Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Closet Project - Beyond the Curtains!

When we moved into this 175 year old house, this closet had bifold doors.  If you know anything about old homes, you know that the floors are never even throughout the rooms.  They usually slope down somewhere and our bedroom floor is no exception.  There is actually about a 2" difference from one side of the room to the other.  If you know anything about bifold doors in tracks, then you know how the darn things never stay in the track even with an even floor.  You can imagine what a 2" slope would do to those bifold doors.  This was the situation we found ourselves in.

I wanted to keep those wooden bifold doors so badly.  We made adjustments, we fought and wrestled them back onto the track, until the next time we opened them.  It was a losing battle.  I finally threw in the white flag and surrendered.

The bi-fold door behaving for once:

The original bi-fold doors.  Believe me, they only looked like this in a photo.

We put up a long curtain rod, hung a wall of curtains, and relegated the old wood bi-folds to the garage where they would languish for the next 4 years.  

A couple photos of the "curtain door":

 I haven't even mentioned the situation inside the closet.  There was one long metal pole that went the full-length of the closet with a high shelf above it.  It gave us few options for storage and the closet was always, always a mess.  Clothes were crammed in, and my pants and jeans were piled on the shelf where they often tumbled down as I tried to get to a pair. We had lots of "stuff" stored in the bottom too.  I wish I had some photos to show you, but I never felt the desire to capture this mess for posterity. 

Then, last summer I had an epiphany!  What if we put the 4 panels on hinges and hung them like regular doors?  I went online and found exact replicas of the original hardware we  have in this old house.  It would be perfect.  

The new hinges

The new door handles
The door on the right shows the original hardware, and the door on the left shows the replica.

After a lot of back and forth discussions, and speaking to the guys at Home Depot and East Coast Lumber (who both told us it would never work), my husband decided to go for it (he has learned that my crazy ideas usually work, and he's the one who makes them all happen).  

It was the perfect timing of schedules coming together.  My husband had a week of vacation time, I had one week left of summer break, and our son was away in Georgia on the crew for the movie The Case for Christ.  We used his office/living room for our temporary "closet".  We emptied every. single. thing. out of our closet and piled it all over his sofa, desk chair, and floor, and then it spilled into his bedroom. We never could have done this if he were home.

This project took much longer than we anticipated and I was back to school with clothes piled everywhere.  

First, my husband measured, and then measured some more.  He discovered that one of the 4 panels was not like the others.  He also noticed that someone had done a very rough job of trimming one of the panels, probably to try to make it work as a bifold. We were doing this project on a budget, and we were determined to use what we had, so we just went with it.

Next, he sanded down the doors and applied 2 coats of Danish Oil in natural.  We have done this to all the 6-panel wood doors in our house. We love the rough, rustic look and the grain of the wood, and all the imperfections too.

We decided that the best way to hang the doors was to bolt 2 panels together making one very large door on each side.

Before hanging these doors, we had to finish the inside of the closet.  We removed the long metal bar and the shelf.  

My husband used scrap wood to build the tower and I used some leftover paint to paint it white, along with the inside of the closet.  Hubby then cut the metal bar in half and used that for my side of the closet (which is a little larger than his side).  We had to purchase a wooden pole for Brian's side of the closet.  We also reused the shelf and put that up high to hold shoes that we do not wear very often.



After completing the inside of the closet, it was time to hang the doors.  This proved to be much harder than we thought.

Because the frame of the closet was not perfectly squared, we had a tough time getting the doors hung without leaving huge gaps or hanging them uneven.  In spite of this, the doors swing open with ease and do not scrape the floor or sag at all.

Brian had to take down the white trim, make some slight cuts, and rework it.  I suggested we put one of the attic floor boards between the ceiling and top of the trim and it took some magic on Brian's part to make that work.

You can see where someone tried to trim the top of this door

  Believe it or not, the closet has stayed this clean and organized for 5 months and counting.

While it is certainly not perfect, it is a great improvement over the old closet and we did it for very little cost.  The hardware was the most expensive part of this project and we paid just under $150 for it.

We decided to go with a simple hook & eye to latch the door

The bedroom feels so much more finished now.

Linking up here:


  1. You did an amazing job! The hardware is beautiful; love that you were able to find some to match the original...perfect! Oh...and your floors...gorgeous!

    Where did you find the hardware?

    Thanks so much for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY!

    1. Cindy, Thank for for hosting the link party and for fixing my unfortunate photo flop! I'm so glad you visited here! We purchased the hardware from a company called Acorn. Here is an Amazon link for the hinges:
      <3 Gloria

  2. Wonderful fix for a very tricky problem, Gloria. The hinges look terrific--what a blessing to have your doors working again :) Thanks for linking up your post with us at Vintage Charm!

  3. Wow, what a clever idea. I know what you mean about those bi-fold doors. I have some in my bedroom that I would love to change out. You are giving me ideas.
    Thanks for sharing at Over The Moon Party,

  4. These look great! We have a set of bi fold doors that won't stay in the track as well - you have given us hope!!!

  5. I am so glad you were able to re use those doors, they are beautiful! Great job on the inside of the closet too! Your bedroom is so pretty :)

  6. How beautiful. What a wonderful idea that adds to the beauty of the home while accentuating the integrity of it's old antique beauty. I love this idea!!


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