Last Updated on February 8, 2019 by Kristi Linauer
Y’all, I have become absolutely obsessed with a particular idea over the last few days. I can’t get it out of my mind, and I’ve spent every spare moment over the last three days researching possibilities online. I’ve been like a dog with a bone. Here’s what I’m talking about…
Ever since I posted those repurposed doors projects on Tuesday, I haven’t been able to get this idea for sliding “barn style” doors out of my mind for my home.
For a very long time now, I’ve dreamed of being able to put French doors on these two doorways…
The doorway between the entryway and music room doesn’t exist yet, but hopefully it will in the next couple of months. The doorway between the music room and the sunroom is there now, and it’s just a roughed in doorway (i.e., no jambs, or casings, just 2 x 4’s). It used to have a sliding glass door there, but Matt’s dad removed that when he was here in February (Matt had an impossible time with that door and couldn’t open it and get through it), so it has looked like this ever since.
I haven’t wanted to do anything with it until I came up with a definite plan for that doorway and the other one that I’ll be building. And can you see the hollow core door lying on its side? That’s what I use as a gate to keep our dog Boo in the back room when I don’t want him following me around like a shadow during the day, and to keep him back there during the night. That sunroom is basically Boo’s room for now.
The problem with French doors that swing open is that we really don’t have the room for them. If we just left them open all the time, I could make that work. But what’s the point of having French doors that can’t actually be closed? Plus, trying to open and close French doors that swing open would really be difficult for Matt.
I could do pocket French doors on the doorway that I’ll be building between the entryway and the music room. But the other doorway is an original exterior wall, and it’s carrying a very heavy load. (That back wall and the front wall of the house carry the load from the rafters.) The last thing I want to do is rework that wall (or pay someone to do that) to accommodate pocket doors. So that idea is a no go.
But rolling doors? That I could do!
Once I realized that, that’s where the obsessive research kicked in. I think I’ve visited every single site there is online that sells sliding barn door hardware. While the pieces that attach to the doors come in all kinds of styles, the actual track basically comes in two styles, regardless of the company that sells them. The first style is the flat track, which is a flat piece of metal up on end, and the pulley wheels track along the edge of that piece of metal.
And then there’s the tubular kind that looks like this…
I definitely like the tubular kind better for my house because it has a cleaner, less industrial look. So I priced them out for the size I would need.
For each door, the price came to just over $550, and that doesn’t include shipping. So for my two doorways, I’d be paying over $1100 just for the hardware. That doesn’t even include the doors.
I’ll be very honest. For a short time, I considered contacting these companies to see if one of them would be willing to furnish the hardware for free in exchange for the publicity on my blog. But after giving that some thought, I decided not to. I decided that sliding door hardware that is that expensive really doesn’t fit into my goal of sharing ideas for decorating a house on a budget. I can’t imagine that there are many DIYers out there who are on strict budgets who would be able or willing to pay that kind of money for something like that. So I scratched that idea.
Then that led me to searching for DIY barn door hardware. There really are lots of great tutorials online for making your own sliding barn door hardware for a fraction of the cost. Probably the best and clearest one that I came across was this tutorial from Epbot.
After reading that tutorial, I knew that was something I could do.
The problem is that I just really don’t like the look of these rolling barn door tracks for my own home. I love how they look in homes that are more industrial, or cottage style, or farmhouse style. It seems perfect for those styles of interiors. But my house is none of those things.
This is completely different. There are not big, bulky pulley wheels across the top track. They put casters on the bottom of the doors instead. And the track is just less invasive looking. With this design, the doors get the attention rather than a big huge track with pulley wheels and straps at the top.
And can you tell what it’s made of? It’s galvanized conduit with 90-degree elbows and flanges that attach to the wall. The things holding the doors to the conduit are simply large eye screws. It’s a brilliant and very simple design.
So I’m basically going to start with this idea, but I’m going to make one design change. The one thing I don’t like about that design is the eye screws. While the other barn door hardware all seems way too bulky for my taste, the eye screws on this design don’t quite seem substantial enough. I wanted something in between. So I racked my brain trying to come up with an idea that would work. And finally yesterday afternoon it hit me. This is what I needed…
This is a galvanized malleable iron tee, and you can find it right there by the conduit and all of the fittings that go with conduit in the hardware store.
Once I found my solution, I could not get in my car and drive to Home Depot fast enough to see for myself if my idea would work. And I do believe it will.
I purchased 1/2-inch conduit, and then I bought two 3/4-inch tees for each door. The 3/4-inch tee fits right over the 1/2-inch pipe almost perfectly and slides very easily. In order to connect these to the doors, I purchased the shortest nipples available. It will screw into the bottom of the tee, and then fit into a hole that I’ll drill on the top edge of the door. Since these won’t actually be carrying any weight (the doors will be on casters), and their only job is to hold the doors upright, I think this design will work beautifully.
I AM SO STINKING EXCITED TO DO THIS!!! I mean, I’m giddy about it. I will be elated if it turns out like it looks in my brain and actually works.
Oh, and the best part is that I think I can use some of my doors for this project. If that works out, I won’t have any need to buy new doors! (Because I can never find matching doors at ReStore, so I’m certain that finding four matching in the right size would be next to impossible.)
My tentative plan is to use the four 30-inch doors that I’ll have available once I replace my interior doors. I want to strip all of the layers of paint off of them, and then cut out the entire section with the top four recessed panels. So I want to remove this whole section…
…and replace it with glass.
The only thing I haven’t decided is how I want to paint/finish the doors. Do they need to be painted black to match all of the other interior doors? Or could I do something special/different with these since they’re clearly going to be different…and special…anyway?
I haven’t been this excited about a project in a very long time. And honestly, all of the issues with the kitchen lately have had me very discouraged over the last couple of weeks, and really not wanting to work on my house at all. So I’m glad to have a project that I can actually get excited about again. I can’t wait to get started on this!
And for those of you who keep asking about the kitchen, no you didn’t miss the big reveal. I’m kind of at a standstill until I get the replacement doors and drawer fronts (since I ruined the originals by leaving them in the rain) and my hardware from Pottery Barn. Once I get that stuff, I can finish up my kitchen. Until then, all I can do is wait. 🙂
Helpful sources and products:
If you missed my post showing different ways to repurpose old wood doors, you can see that here…
I made the DIY barn door hardware! Click here to see it…
Addicted 2 Decorating is where I share my DIY and decorating journey as I remodel and decorate the 1948 fixer upper that my husband, Matt, and I bought in 2013. Matt has M.S. and is unable to do physical work, so I do the majority of the work on the house by myself. You can learn more about me here.
I hope you’ll join me on my DIY and decorating journey! If you want to follow my projects and progress, you can subscribe below and have each new post delivered to your email inbox. That way you’ll never miss a thing!