Wednesday, April 18, 2012

our first change to an old house

Our very first priority when moving into our current home was to gain interior garage access. We have an attached garage right off our family room. At some point, the previous owners closed it off and converted it into a coat closet.

It was a decent size closet, quite large actually, but we wanted the ability to come and go from our garage more than the storage. (You can read here how we compensated for that storage loss.)

We never used that closet for two reasons. First, we knew wanted to tackle that project pronto. Second, it was frigid inside! I think I opened that brown bi-fold door only once because I was instantly hit with a blast of cold air. (Remember we moved in at the end of January.) It was not insulated well.

Within a month we demoed the closet, installed a new door, and insulated the whole thing. It was also the time we bought our first bagster -because all that old drywall and junk has to go somewhere, and that's not the kind of stuff you can re-purpose.

Our existing opening wasn't exactly square and required a fair amount of shimming.

We had these existing steps. We actually noticed them the first time we viewed the house, because we are always curious about steps that seem to go no where.

You can see in the above photo (besides my messy garage), the scarring where the existing closet used to be. And that's the light fixture they had in there.

We still need to trim it out on the garage side, but that's pretty low on the list. My husband is just pretty happy that it is level, plumb, and not the least bit drafty.

By doing it ourselves, we saved at least $100. (I can't remember what the two home improvement stores charge, but I think they are a comparable flat fee.) It's a straightforward, get-it-done-in-an-evening-after work type of job.
And we are all pretty happy that we can come and go through the garage, like a modern family (which is one of my favorite shows.) And now, we really can come in and out of the closet.

Any weird renovations you've undone at your house?

Anyone else keep their garbage and recycling cans right by the door because they are too lazy to walk across the garage?

If you want more information on how to do this yourself, check out this video from This Old House. They categorize this project as moderate difficulty and completed within 2-4 hours.

Also, Lowes has an article as well.


  1. I love the trim you added around your new door!

  2. Looks like you have your hands full with projects! That's just like me...much to my husband's dismay :) Thanks for stopping by The Winthrop Chronicles! Have a great day!

  3. What an undertaking...Your home will be so cozy...Blessings, Becky

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  5. This made me laugh . . . our house is the "poster child" for weird construction! We've lived here 18 years and we probably have another 28 until we get rid of all the 'weird' stuff. Looks like you're off to a great start on your home though!


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