When I mentioned to my friends we were replacing the doors in our master ensuite area with barn doors I got a lot of blank stares. These people have seen our bedroom and I’m sure they were wondering how barn doors fit in with our decor. That’s why we built our own modern barn doors.
I guess when someone hears the term barn door they visualize either actual sliding doors on a barn large enough to accommodate tractors or farm animals or, if they are current on their design trends, they think of a rustic door in a farmhouse or loft apartment.
But obviously, what I should have described to them was a modern/transitional interpretation of a sliding door. Doors that provide practical and beautiful solutions to ill-planned or dated home design.
One of the things I’ve always disliked about our “new” home was the awkward french doors leading into the master closets and bathroom area. Not only did they create a lot of noise, the gap in the middle of the doors when closed, never felt very private.
And to make matters worse, just beyond this clumsy opening are our “his and hers” closets, each with doors that used to swing into the closet space. This arrangement greatly reduced the functionality of the available space. The only way to access the items behind the door was to go in and close the door behind you.
After many months of living life as a closet slob, because of inadequate storage, and hearing the annoying clang of those doors each morning, I was determined to find a solution.
Ideally, the closets should have been built with pocket doors, but to retrofit a pocket door is quite an undertaking. We realized that a barn door or sliding door was our solution. But we also realized that the style of our home is more traditional and a rustic barn door is just not in step with the architecture of the home, nor in keeping with the style of our bedroom.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love a good rustic barn door. I particularly like the more streamlined hardware on this one.
And if I were to move to a rustic farmhouse, or beach house or lake house for that matter, I’d be all over a true to form barn door or even one made from reclaimed wood.
But for our home, we needed a more modern or classic styled sliding barn door. Something more understated. We considered the whole DIY approach to sliding door hardware as well, but I was adamant that the mechanism is completely quiet.
We knew our sliding barn door would not only bring the function we desired but bring an attractive, contemporary flair to the room. We searched and found a streamlined version of sliding door hardware, from Amazon for around $90 each. 6 Ft Modern Stainless Steel Interior Sliding Barn Wooden Door Hardware Track Set (CLICK HERE)
We love everything about this hardware. It’s solidly built, completely quiet and very high quality. The only thing it lacked was thorough instructions. If you’ve ever built something from Ikea, that’s what this was like.
But with a little trial and error, we figured it out here’s a link to the tutorial, tips and things to consider when installing this stainless steel hardware.
Our next decision was to choose a style for the sliding barn doors. I wanted something contemporary, yet classic enough to work in a traditional space. A four-panel door seemed to fit the bill nicely.
We decided to build the doors ourselves using red oak PureBond Plywood.
As often is the case, our excitement over what we had built prompted us to haul it upstairs just to see what it would look like in place. We were stoked!
After our doors and hardware hung, the next thing to consider was how to deal with the remaining door stop, holes for the door strike and the hinges.
How to update door casing after installing a barn door.
One option that would have worked was to cover the offending side of the door jamb with a piece of wooden lattice. It also would have brought the level almost up to the door stop. But we decided to rip all of the casing out and create the look of a cased opening, completely removing the evidence of an old door jamb.
This process ended up being a little more involved than we thought. Most homes are built using door kits. We wrongly assumed that the door jamb was made up of three pieces of wood. But in actuality, it was two pieces that took a good deal of chiseling to remove. It took some careful, methodical work because we chose not to remove the door casing/trim. I left to run an errand, so I don’t have photos of this step, but I can assure you the wood removed looked more like a big pile of long splinters than anything else.
To build back the opening as a cased opening we used 1×6’s ripped down to fit the opening, about 4 3/4 inches wide.
The level of the opening varied greatly around each side of the door. We cut scraps of wood to shim each side to the desired depth. In some places, we used pieces that were an inch thick other places we needed thinner pieces like scraps of beadboard.
The resulting transition of a smooth opening was worth the effort.
Adding a bar pull to a sliding barn door.
When we initially ordered the door hardware we didn’t even realize it came with a finger pull.
The back side each of the plates needed to be counter sunk for our doors because of how closely it came to the door casing/trim.
On the front of the main door I wanted a more decorative, Statement Pull, Brushed Nickel 12.5″
This required a little bit of planning. The top hole for the handle was a simple, we just counter sunk the screw into the hole.
For the bottom, we counter sunk the finger pull and then drilled a countersunk hole for the handle. Eventually, just gluing the finger pull in place along with caulking around the edges.
The resulting space is remarkably clean and open. It’s amazing how removing doors with hinges gives you so much room. It feels so grand to walk through this little hallway now. I just love how this has completely transformed this space!
Functionally, the modern sliding barn doors achieved the goal of a quiet, less cumbersome, entry into the ensuite and happily more space in our closets! It also facilitated an amazing makeover to our small closets. You can see the “her closet” here and the “his closet” here.
Do you have an awkward door situation? Maybe a sliding door is a viable option for you. I’d love to hear what you think.
Below are links to Modern Barn Door Hardware and helpful accessories.
For full details on the build and plans for the doors, click here.
For a complete review, overview, and tips for the installation of the hardware, we used click here.
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