Do you have a door problem at your house? You know, the kind of issue where you have a tiny space and opening a door into (or out of) that small area makes for some awkward maneuvering? I love that we have an attached bathroom in our bedroom, but it's a pretty small area to walk into and having the door swing into the already tiny space was frustrating from day one of living there. My Mom suggested when we moved in that I fix the problem with a sliding door of some sort, but I didn't really know how that would look. And it sounded expensive on top of all the other renovations we wanted to do.
I continued to be annoyed with the door situation until I saw the sliding barn door that we had installed at the studio to fix a similar problem. The issue with that door was that it actually swung outwards and stuck out into the living room when it was open (as you can see in the above before and after pictures). So awkward. A door that would slide instead of swinging made much more sense and wouldn't take up any space in the teeny-tiny bathroom or kitchen. Problem solved!
When I saw that the problem at the studio was instantly fixed with a new door configuration, I knew it would be the perfect set up to fix my door issue as well. Now, another door solution for small spaces is a pocket door, but they slide inside the wall rather than on top of the wall. So they are much more expensive because you need a contractor to open up the wall and install them. I wanted to use the hardware that we used on the studio door, but I also needed an actual door to hang on the hardware (duh!). The simple ones I liked were about $400. Too much. So I recruited Josh to build a door I designed with a vertical and horizontal stripe pattern, and of course, he nailed it and built it for much less! Tell us your door secrets, Josh!
Hey! Josh here. The real secret to building this door is that it's so easy and inexpensive to make. A door that looks similar can cost up to 800-1000 bucks (I stress looks because some material is just inherently more expensive.) This door cost about $80!
– about 9 1" x 4" x 8' pine boards
– 1 4' x 8' medium grade plywood sheet (I used an oak ply)
– wood filler
Here are the tools I used:
– table saw
– miter saw
– circular saw
– tape measure
– straight edge
– painter's tape
The first thing we did was make a plan, which is a good place to start. Laura's doorway was pretty narrow, so the door ended up only being 29" wide and 93" high. The door was just wide enough to cover both sides of molding when closed (by design.) Don't forget you can modify to fit your opening and space!
After we came up with the plan, it was time to cut some wood (or make some sawdust, as I've heard old timers refer to woodworking). I cut the plywood down to the size we needed (29" x 93"). In order to get the amount of planks onto the size we needed, I had to rip them to 3 1/4" wide. After everything was ripped, I cut them to the length needed, then sanded them.
After everything was cut and the edges were sanded, I laid all the planks on the plywood to make sure everything fit right. Then it was just a matter of gluing and nailing everything into place. I started with the horizontal planks. Then moved on down to the verticals, making sure to push the pieces firmly next to each other. I used 1.25" 18 gauge galvanized nails.
After everything was glued and nailed down, I filled all the nail holes and any other imperfections in the wood. Once the filler was dry, I hit the entire thing with 120 grit sandpaper, and then moved up to 220. Since I was painting the door, I wanted to make the surface as free of defects as possible…almost so you couldn't tell it was made from wood.
To install the door handle, I drilled a couple of holes from the back side of the door, inserted the screws through to the front, attached the screws to the handle, and then filled in those screw holes with wood filler.
At this point, all that was left to do was to tape and paint. I used painter's tape with edge lock technology. It costs a few bucks more, but you can tell the difference! I taped all of the edges super tight, and then applied 3 coats of each color, lightly sanding between each coat. And that is it! The whole thing took about a day to make. The longest step was painting.
To install the door onto the wall, we just followed the instructions that came with the hardware. This process will be different depending on which hardware you go with, so make sure to choose hardware that has an installation process you are comfortable with (or you can always have a professional install that part and just concentrate on your door).
Didn't Josh do such a good job? Teamwork! You can see above that I made the inside handle with a 1/2" piece of quarter round that I cut to 7" long, painted white, and glued on to the door. My husband wanted a really low profile inside handle so we could open the door completely (it's a really narrow doorway so you need all the width you can get), and this was the perfect solution.
This sliding door has made all the difference in our bathroom space, and it feels so much larger since we made the switch. Plus, I love the character it adds to the bedroom side of the wall, and the stripes are just too fun not to like. Do you have an awkward door that needs a sliding door makeover? xo. Laura
Credits // Authors: Laura Gummerman + Joshua Rhodes. Photography: Laura Gummerman, Joshua Rhodes, and Janae Hardy. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.