his friend showed up and instantly got to work. They planed the door down to fit the jamb and cut new mortises for the hinges in the jamb. Then they attempted to screw the hinges to the jamb and they caught on nothing! Removing the casing showed that there was a several inch gap between the jamb and framing.
At this point, they had been working on this for hours and it was getting late. They used 3″ wood screws and got the door hung.
I was thankful for how much time they put in, and ultimately they did solve my problem.
But, those wood screws were ugly. And I am so over ugly right now.
I spent a couple of hours last Friday putting wood blocks behind the hinges and between the jamb and framing lumber. Then putting the pretty screws in the hinges.
This was a blessing because I was able to shim the jamb so the door shuts snugly! I used great stuff to insulate. No more drafts!
The door is currently painted Benjamin Moore’s Gentleman’s Gray on one side, and Juniper on the other. I like both the colors, but I don’t like the blue against the black trim.
I painted the porch door Juniper and I love the brightness of the green against the black.
The exterior door is going to get a coat of Clark + Kensington OPI Care to Danse? as soon as I get two minutes away from the living room and One Room Challenge.
Which leads me to the plans for the vestibule….
New door ordered! After I got over my initial shock of how expensive doors are. Wowzers. I ordered through my local lumber yard and chose a Buffelen door in Douglas Fir with 4 glass panes.
The original doors in the house are 6 panel. I wanted to nod to that but liked the more modern aspect of the larger glass panes. It’s going to get a coat of the pale pink paint and dressed up with some gorgeous crystal knobs from Rejuvenation.
The larger glass will also work better to see this wallpaper that is going up in the vestibule.
Yes. Black, brass, pink and flowers.
I am also waiting on this little beauty to arrive and light up my porch.My husband had the best idea when he suggested we clear out the porch.