A unique twist on the old pocket door

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - DEB­BIE TRAVIS

IF you have vis­ited a house built in the late 1800s or early 1900s, there’s a good chance you’ve seen a pocket door. These beau­ti­fully pan­elled in­te­rior doors that slid into a pocket in the wall were a pop­u­lar ar­chi­tec­tural fea­ture. They sep­a­rated the li­brary or sit­ting room from the din­ing room, and main rooms from the cen­tral hall­way.

Whether they were orig­i­nally de­signed to save space or as a clever way to hide a door when it was not needed, they served a pur­pose that some­how fell out of favour. How­ever, one hun­dred years later, the idea of a hinge-less door is once again be­com­ing pop­u­lar.

The steady rise in new con­do­mini­ums and town houses built on a small scale has pre­sented a real chal­lenge for home­own­ers and de­sign­ers. Ar­rang­ing fur­ni­ture in tight sur­round­ings is a com­plex task. When ev­ery inch counts, it’s great to be able to count on an ex­tra eight to 10 square feet that you would nor­mally have to leave for a door to swing open.

Through my Twit­ter I was con­tacted about an ex­cit­ing new twist on the pocket door that is to­day’s so­lu­tion to the swinging door — John­son Hard­ware’s wall-mount­ing se­ries 200, john­son­hard­ware.com. It has a track and roller sys­tem that at­taches di­rectly to the wall, and it is easy to hang for the do-it-your­self mar­ket. Us­ing this hard­ware, the door slides in front of the wall rather than in­side the wall, ideal for brick or con­crete walls, or walls that con­tain pipes or wiring near the door open­ing. The heavy-duty wall mount can sup­port up to 300 pounds and is ad­justable to any height.

Once I saw how well the hard­ware worked, I imag­ined more than doors glid­ing along the track. You can cre­ate a cus­tom de­sign to suit your life­style. Be­cause the track’s height is ad­justable, you can use it to hang a flat screen TV (at­tach the TV to a panel that fits in­side the track.) An­other op­tion is to in­stall the track across a wall that has a win­dow. In­sert a flat panel that can be dec­o­rated to com­ple­ment the room. It will act as a float­ing piece of art that can slide over the win­dow when you choose.

The most im­pres­sive project I’ve seen was de­signed around a Mur­phy bed. When the bed was closed, two sets of book shelves slid into place re­veal­ing built-in cab­i­nets that flanked the bed.

Look around your home and think about how you could re­po­si­tion your fur­ni­ture with one or two fewer swinging doors. All you need is space for the width of the door be­side the open­ing. As the photo shows, the hard­ware can be con­cealed be­hind a va­lence. I like the bold colour of the door too, a vi­brant blue to show off the de­sign. Any door will work, from flat faced to glass paned, one door or doors that slide to­gether from each side.

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