Instant renovations

Sometimes renovations can be almost instant, although they come at a price.

I have this kitchen door to the side yard which I never liked very much:


I saw an advert for a firm that puts new windows in existing doors. I called them to drop by to look at the old door, and give me an estimate:

the specialists ...

“Structurally sound, lot’s of life left in the door, easy to replace … $350. And it we will do it right now, be done in forty minutes.” They popped the old door out, cut out the panel, inserted the glass:

Zowee, lots of light now ! And yes, I had already planned to replace the older storm door on the outside with a  full-pane-of-glass model.

Two lessons:

  • there is no caulk to dry or resulting uneven edge to paint: the window trim is self-sticking rubber, pressure adhered, making four layers of sealant (on door, on glass, other side of glass, other side of door) and a dead straight and true edge on the frame
  • the specialization that goes on in our society is amazing. Thirty years ago the first specialty firm I recall was Gautier seamless eavestroughing. Who could make a living only installing eavestrough? Now it’s an industry. Instead of calling general carpenters and Mr Fix It’s, there’s a specialty firm just for wainscoting and chair rails, another for coffered ceilings, another for verandah pillars, another just for fences vs the firm just for decks … It’s wonderful, efficient, clean … specialization drives down costs, increases accuracy. It’s a shame we don’t yet have that for our medical system.

5 thoughts on “Instant renovations

  1. I had a similar experience last summer when I replaced my kitchen door. The amount of light that came in through the new door (same kind as yours) made me think I had left the door open by accident. I love it and I am sure you will really enjoy the difference in light level too!

  2. Looks good! Funny though, I think this may be the first time I have ever seen a hardwood floor laid perpendicular to the cabinets in a kitchen. I rather like it!

  3. The floors are an interesting story. When built, the kitchen got a hardwood (maple) floor. The hallway, living room, and dining room got softwood (red pine) floors because they would be covered up with higher-prestige lineoleum pieces about 5’x7′, laid over the red-painted boards. Only the perimeter of the room was painted red, where it might show. The cheaper bedrooms, which could not afford linoleum, also got maple floors. The really cheap third floor got red pine, which we later lifted, remilled, and laid down again mixed in with some new red pine.

    The owners of the house (1925 til we bought it in 1981) never removed old sheets of lineoleum, instead they put down a layer of newspapers (Ottawa Journal, 1929, 1959) which made some interesting if moldy reading, to act as cushions between each layer. And probably insulation too.

    People were so poor, the addition on the back was made out of Brading Brewery wooden boxes split apart and all the 1/4″ slats nailed to together to make up a “2×4”.
    Bradings, at which establishment my father in law was a brewer, was replaced by Library and Archives Canada. Pickled water to potted memoirs. Labatts Brewery was right across the street from my house (where Walnut Street is now) but I guess their boxes weren’t good enough. The addition walls were stuffed with more Journals rolled up into bundles.

  4. That is fascinating. People can make do in the most flexible ways. Interesting about the floors. Pine isn’t used so much here as everyone wants hardwood but it is the flooring of choice in Sweden. They tend to stain them lightly and even often almost white and they look fabulous. Yes, you need to take a bit more care with heavy objects but it is a nice flooring choice.

  5. Pine is softer and dents easier … but then 80% of the protective work is done by the varathane coating, regardless of the wood type below. We could just as easily cover the floors with newsprint printed with a wood grain pattern and varathane that … oh wait … that IS what we get today with some “manufactured floors”.

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