Opening The Workshop Door

I’m really excited about this weeks post. For years I’ve wanted a nice place to work on things. Growing up my dad had half of his garage dedicated to tool storage, and the other half was used to work on things. The best part of it was when the weather was nice he could open the garage door and we got fresh air and lots of natural light to work in. Even though it opened toward the road, it was also a really nice view into an open field across the street.

At the last place I lived, the basement was the only place indoors where I could work on anything. It had two windows boarded up. One of the other two windows was by the driveway so any light was usually mostly blocked by a car. The other window actually let some light in, but it was hard to tell with it being so small.

There was also not any way to get fresh air into the basement. The door could be left open and every once in a while I would do so. But the same door also led upstairs into the kitchen and it wasn’t the best neighborhood for leaving a door open, especially when I didn’t have a good view of it.

The reason I didn’t have a good view of the door was another major problem with using the basement as a work area. Like most houses in my area which were built when this was was, the door to the basement from outside leads to a set of split stairs. It’s straight forward to go up into the kitchen or a right turn to go down into the basement. This made it difficult to get things in and out of it. If I really struggled with it, it was possible to get a 4 foot by 8 foot sheet of plywood down there but any time I needed to build anything I would have to either do all the work in the driveway or build it in pieces so it would be possible to get it outside.

There was also the constant flooding but I had everything elevated and didn’t go down there when it was flooding.

The New House

While looking for a house one of the things on my list of needs was a work area which I would be able to get things in and out of and be able to get fresh air and sunlight. It was also on my list of wants that it have a garage because that would guarantee the work area having the access I wanted.

We did find a few with garages but the one we ended up going with didn’t have one. It did however have a garage door leading into the basement. The house is built on a steep hill so the front of the basement is completely underground and the back is slightly above ground. I’m sure the purpose of the garage door was just for lawn mower access because there isn’t a convenient way to get a car to the door, nor is there much space to park one once inside.

The first summer we were here was great. I could go downstairs and open the door, then just go to my workbench and work on things. If at any point I need to turn something around which needs more space than I have, I can just bring it outside, turn it, and then bring it back in. And in the case of the 4 foot by 8 foot sheets of plywood, I have no problem getting them inside — once I get them down the hill that is.

The door faces the back yard so I get a nice view of the woods and creek behind the property. Although I couldn’t always hear them, there are always lots of birds which spend the whole day singing and it’s nice to listen to them. Every once in a while a breeze with blow inside which is also nice.

Sometimes I would also bring my dog downstairs and put him on a tether outside the door so he could enjoy being outside while I worked on things. I’d like to get a fence put up this summer so the dogs can run and play outside without getting wrapped around the posts for the deck. That will also make it easier to let them out if I don’t already have them with me.

Right now my wife has to call down to see if the door is open before she lets them down so they don’t run outside when we don’t want them to. There is a really bad stray cat problem and they love trying to get to the cats and other animals that live out back. Once we get a fence put in she can just let them downstairs and if the door is open they’ll be going out into a fenced in area.

Another benefit of the door is the 6 inch drop right outside it. If I have a large amount of sawdust, or even just regular dust, on the floor I can just sweep it out the door instead of having to get a dust pan. I just sweep it all to the edge, then run a magnet over it to make sure there are no nails or screws or other things I don’t want in the yard then push the rest off.

Now that summer is coming again I’ve got a list of projects I need to do and I’m excited to be able to do them with some natural night and fresh air. Although, if we manage to have less rain than last year I’m sure I’ll be spending more time on the deck and move some projects from my list of things I’d like to do to my list of things I’m sure I’d do if I weren’t relaxing on the deck. Maybe I can do a post at the end of the summer with the projects I wanted to do and what I actually end up doing.

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