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Shoring Up the Barricades

Okay, so assuming I’m not moving away from Crime Central anytime soon—because I can’t afford anything I want to live in anyplace where I want to live—then presumably it makes sense to shore up the defenses. This house’s barricades are easy to breach: three old sliding doors, all of them ugly, two of them installed by different previous owners, two of them with locks that don’t work, and none of them energy-efficient. The handle set on the front door is falling off; every now and again I have to screw it back on. Neither of the two wooden gates is very sturdy, and one is falling apart.

I can’t afford to fix all this stuff, either…but doing so would be one helluva lot cheaper than selling this place and moving. So, I suppose I’m just going to have to raid Survival Savings and get some work done.

Friday we made a start: a Home Depot subcontractor came by and installed a security door on the kitchen door. It’s not too ugly, and unlike the gate on the front door, its metal screen lets you see out.

Well. It’s not too ugly when the kitchen door is open. With the cheapo door closed, it’s plug-hideous.

Also at the Depot, I picked up three sets of bump-resistant locks. Because these don’t have pins, they supposedly can’t be bumped. Of course, they can be drilled, but that means the Perp has to bring some equipment that can’t be carried in his pants pocket. While these KwikSet Smartkey locks can easily be picked or smashed, they’re much sturdier than the existing locks, and they’re actually quite handsome pieces of hardware.

Heh. I just learned how vulnerable they are while researching the present post, and so will return them to Home Depot and get something better (I hope) from the locksmith. Lissen up, folks: DON’T BUY KWIKSET SMARTKEY “BUMP-PROOF” LOCKS!

The door installer put these on the new security door, and while he was here took out the double-cylinder deadbolt I’d installed on the kitchen door by way of avoiding having to put a security door there and put the old single-cylinder deadbolt back on. With the security door making it harder for the Burglar to break out a light, reach in, and unlock the deadbolt, I no longer need a lock that’s keyed on the inside. That means in the event of a fire, I won’t have to grope around searching for the key to get out.

Couldn’t talk him into installing the other two lock sets on the side and front security doors, which is just as well, since I’ll have to have the locksmith come over with better locks, anyway.

Yes. The cheapo kitchen door combines with the mid-cheapo security door to hideous effect. Plus one of the unlockable sliding doors resides adjacent to the newly secured kitchen door.

So, what I’m thinking is to replace all three sliding doors with single-pane sliders, and to install a matching door in the kitchen—the kind that has just one large glass pane in it. Then all the Arcadia doors would match, they’d all have halfway decent factory-installed hardware, and once they’re supplemented with bars dropped in their tracks, screw-on locks, and door squealers, they should be relatively safe. The back door, then, would be mostly clear glass, so when you look out through it, you’d see the “decorative” (heh) ironwork of the security door: only one layer of kitsch instead of two.

These little gems are not cheap. Each will cost about $1500. On HD’s website, however, I found Anderson knockoffs by some outfit called “Masterpiece” for about  half the price. They’re probably junk—I’m having the company that installed the windows and skylights in this house give me a call, tho’ I don’t expect them to underprice anything at Home Depot, since they carry top-of-the-line products and do first-rate work. I’d rather not spend any money on this  kind of thing, but still…closing costs alone on my house would run over $12,000; and then we’d have the cost of moving my stuff across town, plus the usual mountain of bills that invariably accompanies possession of a new place. Clearly, making the place a little more perp-resistant trumps selling this house, finding a new one, and moving.

Meanwhile, as long as I’m spending money on the house, the interior really, really needs a paint job. The Alexander Julian color scheme my friend and I cooked up when I moved in here about six or seven years ago was very stylish at the time, but it’s pretty…uhm…idiosyncratic. I think I’d like to replace the surprising colors with more neutral shades, and also paint the white doors and trim brown. The color of dirt. I am tired of scouring dirt off the doors and woodwork!

Paint the woodwork the color of dirt, and the dirt won’t show. 😉

While visiting the Depot, I came across a gorgeous paint color, or so it appears in the chip. Behr is calling it “faded peach.” It’s really an off-white with just a tiny touch of peach in it. The effect is a very warm, rich neutral that picks up one of the subtle shades in the floor tiles. If someone didn’t tell you it had peach in it, you’d never know. My plan is to put this in the living room, dining room, and up the (presently orange terra-cotta) hallway. The accent wall in the living room, which is now swamp blue a kind of murky teal, will give way to “adobe straw” (a soft grayish brown) or “blanket” (brown brown, which is also going to be the color of the doors and trim). The gray in my bedroom will be covered with “adobe straw,” and the swamp blue accent wall in there repainted with “flint smoke,” a much lighter, subtler sort of misty teal. The master bathroom will be “Arabian sands,” another neutral brown that’s close to “adobe straw” but goes better with the travertine in the shower. The office and other two bedrooms: variants of “peach fade,” “adobe straw,” and “flint smoke.” Overall, the effect will be much more subtle; keeping the woodwork clean will require a lot less elbow grease, and should I decide to sell the house after all, the paint job will be neutral.

While the painter’s here, I think I’ll have him paint the garage walls “adobe straw,” too. Same strategy: hide the dirt.

So, by the time these projects are done, the house will be a little more secure and a lot more attractive. I think.


1 thought on “Shoring Up the Barricades”

  1. We spend tons of money on home projects in the summer too. We’re too busy during the school year.

    All those things will cut down on stress–including aesthetic stress.

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