Earthbag Cellar: Cellar Doors

If like me you enjoyed Donnie Darko then you know that Cellar Door is arguably the most beautiful expression in the English language. This is a story of not one, but two cellar doors!

It started with a vision of a nice arched door that fills the arched doorway. I built the frame, stuggled to shape a rough template for the arch:

I Made an actual arched header (required laminating two pieces of wood) … I don’t have a picture because the result was depressing. The door couldn’t open … it is basic (duh!) geometry when you see it up close and personal. The arch of the door and the arch of the doorway collide.

I remember having to decide where, in the depth of the door opening, to install the framing for the door … I decided to go with the middle. That was a mistake. The framing should be on the side towards which the door opens.

So I had to scratch that option and went for a fixed arch and a rectangular (and slightly low) door (I’ve since banged my head a few times, hopefully I’ll learn).

Then preparing all the boards that would enclose the door … here they are laid out right before charring.

I assembled one side of the door … then filled it with an insulating layer of leftover styrofoam:

… and then closed it up (the frame was charred, brushed and oiled with linseed oil, the filler panels were charred and brushed strongly in preparation for a colored finishing).

… and we hung it … and voila … cellar door #1:

We’d already done a lot to protect from rodents, Iulia asked for more … and so the arched header was covered with a hidden metal plate

on top of which were installed the arch panels:

Because this is the outside door, I took advantage of the spaces in the arch to stuff in more insulation:

… closed it up and then it was time for experiments with color:

The final touches were rodent protection on the bottom of the door and … handles:

… and rinse, repeat (though not exactly the same) … and the cellar door #2 (separating the two rooms) came into being:

All of this was possible because the floor, though not yet completely set, has hardened enough for us to walk on it … which meant, that with doors in place we could also start moving in.

After finalizing measurements of the planned shelves we built a couple of frames to mockup the size … and were happy with the result (4 meters long, 2.26 meters tall, 60cm deep)

The day before yesterday we moved some things from our summer kitchen into the smaller inner-room of the cellar as transition storage:

… and that was in preparation for today when we moved the freezer into its new home. It was somewhat of a balancing act for the two of us relatively small-folk … but with the help of the wheelbarrow we got it done. Here it is out in the sun where Iulia defrosted and cleaned it.

It was a freezing day … so the frozen contents stayed frozen:

… and here it is in place, plugged in and fully loaded.

And the cellar is becoming an actual place!

Next are the shelves … and the last project on my list (thankfully since the days are getting short and freezing cold) for this year is the grain-storage.

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