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  • Writer's pictureGara

Bust Out a Window And Put In a Door

I have no clever titles in me right now, as both kids are getting over a back to school bug that has left all of us a bit sleep deprived. Speaking of sleep deprived though, here's the backstory on Boris' next labor of love after our bathroom renovation. About 18 months after J was born, Boris started to have a bit more free time on his hands in the evenings and was itching to take on a new challenge. We had been talking about putting in french doors in our family room for some time, as we had no way to access the backyard except for through the side kitchen door and down a flight of stairs. Our family room, though, had a huge picture window overlooking the backyard.

As I mentioned above, we decided to take on this project about 18 months after our first child, J was born, and right about when I found out I was pregnant with our second. At first, because of the enormity of the undertaking, we decided to just buy the doors and let Boris install them. Then we got a quote. The quote for two french doors was about $7,000, not including the two windows we wanted as part of the design. I was willing to pay this amount, but Boris couldn't stomach it. He argued that not only could we save thousands of dollars if he built and installed the doors himself, but he would learn some valuable new skill. He had already built and installed a window for our upstairs bathroom, so I knew the task wasn't too much for him. I was, however, worried about losing my husband to his workshop for the next year or so, all while I was managing a toddler and soon a newborn. Boris put in a lot of late nights getting these doors built while J and I were sleeping and I tried to take her, and then her and O, on Saturdays to give him some extra time. All in all, it took over a year for Boris to complete and install the doors. Not only did he have to remove the window, he also had to re-route the floorboard radiator under the floor and install a small vertical radiator in the corner to make up for the lost heat source. The weekend he actually installed them I took both kids to Michigan to get out of the way.

Here's the installation of these bad boys.

Once they were in, there was still a lot of trim and detail work to finish over the next month or so, but here's the finished project.

To say this project caused a little tension at moments would be an understatement. Even though Boris building and installing these doors saved us money and increased the enjoyment of our home, I was a little jealous that he got to go down to the basement to spend time on his favorite hobby while I folded onesies and washed pump parts. Unfortunately, I don't have a hobby that provides such a benefit to our family and is personal fulfilling. (Cooking comes close, but at 9 pm I'm not really in the mood to make a casserole). We figured it out though and to say I was impressed by the finished product would be a ridiculous understatement. Also, he's in the process of renovating our kitchen and as you know, we just bought a wreck of a farmhouse, so clearly the experience didn't scar us too much.

As for the numbers, I mentioned that the doors would have cost $7,000 to be built by someone else, we estimate the windows would have been another $5,000 and installation of the doors as well as rerouting the radiator at about $3,000, so $15,000 overall. Boris spent a total of $2680 on materials for the windows and doors and another $800 on tools (that he would point out have been used on other projects since their purchase) for a total cost of $3,480, over $11,000 saved.

Thanks for reading, the building of the deck is up next!

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