Ladies and gentlemen, we have a door! And boy, is it handsome.
You may recall from the Before Pictures of the bathroom that the original door was not the best. Not only was it painted, but one of the panels was pretty badly cracked. Not cute. We knew we’d need to replace it and got quotes on doors from all of the Big Three home improvement stores (Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Menards) as well as Columbus Millwork, but for what we wanted to do, none of them were a very reasonable price. The apartment we moved to after we got married had stained glass in the bathroom door and the transoms, which we found totally charming. When talking about our “dream bathroom,” we had toyed with the idea of including stained glass in the door again, if we could do it without spending a ton of money on it. On exploring the door options at the home improvement stores, it became apparent pretty quickly that what we were thinking (about 2/5ths of the door having an open panel for glass) was nowhere close to standard, and we’d have to consider custom work, or give up on our idea. Tim got the quote from Columbus Millwork, but that option would have been way too pricey as well. We were pretty resigned to having a solid door when Tim thought to get a quote from the Amish man that was going to build our vanity. Genius! Not only would he be able to do it, it’d be at a price that was comparable with the solid doors we’d gotten quotes for, and it’d be in the same wood and style as our vanity and stained to match.
Next, we had to consider whether the stained glass component was going to be affordable or not. We priced out a few different options, from panels available on Amazon to individual artists selling their glass wares on Etsy. We had concerns that a pre-made panel might not be designed to be in a working door (since so many of them are intended as window hangings, which don’t get jostled about much), and the Etsy artists might be able to give us a competitive quote, but the shipping a glass piece is no easy feat and it was going to raise the cost substantially. Tim got a rough idea of what a custom panel at Franklin Art Glass Studios (word of warning, there’s a video that will auto-play on that site) would run, which is local and we’d be able to both work with the artist and pick up the piece instead of shipping it. The price of the custom door and the stained glass seemed doable, so we decided to go for it.
We had the Amish builder make us a door in a 3-panel Mission style, where the top panel had been left open for glass. The door is solid white oak and came stained, prehung, and ready to install. We had a bunch of things to tackle before installing the door, though, so it sat in our garage for over a month while we got the rest of the bathroom ready. Finally, this weekend was the moment. After some football-watching on Saturday, Tim and I lugged the solid wood door (Tim estimated it was probably about 150 pounds, and even though I usually remember to wear gloves when hauling heavy things, it totally slipped my mind this time) up the back steps and into the house. Over the months, we have gotten a LOT better about carrying things together, in terms of planning out which direction to turn and flip things before we’re standing there with the super-heavy thing in our arms muttering “nooooo, the OTHER LEFT.” (This skill really came into play when trying to drywall the ceiling. We have to be flexible, obviously, but it’s a lot easier if we have a general idea of which corner is going to go in which direction first.) Other than a sliiiight mishap with the door flopping open unexpectedly while resting on its side (oh, well, we were going to have to clean up that pony wall anyway), getting the door up and into place was fairly uneventful.
After getting the door upright, Tim busted out the levels and we began the slow process of making sure the door was level and flush in all directions. Tim jacked up the door jamb on the hinge side to get the top level and then there was some “okay, tap it a little towards me” and scooting and coaxing the left side of the frame into just the right spot and then Tim screwed it into place. (This involved three power tools, so Tim could switch quickly between two different drill bit sizes, and the driver for each screw.) However, after getting the hinge side of the jamb adhered to the framing, we discovered that the door was a little snug in the frame, to the point where we couldn’t close the door because it touched the jamb in the lower two feet of the door. After considering it for a minute, our options seemed to be to shave back part of the framing lumber (which, not great, since it’s a structural element) or to cut back some of the cross bracing and physically move the vertical framing element about a 1/4″. Tim opted for that plan, and luckily the drywall was installed in such a way that the screws for the bottom panel could be taken out of the vertical framing along the door so the frame could be moved without destroying the wall or the drywall seam. I set to digging the heads of the screws out from underneath the drywall compound while Tim used the dremel and a bunch of chisels to remove some of the wood from the piece of framing along the floor. It was a struggle, but Tim managed it and we held our breath as we scooted the vertical frame over and pushed the door jamb against it, until the door managed to close without touching the jamb. Success! Tim secured the vertical frame and then we got back to the leveling and shimmying process of getting the jamb exactly where it needed to be.
Now the door is installed perfectly and the best part is that thanks to all of the work with the level, the door hangs perfectly and stays where you put it (rather than swinging more open or closed than you’d like it). Tim found some dark paper and taped it into place over the glass opening as a placeholder.
It is so handsome and awesome and makes our bathroom feel that much more complete. It still needs a handle, but it’s nice to be able to shut the door now when we are in the bathroom, though the cats are not as pleased at being shut in or out at random, since they had been able to come and go as the pleased before with the curtain there.
The rest of the weekend was spent on some cleaning/organizing, and I took the time to complete some window treatment repairs that I had put off for a LONG time, including hemming a pair of curtains in the office. Home renovation, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Speaking of which, Tim will be running a marathon next weekend, so we may not get a whole lot of work done then, either!