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***Overshare post alert*** Some time ago, I replaced my front door handle and deadbolt.

There are a number of reasons why this was a good idea at the time, but there’s one that still makes me laugh to this day as one of the strangest (and yet, still oddly logical) reasons to replace something in my home: I got tired of really, really needing to pee.

You see, the old deadbolt key was getting twisted and stuck nearly every. damn. time. I came home from work and unlocked my front door. In order to get the key to work, I had to wiggle it just right. The deadbolt would eventually catch, the door would be unlocked, and all would be right with the world.

Except, many more times than I would like to admit, I would get stuck in traffic on my drive home from work (it is Atlanta, after all — home of some of the most intense traffic jams ever). And even though I didn’t really think I had to use the bathroom when I left the office, by the time I got all the way home, things would be… considerably different. My bladder would sometimes be so full that I’d need to do that dumb little dance while praying for the door to release its death grip on the interior pins within the lock, and I’d be muttering under my breath, “for the love of God, damn you! TURN! TUUUURN!”

(There were other good reasons for replacing the hardware as well, such as the fact that I only had one really old front door key and it was almost too twisted to even fit in the lock, but the pee-pee dance story is just way more funny and embarrassing.)

Anyway, I picked out a new deadbolt and handle to match the other nickel exterior hardware. And not only am I no longer working on my peemergency dance moves in front of my neighbors anymore, but I have been enjoying another funny, unexpected perk: instead of needing a free hand to turn the handle, I can use my elbow and shove the door open with a nudge from my hip. It may not seem like much, but when you might need to pee and you’ve got two armloads of groceries? Magic.

I didn’t reveal the new door hardware at the time because it was one of those domino effect projects: fix this, change that, and then realize that there are two or three other things that you really should take care of to have a more complete update about it. But then, months pass, you ignore the little things around it that irk you, and the project sort of hangs on the to-do list indefinitely.

After staring at my door like this, every day, for months, I finally got frustrated enough to just fix what was bugging me. Thanks to the different sizes between the original and replacement, a sliver of the old red paint from the original door color was peeking through around the deadbolt, and I had reached a tipping point between putting it off for one more day and being tired of this little reminder still being on my to-do list. Perhaps it was all of the exterior updates surrounding the door. Perhaps it was knowing exactly where the paint was from having organized my garage this year. But all it took was a little paint brush to finally attack that little sliver of red paint. So I did. And I moved on.

Or so I thought. A few days later, I then noticed that by having painted the area around the new handle and deadbolt, the sheen of the dark blue paint on the rest of the door had dulled a little. I could have ignored it, but I knew it would eventually bug me like the red paint did. So I whipped out a regular paint brush, cleaned the door, and repainted nearly all of the door wherever I saw a dull sheen.

I then noticed several old gouges in the trim next to the handle. I’m not even sure why this area had been notched out originally, but using some quick-dry wood putty to rebuild the corner took care of it in no time.

After a little sanding and more paint, the new door hardware looked much more camera-ready!

So, here’s the old door as it was ages ago:

And here’s what it looks like now!

That’s not all that was updated, so be sure to  come back on Wednesday for a quick tutorial on the new doorbell!

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  1. I think the ‘Pee-Pee Dance’ is the best reason for DIY… projects that come out of making your life better, even if it’s something as simple as not having to wait to pee after a long commute (and oh, lord, I’ve been there… there’s nothing worse). We’re in a similar boat – our front door handle is broken (the deadbolt works), but it’s so much easier to just give the door a quick push once the deadbolt is unlocked, especially when you’re brining in multiple trips of grocery bags and don’t want to leave the door wide open, than it would be to spend the time to fix the broken handle. But I hadn’t thought of a different style of handle – that might give me the best of both worlds – easy access and a non-broken handle. :)

  2. My husband calls those “birthing projects.” If we paint the wall we need to clean the carpet. To clean the carpet we need to move the furniture. If were are going to move furniture, we should purge the contents. Thus – if you don’t paint the wall, you don’t have to do the rest of the stuff!

  3. Oh Sarah, I get this on so many levels. :) The new handle and deadbolt look very stylish. Love the flip handle for sure!! All the updates… large and small niggling… done! Congratulations!! :)))

  4. I don’t think that’s a silly reason to want to replace a lock! Heck, I’d want to replace it simply because it bugs me when things around the house don’t work optimally. And because I know a new deadbolt lock would only be like $20, and it’s something I could do myself… oh yeah, I’d be all over that :)

  5. I’ve been wanting to paint my front door blue and have been having a hard time narrowing down my color selection. What color is yours?! I love it!

  6. You rock girl. Never thought of the pee dance before,but I do remember doing it. The new hardware looks really great and by refinishing the door and jam you have spiffed up your home to anyone who happens to come there. Be careful Charlie can’t open the door. Dogs are very smart , Our neighbors have a black lab that can open the doors and before leaving the house they must put chairs in front of the door so that Molly can’t get to the door. Another reason for the new locks you did not bring up is security reasons, one key and it would not work half the time. Well how many keys came with the old locks? Where did they go? Who has them? All good questions and that alone would make me nervous. Good for you, new thing do make life nicer. LB