Kitchen Progress: New Door, Trim, and Threshold Tile

Yup, I’m still plugging away at the kitchen! I’m wrapping up trim, and then I’ll be able to do After shots of the whole room for you. But I wanted to dedicate a post to this kitchen door project because it’s been a lot of work and it made a big impact.

The door I’m talking about is the one seen in this old photo. It leads to our enclosed back porch, which we use as a mudroom.

Kitchen Island Before.JPG

There wasn’t anything wrong with the door, but it always bothered me that we had no visibility into our backyard from our kitchen/dining room. We put so much work into the space last year (see Backyard Patio, Painting, and Landscaping) – I wanted to be able to see it from inside!

Also, as you can see in this photo, there was SO MUCH natural light we were missing out on. This wall faces east. I’d come downstairs in the morning and the sun would be streaming through this little pet door. (The pet door just lets our cat into the mudroom – not outside.)

Kitchen Door Before.JPG

Home Depot and Lowe’s have affordable half-lite glass doors, but everything available off-the-shelf has a grid over the glass, like this one. I had to do a custom order for plain glass without a grille. Spending more money to get something simpler is my M.O., it seems.

I went with a Jeld-Wen Smooth-Pro Fiberglass Exterior Door from Home Depot. It cost $475. It could have been cheaper if I had been patient enough to wait for a sale (which I usually am!), but with a 4-8 week lead time, I just wanted to get the ball rolling.

Here’s the newly-installed door, with Lola checking out his newly-installed cat door.

Newly Installed Kitchen Door.JPG

I switched the way the door swings: it was a right-hand inswing and now it’s a left-hand inswing. I referenced this Home Depot door handing guide a million times to make sure I ordered the correct one.

Door Handing Guide.jpg

This left-hand inswing flows better with our mudroom’s exterior door (which is also a left-hand inswing), and it feels like a more natural path to our kitchen. Since switching the inswing made for a more complicated installation, I chose to hire a handyman to install it. That cost $295. Not cheap, but worth it to me. Thankfully, the rest of this project was DIY and affordable!

I tore off the trim and replaced it, which is what I’ve been doing to all the entryways on the first floor.

Kitchen Door Trim Progress.jpg

And then I tackled Baby’s First Tile Job. This glossy beige tile was not adding anything good to the space.

Kitchen Door Tile Before.jpg

It took fewer than 5 minutes to demo.

Kitchen Door Tile Demo.jpg

Removing the tile revealed a couple of divots (like you see below) in the old concrete threshold. I patched those with Quikrete.

Concrete Transom.jpg

I used EliteTile Retro Glazed Porcelain Hex Mosaic in Matte White. When I bought this tile for our half-bathroom (see Half-Bathroom Before and After), I ordered enough with this project in mind. I don’t have a wet saw, so I cut the tiles by hand using tile nippers. It wasn’t the most enjoyable 2 hours of my life, but it was far from the worst (here’s looking at you, La La Land).

Tile Cutting Nippers.jpg

The cut tile edge was pretty rough; sanding smoothed them out.

Cut Tile Before Sanding.jpg

Cut Tile After Sanding.jpg

Finally, it was time to lay tile. I won’t go into process details because there are tons of how-to guides available online. Here’s the tile after I adhered it, before I grouted it. I used a Schluter metal tile edging trim for the exposed edge.

Ceramic Tile Pre-Grout.jpg

Here’s the tile after I grouted it, when I was in the “I’ve made a huge mistake” phase. I had no idea what I was doing!

Ceramic Tile Grout

I just kept sponging and sponging until I made it through.

White Hex Ceramic Tile with Black Grout.jpg

Lola may not be impressed, but I am super happy with how my first tile job turned out.

Ceramic Tile with Pet Door.jpg

So, now, back to the Before:

Kitchen Door Before.JPG

And the After:

Glass Door with Ceramic Tile Transom.jpg

The first day we had the new door installed, Jarrod and I were admiring the view and we saw our very first goldfinch in our backyard. There had surely been others, but we had never seen them because we couldn’t see the yard. Now we see them all the time back there!

Upcoming posts: full kitchen makeover, and our awful mudroom which isn’t so awful anymore.

Front Porch Upgrades

Hello, friends! I came back. I don’t see how people* can both work on a house and blog about working on a house.

* Normal full-time-job people, that is, who don’t get paid to blog. I just spent $99 to renew my WordPress.com Premium account, which includes the No Ads upgrade. That keeps WordPress from placing any ads on this site, and obviously I myself am not profiting in anyway. No Blue Apron sponsored posts here! I like that this space is commercial-free, and it’s one of the things that makes me want to continue blogging. 

Also, I am making a ton of progress on the house, in ways big and small, and I want this blog to be a record of that.

I’m going to try to be better about quick posts: the types of things I text my friends when they humor me about being interested in Phase 7 of my elaborate 10-phase never-ending basement demo. I know I need to finish the house tour with a post about the exterior of the house, but I want to start with some small changes I made to our front stoop.

Here’s the door that greeted us the first time we toured the house:

front-door-before3

I bought new deadbolts for the three exterior doors, keyed them to match one key, and installed them the day we closed on the house. When we moved in several weeks later, that was the only change I had made:

front-door-before

Scrubbing and painting made a huge difference.

front-door-paint

The cats were super curious about why the door was cracked.

cat-door-lola

Doozy’s curiosity borders on murdery.

cat-door-doozy

Working on a house requires constant decision-making and I can get overwhelmed by options, but that wasn’t the case with our doorknobs and mailbox. I ordered these immediately and love them!

front-door-after

The mailbox is the 4600 Series Black Standard Vertical Traditional Mailbox from Salsbury Industries. I would have preferred the horizontal version (easier to fish things out of because it’s less deep) but the vertical one fits better in the space available. It’s awesomely sturdy.

schlage-doorknob

I swapped out all of the knobs and levers in our house with these Bowery knobs by Shlage, in the matte black finish. They feel great in your hand.

interior-doors-before

I have the Privacy Lock Knob (#F10 BWE 622) on our bedroom and bathroom doors, and the Passage Lock Knob (#F40 BWE 622) on our closet and interior passage doors.

interior-doors-after

Pro tip: despite the name, the “passage lock knob” does not lock.

drake-shrug.gif

Eventually we’ll get a new front door and, at that time, I’ll buy a really nice lever, but door hardware is expensive and I’m very happy with this set-up for now.

door-knob

I also hung a Mr. Beams battery-operated motion sensing light in the overhang (model MB980). It detects motion from about 10 ft away and illuminates the front porch.

mr-beams-light

My only complaint is that the LED light has a sharp halo, which looks a bit harsh. (And I need to move it two feet to the right so more of the light is on the door knob.) I prefer to turn on the real front porch light when we’re expecting company, but this one is nice for us when we come home late.

light-halo

That’s it for now! I’ll have the Before and After pictures see you out.

Before:

front-door-before2

After:

front-door-after2

front-door-after3