Monday, January 19, 2015

Sliding Barn Doors –An easy solution for limited space.

As we chug along with our Quest of putting our own stamp on someone else’s custom home, I found myself staring at the closet area every morning, trying to figure out a closet solution. What were the original owners thinking? Why would anyone want to walk through a messy closet to get to a tiny master bath with an over-sized roman tub? –Master bath fixed, now onto the closet area. Now I know what you’re thinking: Why would someone put so much effort in such a tiny area? The answer is, making any area look special and glamorous is just as important in small areas as it is in big areas. And once you see the before pictures you’ll understand why. Walking through that messy closet to get to a pretty bathroom was depressing.
Now I thought I had some before pictures of the wallpaper border that I needed to take down but I guess I started doing before photos after we painted and installed crown molding. You’ll have to use your imagination there. So here you are. The before pictures in all their glory…
The bi-fold door entrance from the Master Bedroom to the closet.

Look how bad this looks and look at this silly bi-fold door to hide the strange set-up.
Notice there is no door on the bathroom. You have to close the bi-fold door to get your privacy. We thought about putting in a pocket door to the bathroom but there is plumbing behind the wall. We thought about sliding mirror doors to hide the clothes, but it limits access to the clothes in the closet. There was a sconce light on the left wall that shares the bathroom that was dysfunctional so we pulled the wires up to the attic and secured them for future lighting, once we figure out what to do.
A trip to Ikea was in order to get a look at those sliding curtain panels. If we could find the right color then we think it will solve our “hiding the clothes” problem. I went with a friend and we found the perfect color. The panels are light and airy and flexible for getting to those hard to reach areas, plus the color blends perfectly with the new ceiling color. Problem Solved!

We love how clean this looks and the panels are
 flexible which allows us to easily access things in our closet.
And you get a peak at the pendant lights.
Adding the crown molding helped glam it up a bit more.

Now onto the lighting dilemma. –I really wanted a chandelier. Only problem was that attic access in the ceiling of the closet was framed out really solid. There is a lot of wood around that hole. That wood encroaches right in the center of where the chandelier would be. In fact, all the framework in the ceiling dictated where any lighting would go. That is when we decided to go with the pendant light look. –3 of them. Placing 3 lights in a triangle formation made the most sense and I still got a little bit of glam in that tiny little space. See pic above.
And again thank goodness for HGTV and DIY, along with a few other channels for inspiration. –Sliding Barn Doors! Yes. That was the answer to not having normal doors on the master bathroom and closet area. Plus no swinging door to encroach on the tiny space, and it added a little character and rustic charm. BTW Home Depot carries the Sliding Barn Door hardware. Scroll down to see the final results!
Now I started looking at antique doors with a great patina. There were just a few problems.—1- the sizes were wrong and 2- there use to be a doorknob where there is now a hole. –So much for privacy.
I am crafty. I have made new things look old before so we went to our local home improvement store and bought 2 doors and just as soon as our holiday company left, I got to work on them.

Here are the easy steps to achieving an old, rustic looking door. There are 9 steps in all for each side, plus 1 day, at least, for drying time before you flip the door to the other side or attempt to add the barn door hardware. So each door takes about 10 days for this method. Patience is a virtue in this process.

Step 1. Bring out your door torturing tools. Beat the door up.

Step 2. Sand to a nice finish. I used a 80 grit, then finished with one of those sponge sanders, 120 grit. Vacuum the excess dust then wipe clean with a damp cloth. I used the leaf blower for the door I started outside.
Step 3 Brush on a moderate layer of Gel Stain. I used Walnut color. I also used a cheaper stiff brush because I wanted to pull the excess off with the stiffness of the brush. When using this product there is no need to wipe it off. Always paint in the direction of the grain. Now just let it dry.

Step 4. Using your stiff, cheap brush, apply a thin, even coat of crackle medium. I started off with the bottle crackle medium which is thinner and easy to apply. Then I ran out and got this tub of crackle medium which is thicker. Solution: thin it out for easier application. Allow to dry.

Step 5. Apply your Giraffe spots. This might seem scary but I wanted different colors to show through the finished door. I used colors that were already common in our house. The spots will crackle, exposing the stain. Use a good quality brush on your color paints. –Dry.

Don't let this scare you.

Step 6. Apply Crackle Medium to ALL the Giraffe spots. –Dry.
Step 7. Paint your whole door the desired color for the finished look with a good quality brush. I used Hauser Light Green by Americana. Now be very careful and methodical about your strokes. Once it starts to crack, you don’t want to brush over it again. The previous colors will show through the finished paint. –Allow to dry to touch but still a bit soft…

You will see the cracks within 1 minute of each stroke.

Step 8. While the paint is still soft get a putty knife or a 5-in-one tool and scrape some of that new paint off. Little touches here and there. The corner of the door and raised molding areas are effective places to scrape off, as time would wear the paint this way.

A little blurry. I just left the soft loose paint on the door after
 scraping until it was totally dry. Made removing it much easier.

Step 9: Apply a clear satin, water based acrylic poly varathane finish to the door. –Let dry over a night or two and you’re ready to flip the door over and do the other side or if both sides are done, proceed with your sliding barn door hardware.

And now for the finished look. As you can see, we needed 2 sliding barn doors. I love the pop of color and that rustic look when you enter the room.

This is the second sliding barn door that goes from
 the master bedroom to close off the closet area.
Removal of the wallpaper and beefing up the crown molding
 is on the agenda but I am dreading it....

So there you have it. Boring, ugly closets don’t have to be boring or ugly.

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