So now it’s doors. Every three hours, it seems, I must replace part of my home.
Blame Florida heat and humidity, cheap 21-year-old builders’ materials or plain old age. Whatever the culprit, a sinister house demon siphons off loads of cash I’d rather keep. And is, specifically, no fun. At all.
Today’s project is the front door to my house. It’s a double-door, wood, painted green right now, with little glass panes. The glass gets filthy, the wood is weakening, the color is cracking off, and the ledges below each window are perpetually filthy no matter how many times I drag a damp rag across them.
The doors' multiple windows also let in that brutal Florida sunshine. As new homeowners, we adopted quaint cloth coverings on the interior that kept the sun from warping the floor. They had the secondary benefit of adding an embarrassing Midwestern DIY feel. Years later, a decorator insisted we replace the kitschy cloth with pricey wooden shutters. At the time, homemaker genius that I’m not, I didn't realize I could install new doors for about the same price.
Now we have a dog, Gigi. She’s a cutie. But she was left alone too long one day and broke the shutters. Plus, she digs her nails into the wedge things (louvres?) whenever she wants to look out.
When she’s done with her alfresco escapades, she claws at the other side to come back in. She does that a minimum of three times every day. That makes the window panes even filthier and scrapes the paint off the wood, so you can see the original red under the green.
A friend-who-knows-stuff saw the shutter damage and gave me the name of a company that will fix them.
I called. The salesman showed up — and told me it would cost so much to fix them that I should buy new doors instead.
We'd been planning to repaint the house’s exterior, so this would be a logical time to either replace the doors or slather on another coat of Porter.
I posted a plea on Facebook and got two recommendations for trustworthy local door guys. The first came. He carries one brand of doors. One. He said my doors are unusual in size (30 inches by 8 feet) and can be replaced with only two models in the entire universe. Both are meh -- so meh that my homeowners' association would holler a neighborhood-wide NOOOOOO if I asked for the go-ahead. Still, I chose a design and was told he'd call for a quote. Day 8: still waiting.
So, I called the second company, requesting a home visit from a rep. “We have so much more in the store than we can show you with a home visit,” a guy said. “You should come in. We’re open on Saturday.” You know what happened, right? I cajoled my husband — who does not want a new door, but instead wants the shutters miraculously and inexpensively repaired — and drove half an hour to the showroom. One salesman. Fourth in line. I told him my situation, wrote down all my contact info at his suggestion … and haven’t heard back. Day 5.
So. Online, I found a bunch of doors I could actually get excited about.
After pinning them to my Pinterest page, I realized many are by the same company. I emailed. I corresponded. I was assured the doors can be custom-made to fit my opening. I wrote back with rough measurements, the door of my choice, and the request for a quote. Is the door $2,000 or $20,000? I’ll get serious with the tape measure once I know if I’m wasting my time and that of the rep.
No answer. Day 3.
Here’s the plan: Paint the dowdy door, knowing the dog will scrape off the paint, so we'll soon see green and red under the new hue. Leave the broken shutters and shudder every time we walk by. Buy a new door in 15 years when we’re ready to sell. Someone may as well enjoy it.
Eat well, live well, leave the decorating to the competent,