#34 The Door

It’s always something.  You move into a new place and you believe it is perfect until an idea pops into your head of how to make your abode just a bit better, a tad more ideal, or a smidge brighter.  Such is the case with the door of our house that opens to the street on which we live.

When we bought our house a simple wooden door separated the courtyard from the road.  This door/gate had been painted black multiple times due to fading in the sunlight.  While mostly appealing to the eye if you squinted just right, it was less than perfectly functional.  The door was hot to the touch on warm sunny days which occur generally every day.  This fact necessitated practicing and perfecting the skill of inserting a key, grabbing a smoldering knob and turning quickly to the left to enter the property.  This speedy process was impeded by the multiple paint jobs that had literally thickened the door in its frame.  That along with the humidity which caused the wood to swell had made a swift entry virtually impossible.

Metal work on the garage doors that we initially planned to match.

A year into our residency we tired of pulling la puerta to enter our home and began drawing up plans for a new front entry.  Our first thought was to have a metal worker design something to match the iron work on the garage.  Something simple that would look nice and provide privacy.  However, creativity spurred on by internet searches and the ever popular Pinterest idea boards expanded our minds and options.  We landed on the decision to design and have built a pivot door that would widen the entrance and make a statement.  

We hired a local contractor for the job.  Cesar is a genuine, honest individual.  He’s always smiling and greets us with a friendly, “Hello, Laura and Mr. Mike”.  He’s known for being meticulous with his work and a true welding artist.   We worked together on the final design plan and we agreed on a fair price for the job. 

Cesar is additionally known for his creative mind which can get the best of him as he flits from one great idea to the next.  According to his references this creativity tends to extend the completion time of his projects.  They do agree however that if you’re willing…his work is worth the wait. Since this was the entrance to our house, the time between demolition and installation would need to be quick.  He agreed and felt he could complete the entire job in 3 weeks during which at no time would we be without a door.  We settled on a one month time period with a percentage penalty on the cost if the completion date was not met.  With our signed deal, Cesar was off and running or more accurately, off and welding.

Endless measurements were taken.  Materials were approved.  Hardware and the locking mechanism were ordered.  Countless pictures of the door were sent showing various stages of construction and assembly.  Samples of paint and finishes were considered and decided upon. 

Looking good!? Not really. But on the bright side…in case of a hurricane, we are ready.

One morning about two thirds into the timeline, a crew appeared.  The wooden door and its frame were removed and the new metal frame was installed.  Was it possible that the job would be completed earlier than scheduled?  But my moment of elation was squelched when sheets of plywood were placed into the new frame. They were supported from the inside by scrap 2 x 4’s.  This special appearance created a problem of entering and exiting our property as we were literally nailed inside. It also brought about a few comical text messages from neighbors telling us how much they loved the updated look. 

Going in and out through the garage was a tiny inconvenience but as agreed upon, we never had a night without a door.  We assumed the new door would arrive any day but as the original completion date came and went, photos from Cesar let us know that this process was nowhere near finished.  The timeline was blown to bits.

Cesar’s team continued to work tirelessly to troubleshoot issues and a few weeks later the door arrived.  It was a gray, metal monster that fit into the frame perfectly and could spin on a dime.  Neighbors now commented on our new door stating it looked as if it had been engineered for the space shuttle. I must agree this was at the time a fairly accurate description.

More troubleshooting was required after installation including remedying finger pinching potential by building custom door stops, installing the hardware, curtailing the obnoxious “gonging” sound created with each closing of the door, installing double glass windows cushioned enough to avoid breakage, smoothing the surface to Cesar’s perfection and getting the color just right. 

As additional weeks passed we kept thinking, it will be done in a few days.  Maybe just a few more.  The need for stripping and repainting made us think, surely it will be finished by the end of the following week.

As progress was being made new ideas popped into our door artist’s brain.  What if I made you new address numbers?  That sounded good.  I sent him the font style and size and in two days received beautiful laser cut iron numbers that Cesar would later install. 

How about updating your garage doors?  Perhaps. The next thing I knew sample pieces of stained, reclaimed wood lined the garage and a multitude of possible designs filled my phone.  Creative minds have a way of going and going and going.  This was proven true as many of the design ideas were sent to my phone in the middle of the night as I was dreaming hopefully of a completed front entrance.

A mere month past the set completion date we now have a wonderful entrance to our home.  This 400 pound beast opens with the slightest touch and according to our youngest daughter, Peyton, makes us owners of the “Christmas House” year round.  The door is a work of art that is exactly what we desired.  The builder is incredibly proud of his creation and every week or so brings potential new clients to view said door.  His brother touted his talents via a Facebook post to San Carlos residents. We certainly anticipate Cesar will gain well deserved new business as a result of the extra time, extreme care and special consideration he spent creating a “just right” door for our casa.  For now we are happy with our wonderful home but as they say, it’s always something.

September 8, 2020

“Hold the door!”

Character, Hodor, made famous in the Game of Thrones series

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