Barn Door Beauty


We were sitting at the dinner table, me staring cross-eyed into the laptop, James with his head sunk onto a pile of paperwork, almost defeated by a quote for a bathroom that needs to be built in less time than it take to build a bathroom.

The phone rang and thank god it did. We didn't know how much we needed it.

It was one of our lovely clients from Marysville. James had just finished installing their custom barn door that afternoon. Sitting next to James, I could hear her raving down the phone. Good raving. Not the bad kind. Not the mad kind. Good. Great!

She said, and I quote, the barn door was "better than I ever could've thought." So sweet. And I agree with her. Look how perdy!


It separates the master bedroom from the en suite. It's a Z style barn door, with wrought iron-style hardware. (Real wrought iron would be a tad too heavy.) We found the handle in a cute boutique store in Nelson when we were there for my birthday weekend.

Barn doors are really popular right now. I love them. We have two amazing barn doors (that James built from the original wood used in the house that was freed up in a reno).

Here are a couple of reasons why I love them so much:

Colour, texture & all the prettiness

Click on this link. Spend some time ogling. It's like porn. Interior design porn. Don't spend too long; you'll go blind. Then come back here and finish reading this post. Please.


The way I see it, if you have a small space (like a bathroom or wardrobe) or a weirdly large opening (say, between a living room and dining room), you have three options:

  1. Rip open half your wall to insert the framework for a super ugly pocket door.
  2. Attach a barn door to the existing structure (depending on the structure, you might need to add some framework to ensure the wall can hold the thing).
  3. Leave it open so your other half can wake every morning to the beautiful vista of you doing your business in the en suite. (This is the option favoured by our home's previous owners. Seriously. Who doesn't put a door on the bloody bathroom?! I'll tell you who... the same people who decided the perfect spot for the laundry was inside the guest room.)

As you may guess, option two is my favourite. We inherited three pocket doors when we bought our house last year and I hate them. They're flimsy and noisy and ugly. I guess they've come a long way since our 60's-fabulous doors. But you still have to rip into the walls to install them.

But barn doors let you have your small room and eat it. By which I mean you can have a small space and a non-ugly door and save the precious floor space. Plus, an oversized barn door in a small room adds the illusion of height and width. (That's what the interior design websites tell me, anyway.)

Weirdly large openings can be a real pain in the... opening. But a barn door will fit an odd size and, aesthetically, will hold its own. (I need to stop reading interior design sites.)


Want a waaaaay nicer house than the neighbours'? Barn doors are really easy to customize into unique accents in your own style. Yes there are the "classic" barn doors. But you can create pretty much any style of barn door these days. Clean modern, shabby-chic, industrial, colourful and quirky... When you're getting it built for you, you get to pick! Yay!

I'm not a jerk

I'd be a jerk if I didn't tell you there are some downsides to barn doors. No such thing as perfect, amigos. But I'm not a jerk, so here goes:

1. Locks
You can lock them. But not with a key. And not in a way your five-year-old couldn't crack. The locks available for barn doors pretty much just hold them in place. Fine for a bathroom, but if you're protecting the crown jewels, or trying to keep Frankenstein's grumpy half-brother on lock-down, a barn door isn't your best bet. Here's an example of a barn door lock from Real Sliding Hardware.


2. Noise
If you plan on making the kind of noises Meg Ryan did in When Harry Met Sally (warning: link not safe for work!), I recommend a regular door over a barn door. (In fact, scratch that, I recommend soundproofing the whole house!) Barn doors inevitably leave a small gap between the door and the wall, so they let through more sound than regular doors or pocket doors.

Despite these things, I think a barn door works for almost any situation, but particularly for bathrooms, walk in wardrobes and room dividers.

On the lookout

We're always on the lookout for more people to call us when we're down to tell us how brilliant we are James is. If you feel like doing that, you can reach us on 250-908-7068. :)

Bonus top tip:

If you own a dog, particularly a chocolate lab (sometimes known as the "dunce lab"), you will have to teach him that he cannot walk through the new barn door. He used to be able to walk through that space, so you understand the confusion. He may continue to try to push through the barn door until you train him to wait for it to be opened. Unfortunately I know this from experience.

TipsLiz GreenComment