May 2009: D.I.Y. Diary

May 2009: D.I.Y. Diary

What’s the hatch?

What’s going on here? A door is repurposed as the centerpiece of an attic hatch. Watch your step.

Though we dream of converting the attic in our house to a master bedroom, for now it remains an officially unfinished space. Therefore, our renovation loan required us to close off the attic with a temporary hatch. A simple piece of plywood laid over the stairwell would have sufficed, but what kind of class act would that be?

Instead, we decided to use a leftover interior door. It’s just like all the other doors inside the house, but it would lie horizontally at the top of the stairs, making a kind of visual joke, Alice in Wonderland-style.
The stair opening was much bigger than the door, so we had to surround it with a frame that we quickly built with 2x4s. Quickly, yes, but sturdily—we thought it would be good to be able to walk on this hatch if we were ever up in the attic working on a project. So we built the frame the way we would have built a wall, with studs 16" on center, then attached it to the door. Some cabinet-grade plywood to face the frame around the door, and our hatch was done.

If you guessed that this thing is heavy to push up over our heads every time we make a trip to the attic, you’re right. We just think of it as good exercise. And besides, it’s only temporary.