The Barn Door That Almost Never Was
This is the story of the barn door that almost never was. Our tale begins in a big, beautiful house perched on the edge of the Kootenay River…
The pristine water rippled up to the edge of the property. In the distance, CP trains trundled past, calling their greeting to the birds and bears. Inside, sunlight poured through huge windows framing picture-perfect mountains all around. Each room was tastefully decorated, sleek yet welcoming, homely but sophisticated.
Each room except one, that is.
For down in the basement sat the bane of all design-conscious home-owners: The Crap Zone.
In the corner of the concrete-floored room, tangles of wires tumbled from electrical outlets. An obnoxiously-blue water tank (we know water is blue thank you, Mr Tank Manufacturer) screamed for attention. A collection of wifi thingy-ma-bobs trailed cords past buckets and brooms and vacuums and more cords.
As far as Crap Zones go, it was clean and tidy. It wasn’t coated in the same layer of dust that adorns most basement storage areas. There were no cat-hair tumbleweeds or boxes of ancient and forgotten PlayStations and cracked-screen iPads.
But it was a far cry from the serene luxury of the rest of the home.
The homeowners called for help
Who’d they call? (I think you can guess.)
Green Goose Renovations.
The chatted with James about ways to hide The Crap Zone. They wanted something a bit different from the boring ol’ room with a boring ol’ door.
They decided on custom-made barn doors. Massive barn doors. Two six-foot wide barn doors.
(In case you’re bad at math, that’s 12 feet of barn door-ness.)
James framed out the side wall and surround, then locked himself in his workshop to make the barn doors themselves.
I don’t know how many hours the first door took to build, but when it was done, he called me in from the house to come marvel at his handiwork. And boy did I marvel!
The door was laid flat on a couple of workhorses. The light caught the textured boards showing off the different wood shades and patterns. The frame was flat black like wrought iron.
It looked high quality. Substantial. Weighty.
James asked me to help him lift the door and prop it up vertically against the wall so he could make space to work on the second door.
If we haven’t met in person, here’s what you need to know:
I am five foot one inch tall. The last time I lifted weights was in 2013—and that was a couple of cans of baked beans. I am good at some things, but lifting big, awkward, heavy hardware is not one of those things.
But I also hate to admit when I can’t do something. Plus, all our more muscular friend were at work, and I was the only option.
So I helped lift and shift the door up against the wall. I engaged every weeny muscle in my arms and my core. I thought my fingers were going to snap. It nearly gave me a hernia, but we did it.
And that’s when it dawned on James…
We’d just wrestled and sweated and struggled to move one door from the workhorses to the wall—a distance of about two feet. He had two doors to maneuver from the workshop into his trailer, out of the trailer, into the house, down the stairs, and up on their rails.
Me and my hernia were not going to be much help.
The logistical challenges of moving these big barn doors kept James awake at night. Even for him and his burly buddies, this was a lot of heavy lifting. And with each door being six-foot wide, they were awkward to get a good grip on.
There was a real chance these barn doors wouldn’t make it to the house. They might become the barn doors that never were.
I suggested propping them on a sled and skidding them down the basement stairs, Home Alone-style.
James didn’t love that idea.
Instead, he recruited our friend Jesse, whose body is 100% muscle.
Inch by inch, James and Jesse shifted the doors out of the workshop, into the trailer, then into the house. It took time and patience, strength and spatial awareness, but they finally got those mammoth beasts installed.
The Crap Zone is no longer
It’s now a peaceful-looking space. It’s calm and uncluttered. The custom barn doors are dramatic and add so much character to the space.
The bypass function means there’s plenty of space to get in and work around the water tank and all the other hidden bits and pieces. There’s really no way to keep cords and general household crap looking tidy, but hiding them like this is genius.
The clients loved their barn doors. And James and Jesse got to reward their hard graft with a fishing session and a cold beer on the Kootenay River.
Check out the pictures below
Thank you to our clients who let us into their home and trusted us to make these custom barn doors. It was a brilliant opportunity to be creative, do something different (and figure out some new logistical challenges!)
Check out more of James’ barn doors here.