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.

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 Vent Hood

I knew I would eventually need a range hood after the day I spent frying food: doughnuts, french fries, and chicken nuggets. The smoke and smell was quite unpleasant after several hours of frying, and the microwave fan wasn’t doing anything to help. I’ve had my eye on range hoods since then. With the new stimulus check, we decided a range hood would be a good thing to invest in. Beyond that one experience, I often steam up the whole house when I boil water, and I would like to be able to vent without having it stay in the room. Also with the microwave above my oven, I don’t have much room when I use my bigger pots and I would like to have a bit more head space there. I also have a nice smaller microwave from when I was in college that I could start using once I got a range hood.

The space the range hood would have to fit was 32 inches. I searched around a bit and found a 30 inch stainless steel hood that was under $60, linked here (not sponsored). The listing for the item is a bit messed up on home depot, however the link above was what I ordered and I received the 30 inch hood and not the 24 inch hood.

For now, Josh and I have decided to not vent. We’d like to get the line run before winter, but we have lots planned for this summer, so we’ll see if we get there. To remove a microwave range, you should look up your model of microwave, but we only had to remove the 2 mounting screws on the front. Once the two screws were removed, we had to lift up the back of the microwave to pull it off it’s mount. Of course we unplugged it first, and cleared the hole around the plug, so it could slide out once the microwave was down. Then, we removed the bracket attached to the wall. We had to make spacer blocks for the hood, since we wanted it to be level. We mounted the hood with 4 screws like suggested, and it was already in the configuration for vent-less when we opened the package. Mounting was difficult because it was heavy and gets heavier the longer you hold it. We also found the mounting slots to be weak and flimsy, so we screwed it into the wood by going straight through the thin sheet metal of the hood. We also used a large drill bit to drill a new hole for wires in the cabinet. This hood does not come with a plug, and they expect you to hardwire it in. However, Josh has lots of extra parts, and since he had a cable from an old laptop charger, he was able to wire on a plug and plug it in where the microwave was before. It was a bit of a long night, however, I’m extremely pleased with my new hood and am so happy to have the extra head space and bright light. We are far from finished with this project, but I’m very pleased with how it is now.

Before and After

Squirrels in the Attic

Josh and I purchased this house the end of last May. Lustrons, I’ve heard, can get all sorts of critters in them, usually into the attic through gap in panels, or into the access panels in the utility room through gaps along the side of the house.
We began hearing noise in the attic almost as soon as we moved in. There was a gap in the roofing between the roofing and where the gutters attach. Shortly after hearing them scratch in the walls, we heard them chewing on our metal house. Since the weather was good last weekend, we decided to finally seal it. Josh cut a piece of sheet metal to help close the gap where they had been chewing. Finally, we added a screw between the panels where there would have been one, but must have fallen out at some point before we bought the house.
The next morning, Josh had work, but the squirrel got back to chewing. I went outside once the sun came up, and saw the fuzzy little faces of at least 3 babies trapped in the attic with a very frantic mama biting the new sheet metal piece. Josh went to work, and I decided to free them. I grabbed the ladder, undid the new screw, and added a block of wood for her to get her babies, and we left it for 3 days before we sealed it up again. The day I had been opening the roof again, Newman and I had heard some noise in the utility room. And after a few hours, we also heard some cries from a little squirrel that must have fallen into the utility room wall. I told josh and he grabbed a small trap from his parent’s house that we set up that night, but we didn’t hear anything more after that. There are plenty of ways into that wall since we usually have some mice, shrew, and voles passing through in the winter. Josh and I inspected the space when we were pulling out the trap, and there were no signs of a squirrel. We are sure the mama was looking and managed to get the little guy out.
All that to say, never a dull moment in this house! We’ve sealed everything back up, and we’ve seen no signs of anymore of our squirrel friends. We did by a spray animal repellent that we’ve applied, and it may be doing something, who knows!

Removing Wallpaper

When we moved in, there was a wall that ran through the house that was covered in wallpaper. It ran from the utility room through the kitchen, dining room, living room, and the hallway outside the bathroom and two bedrooms. It literally went throughout the whole house. We have been working for weeks to remove some the wallpaper and to figure out how to deal with some spots that were giving us some problems. First, there was not just one layer of wallpaper, but two layers of the exact same wallpaper! Second, there were spots where they plastered over the wallpaper extensively to cover all damage, now we were stuck with spots that had plaster on top of the two layers of wallpaper!

Before New Year’s, we were able to strip the wallpaper almost completely off of 1/3 of the wallpapered surfaces in the house. We recently were able to finish that first third by sanding off the plaster, removing the underlying wallpaper, plastering spots that were damaged, sanding again, washing the walls, then finally painting the wall. Thankfully, this wallpaper can be removed with water, so that has been very helpful, but it was still a lot of work. Take a look at the work so far, and keep an eye out as we still have 2/3 left to go!

The next two photos show some flaws in the wall after painting. I’ll let you know what we do about that in the future, but for now we’re gonna leave it since you can only really see the flaws at night in artificial lighting.

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