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Change Of Plans — Rolling Doors Are Out, and Pony Walls With Columns Are In

We’re barely into January, and I’ve already changed my mind on one of my pretty big design plans.  So as far as mind-changing, it looks like this year will be no different from any other.  🙂

Remember how I was planning on building a cased opening between the entryway/living room and the music room, and then adding a second set of rolling doors (identical to the ones in the music room) to that cased opening?

house floor plan - original plan - two sets of rolling doors

Well, I’ve changed my mind.  After working in the music room for a few days, I decided that the last thing I want is to make that room feel too closed off and dark.  And I’m afraid that adding solid walls that jut out about 30 inches in each side, and then adding black rolling doors, will make it too isolated and dark.

Plus, I really do think that having two sets of identical rolling doors will make my doors seem less unique.  Right now with just the one set, they look kind of special, like I found a real treasure at some architectural salvage yard.  If I have two sets, I think I might lose that.

But I still want definition between the two room.  So how do I accomplish that without making the music room feel too blocked off?

I found my answer in an episode of Rehab Addict at the Lebron James project.  Pony walls with columns!

pony walls with columns - Rehab Addict project with Lebron James - living room and dining room

I love how that gives definition between the two rooms, while keeping everything open and bright.  Nothing feels closed off or isolated.  And I can just imagine walking through my front door, seeing the pony walls with columns straight ahead, and then the rolling doors in the distance.  The pony walls and columns will kind of “frame” the rolling doors, and I think it’ll make them look way more special than if I had two identical sets of rolling doors.

So, of course, I went in search of inspiration.  I think I prefer the ones with square columns, like the one below, over the ones with round columns.

pony walls with columns - design by Rebekah Zaveloff - KitchenLab, via HouzzEclectic Dining Room by Chicago Kitchen & Bath Designers Rebekah Zaveloff | KitchenLab

And I also prefer the pony walls to be shorter so that it feels more open.  I think taller pony walls like the ones below would kind of defeat the purpose in my house.

pony walls with columns - dining room by Ventana Construction, via HouzzCraftsman Dining Room by Seattle Home Builders Ventana Construction LLC

And of course, my house is not craftsman style, nor do I want it to be, so I won’t be adding any craftsman style columns to my pony walls.

This kind of gives me an idea of what mine will look like. But of course, instead of my pony walls and columns “framing” a fireplace, mine will “frame” my rolling doors. I think it’ll look amazing!  Just imagine shorter walls and thinner columns.

pony walls with columns - design by Moore Architects, via HouzzCraftsman Living Room by Alexandria Architects & Building Designers Moore Architects, PC

Can you picture it?  I’m so excited about this plan!

I feel like I’ve been in a holding pattern on my living room for quite some time.  So much depends on me getting this wall built between these rooms.  Without it, I can’t put up grasscloth or wainscoting in the living room and entryway.  I can’t finish my wall treatment in the music room.

This wall definitely needs to be a priority since so many other things are riding on it.  Now that I have a definite plan, and one that I love, I’m full steam ahead.  This will be a good project to do to get my mind off of my drywall situation.  And fortunately, this wall will have pretty much no effect on the drywall situation, so I can go ahead and do it first with causing more of a drywall headache for myself.

I love starting a new big project, especially one I’ve been talking about and planning for quite some time now.  I’ve never done anything like this before, so I hope I can figure it out!



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  1. Love the pony wall and column idea. Will keep the room open and airy but still allow it to be its own room with all the neat design details that we have already and will be adding in.

  2. Kristi,

    I hesitate to say anything because I love your ideas and vision. However, one thing that seemed to stand out to me is that you liked having the curves of the rolling doors. With round columns that compliments the curves of the doors and I think would set the stage, so to speak, for the specialness of the door treatment beyond. Just an opinion and certainly may not be worth what you paid for it.. nothing.. LOL. You would still have the angular lines with the pony walls and any details you had on them.

    1. I agree with Trina – I like the general idea but very much preferred the round columns. I loved the Rehab Addict picture but was a little meh about the others. Which is weird because normally I’m all about clean straight lines. The round columns add curves closer to the living room and it reflects but doesn’t mimic the doors. But that’s just my two cents. 🙂

    2. I’m with you, Trina. This was my immediate reaction: Round columns would be more compatible with the style of the doors. I do like the lower pony wall.

    3. I have to say “ditto” to Trina’s comment except for additional reasons. I think the square columns just look too chunky or bulky for the size of your spaces. If they were small enough to not be chunky they would look ridiculous. I think the round columns look much more elegant and match your other elements. Just my two cents. And I do love the idea of not closing off the music room by using short pony walls and columns! I wish I had a space in my house where I could put them in because I think they are very elegant looking!

      1. I am adding that I think you should consider the rounded columns not only because of the curves in your doors, but also because you have those half columns in the kitchen. I think the rounded columns would add some design continuity to those rooms. Just my two cents! Great idea though! I like the open feel.

  3. I have those walls and columns in my master bedroom to separate the actual bedroom from the sitting room. I never knew they were called pony walls. I’m going to start working “pony walls” into as many conversations as possible. Little pony walls cavorting through my house.

  4. Hi Kristi;

    Columns are a great idea for this transition. The vase turned columns of ours you used in your kitchen look beautiful. Check out our extensive selection of columns for this project. Keep in mind we can scale our Doric columns to match your height requirement while keeping the proportion of the design true.

    1. AND that kind of gives me the best of both worlds since they’re square on the top and bottom, but round in the center. I love that! Plus, they would complement the columns that I used in my kitchen.

  5. They do look great but they end up catching all the stuff that has no home, kwim ? Letters, papers, bills, … Everyone puts their stuff on them. At my house, it was such a cluttered area that I took them out and put in two French sliding (hidden in the walls) doors.

  6. Love, love, love!!! I got nervous reading the title because I thought you were referring to the doors you already have up but this is going to be soooo good! Seriously Kristi you amaze me at what you are able to accomplish I know you will figure it out!

  7. great idea it will define each area, what about one column and wall as you come into the entryway, on the right, again it will define the two rooms.

    1. You have no idea how badly I wanted to do something like that to separate the entryway!! But I decided against it. One problem is that the entryway isn’t lined up with the area where I want to put the pony walls, and then with the wall where the rolling doors are. So the symmetry would be way off. But I’m also afraid that if I put up too many walls and separations, it’ll make things more difficult for Matt as he tries to maneuver around. I have to find a fine balance between having things separated enough for my liking, while keeping them wide open enough for him.

      1. Thanks for the reply, I see what you mean, I don’t know if you have thought of instead of up,from floor coming down from ceiling, this would free floor space for Matt. Don’t ask me how that’s your departmen.

  8. Kristi, Yes I to think this would look great!…I have two columns Between my dining and living room I painted them black to tie in with my kitchen cabinets…I have always been a big fan of columns! I think that will make a nice balance with your gorgeous doors!

  9. loved your barn doors, I even told my hubby about them, but its not mine to decorate so enjoy and GOD bless. what ever you do will be beautiful.

  10. I love the idea! I believe that square columns will make the curves on the rolling doors really pop. You go girl!!!

  11. LOVE this idea – I adore columns and such in a home. It really brings out the ability to give dimension and depth. Glad that you can get a project done without having to be worried or concerned about the drywall right now – I feel so bad for you 🙁

    Karen Harrison – your comment of working “pony walls” into conversations is hysterical!

  12. Love the pony walls and columns! Might you decorate the columns as you did your fireplace? That would be gorgeous!

  13. Funny thing, but even though I read again and again about the second pair of doors in my mind I always had this as a picture. I think it will look great!

  14. when I read today’s title I thought you’ve lost me now, as those rolling doors are probably my favourite feature so far in your house! And I thought you were thinking of getting rid of them… But I’m completely with you in that it might be a pity if you duplicated them – I could never picture that so far when you mentioned it.

    I love your new idea for the 2nd partition, though – it will draw the eyes to the rolling doors (and those fantastic doorknobs :)) and will in itself be a beautiful feature. From your pictured examples above, I like the 2nd best: square simple columns, pony walls not too high. Cannot wait to follow you through this projcet!

  15. I love that idea! My grandparents had those in their house and they were my favorite part of the house! I can’t wait to see it when it all comes together!

  16. I really like the pony wall idea, but if I remember correctly, you had wanted the rolling doors to give some privacy from your front livingroom windows at night. I think the rounded pillars would “go” with the rounded edges of your sliding doors better although my own preference tells me I LOVE the square pillars best.

    1. I did originally want them for separation between the two room as well as privacy at night. I’ve realized I can achieve the privacy with some appropriate and usable window treatments.

  17. Why the term “Pony Wall.” Do you know where it came from? Just curious.

    Luv the idea!

    I would think that it will be important to really undertand the view of this wall treatment from the front door as you enter the house in order to get the perspective of height and width just right.

    What fun decorating life is, done vicariously through you!! ~:0)

      1. If the short ones are “pony” walls, are the higher ones “horse”walls? 😉
        I too will be incorporating this phrase into my vocab as much as possible!

        Btw, so glad you opted not to do a second set of doors. I agree one set is special. As much as I love them, I was afraid a second set would start looking too much like a hotel.

  18. Usually I’m a very linear person but for some reason those round columns are speaking to me …. whatever you do, it’ll be great. Can’t wait to see the process. You go, girl!

  19. Love this idea, and agree totally with you about keeping the uniqueness of your sliding doors. Will having the ‘pony’ wall (love that term, got a good laugh at Karen Harrison’s comment) allow you to recess your refrigerator as you talked about before, or has that idea been nixed? Also, I like the slender round columns in your first photo, but it would be less expensive to do the square ones since you could build them yourself.

    Having the pony wall as an extension of the living room wall will make that room appear larger, too, I think, and maybe give you a bigger area to place your sofa on that wall. That way, your living room furniture arrangement would be more open and facilitate Matt’s being able to get around it easier. I like the idea of seeing the view of a beautifully accessorized sofa when you enter the front door. You could use the two chairs opposite the sofa in front of the window with one of your custom built tables between them. Have you considered that arrangement?

    It’s so much fun to see you excited and enthusiastic about your home projects again. It’s gonna be a GREAT year!

    Onward and Upward!

    1. I don’t really have a need to recess the fridge even more than it is. Right now, it’s sitting as far back into the refrigerator compartment as it will go. So that’s good! Less construction needed than I had originally thought.

  20. OMG…I am so excited! I have wanted rolling doors between my LR and DR for the longest time but my side walls are too narrow to accommodate them because my door way is so wide, so I too had decided to go with pony walls and columns (Love that look in a country house). I am so excited that I’ll get to watch how you’ll do it before I tackle this project in my own home. I KNOW you’ll do a fabulous job with this! In making this decision I decided to try to make my own Victorian styled screen doors for my house using your jigsaw process as you did on the rolling doors. They are impossible to find, too spendy if you do, and usually the wrong size anyway. The reproductions are just plain ugly. You are helping me to solve so many dilemmas as you go along with your work. Love your blog!! Love your creative mind!! This is going to look fabulous in your home 🙂

  21. Cannot WAIT to see how you do this. I’ve been wanting to make the doorway between my living room and dining room larger. I was thinking pony walls with columns, but wasn’t sure if it could be done. Woo hoo!! BTW, I love the rolling doors, but was thinking two sets in one room would be too much. So glad you’re going in this direction. 🙂

  22. I think you will love the column/pony wall treatment. I have it in my house between my living room and dinning room. It delineates the space but gives the perception of space and depth. When you walk in your front door, your heart will sing when you see your beautiful rolling doors framed by the columns. I definitely think you should use round columns to echo the graceful curves in the rolling doors.

  23. Don’t let those columns get too thin….also, maybe you can combine storage space inside the pony walls. Remember to leave enough space to get your piano into the music room. Guess I’ve watched too many remodeling programs to think about that 🙂

  24. Great idea, Kristi! I love the Rehab Addict photo with the rounded columns the best – seems less obstructive than the square ones and really like the super low pony walls. And you are absolutely right! They will frame the rolling doors perfectly!

  25. Yeah, YOU’LL figure it out!
    When I read the title to your post today, I thought you were taking the doors you’ve ALREADY put in out!!!
    They are probably my most favorite thing you’ve ever done, so I’m glad that’s not the case. I feel for you on those darn ceilings. Wish I had a suggestion for you on it, sigh.

  26. Thank the Lord! I agree with your comments about a second set of rolling doors taking away their specialness, but I didn’t want to be negative on your earlier idea. Love the pony walls and have to put in my vote for round columns. But that’s just MY preference and seeing picture samples. Even though you like room separation and hate the open-plan living, I don’t think you want to get into boxed-in separate rooms for your whole house either. I think you’d feel like you were living in a mouse maze! I love your continual mind-changing as that’s what I do and am always teased about it. Of course I just redecorate every year! keep it up, Kristi. You are a ball o’ fire and I’m so appreciative that you share your home/life with us all.

  27. Went back and read all the comments. Everyone is right that with the curved lines of the doors it would be more complementary to have round columns. I like the boxed ones better myself though regardless.

  28. Kristi,

    Just an idea: I once saw pony walls (with columns) that had built in bookshelves. It added so much character!! Whatever you decide on will look great, though!! I love your work!!


  29. Love your idea of the pony walls and the columns. Beside the architectural design appeal, I think it will look very upmarket and polished. Can’t wait to see it all done!

  30. Love this new idea! Like some of the others, I prefer the rounded columns. The vase turned ones are my personal favorite but whatever you do will be beautiful; all your projects (eventually) turn out great.

  31. Hi Krisiti, I think you are really on the right track. So many of the newer homes are using the pony walls and columns to separate spaces without closing them in. It is really funny since this is such an old idea. When I was a child growing up in upstate PA we had pony walls with columns between our living room and what should have been the dining room, but since my parents didn’t have dining room furniture, and did have a passel of kids, it became a play room off the kitchen where mom could keep an eye on us. We also had the pony walls and columns from the foyer to the living room. So many older homes have this look and I have always felt that it is beautiful. All of that lovely wood and molding just adds so much character to a room. That said, I do prefer the round columns, I think they are timeless. You can buy them online, or probably through HD. They are relatively inexpensive, since they are hollow, and certainly would cut down on the amount of work for you. I figure you will build the square ones yourself out of mdf or plywood. You might want to consider doing a cost comparison, taking into consideration the cost of your time as well as the cost of the building supplies for the square ones. The cost might be close, but then maybe that is not even a factor for you. You did say that you were leaning towards the square ones. I just feel that all house have so many squared off features that having the opportunity to go round is a real treat. Blessings.

  32. Personally like The Lebron James pillars. But the idea is excellent way of opening up you space. And relieving your mind of the Music room ceiling. So what ever you choose it will look great.

  33. Perfect. The doors are uniquely beautiful and should stand alone. This idea adds even more character without duplicating anything. I can’t wait to see the results! Go Kristi!!

  34. I’m wondering if you couldn’t just leave the 1×4’s in place on the ceiling, caulk the cracks and seams between them and the ceiling ( cut out and or patch areas of drywall that need it) and then just paint the whole thing out as an architectural feature that’s built I to the ceiling. Or add more 1×4 laid the other direction and create the suggestion of a shallow coffered ceiling that you then make a feature of. Like doing gold in the inset squares and lining up the stripes on the walls with the boards and carrying the stripe and nail head trim up and across the ceiling. Many variations and ideas and using different mouldingd and colors could be applied to this approach to get just what you think is right for you. (Ooh,ooh, you could decopage sheet music from your favorite tunes onto the inset squares , as just one example of personalizing it. Allot of work but its all crafty stuff that could be done a bit at a time versus the horror of taking on a rip out and re Sheetrock. I just mention this because
    , in the pictures anyways, the boards on the ceiling look really cool and bring to mind many of the cool wood slat ceiling treatments that I’ve been seeing as of late in all my home magazine, houzz , Pinterest resources that I admire. Just take a look at alternative ceiling treatments before you sell yourself and commit your labor or you dollars toward making something average, nondescript, and expected out of your ceiling when you clearly have other options that so clearly fit your aesthetic as well as your skill set and creativity. Best of luck christi !! I’m really in your corner and rootin’ for ya!!!

  35. Your pony wall idea is awesome!! I often thought the bookcase/column ponywalls between our dining room and living room would be great,. BUT, with a bazillion grand and great grand kiddos, I’m LOVING the pocket doors!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  36. I like the idea for the pony walls. Although I prefer the round ones from the first picture over the others, but I guess it’s a matter of taste and also a matter of how the columns would look like beside the other parts of the interior. I do agree that shorter walls look better. And what kind of instruments will there be in that music room? If it’s a drum set, you’d better want that room isolated. 😀 But if it’s a piano, then everything would be perfect.