Welcome to Week 3 of the Fall One Room Challenge. This week is all about barn doors. We are sharing ideas and options for installing the barn door of your dreams without breaking the bank.
Barn Doors: Tips, Tricks and Options
First, let’s take a peek at the ghastly before photo of the back wall. Behind those mossy diamonds is a 28-inch pocket door that is used to close off the closet (pictured in gold). Thank goodness, it’s finally time to say bye-bye to all of this 1990’s mossy mess.
How can the shower be expanded and the closet be saved all at the same time?
Truth be told, the pocket door is a great option for when there is no room for a swinging door to open and close. And when we started moving things..uuuum….like walls… around, I had the option of installing a smaller pocket door.
And then I thought, “Huuuum. Why do that?”
Eggs and Omelettes
So then, we let our imaginations go and got busy with that whole egg breaking thing. Y’all know the old saying about making an omelette. Right? Yea, you always start by breaking a whole lotta eggs. Well, if this is a horrifying notion, just hang on and know that this room has to get worse before it can get better.
But when all that scrambling is done right, it will produce quite the omelette supremo. In the photo below, that’s shower tile on the left, the closet opening in the middle, and the new wall on the right.
But, even with all of this updated goodness, the room still needed a closet door and a way to balance the texture on the left with the plain white wall on the right.
Barn Doors by the Pint
Enter a pint-sized barn door in a sweet aqua-green color.
If history holds true, the door will be open 99% of the time, especially since the shelves are hidden to the left and right of the opening. And I see this as a good thing.
Tips, Tricks and Options
To make a small space look and feel bigger, if the closet can be configured so that the closet door can be left open, do it. In this case, this space gains an extra 22 inches of visual depth without stealing from the closet’s storage capacity.
And to add even more visual depth (and storage), a wall hook rack is parked between the sets of shelves. This is a great option for two reasons. One, it’s a smart way to get robes and towels out of the way. And two, the visual weight pulls the eye towards the back wall.
Barn Doors and Hardware
As for the barn door, let’s talk about a few specific tricks and options:
Barn door hardware is now very affordable with many, many style and decor options. But when evaluating a kit, please be advised:
The end stops at each end of the rail will absorb two or more inches of space.
Because of this, my door will have a slight gap on the left side when closed and a slight gap over the closet opening when open.
But since privacy isn’t a concern for the door when closed and the loss of clearance isn’t a functional problem when open, I opted to use the barn door anyway.
If however, privacy and clearance are important, then choose hardware and an overall configuration that allows for these considerations.
The door will also need a pull on one side and a flat-type pull on the backside. When evaluating pulls, please note:
Any pull that works with your decor is ok for the front. Just make sure it is big and heavy enough to grasp and move a rather heavy door.
But use caution when choosing the back pull as it will need to lay flat against the door. When I purchased the set for my door, I didn’t realize that the back pull would require using a router to hollow out a place so that the pull would lay flat against the door.
Jim Dandy to the Rescue
Thankfully, my fabulous contractor is Jim Dandy on steriods. Of course, he had a router. Bless….
And with that, problem solved.
Nowadays, barn doors come in all heights and widths, styles and price points, so careful consideration (especially when measuring) is a must. Otherwise, you’ll be like me and end up with a door that is a little too short. Oh yes. This happened **sigh** …….but read on pass the measuring tips to learn about the mother of all mismeasuring bandaids.
To determine the height of the door and clearances:
Start from the floor. The door will require a roller tract at the bottom. How much vertical space is needed for the track? Based on my kit, my door needed to hang one inch from the floor.
Add to the floor clearance the number of additional inches of height based on where the top of the door needs to end. My door is 80 inches tall and, after the opening was rebuilt, it is about 1/2 inch too short. Gaaaah!
Then, to the total number of inches needed in height for the floor clearance and door, check the hardware kit to see how many additional inches of clearance (towards the ceiling) is required for the hardware rails and rollers.
Add all of the measurements together.
This number represents the total clearance needed for the door plus hardware from the floor to the top of the hardware. And it should take into account that the door adequately covers the opening when closed.
Total height is usually not a problem (if carefully measured), but it was concerning for my space. This is because the original builders dug a shallow basement and there’s only 7 feet 3 inches of clearance from the ceiling. I know!! It’s the worst low ceiling nightmare!
But if you make sure you account for the total height and width AND that the door completely covers the opening, you’ll be in great shape.
Buy a door or DIY?
Now, where to find a door? And if you can’t find a door, can you make one?
Well, I really lucked out. I wanted a Shaker-style door and found a regular door that is already primed for a fraction of the cost. I’m talking $150 vs $700 for nearly the exact same slab. The only difference is that mine has five panels vs. three panels for the door labeled “barn door.”
It’s kind of like buying brand name medication vs generic. It’s amazing how the price drops when the brand name “barn door” is stripped away from the product.
But that’s just my two cents.
Bottom line, please be encouraged to shop around for a deal….and don’t discount a slab that isn’t labeled “barn door.”
Another option is to DIY this style of door. A friend of mine wrote a fantastic tutorial for building a door and I’ll drop the link at the bottom of this post (with other reference links).
To paint and protect:
First, the paint:
In this bathroom, the barn door is the focal point so I opted to add a little color pop, as long as it still reads neutral.
The paint is Behr Prime and Paint in a satin finish. Here is the color match recipe. Two coats covered the primed door beautifully.
Then to protect:
After the Behr paint had dried a couple of days, the front side of the door was further sealed against moisture with Gator Hide (link to learn more with other resources at the bottom). This is because when open, the door is in the toilet splash zone. The Gator Hide will allow for door cleaning while protecting the paint’s color and performance.
Quick Fix for a Mismeasure:
And last, but not least, is the easy fix-it for a mismeasured closet opening. My builder is very clever. To close the small gap, he simply added a 1 by 4 as a second header. Once it is mudded and painted, the error totally disappears. And who, pray tell, will ever notice the slight drop in clearance in the doorway? I say nobody, but I’ll let you know if anybody ever raises their hand.
So there you have it. All the good, bad and ugly about creating an opening and installing a barn door.
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