A few years back my parents did an addition to their house. The original idea was to have a solid hardwood door in the back with some windows in it – much like our front door. However, the painters accidentally painted the door so my parents were given a choice of what to do:
1) Replace the door
2) Have the door stripped of the paint
3) Keep the door and get a discount on the original price of the door
Since they already had caused a lot of material waste with the whole project they didn’t think replacing the door was really environmentally responsible. Likewise, stripping the door would use a lot of toxic chemicals and the door would end up looking like it had the work done and not like the original door they had picked. So they chose to keep the door in it’s current painted condition and get some cash back on the deal. However, since this error occurred their original plan of adding a storm door with a dog door in it was shelved – despite having the few extra dollars in their pocket. This decision was purely aesthetic in nature as they didn’t feel this door would complement their backyard in the manner that they wanted. In other words, in their opinion, the Feng Shui would be TOTALLY thrown off.
The lack of a dog door – like the one they originally had between their kitchen and the garage door which then led out to the yard (BTW this was before my time so I am just relating what Sammy has told me) – caused a complication in their lifestyle. In order for us to go outside they either:
1) had to get up each time and open the door for us, or
2) they had to leave the door open which had the following downsides:
a) in summer: the bugs – especially moths and mosquitoes would enter the house (the latter being a particularly bad outcome).
b) in winter: the cold and/or snow would infiltrate the house and cause major discomfort while sitting on the couch (or they would have to bundle up in multiple blankets or cocoon up in a sleeping bag certified for -20o F).
So what to do???? Give up on the whole Feng Shui thing or freeze/get eaten by the ‘squitos until they were dead???
Well, my dad had another idea. Build an “easily” removable dog door?
Originally he was thinking a piece of plywood with a hole cut out. But when he went to scout out such a set up at our local Home Depot it became immediately clear to him that this would be way too heavy for an “easy” removable door. While roaming around the store he came across the 4’x8’ insulation panels. A razor blade, some rope and a pillow case (to act as a flap) resulted in our first door.
Now many of you may be thinking: “this doesn’t ruin the Feng Shui of the backyard?”.
Well, I’ll provide this story as evidence in this case:
My dad was telling a friend at work about this “invention” – making fun of the potential of making the house look a little less then stylish. The first picture my dad sent him was of Sammy heading out the door from our room. His response was: “that is 800 times better than what I expected”. After my dad sent the second picture (me sitting outside the door – with the Pink Panther print on the foam insert and me in with a bandage leg) he said: “AH. You have some real lucky neighbors!”
Sammy and the Dog Door
Whatever he says we thought it was pretty cool!
Dad eventually got a thicker version of the insulation panels (he brought the previous section to work to try and warm up his office – upping the Feng Shui of that space considerably 🙂 ) and this time he put the Panther on the inside – in acknowledgement of our neighbors viewpoint- and used thicker rugs as our flaps.
Unfortunately, this set up eventually got too cumbersome for Sammy to get in and out easily. His difficulty resulted in Version 3 of the the “door”. In this version, a drop cloth is thrown over the top of the insulation panel and shoved to one side so the “flap” is only partly covering the hole in the door (maybe someday I’ll share a pic of this setup). This keeps most of the heat in the house and the bugs mostly out while allowing Sammy “mostly” free access to the outside. Of course this version isn’t fool proof either as on occasion Sammy will plow through the door pulling it out of the opening which results in it laying on the floor or leaning against our shower stall. In these instances, if I am outside, I feel trapped and will not come back inside through our room. This happened just the other night and it took a good 5 minutes (or forever in my view) for anyone to notice me looking through our sliding glass door asking for help. Once they realized the problem and let me in it took a full hour (or two minutes) of kissing my mom on the couch before I calmed down. Don’t worry though, I still love our door.
I am most happy though when the “door” is in the pantry and I am outside with Sammy and my ‘rents like this: