When DIY Goes Oh-So-Wrong

This is the story of a fun, free DIY project gone very, very wrong.

Fun…snort. Free? Whatever.

It has a happy ending, thankfully.

It was ALL my fault, and there may have been a few tears because of that. :)

It started with my love of black interior doors. I’ve been smitten with them for years now, but I’ve always been just a teensy scared to get out the paint brush.

But then I noticed a trend in some of my pictures on Pinterest:

tommy symthe kitchen

(Tommy Smythe’s amazing kitchen.)

And this one:


THIS one!:


OK, those aren’t doors, but whatever, they’re gorgeous.

I thought the atrium/french doors were particularly striking in black. And then I thought…HUH. I have one of those!:bay window round table

Why don’t I try it?!


Gah. Learn from my mistake people.

I figured it would be super easy (YEAH!) – would just take the plastic grid off and spray paint it, then paint the door. That way I wouldn’t have to worry about taping and cutting in and all that jazz.

I took the grid off the door:

I couldn’t get the little jobbies that cover the screws out, so I used a drill bit and screwed it into them to pull them out:

It worked great!

They were ruined, obviously, but I figured a few bucks for new ones wouldn’t be a biggie since this was going to be a FREE project.


I noticed a couple things when I took the grid off – one was that some water had had seeped in through the door at the bottom somehow:

I made a mental note to use some silicone to seal it up real well when I put the grid back on.

Then I noticed that the window was a little loose. I realized that the screws that went into the interior plastic grid held the whole thing together.

But there was a bead of silicone or glue that was used when it was installed, so it was still fairly secure.

Huh, thought me. I should be a little gentle while painting this.

You see where this is going.

I went out to the garage for just a few minutes to spray prime the plastic grid.

I came back in to this:

Did you catch that?

Here you go:


That would the glass in a meeeeellion peices. A hole in our door. A hole in our HOUSE people.

I think I was in shock. I didn’t hear it happen. I had no idea.

In the few minutes I was out in the garage, the wind had picked up just a bit. A storm that was supposed to go over us was heading our way.

FANTASTIC. Awesomesauce!!!

Massive storm coming, and I have a HOLE IN MY HOUSE.

Think Sarah…THINK!!!

I grabbed some trash bags and some duct tape to start covering the hole:

Just in time for it to start POURING.

I called a few hardware stores, thinking I could just go pick up a replacement window. Easy, right?

Nope. NO ONE carries them. They are special order. A week at the very least.

Did I mention it’s pouring?

Or that our power went out about ten times while I was on the phone with the hardware stores?

I was laughing hysterically, just so I wouldn’t cry.

Did I mention hubby wasn’t home?

I decided I would just have to buy a new door. So I texted hubby and while trying not to freak him out, told him WE HAVE A HOLE IN OUR HOUSE, (and a picture of it) so come home, like now.

Or something.

My precious husband, the most patient man I know, the man I love with all my heart, just said “Coming home now. Don’t worry honey, as long as you’re OK, it’s no big deal.”

Did his miss the HOLE part?

No, he is just that good. :)

I needed him to come home cause I wasn’t going to leave the house with plastic covering the door. Hello – come on in crazies!!!

But when I called to get pricing, I realized something. You can’t buy just a steel door – they come in the actual framing. That is a huge DIY project. It would mean taking our whole frame out, replacing it, then reinstalling the door.

That’s when I started to panic a little. :)

Thankfully we have a small overhang over our door, so it wasn’t getting super wet. We were able to tape up some lawn trash bags on the outside. It was pretty airtight.

But I wouldn’t call it secure. And that’s when I started to get really upset. I felt like I had put us in harm’s way with a silly project. I was SO mad at myself.

A friend suggested using plywood to cover the door, so at 10 p.m., we started screwing in the boards from the inside:

It made us feel a lot better – even if it wasn’t the most secure job ever.

Notice the extra boards leaned up against the door, to keep out the crazies.


We don’t have a plethora of crazies around here, but you dream up quite a bit of them when there’s a gaping hole in your house.

Long story short – we called no less than 20 businesses, and not ONE carried the insert. I thought it was nuts – we were going to have to wait a week for the order to come in, when it would take five minutes to install a new one if we could just find it!

I was on my way to Menard’s to order the insert yesterday when I got a call back from a place I had left a message with Saturday night. No, they didn’t have it, but she gave me a number for a lumber supply company that might.

I thought there was no way a lumber company would carry it, but I called anyway. And they HAD IT. With delivery, it was half what we would have paid at Menards.

All in all it was a $90 mistake, for the insert, delivery and plywood.

Because I had already primed the door, I had to finish the job.

And I love, love, LOVE it:

black atrium door

It is SO sharp looking! Oh my, why did it take me so long to do this?

Don’t answer that.

And dare I say it – the shiny brass looks pretty darn fantastic against the black!

Was it worth it? Now I think so, but when all I could think about were crazy people, it so was NOT. :)

I love the transformation, though – and it would be free if you weren’t a total GOOF like me.

Live and learn, right?

Here’s the bay window before:


The door just kind of disappeared.

And now it POPS!:

black interior door

I like how it kind of balances the black pantry door too. I absolutely love it!


Had any major DIY catastrophes at your place? Please share. Make me feel better. :)

**Double thump to the chest to Marty at Hall and House in Westfield, Indiana! Thanks for your help!!

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