Ever since the previous owners built the tower addition off the back, our house has had an odd pair of dueling back doors. The old back door exits the kitchen and the newer back door exits the mudroom in the tower, but from the outside the two doors are just ten feet apart on our small deck.
In the photo above, the mudroom door is on the left and the kitchen door is on the right. Having both these doors not only looks weird, but it really cuts down on the usable space in the kitchen. As my mini-renovation continues, I have decided to close up the old kitchen door in order to make some small changes to the kitchen design. Inside, former doorway will become a refrigerator and pantry nook, and on the exterior I’m planning to build a potting bench and shelf unit.
The first step to close up the doorway was to remove the aluminum storm door. There were quite a few screws holding the hinges and hardware to the framing. I was halfway through unscrewing the door before my sore wrist and forearm told me what I should have seen right from the start– that this was a job for the power screwdriver.
Next I removed the wooden primary door by pulling the hinge pins and unscrewing the hinges strike plate and lock hardware. I took the door itself down to the basement for storage. This is the house’s original back door, though it is not in its original location. This corner of the house used to be a small covered porch with a recessed doorway, before the kitchen was expanded to absorb it. I suspect that renovation was also the time that the original breakfast booth and cabinets were removed. (Grrrrr….) Anyway, here is a historic image from some of my history research showing how this back entry originally looked.
Back in the present and with a gaping hole in my house, I framed in the door opening to be insulated and receive exterior sheathing. I happened to have a friend’s pneumatic nailer on loan, so the studs went up really fast using spare lumber I already had on site.
With the studs in place, the last exterior portion of the job was to attach the plywood sheathing to the studs. I thought about stuccoing this area to match the walls, but the gap in the brick skirt at the bottom of the wall would spoil any illusion of a seamless patch. I concluded that with the right design and details, a built-in potting table and shelves could look as good or better than a stucco patch– and probably for a cheaper price, too.
Once the plywood was secured with that handy pneumatic nailer, I sealed all the edges with high quality silicone caulk. Just as I finished this stage of the doorway transformation, the weather turned cold for a while, so priming, painting and exterior construction has been on hold until the warmth returns. Inside, however, the story is completely different.
In my next post, I’ll share my interior progress to transform the former doorway into a useful and inexpensive expansion of my kitchen.
Kitchen Project Cost Tracker
- Framing lumber: $0 (on hand)
- Plywood & caulk: $24
- Previous work: $134
Total so far: $158