We’ve now been living in our dream home for about six months. It’s a rental, but we’ve adopted it as our own. A sweet abode, providing us everything we need, while simultaneously revealing all the little places it could use a bit of TLC. If you want projects, these walls will talk. They’ve got ideas. They will offer lists.
We take note. We see plenty of potential. But like any fixer-upper, the strategy is all about priorities. Thus far, we’ve opted to make-do with the peeling, silver-highlighted wallpaper, probably hung by the original owners in 1981. We’ll live with poor aesthetics, while directing our attention to more pressing issues, like a real lack of air flow in the house.
Our “stuffy” challenge has been punctuated by some recent, record-breaking heat. The 100% humidity kind, breaking 90 degrees with no breeze, meaning you’re pooling buckets of sweat, swooning on a giant petri-dish-of-an-island, full of blooming spores and hatching mosquito larvae.
At home, the tile in the kitchen is slick, not able to absorb the settling slime of moisture generated by the air, alone. The carpet (yes, carpet – I don’t know why tropical homes have carpeting) breeds mold and steams musty. The ceiling fans do little to move a breeze through the sun-baked house, which amps up to oven-like conditions by 10am.
There have been brainstorms for solutions. Some ideas have been elaborate. Like the one that suggested a sort of ventilation tube that could be adhered along the outside of the house to harness the breeze from outside. It could be inserted into a hole that would cut into the bedroom closet wall, directing airflow into the room. A filtration system of some kind would need to be employed so as not to bring dust inside.
Hmmm…that was one idea. But it sounded pretty complicated.
And so this weekend, there we were. Saturday night, just the Bohemian and I. The lights were low. The fans were on. We were sweating. The walls were talking. They had ideas for us. Lots of them. And then one brilliant one came.
How about a screen door?
So simple. So basic. It’s almost embarrassing to admit that we had completely overlooked it as an option.
The truth is, we have a front entrance, but we don’t use it. Our house has one big, wooden door that opens to an entryway. There are multiple reasons why this foyer has been forgotten. One of them being that the tenants that lived here before us used the back kitchen door as the common point of entry, and we just followed suit. For the last six months, our front door has remained shut like a wall. To the point that we nearly forgot it was a door at all.
Enter one fresh thought, and opening the door was a possibility.
We made a trip to town the next morning, strapped a screen door to the roof rack of our car, and tried our first-ever door install. We had to think outside the box on this project. There’s nothing typical about our house, and our doorway exceeds the standard door length. If we hung the door according to the directions, it never would have fit. Hinges were re-arranged. A sweep was added to the bottom to seal the door. With meticulous eyes, a chisel, and a hand drill, the Bohemian hung the door while I did my best to assist. In the end, it worked!
With one open door, our entire house is now different. It’s significantly cooler, as the trade winds blow right through the screen. The breeze runs along the tiles in the foyer, lifting cool air through all the rooms. Light fills what was once a dark hallway.
I can’t see the door from the kitchen, but when I’m cooking, I can feel the openness that’s just around the corner. Our house is finally breathing.
And I’m reminded of how sometimes the most simple solution is right before us. No need to get out a sledgehammer and tear down walls. Just look for an exit (or an entrance). Open a door that’s been closed.