Replacing a window with French patio doors

November 20, 2014

I’m SO happy to share this final addition to our renovation with you today! It’s not done, so bear with me because there’s a lot left to do. But I’m excited about how it’s looking and that we’re done with this reno!

So if you’re new here – this past summer we took a wall down between my office and our family room to give us more space. You can see the completed space here. :) What we didn’t realize till we knocked down the wall was how much this was going to completely transform our kitchen as well.

So part of the plan was to tweak the bay window area a bit, where our back door used to be:


It’s now all windows and ready for me to build the window seat. Yum.

We decided to move the back door over to where the double windows in the room are:


It just made more sense overall – that window just felt like the logical spot for the door when everything shifted.

Here’s an idea of how where that window was in the old space:

IMG_76764 (OH my goodness, look how little my baby was there!!)

The sectional sat up against it, which I didn’t mind too much but try to avoid if I can.

So here’s the thing – we ordered the windows for the bay area and the new door at the same time from Lowe’s. The windows were coming in in a couple weeks. The door was going to take 28 days. I never expected either one of them to come in on time, just because I’m no spring chicken. ;)

Well the windows came in on time but they never called to tell us, so on the fourth week I stopped by to check on the status of things. They told me the door was scheduled to be delivered that week, exactly on time. Whoot! I was so excited, so we picked up the windows and went ahead and had those installed.

Before they replaced our back door with the third window I called Lowe’s again – and they told me that the door would be in that day. So I had the guys go ahead, knowing it would only be a day or two before the new door went in.

We never got a call so I called again later and they told me again in was in…but it wasn’t. ;) It was delayed a little over a week, which was annoying but fine, not a biggie, #firstworldproblems. But a week turned into two, three…four. :) Finally this week it came in.

It took the guys just over half a day to get it in and when I walked into the room I LOVED it!:


It was worth the wait. :) It is exactly how I envisioned it – it makes total sense in that spot. Only one side of the door opens – the other is stationary. I just felt like this way would be more secure. I had dreams of having two doors opened up to the deck and having the warm breeze waft in…and then I woke up and realized we have four animals that we’d never see again. Ha!

You can see in that pic how much work I have left to do – they are framing out the door today in my Craftsman style trim and then I’ll paint. I also have to finish that wall to the right with the base and board and batten that goes throughout the rest of the room.

That speaker isn’t being used anymore so I need to patch that drywall as well. I think it’s going to look so beautiful when it’s all done! I can’t wait!

Our main floor windows are super tall, 72 inches. Because of that we had a big space to fill – instead of having them fill in the area above the door with drywall I had it made with a transom. It adds a nice detail:


Here’s how this area looked a few weeks ago:


And here it is now:


Sorry about light – I had to take the pics in morning (bright) light before the guys got here to work.

Although I think my favorite before and after is this one from a couple years ago:


It still is crazy to me how far our family room used to sit in what is now kitchen space for us:


Goodness, I’m so excited to finish this up and make it look pretty and I’m so excited that after today there will be no one working in our house for a very long time. Well, other than me. ;)

I have big plans for the outside as well:


The siding will go back up today when it warms up a bit. I want to build some kind of decorative cover over the door since the door opens out instead of in. I knew it would take up valuable floor space to have it open in. We didn’t have any coverage over the old door and it was fine but I think it would be nice. I don’t want to block the sun though, that’s the only thing.

I see this spot with big beautiful planters on either side next summer too. Can’t wait! We are also having a new porch light installed to the left of the doors. So overall we’ve added two additional lights to the back of the house and more light is always nice.

Of COURSE I plan on painting the doors black on the inside. ;) All of our interior doors (at least on the main floor) are and I know it will look stunning. The only problem is the panes on the transom are inside the window – but I think I have a solution for that. Stay tuned. :)

I can’t wait to get this finished up and start on the rest of the kitchen next year! Whoo!! Oh, and by the way, the windows were ordered were Pella and they came in right on time. This door is Jeld-Wen and I’m not thrilled so far. Not only because of the delay (it was an issue on their end, not Lowe’s). It’s a good solid door but they really cut corners on things like the trim. You can kind of tell in the pic above that the exterior trim is a mess – it’s all getting redone. Thankfully Lowe’s covered the cost of all the new trim.

At least we didn’t have a big hole in the house! Living without a back door for a month wasn’t a big deal. Have you ever had a reno mishap that you didn’t plan for? I knew this whole thing went way too well. ;)

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  1. Looks Great!! everything you do looks great!!! sorry to be a downer but... just watch out.. Safety concern, the hinges on your new door are on the outside, anyone with a screwdriver can pop the hinge pins out and then the door open will be free to pull out even if it is locked.. make sure this door is hooked up to your alarm!!

    1. There are a couple of ways to fix this issue-
      1. Install a set of hinges with non-removable hinge pins.
      2.Install a locking pin in the existing hinge plate. Here is how: •Remove the center screws from the plates of each hinge. •Insert a “headless” screw, bolt or nail into the door jamb through the hole in the hinge plate. Leave 1/2 inch of the screw, bolt or nail protruding. •Drill a 3 /4 inch hole through the opening in the opposite hinge plate on the door.

    2. Thank you! Just wanted to mention that since our door was made to swing out the hinges come safety hinges so they can't be popped out. And we have an awesome alarm system. :)

  2. So are you going to paint the inside of your new doors black?

  3. Oooh, love it all. Perhaps a nice pergola over the door would work as a cover but still let light in. They look good too and would most certainly go with the style of your house. Just a thought.

  4. It really looks great. I wouldn't have been able to visualize. I really enjoy watching your progress.

  5. I know that you've said this a thousand times, but this is how your house was meant to be! It is gorgeous! I love all that light that is brought in, and how much bigger everything looks-all with just taking down one wall. It's amazing. Can't wait to see it all decorated for Christmas too!

  6. Oooh, it looks so nice. I love the transom over the top of the door. What a great detail. It looks so bright, open and airy. I also can't wait to see what you do next with this area, both inside and out.

  7. Very nice. It's like this is how the layout should have been all along!

  8. LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!! So beautiful! Love the industrial metal shelving unit. I'm sure you've mentioned where you got it before, but please remind me! I've been on the hunt for a while now...

  9. It looks fabulous! I love how much light it lets in! Can't wait to see that window seat too! :)

  10. Probably my favorite thing you've had done so far. Excellent.

  11. Sarah let me ask you something, do you ever sleep. I'm tired just reading what you have done. Maybe when you are finished you should hire yourself out as a contractor. If you lived closer, I would hire you because you do great work.

  12. It looks really beautiful. I'm not sold on black, it looks so lovely white. I think the black might just be too much in the double door. Consider it more a window than door. Just my two cents. I do love all the changes. I wish I had the guts to do something similar in my house. You can tell all of the work you have put in. Great job.

    1. I sort of agree, but it is just the framing and not a solid door. You could take some cheap brown paper (sold in rolls at Lowe's for not much - used for floor covers, etc., by contractors and DIY'ers), spray paint it black (the quickest method), place it over the door, cut out to expose the windows in the doors, and you can get a good impression of what it would look like black. That's if you want to test it before hitting it with the black paint. I agree that it could flow similar to the windows in the bay area, especially since they are so close together.

    2. PS: The new door is gorgeous! I agree the placement makes sense. And, the transom above really adds a lot of character and light and makes everything seem like it is going up, up, up.

  13. Worth the wait, it looks great! I love the idea of planters, perfect! You are making me think of painting my doors black...

  14. Absolutely beautiful. I love all the changes, they add light and space and interest. And the black doors are perfect; gorgeous!

  15. i am not sure I'd put a covering on the door that transom is really cool and different (i have some in my 1930's home) and i love the idea of planters but in a state that is 6 months (almost 7 or 8) winter I'd keep it as open as possible. But can I just's gorgeous. You really have vision for things...I mean in a builder grade world you really have made that house special...nice work thrifty! (ps thats what I call you in my brain...)

  16. It really does open up the area and that is a great spot for your doors. I really like the transom. I kind of like the doors white as well.

  17. Looks amazing! Can't wait to see what you do with it! :)

  18. A pergola would not provide rain or weather protection, and a solid awning or porch-type covering would indeed block some light, depending on the depth it stuck out from the house. You especially would lose the light coming in through the transom window. In fact, the view out the transom would become the underside of whatever extended out and would no longer be the sky. I saw on HGTV once where they put a clear plexiglass (or plexiplastic) covering that jutted out over the front entry door. It ended up being really cute. The light poured in the way it did before the covering, yet guests at the door could get out of the weather and the door was protected better from the elements. They had some sort of a metal support system for it, if I am remembering correctly. It was a bit modern in look, but the support system could have some influence on whether it took on a modern or more traditional look.

  19. I love, love, love it! I can't wait to see what you do with the white interior on those doors. I love the look of black doors also, and I desperately want to paint our french exterior doors black on the inside, but, I am worried about the inserts looking odd being white. So, they have been hanging up, unpainted for almost 6 months!

  20. I like how the transom came about, it is lovely. Great idea.

    This made me smile: "and I’m so excited that after today there will be no one working in our house for a very long time."

    Ha, famous last words....

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  21. Just beautiful! We just replaced a horrible 20 year old 12 foot sliding glass doorwall with two french doors and two side windows. It is amazing the transformation just like in your pictures. I am so jealous of your transom window! We had one in our previous house and our current house could use one, but not sure how expensive it would be to do the full length of our 12 ft doorwall and through brick exterior. There are several places I would like to add windows into our house or turn a door into a window or vice versa. Was it extremely costly? I would love to turn the window in our garage into a door out to the back yard.

  22. The door change makes TOTAL sense and is gorgeous. Love the French door look and the logical traffic flow -- easy access from kitchen, dining, and living room. The window seat will ROCK! We are going to add a window seat under our bay window and I cannot wait! I would protect that beautiful door from the weather somehow.

  23. I would enjoy using the wavy tape or painter's tape. Than you for this offer to win.

    Angela W.

  24. This was such a smart move! I love the direction you are taking everything!!

  25. You really keep yourself busy. I hope you take a month off of redecorating for the holidays. I love all tape, not picky at all. I do have textured walls though. cdahlgren at live dot com

  26. This turned out so beautifully!

  27. The doors look awesome! Great improvement to your home! Can't get enough of that natural light :)

  28. LOVE the new doors! There is really nothing better than French doors leading from the kitchen. I am obsessed with all the natural light!



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