The door and window switcharoo

All work on the inside of the house has stopped as we take advantage of the summer weather to focus on everything related to the exterior of the house.  One of these projects is the continuation of the window restorations.  Yes, that project is STILL going on. I completely restored the interior sashes more than a year ago, but there are still 14 storm windows (28 panes of glass) that need to be removed, reglazed and repainted.

The slightly more exciting news is the completion of a little project that we have been thinking about for the past two years.  First, a little background.  There are three exterior doors on our house.  The main front door, the back door that leads to the kitchen from the back porch, and then a very odd door located on the side of the house (facing the street) that opens directly into our current playroom.


It didn’t take much detective work to figure out that this door was probably not originally there.  1.  The trim on the exterior does not fit right.  2.  The door did not seem to be installed very well and the carpentry work in general seemed way inferior to the rest of the house.  3.  A quick survey of other houses from the same time period and house style indicate that a window should have been there.  4. There is a window that looks out over the back porch that was obviously not originally there.


In the picture above notice that the siding doesn’t go all the way to window casing, the window sill is falling off, and there are newer studs framing out drywall (the only drywall in the entire house before we added drywall upstairs).  Also, no one ever bothered to add siding to this area.  Nothing keeping the cold out other than a 1/2″ of drywall.  Other clues in the house led us to believe that at some point someone switched the door and window so that they could split the house in half and create a duplex with shared kitchen and bath.  Remember this poorly constructed wall that separated what is now our living room and playroom?


We had several options to fix the situation.  1.  Leave the door and window where they were and just do the necessary repair work.  2.  Keep the window, but remove the door and make a new window in that location.  3.  Switch the door and window to their original location.  We didn’t like option #1 because we didn’t really want a door in the playroom anyway.  Option #2 wouldn’t have been bad, but that would have meant re-creating a window and window casing that matched the rest of the house.  Not an easy job.  So we chose option #3.  Of course, it took us a couple years to arrive at this decision, but at least we are confident we made the right decision.  And, I have done enough work now with windows and doors that I was reasonably confident in my ability to do the job.

Here is the door in the playroom.  You can’t really tell from this picture, but the door sits at an angle, doesn’t shut all the way, and has huge gaps at the top and bottom.


After I removed the trim I was surprised the door didn’t just fall out of the house.  The only thing holding the door in place was the trim that was nailed to it.  The door jamb itself had not been secured to the frame AT ALL.


That obviously made it extra easy to remove the door jamb.


I took careful measurements of the window jamb and then framed the appropriate sized opening.


Note our dog’s pleasure in this new view.  Also, notice our stairs STILL aren’t finished.  No one wants to do it.  That’s okay, because I’m just going to do it myself.  But back to the window…

The the bottom of the window jamb needed to be reconstructed.  Once I was finished with that, I secured the jamb, reinstalled the windows, drywalled the area under the window, repaired additional plaster that had crumbled, painted the new drywall and area surrounding the window, and reinstalled the window sashes.  Somehow, I didn’t take any pictures of all that.  I’m pleased with the result.  The only hint that this window hasn’t been there all along is the baseboard that is cut at the end of where the door used to be.


On the outside it still looks a little rough because I haven’t added the trim.  But when I’m done it will look just fine.


The work on the back porch was a little easier.  As a reminder, here was my starting point…


I removed the sashes from the window jamb, then removed interior window casing.




Before installing the door, I needed to do some serious rehab work on it.  The interior of the door wasn’t too bad, except there were noticeable areas of water damage from an almost non-existant window.   I removed the existing finish, sanded it, then refinished with a few coats of poly.  I also installed a new deadbolt, cleaned up the existing hardware, and installed a piece of 1/4″ thick tempered glass.  Here is the interior of the door before any work had been done.


Here is the corner of the dining room before we removed the window and moved it to it’s original location in the playroom.


And here it is now with the newly finished door.  It’s not perfect.  You can still see signs of discoloration from the water damage which became much more apparent after adding the poly.  It’s also a little lighter than the existing trim.  But, considering we thought the door was doing to need to be completely replaced, it turned out better than expected.


The exterior of the door was really rough.


But we love how dark and rich the color turned out after a little love.



People pay good money for that type of weathered look, don’t they?

I realize this is a pretty small project, but it feels good to finally have it done.  The playroom feels much better now that there isn’t a dilapidated door in the corner.  I thought I wouldn’t like having a door in the dining room, but it feels natural – which shouldn’t be surprising because that’s where it was originally located!

We still have major work to do on the outside of the house – including the structural porch issues and many areas that need new trim.  Our original plan was to paint the exterior of the house over fall break, but that isn’t looking likely right now.  I’m staying busy with these windows and anxiously look forward to the day they are 100% complete!



7 Comments Add yours

  1. Cheryl says:

    What a beautiful door, now protected again. I’m restoring a 1925 home and it has french doors in the dining room, going out to a porch. I think people back than liked to go from the dining room out to the porch after dinner, I’m sure you will also.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ken says:

    You do such fine work.the project turned out great and thank you for saving this house.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Aunt Janet says:

    Love how all your hard work panned out Joe. I love those old doors…..they are now given new life by you. Hugs


  4. Seth Hoffman says:

    Great work! I love seeing you keep the original door and window and putting them in third rightful place. Figuring out those mysteries of what has been changed over time is also something I enjoy.

    We didn’t have any doors or windows relocated in our house, but I did shift an original large double-hung window in our kitchen very subtlety to allow standard countertops and cabinets to clear it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I could get lost in your blog for hours! My husband and I have done the same thing in 2 different houses starting when our kits were 2 and 5. They are now 20 and 23! I have nominated you for the Real Neat Blog Award. If you choose not to accept I understand, I just love what you do and understand so well what you are going through.


    1. Amy and Joe says:

      Thank you so much for the kind words! It is always nice to hear from other people who can understand the plight of a home rehab family. We hope to get moving again on some interior projects over the next few months. Thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s