Doors installed, first coat of paint on trim
Doors installed, first coat of paint on trim

Down in the basement beneath the stairs, my house has a cubby-hole that opens next to the fireplace. It was just a big hole, not too pretty to look at, and convenient to stuff junk into. Most of the stuff my grown kids wanted me to keep for them (toys, video games, etc) is piled in there.

I have been wanting to cover the thing with some kind of doors for some time. I’ve never done anything like this before, plus I don’t have any money. So I’d been hanging out at the Re-store in town, a place that takes materials people tear out of their homes or buildings and sells them.

A few weeks ago I found some big cabinet doors that are just the right size to cover this opening. Great! I’m thinking. But it was way too early to get excited about my find.

What I found out when working on this project stimulated some great creative thinking on my part.

Doors in progress

Doors in progress

First off, these cabinet doors have a notch all around the inside – I found out it is an old style that is rarely made anymore, because they are hard to install – great. The doors are supposed to fit snugly all around on the inside, matching the notch to the cabinet opening. Obviously, I did not match the notch thing with my cabinet opening.  Because of the shape of the things, I did have to install some 3/8″ trim boards around the opening, for the door hinges to attach to.

As you can see from the photos, I found out that the left side of the opening only had about an inch and a half available for the hinge to attach – not enough room. Since I didn’t know what I was doing in the first place, I decided to do the project and solve problems as they arose. Which happened a lot.

It took a couple of days to figure out how to attach the door without having enough room. I got the brainstorm to attach the hinge to the little wall that juts out, instead of doing the normal thing of attaching to the flat wall/trim.

Guess what? This was fine for the upper hinge, but when I tried to install the lower hinge, where the heck was the 2×4? All I could find was gyp board. Not too great for attaching a heavy cabinet door.

So then I took another day to think about it. Ok, I reasoned, the 2×4 is there at 36″ off the floor, I’ll just see where it ends. So I took a nail and tapped it in every 4 inches until I hit wood behind the gypboard. So when you look at the picture, the lower left hinge is much higher than the lower right hinge. It works though!

The hamster prevails