Hey Y’ all!
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go treasure hunting in an old barn? Or maybe you have imagined taking a look around a dark and dusty old place in search of hidden gems from the past that are just waiting to be discovered? Have you ever given much thought to doors in your home? Now to further that thought, how about doors from a barn? (okay, maybe that’s a stretch) But if you have ever built, renovated or restored a home, I am sure you have given at least some thought to these humble, often overlooked, and sometimes boring, but potential “statement makers” in the home. Be sure to read to the end to hear about a little family tradition we have at Christmas having to do with a door…
If you stop to think about it for a minute, doors play some very important roles in our lives!
Doors keep precious things in and safe and they keep unwanted or dangerous things out. They keep out the cold and keep in the heat. Or vice versa, whichever the case may be. They welcome, and they hide. So, let’s just all have a moment of silence and pay homage to all the “unsung doors” in our homes!
Hey, let’s give the doors their due!
When we bought our farmhouse, we knew that there were two buildings out back, nestled among thorns and a tangle of bushes, that desperately needed some attention! We also knew that those buildings possibly held some treasures that could be used when restoring our old home place. There was a huge old barn and a smaller barn that we call “the stable” (we call it that, because we found old half buried bull horns out there and we know that the first owner had cows). Our bigger barn had rooms in the back part of it that were a little dark and my kids said “kind of creepy”, but once we got up our courage to go hunting, we were so excited when we came across some of the original doors from our old house. Immediately when we saw them, our creative juices started flowing and we began to formulate plans to incorporate at least one of these doors into the design plan, and wow, we are so glad that we did!
(It was freezing cold the day that we went hunting in the barn and more than a little dusty!)
Our master bath did not have a door separating it from the bedroom. We also noticed that the door opening did not seem to be “standard”. We knew that we wanted some kind of door on the bathroom. (There are just some things that you don’t want to share with your spouse, right?) Also, given the age of the home and the fact that, in an extremely old home, you rarely find anything that is square, level or plumb, we did not want to tackle trying to fit the opening with a traditional door. And besides…
I really wanted a barn style sliding door!
So…we had this solid wood door from the barn (albeit covered in about a hundred layers of paint) and I thought that with just a bit of love, it would be really amazing if combined with the right barn door hardware. That would solve the issue of having to cut the door down to fit the opening. Also, we would not have to worry about the opening no longer being square.
Like anything that is worth having, it was a labor of love. It took me days of hard work and scraping to get down to a good surface that could be used. I tried to save some of the layers of paint for that great “chippy” look, but the door had been in the elements for too long and every layer just kept flaking off.
After hours of scraping, and getting a paint chip in my eye, which resulted in a trip to the eye doctor (guess who has learned to wear safety glasses) I finally I got down to what I considered a very pleasing and mellow, aged appearance. I just left it in that state for the side facing the bedroom and I did a vintage stained look for the side facing the bathroom. It was obvious that the color and condition on that side would look better if evened out with a coat of stain.
My husband is a very talented and intelligent man (sorry for bragging on him a little) and I always say that “if I can dream it up, he can make it happen”. Once I explained my vision to him, he went to work looking for the perfect hardware package online. For the bathroom door, we chose a rustic black iron finish. The Smart Standard hardware arrived, and we loved it. We chose a version with large spoke wheels, in order to coordinate with the shabby chic vintage flavor of the décor in the master bedroom. The black iron juxtaposed with the soft fabrics and paint color gave a great balance to the room and it is oh so functional. It just works perfectly. I am happy as a clam to report that it totally took care of the issue of the “exposed bathroom”!
(We searched online for just the perfect hardware and we think it looks pretty great now that it is up and in place!)
When folks come to our home, we are always so surprised that the bathroom door is always a favorite feature and one of the things about which we receive the most compliments.
Well… once the bathroom door was done, we needed to address the doors in what will hopefully soon be be my husband’s study/trophy room. (He is an avid hunter so he needs a space to display all of his beautiful mounts ) The room has two openings that were outside entrances from the front porch back in the day that the house was built. We have since learned that this was typical in many Victorian era farmhouses. Also, for whatever reason, they are different sizes. One door opens into our living room (which was the original front porch) and the other opens into our dining room. In order to be able to have functional doors that would give my husband the quiet and privacy needed when he works from home, doors were a must! But y’all…two doors, side by side, that are different sizes. That would not be easy to find doors to match and to fit the existing openings. There is beautiful, original tongue and groove shiplap in that room and we did not want to go cutting into those historic walls. Here again, sliding barn door hardware would soon come to the rescue.
The challenge was on…we set about looking for 2 sets of antique double doors. We came across plenty of beautiful doors with no problem, but not two matching sets. We looked everywhere that we could think to look, and for quite some time. After all that searching with no results…my mind began to race with visions of custom built barn doors that would perfectly compliment my husband’s treasured room with its rustic style. I drew a picture of what I was thinking (this is how I always attempt to convey my vision to Todd so that there are no misunderstandings or miscommunications.) And let’s face it, as much as we wish they could at times, our husbands can’t read our minds. Am I right? From then on, it was all him! He took the project and ran with it.
He did such a great job with the doors. He picked the sliding door hardware. It is slightly different from the bedroom. It is a little bit smaller in scale. I found the perfect rustic cast iron latches and handles at Hobby Lobby. It really, truly looks hand forged! We painted the outside of the doors facing the other rooms a gloss white like the door trim. We stained the inside of the doors that face the study so that they would compliment the rustic mantle on the study’s fireplace.
We have enjoyed both sides of the doors and I can’t really decide which look I enjoy the most. We are just tickled pink that we chose to build these barn inspired doors. There are lots of tutorials on YouTube that you can watch if you are interested in building your own sliding doors. Unfortunately, because we were so engrossed and in the midst of construction at the time, so we did not record a tutorial video and I regret that, but it was not a super difficult task if you or someone you know has basic carpentry skills and is willing to take on the task.
“Sliding barn style doors” will work for bathrooms, closets, laundry rooms, separations in public areas of your home to delineate space, and also for offices. I know that right now they are trending, but in the correct space, they make a timeless and dramatic statement in your décor. If you are thinking that they might work for you, I say go for it, girl! And send me pictures if you do. We would all love to see them. And if you have any questions about building the doors, please feel free to leave them in the comments and I will do my best to answer (with Hubby’s help, of course)!
I can never think about doors with out remembering a little set of ornaments that I shared with my boys each Christmas. They were called “Adorenaments” from FamilyLife. One of the ornaments was a door. It related the idea of Jesus being our “door to heaven”. It was based on John 10:9 that says, “I am the door. Whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out and find pasture.” I have such sweet memories of showing the boys that little door ornament and having them hang it on the tree. The little ornament really reminds me of our bathroom door. Just thought that I would share that little reminisce with you all.
I pray you have a “Perfectly Blessed Day”, sweet friends,
Sharon at Southern Bella Home