This series is supposed to be a picture of a door. I get that, but I hope Norm didn’t mean that we can’t also write a bunch of stuff. I hope that’s not a problem because it’s really hard for me to simply stick a photo out here and not say a few words. I am going to try to keep my remarks brief, but there’s something special about this door. I built it.
Just so you know, it’s not the only door I’ve ever built. If you count cabinet doors, I’ve built dozens but this might be the most unusual door I’ve ever built. As it goes for most doors, the story begins with a hole in the wall.
The wall in this case is the wall between the vaulted portion of our family room and the attic space that will someday be a partial second floor. Both the vaulting of the family room and the second-flooring of the main house are part of a long renovation project that began in 2007 and appears to be on an uncertain path to completion. The point is, we need the hole. We need the hole now, so we have access to the attic. We need the hole in the future because there’s going to be a small balcony in that opening and some glass doors that will open to allow heat from our wood stove to circulate through the upstairs. I have this all planned.
Accessing an attic is usually an easy job and they make lots of products to enable such access. Well, it’s easy and there are lots of products provided you’re accessing the attic through a ceiling. Most people, it seems, don’t access their attic through a wall. “Still, it must be possible” I thought.
It was possible. It involved buying a different kind of attic stair kit – modifying that kit – and installing a few temporary bits of structure to support that kit. Modifying the kit meant taking a $200 item and cutting it apart with a die grinder in the hopes my plan would work. In any case, it wasn’t going back to Home Depot.
With the stairs installed, we needed a way to hide them and to access them. The last thing that I wanted was to have to bring a ladder into the house to access a ladder that was permanently installed. The door(s) was designed to solve that. The upper and left door are normally locked in place. Between them, they form a frame for the lower right door. That door closes with a magnetic catch so that it can be opened with the same pole that is used to lower the stairs. The process is: open the right door – lower the stairs – climb stairs – open the left and upper doors. Easy peasy.
The rest of the pictures describe the door in more detail, if you’re interested in such things. If not, it’s OK, this post is all about the door.