Sliding Pantry Doors

This post is so long an appeteaser is totally called for.  Meet our new pantry doors.

Now to get into the details of how these beautiful doors came to be.  Spoiler Alert. It wasn’t easy.

The door to our pantry has been the headache of the new house from day 1.  We knew it was going to be a problem and even before we moved in I was researching a way to alleviate the problem.

IMGP7737 IMG_8634You see the door to our pantry had to swing in because if it swung out it would hit the garage door if it was also open.Because of the shape of our pantry which is a rectangle the door would swing in and essentially cut off half of the pantry.  And you had to do this little tip-toe dance around the open door and then close the door to get to anything on that side (are you using your imagination?)

So we didn’t put a lot of things on that side of the pantry for that reason but you know – some stuff was over there and anytime I had to do that little tip-toe dance I was cursing that stupid door.

So in January I decided I had had enough.  We were going to address the issue next.  It was happening.  So on a random day I asked Eric to help me take the door off.  And immediately it was like – Ahhhh!  Glorious.  Not only did you not have to do that dance but you’d just walk right in and get exactly what you needed immediately.  Not having the door as an obstacle was NICE.  Then on a whim I was like, well this trim has to go….and ripped all that out as well.

IMG_6861.JPG

We could’ve just retrimmed it and left it like that but it didn’t seem finished to leave it without any kind of door.  What if you had company over and you wanted to hide your messy pantry?  I wanted the option to have something to cover it for that 1% of time but be able to not have anything in our way for the other 99% of the time.  I considered a bifold door or 2 small doors that would open in but it just seemed fussy and after seeing the light of not having anything in my way, I wasn’t going back.  A sliding door was the obvious choice.  Our wall is 8 feet wide and there isn’t enough room for a full size door to sit on either side so 2 small doors were what we needed.

You can see my pinterest board devoted to all things pantry here which has oodles of pantry door inspiration pictures.

We went in search of some cute doors to use – something vintage, something with some glass was the hope.  Our doorway was just under 33 inches so we needed doors about 18″ wide.  We went to Caravati’s in Richmond.  They have some really neat stuff – anything you can imagine which could be salvaged from an old home.  You won’t find any deals there but if you want quantity, it’s the place to go.  And being that we needed a strange size it was our best option.  So we trekked there with 2 kids in tow and searched and searched through all of the doors.  Our best (pretty much only) option was some tall shutters.  They were in rough shape – not vintage/cute rough – just rough.  They were caked in old, ugly paint and they were $150 for each one.  Agh.  We left empty handed.  I then was determined to scour craigslist options but I quickly realized I was searching for a needle in a hay stack.  Then…

WE COULD MAKE THEM!

Eric was like – huh? No.

Ya we can totally make doors!  But here’s the important part – they don’t have to actually function as doors and that’s a big deal!  We did not become carpenters overnight.

They just need to hide the pantry.  They don’t need to be structurally sound or fit perfectly in a doorway or have hinges installed.  They just need to be the right size and be thick enough that we can install sliding door hardware.  Heck, they don’t even have to look good except on 1 side.

However, I had no idea where to start.

So off to pinterest/youtube I went.  Unfortunately, most of the posts I could find showed how to add a glass piece to an already existing door or they showed how to make barn doors without glass.  And then I searched on youtube and found a whole lot of people that are actual carpenters making legit doors and I was like – yup, I definitely can’t do THAT.  There wasn’t really an in between.  I knew we could make doors without glass pretty easily.  But for some reason I got it in my head that putting glass in the door would be amazing (#blameitonpinterest) and so I was determined to find a way to make it work.  I stumbled upon these 2 blogs that helped me come up with my plan:

https://www.thehandmadehome.net/2011/03/building-a-screen-door/

https://atcharlotteshouse.com/door-score/

In the meantime we went ahead installing the hardware since we could make the door any length.

Once we received the hardware, we realized we needed to install a board to install it into since our studs didn’t line up with where the screw holes were.   IMG_7037We installed the bar and centered it over the doorway.IMG_7040How does Thomas always manage to get in the shot?

So for the door my plan was to get some kind of board the size we needed – roughly 18″ wide and it needed to be at least 80 inches tall.  I could add some trim to the door.  I could cut out a portion of the wood and add glass and support the glass w/ trim.

So out we went to the big box stores in search of some supplies and we stumbled across these 18″ wide craft boards.

These are .75 inch thick which is a good thing because that with another .75 inch thick piece of trim board got us to 1.5 inch which was a good beefy size for our hardware (it recommended <1.75″).  These are some kind of pressed wood with a thin pine veneer on all sides.  They are nice because they look good from the sides because I knew plywood would have looked odd on the sides unless we painted them.  The only negative was that they weren’t completely flat.  This proved to be a challenging thing to work with and given the chance to do this again I would probably have opted for something flatter.  As it is, our doors don’t meet up very nice in the middle as one flares out some.  Ehh.  Frustrating but heck, we made the doors – if this is the worst thing about them I can deal with it.

We then bought our trim pieces which are 1x3s (so they are actually 2.5 inches wides).  

I first cut them to size to line the sides of the doors.  We glued these down with liquid nails and followed up with the nail gun from the back of the doors into the strips.  

We waited to apply the horizontal strips because we purposely left the doors a little long in case we goofed up.

Then we attached the hardware to the doors centering them in the strips.  Unfortunately, I totally neglected to realize that the placement of the middle hardware would contact each other above the door blocking the doors from fully closing.  Yikes.  It was a huge pain in the butt correcting the issue which meant moving the hardware inward.  Also incredibly painful was trying to get the doors to hang completely straight.  It took a couple weeks for us to get it right.  Once we did, we went ahead and trimmed the bottoms of the doors off.  We then installed the top and bottom trim pieces as well as the middle piece which we decided to place exactly in the middle.

We then used a plunge saw to remove the top rectangle where our glass would go leaving about a 1/4 inch to the trim.  This way our glass could sit in the trim and would not be able to fall out the back.  Now that I had the exact measurements for the top panels I could buy the glass.

 

I went in person to a nearby glass shop to look at different textured glass and fell in love with one in particular.  I found the glass online and then found a company that sells it out of Massachusetts.  I figured I could get the glass faster this way but turns out after I ordered it they messaged me and said they were all out of the glass and would have to get it sent there before they could cut it for me.  After a long wait, the glass finally came and it fit….perfect.  Finally, we caught a little break.

While we waited on the glass to come we stained the doors.  We tested out stains and settled on Early American.  VTGNE1834I removed the hardware, sanded everything, applied a pre-stain (this is a crucial step – do not skip this) and then stained the doors.  After the doors dried completely I applied this matte polyurethane.  I also cut the trim that we would use to frame the “boxes” to size and stained and poly’d them as well.

 

Once the glass came, we attached all the trim with finishing nails.  The tricky part was that due to the thickness of the glass (3/16 in), our trim on the top halves stuck out.

 To take away some of that thickness we flipped the trim upside down on the glass and drew a line down it and then took a plunge saw and (rather dangerously) trimmed away the excess.  Our cut was nothing spectacular but fortunately you can not tell now.  Once the top trim was attached we hung the doors and then held our breath and awaited the loud crash of glass overnight but so far, so good.

Last on the list I ordered this hardware and installed it centered in the trim.Woo, that was a doozy of a post.  While this process has not been easy I am so gosh darn proud of these doors.  Are they perfect?  No, far from it.

But every time I pass them, I’m just like, DAMNNNN. Just Don’t look at the back! bahaha.

Here’s the view when we walk in from the garage every day.  YES. I know my pantry needs an overhaul.  I loathe those wire shelves….another day.

Sources: sliding door hardware / glass / handles

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