Tuesday, January 3, 2012

French Doors on the Cheap

Do you have teenagers at your house?  We love our teens!  So.  Much.  Fun!  My teenage daughter decided it was time for her to have her own room.  Mom agreed.  But unfortunately, that meant that Mom had to give up her craft room.  I now have a "craft corner".  (But that's a post for another day).  Sadly for her, this move also meant a downsize.  We were in desperate need of storage space.  As I stepped back and took a look at what our options were, my mind was drawn to the closet.  In particular, the doors.  Her new room had some standard issue bi-fold closet doors.  If we could swap out those doors for some french doors, we would have a lot more real estate to work with--on the back side!

I thought it would be an easy swap.  Head down to Home Depot, buy some solid french style closet doors, come home and install them.  Things are never as easy as they should be.  It turns out that French doors have different specs.  We would have to remove the old doors and the old casings.  We would then have to cut a larger opening, and completely re-do all of the finish work (casings, putty, caulk, paint, the works!)  Not happening.

I was about to give up on the whole idea, when my husband came up with a truly genius idea.  Why couldn't we just turn the bi-fold doors that we have into "french" doors.  We could fasten the two halves together and treat them like a solid door.  We would just have to take the medial pins out of the track.  And that's exactly what we did. 

We found some slim metal plates that we used to fasten the two halves of each door together at the top and the bottom.  We also decided to just screw some wooden boards to the inside of the doors.  These had two purposes...it stabilized the bi-folds even more, and it enabled us to install hooks and rods for our daughter to use for her accessories.  I was a little bit worried about the stress on the remaining pins in the track.  But so far, we haven't had any problems.  And if we decide that we want our old doors back?  No problem, just remove the plates and the boards and put the pins back in the track.  Completely reversible--I love that!

On the top board, we just screwed in some cup hooks from WalMart.  We purchased the metal rods at IKEA.  They are the perfect solution for her jewelry, scarves, hats, head bands, and belts.  On the other side, we hung a shoe pocket holder thingy.  The doors have worked out perfectly!  She loves her closet.  She loves her room.  She loves her new found freedom!


[There is one other problem that you will encounter if you try this at your house.  The doors can now swing "in" as well as "out".  You will need to install a block of some kind at the center top of your closet to prevent the doors from swinging in.  You may also want to add some magnets to hold them closed.]

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