Monday, May 22, 2006

The Case of the Missing Doors

Well, with the dilemma of what to do with the cabinets themselves solved, I turned my attention to another conundrum. You see, the previous owner had decided to remove three of the cabinet doors for aesthetic reasons, preferring instead to just have open-faced cupboards. Now said cabinet doors are missing. Actually, I do know what happened to them: I threw them away (foolish me). Little did I know how hard it is to find matching oak cabinet doors just the right size!

The guys at Home Depot and Lowes said new doors similar to our old ones could be ordered but they could take 6 weeks or longer for them to arrive. We planned to have our house on the market well before then, so that was no good. I dutifully checked a number of websites offering replacement cabinet parts, but they offered nothing any speedier than the big box stores.

At a loss, I sent a plea out to the DC Metro Dads (our local stay-at-home dads group) looking for ideas. Within a few hours I had several responses. A couple of dads suggested I visit one of Habitat for Humanity's "ReStores" which are kind of like a thrift shop for building materials (think Salvation Army or Goodwill store, except with furniture, fixtures, doors, lumber, etc). A quick online search yielded good news as one of the ReStores just opened not more than 5 minutes from my house!

My dad (my mentor in all things home improvement) and I paid the local ReStore a visit and were blown away by the number and variety of kitchen cabinets they had in stock. Tape measure in hand we searched through and measured dozens of cabinets looking for a match. We found one, but only one (I needed three), door that met my needs. Still it was a start, and it only cost me $20!

Running out of time, and with no luck finding the other two doors, our real estate agent (thanks Lisa!) came up with an interesting idea. Why didn't we just make our own replacement doors? I got on the phone and called dad again.

We met, ran over the details, measured everything (twice) and he set out to build the doors. He had a router bit that closely matched the edging of our original doors. Instead of trying to match the raised center-piece in each door, we planned to insert glass panes which we all thought would look quite nice. My dad labored over those doors for several days, but his work and attention to detail paid off (as you can see from this pic).

Case solved, with extra props to my dad! Now it's time to see what other projects have to be tackled to get the place ready for new owners.

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