For spring break we tore into our house yet again, this time reversing a closet from my office to the family room and installing French doors in place of the heavy, fallen-off-the-frame, virtually unusable hospital door that took up space there previously. The results thus far are promising.

The framing is in place on the closet reversal, and we’ve moved some electrical around in a way that should provide better usability once I get everything finished. We’ve still got sheet rock and insulation to go there, but I’ve had mighty help from Dave Van Driesche, who essentially spent his birthday helping me haul debris to the dump and truck drywall from the store to home. We ran out of time to get the sheet rock hung, but Dave Morrison, who’s provided us with huge help in previous remodel projects has agreed to save my bacon again and help me hang the stuff this weekend. Eventually, I’ll call in a pro to tape, mud, and texture.

The French doors were installed by Mike, a colleague of Erin’s, who also did all the framing. Indeed, if you boil this right down my major contributions thus far have mainly been providing money and not messing things up too badly. The French doors, my contribution to which is minor, look spectacular (perhaps as a result). The family room now catches a lot more sunlight, the backyard is actually accessible, and the door frame no longer lets in outside air.

We have more work to do including the aforementioned hanging of sheet rock, some minor electrical, installation of a closet organizer, and some other little things that I’m undoubtedly forgetting at the moment. When all is said and done, it’s probably going to be about a $2000 remodel, but money well-spent given how much it alters the room for the better.

One interesting find which has made for a bit of a dilemma is that the exterior walls in the basement, unlike the upstairs walls, turn out to have been insulated. That leaves a long stretch of exterior wall in the family room—from the doorway northward for those who’ve been here enough to picture it in their mind’s eye—that need not necessary be opened up. Do I open up the walls anyway just to create a uniform look in the room? Is re-insulating with R-19 or R-21 worth it? (The insulation in place lists no R-value on the facing, but it doesn’t look thick enough to be much more than R-13.)

Regardless of whether we open up that wall, we will definitely be replacing the windows before next winter. I am done having that room being freezing cold. Add to this list getting some storage cabinets in the garage, and that’s our house remodeling “to do” list for the year. So far, thanks to Dave, Dave, and Mike, the list is off to a good start.