Sometimes we have to wait awhile for a vision to become a reality. Whether it is a home we are buying or building, a kitchen remodel, a dream vacation, a nursery for a new baby or a new office all your own (does that sound familiar?) ~ the “it” never is done soon enough. I know we all pray for patience, and since I’m kind of the impatient sort, I’ve done a great deal of that lately. Over the past few months, I’ve shared the planning, construction and finish~out of my new office. It’s been such a wonderful process and I am so enjoying the new space ~ the big reveal is coming soon. In addition to the office, we had another little project that we completed at the same time. Here is the story of how to transform French doors into a barn door.
The story begins in September of 2015 (I told you I had to pray for patience.) on a girls’ trip to Roundtop. If you are not familiar with Roundtop, it’s a twice yearly huge flea market and antique show held in Central Texas northeast of Austin. People come from all over the county to sell and buy. Huge tents hold a wide variety of vendors selling everything from that flea market shoppers and lovers of antiques and vintage items love in all price points from super inexpensive to antiques worth thousands of dollars.I had been to Roundtop the year before, but didn’t find much. This year was different. I hit the jackpot, purchasing 10 awesome items. I shared my Roundtop experience here. The best thing I found were a pair of French doors in excellent condition ~ all the glass panes were in perfect condition. I knew just where I wanted them ~ in our laundry room. I knew with a little ingenuity and paint, they would be the solution to my laundry room door problem.
Behind our laundry room door was floor to ceiling built-in shelves. In order to get to the shelves, you had to come into the laundry room and close the door. Not a big deal, but a pain, nevertheless. We also had a pull down hanger for clothes that needed to be ironed and you had to close the door to get to it. Also, the door would never stay open when you were inside the laundry room. But the biggest problem? Layla’s water bowl is in the laundry room. Half the time we would come home and there was no dog to greet us. We finally found her in the laundry room with the door closed. It was closing behind her and locking her in the laundry room. Poor puppy. Also, I wanted more light in the butler’s pantry. There are 2 large windows in the laundry room which I hoped would lend a little light into the butler’s pantry. And I have to admit, I just wanted a barn door. I love the look and practicality of them. (In our previous home, we had 4 pocket doors and I love that take up no space.) I wanted a door that looked old and used and loved.
Making 2 French Doors into 1 Barn Door
As I explained in the post about finding the doors, the vendor was from Dallas and brought them here ~ no charge. My son picked them up in his truck (Thank goodness for sons who have pick~up trucks) and brought them home where they stayed until December ~ in the garage. During the construction on the office, our contractor took them to his workshop where his carpenter attached the doors together. He took off the old hardware, cleaned up and sanded the door edges where they would be attached so that the doors would fit flush together. Then they used what’s called a biscuit joiner (I had to ask what that was.) to cut holes on the side of the doors that would be attached together, adding wood glue to all the biscuit holes and all the way down the side of the doors as well. Then they inserted biscuits into the holes that he made, put the doors together and used 7 clamps to hold the doors together for 3 days until the glue was complete dry. After they brought the door (now it’s 1 door) back, it was my turn to get to work.
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Preparing the Barn Door
We set the door on top of my work table in the garage. The challenge was that this was December (holidays, parties, travel, company) and it was cold in the garage. Then it would be warm. I might be able to work for a couple of days, then have to stop for a few days.
Step 1 ~ Cleaning and Taping
The glass was dirty so the first thing I did was clean the glass using a razor and Windex.
Then I started sanding. One side of the door had a fairly smooth coat of pale yellow paint. That didn’t take much sanding, just enough to get rid of some rough spots. The other side ~ the best side which would be the front side ~ had multiple coats of paint from white to blue to black. I wanted some of all 3 colors to show through. I sanded some areas down to the raw wood and left other areas with the paint colors showing. Next I wiped down the doors and used my dust buster to remove all the dust. Next was taping the windows. That was an easy job, but tedious. Because I couldn’t lift and turn the door over by myself, I had to completely do one side at a time: clean, sand, tape.
Here’s the pale yellow side.
Here you can see the raw wood, the blue paint and the black paint.
Step 2 ~ Painting the Barn Door
As an affiliate blogger for Amy Howard at Home, I was provided with paint. All opinions are 100% mine.
Now the fun begins. I knew that I would paint the door white and I was so excited to use Amy Howard’s One Step Paint in Bauhaus Buff. I had met Amy at Haven 2016, attended her workshops, and just fell in love with Amy and her fabulous paints. After years of using another brand of chalk paint, this would be my first use of one of Amy’s paint lines and I was really looking forward to it. I fully expected that it would take 2 coats to get the look I wanted on the barn door, but Amy does not lie. One coat of Bauhaus Buff and the doors looked exactly as I intended: clean, but old and vintage. No further sanding and of course, no priming before painting. The One Step went on so smoothly; it was just a pleasure to paint with. And it dries so quickly. When I finished the project, you could hardly tell I’d used in paint. I was painting on the weekend so Sweet Shark was home. I painted the yellow side first, went inside for a snack, we flipped the door and I painted the second side. In about an hour I was done.
I love how the earlier coats of paint show through. Bauhaus Buff is a “clean” white, no undertones or blue or yellow, kind of like white balance.
TIP: I found empty Frog Tape containers make great paint containers. When you are through painting, put the lid on and the paint stays ready for the next painting session.
You don’t have to wax Amy’s One Step Paint, but I wanted to just because it’s a door and would be in a high traffic area ~ the laundry room opens to the butler’s pantry which leads from the garage to the kitchen.I used clear wax first, then went over the doors with Amy’s Light Antique Wax, using a lint~free rag to apply the wax. I only had to wait about 30 minutes for the wax to “set”, then I buffed the door with a buffing mitt. Another flip and I finished the second side. The last step was removing all the Frog Tape, which took a fraction of the time of putting it on.
I was so happy how the doors looked. That vision that I had when I first saw the French Doors in Roundtop came true. My part of the door project took about 2 weeks from start to finish because of the weather temperature in the garage and other things ~ it was too cold for me to work outside and I couldn’t paint when the temperature was below 50 degrees.
Installing the Barn Door ~ the Oops.
Now I could hand the doors back to the workers for installation. While I was doing my part, they had removed the old hinged door frame from the laundry room, built a new one and painted it. You can see the shelves in the laundry room where I keep extra cooking and baking equipment. That was hard to get to when the old door was there.
The barn door hardware had arrived and the workers were scheduled to come early the next morning. Sweet Shark and I decided to bring the door inside just to see what it would look like in the space. We set the door in the opening and immediately realized we had a problem. The opening was about 4 inches wider than the door. There would obviously be a huge gap when the door was installed. Yikes.
The next morning the carpenter and his assistant arrived and immediately saw the problem. (Didn’t someone measure the opening?) The solution was to narrow the door opening by 4 inches. We just had to make sure that the opening allowed space for the washer and dryer to go through. We needed a minimum clearance of 26 inches, but actually got 29. The right side of the laundry room had the light switch so we added the 4 inches on the left side which worked better and hid the laundry room built~in shelves.
Once the old (new) door frame was removed, they added a stud, sheet rock and replaced the rebuilt door frame. Now they could install the barn door hardware and the door. The painters would come another day to tape, bed and texture and paint the new 4 inches of wall on the laundry room side and the butler’s pantry side. This is when I had to leave the house. I expected to return to find my pretty barn door finished. They showed me how the height of the door can be adjusted as needed with the hardware. You need at least 1/8~inch clearance between the door and the floor.
TIP: measure your door opening and your door to make it covers the opening!
When I returned home a few hours later, the door was up and I was ecstatic. It was beautiful.
I loved the black hardware.
But my excitement was quickly dashed when they showed me 2 new problems. There was not enough clearance between the new door frame and the barn door which meant that it wouldn’t slide without pulling the door away from the wall. About another 1/2 inch in clearance was needed. And the barn door hardware wasn’t secure in the hall. All the hardware didn’t line up with the wall studs and would most likely pull away from the sheet rock. Solution for both problems? The hardware and door would be removed and they would mount a 1 X 4, 80 inches long on the wall. This would give us the additional clearance we needed and provide the necessary support for the door hardware. I said that I would get the board and paint it and be ready the following week when they returned to finish the job.
TIP: make sure you have clearance between the door frame and the door before installing the hardware and check your studs for support.
Painting the 1 X 4: I bought the pine wood at Lowe’s and had them cut the length to 80 inches. Now to the painting. Fortunately, Amy Howard again came to the rescue. On Saturday morning I was already scheduled to attend an Amy Howard Paint Workshop at the Jabo’s Ace Hardware Store in Keller, Texas (about 45 minutes away). Ace is a partner with Amy and carries most of her paints and some of the stores conduct workshops. This was one of the best paint workshops I have ever attended. We covered Amy’s Better with Age and Vintage Plaster (that was the workshop that I had attended at Haven) and how to use Cerusing Wax in different ways to get beautiful finishes. As soon as I used this product, I knew I would use it on my 1 X 4 support board.
Since the hardware is black, I painted the wood with some black chalk paint I already had. Then I applied the Cerusing Wax to give the wood a bit of lightness, character and depth. It was just perfect and took so little time. The addition of the Cerusing Wax gave the wood the right amount of weathered look. Now I just had to wait for the workers to return to finish the job.
Problem #3 Becomes a Win~Win
When we realized that 4 new inches of wall would have to be painted on the butler’s pantry side, I wasn’t worried; we had plenty of paint left from the original remodel. But the paint color in the laundry room was a different matter. The laundry room is the only room in the house that didn’t follow our pale blue and green color scheme (I’m not counting my new office.). I decided to go completely out of character and use yellow. Problem was every yellow was too bright and the painters ended up mixing paint to make it lighter and I was just never happy with it. And the “problem”? We had none of that paint. Nada. Zero. Was I upset? NO! I was thrilled. It meant I could repaint the laundry room and get rid of the yellow. A problem turned into a win~win. New paint color means a bit of a laundry room update ~ that story is for another day.
Finally, the Barn Door is Finished
The next week the workers returned, removed the door and hardware, textured and painted the butler’s pantry wall, mounted my pretty black board with Cerusing Wax, remounted the hardware and attached the barn door on top. My flea market French doors are now the barn door that I envisioned 15 months ago. I actually like the hardware mounted on the wood board better ~ it has more character and farmhouse feel and creates a nice contrast against the black metal hardware.It’s so pretty, the laundry room is so much easier to navigate, and the butler’s pantry gets more light. And I got a new paint color in the laundry room to boot. We usually have the barn door open for Layla to get in to her water bowl. It slides so easily with just a touch of your finger.
Thanks for sticking around for the big reveal. It actually wasn’t hard to figure how to transform French doors into a barn door and it wasn’t hard to complete the job, even with the few hiccups we had. But if a project like this is in your future I have 3 pieces of advice: measure your opening, measure your door clearance, and make sure your wall will support the barn door hardware.
I’ll be showing you my completely finished office next week. And then the next project is the laundry room. The projects never end. Yeah!!
Saturday’s Bulletin will feature 2 more recipes from my Valentine’s Girlfriend Brunch, Heart~Shaped French Toast (I know Valentine’s is over, but this is too cute and too yummy.) and Southern Sugared Bacon (decadent and additive). Sign up to get them in your inbox.