Garage Side Door


We started this project near the end of June, and by early July we had everything done but painting the trim. Though I like to make a post whenever we do a project, I am learning to wait until the entire project is done instead of posting when everything is “mostly” done. So, the end of August, we got some exterior paint and were able to finish this project. We’ve been working on other projects almost constantly, so it was something we had to get back around to.

Lustron garages are similar to the house, but there are some construction differences. For example, the house is entirely steel construction, whereas the garage is all wood construction. This made it much easier for us to add the door. The panels are the same between the house and the garage. The panels are attached in only three corners, and what keeps it together is the panels being nested. from the front, the panels are bolted on the left corners and the right top corner. When the wall was assembled, it was assembled from the left bottom corner to the right top corner. The metal shingles are also the same as the house, however the roof design is different. Lustron garages were a secondary thought to this company, and most of the time were just assembled by some contractor the way they would build any other structure. For that reason, you will find must more variation between garages than houses. With that out of the way, you can look through how we added our door. We bought a previously owned steel door for $15 that came with hinges, but was not hung. We would have liked a door that was already hung, however we didn’t want to spend a fortune on a door either, so we went with what we could find, I painted it, and we attached to a door frame that we made ourselves.

The first thing we did was figure out where-ish we wanted our opening. We had originally planned to more the door so there were two existing panels between the door and the corner. We knew we’d have to move our electrical if we did that, but there would be enough room for the upright freezer and some storage shelves. When we pulled down the wall and could see the footer, there was already an original foundation anchor in it, and though we may have been able to remove it, we didn’t want to mess with the original structural integrity. Before you pull down your wall, you will need to find your studs, but once you do, you can tear out anything in the wall, in our case it was insulation, and clean your work space.

We decided to move the door a segment to the left, and Josh began cutting. As I mentioned earlier, since the panels were assembled a special way, we had to disassemble a special way. Using a sawzall, Josh was able to fit the blade between the panels and studs to cut the bolts. Once all a panel’s bolts were cut, it could just slide right out. We did end up damaging a few panels this way, but many of these panels were severely rusted and some even rusted through. Once that was done, we cut out the existing stud and cross support, and cut the existing footer in the door way to make room for a new threshold.

Once the opening was done, it was all framing and adding the door. First, we added our threshold, and added on anchor into the cement. Then we rough framed the door. We gave ourselves an extra 3 inches for the door and roughed in the opening. We made spacer blocks then added our 2x4s up to the header. There we added shorter 2x4s that were slightly higher than the door, and nailed them to the existing 2x4s. This whole time before we nailed anything, we were adjusting the boards to be as close to level and as close to square as we could get. We added a top plate to the shorted boards and attached it. We added some smaller pieces to attach that to the actual header, then we called it a day because our we found out our well switch had broken (thankfully we keep a spare). We added plywood for the night and got back to it a few days later. We then cut the door frame, cutting the sides before the top, shimmed it in place then nailed it. We added our final threshold and then we took a few more days off before returning. When we came back, we hung the door. First, holding the door where it would be if it were open, we marked the hinge locations. We had enough room that we didn’t have to set in the hinges, but you may have to do that if your space is too tight. Josh pre-drilled the holes, and I held the door as he attached each hinge.

Josh then cut our top trim piece and mounted it, then he cut and mounted each side piece. We added new hardware to the door, and spray foamed around the framing of the door. We left it like that until I was able to paint the trim to finish the project.

Saving Seeds


Last spring was the first time putting in a spring garden. Like many others, I went to the store and bought a variety of seeds for plants I wanted in my garden that year. So, below are 5 variety of seeds I’ve saved so far this spring. Four varieties are from plants I had in the garden this year, and the other was from a veggie I got at a local farmer’s market. I hear starting from seed is best for most plants, and if you do have problems with germination, then you could always go out and buy the plant. All seeds can also be stored the same way. If you plan to use them within the next year or two, seeds should be stored somewhere cool and dark. If you want to preserve seeds for 5-10 years, you will want to vacuum seal your seeds or place them in a labeled jar with an oxygen absorber, and store in your fridge or freezer.

Green Beans

I bought these green bean seeds this spring. I’ve stored them in a cool and dark place the keep their viability high for next year. I also got several more seeds from my plants this year. If the pod becomes overly ripe and the seeds are viable, the pod will turn yellow on the vine. The seeds have begun going into development when the pods begin to turn waxy and the skin becomes rubbery. I cut my green beans up as soon as I pick them, and suspicious pods, I will cut around the bean to see if the shell has the rubbery texture. Green bean seeds should be sown directly into the ground.

Onion Seeds

My onions this year were started from sets. They did OK, but they didn’t do great. My soil was part of the problem, and I will be addressing that. I also had 3 bulbs go to seed. When Onions go to seed, they develop a big flower stem out the top, and from there they develop a flower that looks like a yarrow or queen Anne’s lace. Once the flower has been pollinated and begins to close up/turn brown in an area, you can cut off the head and place it in a paper bag for a week or two to finish drying. Once dry, you can shake the flower the drop all the tiny little seeds. The flower can be disposed of, and the seeds stored as desired. Onion seeds should be started inside before being transplanted outside.

Radish Seeds

Radishes are a fast growing crop that are supposed to be the best for first time growers. This variety is cherry belle radishes. The seeds are sown directly into the ground. They are ready to harvest 22 days after they sprout and they only like cool weather. If you leave them in the ground for longer, they will begin to go to seed. I kept 3 radishes in the ground, and as they matured they grew considerably! They grow a main stock with many branches of flowers. After about a week or two they begin to form pods. You should let the pods turn red before harvesting the pods, and you should wait for the pods to dry and become brittle before harvesting all the seeds. You can crush the pods and break them open to extract the seeds. The seeds can then be placed in a bowl or bucket. You can then swirl the seeds and blow onto them to remove any chaff that ended up with the seeds. You may lose some seeds too, but they were likely light and inviable.

Green Pepper Seeds

Green peppers are the one plant I didn’t grow in my garden this year. I bought several green peppers from a local grower at a local farmer’s market. These seeds can easily be saved. When you cut a green pepper, cut around top of the pepper. You should make the circle about 1/2 way from the stem and outer edge of the pepper. Cut down enough to sever the ribs, then you can push down on the stem and pull it clean out. You can then remove any remaining seed from inside the pepper and set aside your top to save seeds after you finish cooking. Place your seeds on a paper towel/ paper plate. Place your paper towel/plate on a sunny windowsill. After about 1-2 hours, come through and stir your seeds to dry any seeds that may be underneath. Let dry another 1-2 hours before storing. Green Pepper plants should be started inside 6-8 weeks before your last frost. If available, buy your pepper locally and not from a supermarket, because then you will know the pepper breed will do well in your climate.

Marigold Seeds

When I first planted marigolds this spring, I was shocked with the seed shape! I had never grown anything from seed before, but I assumed all seeds look similar. I was even more shocked to seed how easy it is to harvest more seeds, and how many seeds you get from just one flower! Use a dead or dying flower. Cut the flower from the plant and take it inside. remove the stem by holding the dried petals at the top. Then, grab the black seeds, and pull off the petals. That’s all! Now you have marigold seeds. These are sown directly into the ground in spring and grow all year.

New Fire Pit and Tilapia Foil Packet Dinner


We had an old fire pit in our backyard that was here when we bought the house this summer. It had minor rust, but it was still good enough to use. We left it out this winter, and to no surprise, most of the bowl had rusted out. We did one fire earlier this summer, but we lost not only ash out the bottom of the fire pit, but flaming coals as well! It was decided we needed to do something to update it. My In-law’s family has unlimited supply of oil barrels, and that was our source. First, we cut off the bottom 2 feet of the barrel using an angle grinder. We smoothed out the edge to make it less hazardous. Second, we disassembled the old fire pit. I really liked the mosaic ring, so my husband used the ring to hold the legs together as a rim, and welded it to the barrel to prevent our cover from falling in. He drilled several drainage holes in the bottom and air holes down the sides, we washed it out, put it in place, then added the stone ring. For our first fire it did very well. A barrel is pretty big for a fire pit, so if you plan to do the same, be sure to keep the fire small and contained. This fire pit also got extremely hot. The metal barrel was over 700 F, and the ground around it reached over 350 F with just 2 hours of use.

We cooked our packets over this fire pit. The grate we have is an old shelf from an oven, and was unphased after being licked by the flames. 15 minutes was long enough over our fire, but with even a smaller fire, 20 minutes should be more than enough. Everything was delicious, and there were no complaints. This recipe makes 2 packets, enough for 2 adult sized servings.

What You Will Need

  • 2 Potatoes, cleaned and diced
  • 1 Medium Onion, halved and sliced
  • 1/2 Green Pepper, sliced
  • 2 Garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 4 Tbsp Oil
  • 2 Tilapia fillets
  • 2 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • 2 Aluminum foil segments


  1. Place pieces of foil on the counter. Add Potatoes. onion, pepper, garlic, and oil evenly between foil pieces. Add tilapia on top. Add Italian seasoning, then seal up foil packet. (Optional) Add extra foil for extra strength.
  2. Build a nice large fire. Place grate over fire. Adjust fire so flames don’t touch the grate. Carefully, add packets over fire. Cook for 15 minutes. Move grate if fire jumps up to touch foil consistently, or if fire goes out under a packet.
  3. Transfer to a thick plate. Carefully open packets, and let cool for 5 minutes before eating.

One Year Update

Listing Photos

It all started with my Starting Point post. There I wrote my initial thoughts and ideas for this house as recorded last November. We bought this house and found many things wrong with it. We starting putting work into the house starting last October/November, and below is what we were able to accomplish so far.

Current Progress

As you can see just between the first set of photos and the second, we’ve made some big changes. We removes trees and bushes, put in raised beds, added an exterior door on the garage, and changed the accent color on the house from red to teal. Inside, we removed a lot of the latex paint off the utility room walls, we built and removed our builtin pantry, and installed a storage shelf instead. We removed the broken dishwasher and sealed the space to be used for my canning stuff. We also upgraded the light in the kitchen, painted cabinets, remove the old range microwave and added a new range-hood, as well as replaced the old leaking kitchen faucet. In the dining room, we refinished the wall after removing about 1/3 of the wallpaper in the house, and we also created a lampshade for our single handing bulb from a lantern we used at our wedding reception. We haven’t done too much to the living room yet; we added a projector screen and are mainly using it for storing some of our extra stuff until we finish the master bedroom. We replaced the light fixture in the hall, and upgraded all the light switches in the house to the rocker style. We repainted the bathroom, removed the medicine cabinet, changed the light fixture, and painted the vanity and changed the hardware. We also added a new shower curtain to match. In the original green room, due to it’s carpet color, we originally replaced the floor in the closet with vinyl planking. After seeing how easy it was, we took on the task of redoing the entire rooms floor, which was not an easy task. we remove the wood from the closet to be replaced with matching floor eventually, I also painted the bedroom the two shades of orange, we moved in, and that is the state of our orange room. Finally, our current project is the master bedroom, or our new green room. We just finished laying the flooring on Saturday. There is still a lot of work we want to do in that room before the new unveiling, but I hope this helps build some excitement for the next unveiling, which will be coming in the next two weeks or so.

A Year’s Worth of Projects

A year is so long, yet so short. We were able to accomplish so much because of the blessing we’ve received this year and from taking things in stride. We are happy for our new experiences and are content with this house even as we continue to find more problems. We aren’t sure if we’ll keep this house forever, but we are happy for all the good things this house is providing for us. This Lustron gives my husband and I something to do together, to bond over, and to dream for. We hope for nothing but the best for this house in the future, and we hope our fingerprint on this house improves the beauty of this old Lustron, rather than hinders it’s potential.

For more on our home improvement posts from this year, feel free to check out any of this posts below. If not, I’ll see you again soon!

Starting Point

New Light Fixtures

New Kitchen Faucet

Update and Mistakes

DIY Hidden Pantry

New Dining Room Light

Removing Wallpaper

Closet Work

Bathroom Transformation

Dishwasher to Storage

Kitchen Cabinet Updating

Raised Beds

New Kitchen Vent Hood

A New Big Project: Laminate Plank Flooring

Green Room Flooring

Finishing Our Guest Room

New Kitchen Shelf

New Kitchen Shelf

If you’ve been following me for a while, you may remember my post back in January or February about my DIY Hidden Pantry. This pantry was very helpful, and very convenient, however over time, the screws began to pull from the wall since we didn’t use drywall anchors. Also, the pantry was too small for all the snack foods I had and needed to store. We eventually began to store bags of chips on the fridge just because they wouldn’t fit in the space anymore.

Josh and I want to eventually put in built in cabinets around the fridge, however, we want to see how we can use our space in the meantime. So, we decided to get a shelf from target, and if it’s very useful, we’ll eventually add doors, or install all built ins. With built ins, we hope to also re-arrange our washer & dryer, but one step at a time.

The shelf we got is the 5 shelf bookcase from target, and we picked the color black. It was easy assembly, and gave us so much more space. Each shelf holds 30 pounds, and the shelf is shallow enough to not interfere with the dryer door.

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