1/20/15

On the Un-Lovely Side | A DIY Project Fail (Alternate Title: Always Use a Level)

I promise my house isn't this crooked!
I like to post photos of my apartment and projects when they're in pretty, pristine, ready-for-their-closeup condition. But I'm all about honesty here. And when it comes to decorating and do-it-yourself projects, it doesn't always work out. Sometimes I make a mess. Sometimes I outright fail. And sometimes my DIY project ends up in the trash. This is one of those times. (Though, I'll be re-purposing the materials rather than throwing them in the trash. More about that in tomorrow's post.)


So, funny DIY fail story...


A couple weekends ago, I had just welcomed two adopted felines into my home. Since they were still in their "I'm scared of this new place and want to hide for hours if I find a good spot" stage, I didn't want them getting into the long, narrow closet that runs between my bedroom and office. A door separates the office from the closet, but the bedroom is only separated by a doorway where a door once was.

At this point, both cats were desperate to get into my bedroom for evening bedtime snuggles. However, in an effort to keep them out of my closet I had to close off the bedroom. (This was also problematic since closing off the bedroom messes with the airflow. The bedroom became a boiler room while the rest of the apartment got cold.)

My first idea was the most obvious. 

Buy a door. Paint it to match. Voila! Closet closed off. However, it turns out that old houses have oddly proportioned doors. Regular home improvement stores didn't sell the right height-by-width. Nor did the local Habitat for Humanity Restore, which came very close with some old antique doors... though they were a bit out of my budget.

On to Plan B, I decided I'd begrudgingly be okay with blocking off the bedroom doorway to the closet completely – or at least until I could clean out the closet and rid it of hiding spaces for bashful cats. My idea: to get a piece of plywood cut to fit the door opening. Nail it in. Paint it white. And hang floor-length curtains. It'd basically look like another window in my bedroom. 

So G and I measured. 

We measured once, then twice, and then a third time. We used my tape measure and we used my laser measure. We were so careful. (Especially since we realized that I'd measured wrong before raiding doors at the Re-Store. Oops.) So we hit up Lowe's, pick out some wood, and hang out with the woodcutter guy after G gives him the proper measurements. I drop $20 for the plywood and we head back to my place.

Well, G goes to put the piece of plywood up to the doorway and it turns out... he gave the woodcutter guy the wrong measurements. The height's good, but the piece is too narrow by like six inches. Mega fail. I wasn't happy. G wasn't happy. And meanwhile, the cats are meowing outside the bedroom door, begging to come in and witness our unhappiness.

I couldn't be mad at G. It also turns out, my house has shifted in the last 100 years that it's sat there. So that doorway inparticular is just a bit crooked... not to the naked eye, but crooked enough that we would have had to get some serious angles cut for any piece of plywood (or door, for that matter) to fit. 

That's probably why the door was taken off in the first place. Oh well.

So instead of spending our afternoon doing a project, we rolled up our sleeves and organized my closet. Strategically, mind you. It's organized so that the cats can get in there and sit on a box or two, but they can't climb up to the upper shelves or hide inside anything. (They're past the hiding behavior now, anyway.) Still, I'm planning on putting up a curtain rod and hanging some floor-length drapes to at least close off the doorway in my bedroom and disguise it as a window.

Moral of the story: when measuring an opening for a door, piece of plywood, or whatever your project may be... Don't just measure. Use a level, too. It might save you $20.


Intro photo of The Crooked House via here. You can grab a pint of beer there. Boy, did G and I need a couple pints after this project fail. ;)

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