Well after scrapping the bookcase idea to frame in the door to the office we came up with a more unusual idea. While at the bike junkyard in Rye, Az, where we were buying the rusted frame for the mailbox, we noticed the man had a green bike route sign for sale. Being cycling enthusiasts we decided we couldn’t pass up the sign for 20 dollars and took it home. At that point we had no idea what to do with the sign but that is how good ideas sometime start. We held up the bike sign next to the door and quickly realized that we were in the market for enough street signs to completely face the enclosure.
We immediately started planning and constructing the wall, and definitely not in that order. From a construction standpoint I was excited that we would be facing the wall because that left me more options to frame it, as the framing would not be visible in the finished design. I used metal studs to frame the archways as they would bend nicely and create a perfect arch. In between the metal studs I framed with wood studs to give the wall the necessary strength to hang the door.
With the framing completed we went shopping for interesting used street signs. We found a yellow street flooded sign and a Mill Avenue sign at a local antique shop and our collection was now up to three items. A search on craigslist.org put us in touch with a local man looking to sell a stop sign, a 45 mph speed limit sign, and a handicap parking sign. Through some negotiation we landed these at a very good price. The final sign was a golf cart crossing sign we found at a different local antique shop.
The hardest part of the entire process was cutting the first sign. We decided to trim the sign to size using a jig saw with metal cutting blades. Since the wall was going to also act as a door jam we needed to have safe and smooth edges to the signs to avoid having a death trap as the door to the office. We purchased a multi-pack of the most teeth per inch (TPI) metal cutting jigsaw blades available and went home to cut the signs. Cutting one sign we went through the entire pack of blades. The sign looked great and the cut was smooth but at this rate the fabrication of the wall was going to break the bank. Returning to the hardware store we bought two different multi-packs of blades, one the same TPI as the first round and one with slightly less TPI. The idea was to try to cut the next sign using the rougher blade; we would see the quality of the cut and the durability of the blade and make a decision from there on how to proceed. We cut the next sign in about a tenth of the time and the cut was smoother as the blade stayed sharp and true throughout the cut. In fact, we used the one blade through all the rest of the cuts with no challenges. It is amazing the results you can get when you use the proper tools.
The final product was an amazingly interesting looking addition to our house and the Mill Ave sign added that Tempe touch that we love. We hung the door and used a ball catch assembly rather than a traditional latching assembly to keep our options open for potential door knobs. We now had privacy in the office which was a key when the wife works from home. I live by the motto “A happy wife means a happy life!” Finishing this project will make a huge step towards my happy life.