Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Show You The Door

The grossest area of our apartment was the laundry room. We took care of that. This brings me to the second grossest thing in our apartment: the front door. These are defining features:

The front door with the dirty curtain.
·          Dirty smudges everywhere that we cannot wipe off
·          A jagged mail slot (cut with a hatchet?). Also dirty.
·          A dingy curtain, dabbled with what appears to be soy sauce and also exhaust from the street
·          Numerous broken locks hanging on it

Key descriptive terms are “dirty” and “unsettling.” In the threshold where we welcome guests and pass through after long days out in the world! It will not do.

The jagged mailslot and dirty door,
after I started painting it in C2
Paint's Nightspot.

We took the door off the hinges (well, Dean did it. The door is about 9 feet tall and weighs a hundred pounds).  I taped off the window, removed the hardware, and painted it in high gloss deep blue (C2 Paint in Nightspot). It is very elegant and unexpected.

I went online to find a metal plate to frame the jagged mail slot. We did not want to cut a bigger slot, nor did we want our Sunset magazines and frequent flier statements to get caught on a plate that was too small. It was very difficult to find in 8.25” x 1.25”, and the few I found were $75+. I prefer to spend that amount of money on sushi and haircuts.

So I went back to my fav spot: the salvage yard. There, in a giant box of mail slot plates, I found the right size for $1.50. It needed a coat of paint because the metal was not shiny, nor did it look like it ever would be again. But that was fine by me. I painted and installed it and it looks sleek.

The final step was curtains. Dean and I prefer window coverings to be inconspicuous, allowing the architecture to shine.  However, all of our neighbors have white curtains on their front doors, and we wanted our door to be visually congruous from the outside.

A finished door with faux frosted

After: Mail slot with painted frame.
We picked a product at Home Depot called Light Effects Textured Window Film. It is a plastic film that gives the illusion of frosted glass, but you can remove it at any time because there are no adhesives used to affix it to the window. There are many similar products that are permanent, but we wanted a low level of commitment. Because, again, we were not sure how it would jive with the neighbors’ doors until tested.

We applied this product by cutting a piece to the exact size of the window with a straight edge and razor blade. Next we sprayed soapy water on the window. Then we put the custom-cut plastic film on, and smoothed out bubbles with the edge of a credit card (or a putty knife, if you want to be professional about it). It looks pretty good!

Question: Do you think it is visually cohesive with our neighbors’ doors? There is some debate in the building, but everyone seems ok with it.

The door from the outside, on the left. What do you think of the frosted glass?

The unrenovated hinges :(

The final step in the door renovation will be to do something about the hinges. They are painted over and, while still functional, need to be freshened up.

Throughout the house I have removed hinges from built-in cabinets. I boil the hinges in water with baking soda. Layers and layers of old paint easily comes off in globs, much like the consistency of dead vampires on True Blood. Then it is a cinch to polish up the hinges with Brasso, and re-attach them to the cabinet, fresh and shiny.

Dean is a little concerned about removing the hinges from the front door. If we do not re-attach them with precision, the door will not open and close well. We noticed this problem on one of our china cabinet cupboards after I boiled and re-attached the hinges, but it is not a critical because we rarely open that cabinet.

Has anyone ever re-hung a heavy door after removing the hinges? Any tips? Or should we just paint over the hinges and call it a day?


1 comment:

  1. Dean and Andi,
    Why don't you ask Derek? He knows about sprucing up hinges.
    Love you both.