Sliding Pantry Door

We are still chipping away at improvements to our kitchen area. The faux soapstone black concrete counter tops are holding up fine, but the cabinets have never been great. We added some moulding and painted them this year, which made them prettier for sure. But you know, they’re still junk, and they don’t work well.

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The biggest problem though is the layout is really cramped and awkward – especially with the dining area in here. We’d love to move everything around and start fresh when the time is right. It might be six months from now, or five years from now, but I’ve been making plans and Pinterest boards and visiting showrooms in my free time because I’m a crazy lady and I love this stuff. :)  I have dreams where I fret over inset vs full overlay cabinets (in reality thinking inset for uppers and overlay for base cabs), and long sessions with SketchUp doing elevations of double-height uppers. Good times.

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Anyway, like I said, we are still doing little projects here and there in the kitchen and mudroom areas to make the space function better in the meantime. I’m hoping to really only do the permanent fixes from here on out – things that won’t change during the bigger reno we have planned for down the road. One of the spots that doesn’t function well is the pantry area.

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It’s dark in this little hallway, especially when the doors are shut. Also, the doors catch on each other all the time so if someone forgets to close the pantry door, and you open the mudroom door, they slam together and lock you in! Then you’ll have to stand in the mudroom with your face squished between the doors all Here’s Johnny style, hollering for someone to come help. Lame.

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I like having an interior door to the mudroom for lots of reasons, so that can’t go, but I’m thinking about replacing the solid door with a glass paned door to let in more light to the pantry hall.

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And then I’d love to widen the door to the pantry just a bit and add a sliding door. I think I’ve always liked the look of sliding barn doors in other houses, but I never really planned on using one for myself. I think they are great space savers though and they don’t always have to look super rustic. I’d love for mine to feel less “barn door” and more modern. Maybe with a simple paneled door on a pretty minimalist track? I’ve not been able to find a photo with exactly what I’m hoping for, but here are some of my inspiration images:

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BHG
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Elle Decoration

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House Beautiful

I’d love to hear any tips you might have on sliding doors before I tackle this project. I’m waffling between ordering two narrow doors similar to the closet doors below and just seeing what I can find or make myself.

  1. We've DIY'd 2 sets of barn doors for our house and love them! A few tips:

    – you can easily make the sliding hardware with a little help from a metal worker to cut pieces to size. It's super cheap and can be customized to fit your space
    – consider the weight of your doors when you buy/make the piece which connects the door to the top rail. If you door is heavy, it can bend that piece a bit when you slide it making the door wobbly
    – we use a reclaimed door for 1 and build a new door out of siding (the only way we could find panels large enough since the size was weird). Building a door turned out to be easier since we could make the size custom and it's a lot lighter than a sold wood antique door

    Hope this helps! Can't wait to see what you do, I'm sure it will be fabulous :)

  2. Kim

    I was about to say I like the narrow doors but you come up with things that sound a little odd and then come off beautifully! I am just amazed at your talent – so I can't wait to see what you decide! :)

  3. The gal from Jones Design Co. did a beautiful sliding barn-door-type of install as a room divider with an old, salvaged window. You should check it out; at least for inspiration purposes!

  4. Mandi at Vintage Revivals has done quite a few of these and more modern than rustic at that. She'd probably be a good resource for you.

  5. Hi,

    Of course a wider entry to the pantry and a sliding door would be very beautiful :) as a stop-gap, perhaps, you could just install a bi-fold (I know, they're not so pretty) door for the pantry, opening toward the left. At least no one would get locked in the mudroom :) we had a similar situation when we put a nice, big chandelier in our entrance; the door to the coat closet kept hitting the chandelier. A bi-fold saved us a lot of space.

    Jen :)

  6. Angela

    why don't you just take the door off?

  7. Miss-B

    Just one thing to think about with sliding doors is animals … dogs and cats can quickly learn how to open a sliding door. Also, our cat would just push the sliding door (like a lever or large cat door) until he could scoot underneath. Depends whether what's on the otherside would lend itself to that – but something that doesn't always come immediately to mind.

  8. I created a barn door for my laundry room using pine planks and a closet track. I covered up the closet track using a wooden pelmet box. I finished it off with a coat of whitewash so the grains of the wood show through. It is a huge statement piece in my finished basement and one of my favorite features. Especially since it cost about $120 altogether! http://www.no29design.com/2012/05/barn-door-is-officially-done.html

  9. I love sliding barn doors, but for your pantry I think it would be nice to have to two narrow doorson swinging hinges – like restaurant kitchen doors. So handy to just push through when you're unloading groceries or grabbing supplies from the pantry while you're cooking.

  10. I love those narrow doors at the bottom I think I need to make a set of those for my pantry closet…

  11. I'm sure the kitchen down the road is like 5 minutes away! You've done everything else! 1 year of JK time is like a decade for the rest of us lol!

    Love sliders!

  12. I'm empathize with The Shining thing…our garage and basement door do that…I love the sliding doors, I'm constantly surveying my house to see if one would work…somewhere, anywhere!

  13. Did you make the big chalkboard in a picture frame? I am sure you did! Did you write a post about it? Would love to know more about it.

  14. We had the same kind of clashing doors. Besides it being a real feng shui no-no (it brings on FIGHTS and CLASHES in the family ~ who needs those?!), the interlocking doors are a real fire hazard! They can lock you in and really be potentially dangerous. We removed one of the doors and envisioned hanging a curtain in front but actually, we love the openness instead.

  15. Jenny, if you ever decide to re-do the cabinets and want to sell those milk glass pulls I will buy them off of you!

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