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The News-Dispatch and Harbor Country News

Thursday, March 17, 2011

spring Home improvement

Rural meets urban: Barn doors slide inside USES: ROOM BY ROOM • In the hallway for laundry/ utility rooms and storage closets • In the kitchen, to seal off pantry space or screen appliances • Between living/dining room and home offices and bedrooms CONSIDERATIONS: • Adequate hardware is key. You don’t want heavy doors to bow out. Also, you want quiet openings and closings. • Ordering hardware requires patience. Typical shipping times are 6 to 8 weeks to accommodate custom dimensions. • Lock it up. Most urban barn doors don’t lock — since they’re interior sliding doors — but they can. You need to know whether you want a lock before making the door and ordering the hardware. Commercial-grade magnetic locks would suit modernlooking doors. Latch-style locks would complement rustic-barn hardware. • Measure once, then twice. Make sure your contractor has correct measurements and a method to get the door inside your home. The door should be a minimum of 6 inches more than the opening, so wall space free of furniture to the left or right is required. • Call in safety reinforcements. The doors can weigh hundreds of pounds, so they can’t be hung from the wall without a good framework. Usually this means a contractor will have to cut into your drywall and add wooden blocking to the studs. Stops on the wall-mounted hardware should be installed before hanging the door. A discreet guide bar in the floor helps keep the door on track. If the door is set correctly, there shouldn’t be any fingerpinching issues.


he urban barn door is sliding into the home front. Demand for these movable monoliths has grown in recent years as homeowners, including condo dwellers and suburbanites, are looking for solutions with character. Besides their industrialchic style — a product of the lofting of America — the sliding doors and hardware serve useful purposes. An everyday hinged door takes up 9 square feet, eating up precious floor space in a hallway or square-footcrunched condo, points out Jeremy Crowder, vice president of KNC, a thirdgeneration door hardware business in Canada. “Not only are sliding doors efficient for the homeowner, they’re good for condo developers,” Crowder says. However, extra wall space is required to the left or right of an urban barn door to accommodate its large size. Ideally, the door should be at least 6 inches wider than the opening. Still, it’s more efficient than a 36-inch swinging door or sets of them. Hardware is often the priciest part of the indoor sliders, usually starting at about $1,000. A few months ago, KNC introduced the Crowder Round Track, exposed European-style stainless steel with nylon wheels at the top. A barely visible guide-block in the floor helps keep the door on track. All it takes is two fingers to silently and smoothly glide 400 pounds of wood, metal, glass or other material. The hardware is shock-absorbing to keep a residential door from sounding like an authentic hay-holding barn door. “If you’re entertaining, you want people to remember the party and not the rickety door,” says furniture

Urban barn doors are becoming more popular in homes across the country. Photos: McClatchy Newspapers. and product designer Joe Munson of Leawood, Kan., who has created large-scale sliding doors for local clients and others in New York. Lee Norman of Kansas City, Mo., recently bought the neighboring unit to his River Market condo. The wall between the two loft spaces was removed. Norman wanted the space to be open sometimes, closed others. “’Shut’ is important,” says Norman, chief medical officer at the University of Kansas Hospital. His 28-year-old son, Alex, an architectural designer for solar energy systems, relocated from Southern California to Kansas City and is temporarily living with him. Norman wants him to have privacy. “But he knows they’re both my sides.” Munson made two 8-footsquare sliding metal doors for clients in a Crossroads Arts District loft: They’re


barriers to the bathrooms. The core of each is made of tubular aluminum and medium-density fiberboard. A 1/8-inch layer of polyvinyl chloride foam board acts as backing for artwork. The large-scale digital artworks are printed onto vinyl wallpaper, the same type that’s used to put advertisements on freight trucks. One door leads to a guest bathroom, the other to the master bath. “They’re interactive room dividers,” Munson says. Each of the doors weighs 400 pounds. They don’t lock. The doors are typically open, so if they’re closed, guests know the rooms are occupied. “People are becoming savvier to the possibilities of incorporating creative elements to their homes,” Munson says. “These types of sliding doors are one of those possibilities.” — McClatchy Newspapers

RESOURCES KNC, hardware, www. Lucid Arts, 816-5691071,

Dave’s faves From page C5

Aspect Peel and Stick Metal Wall Tile Create a designer kitchen “look” quickly, easily and affordably with new Aspect peel-and-stick 3-inch by 6-inch metal tiles. Offered in three popular brushed finishes (stainless, copper, and bronze) for dramatic and dazzling accents, whether a gleaming over-thecounter backsplash or an entire luxurious floor-toceiling wall. Aspect tiles adhere to any sub-surface (drywall, plaster, paneling, and old tiles) and are offered with horizontal or vertical graining. Gives kitchens and baths a fresh, new look. Box of eight tiles covers 1-square-foot and costs about $20. The only limitation is your imagination. Available at some Lowe’s stores or order online at Telezapper / Blocks Telemarketer Calls Get rid of annoying telemarketer calls once and for all. This nifty little device plugs into your phone cord and only intercepts computer-generated calls — indicating this number is disconnected — which automatically takes you off their list. Over time, calls dwindle until you are practically telemarketerfree. Other incoming calls are not affected. When first introduced, millions were sold. Ever since, this product has been “flying under the radar.” However, the original and an updated model can both still be found at and via online search engines at prices ranging from $40 to $10. It’s worth the effort — I wouldn’t part with mine. Additional info at Liquid Stainless Steel Brush-on Paint Kit Want to give your dingy, old kitchen appliances a gleaming stainless steel finish? Award-winning Liquid Stainless Steel is the world’s first brush-on/ roll-on “real stainless steel” finish designed to give older stoves, refrigerators and dishwashers a new lease on life. Complete kits are easy to use and update an average size refrigerator for $49 or a range and dishwasher combo for only $19.95. Works great on cabinets, table tops and in many other places too. If it would look good in stainless — now you can do it. Available at paint and hardware stores nationwide. Order online at or call 1-800-650-5699. Schlage Keyless Entry Locks and Wireless LiNK Option Tired of fumbling with keys? Reluctant to offer extras to visiting guests and service providers? Schlage electronic keypad entry locks and deadbolts — using four-digit access codes — are now both practical and affordable, offered in the $120 to $150 range. Company also offers Schlage LiNK, the first and only DIY wireless system allowing 24/7 remote control for keypad locks and other home management functions via the Internet. Lock or unlock doors from anywhere, add/remove access codes and control lights. Options include adjustable thermostat ($149) and cameras ($149 wired/$179 wireless) to see who is coming and going. Schlage LiNK Starter Kit ($299) offers choice of keypad lock (deadbolt or lever-handle) and everything needed to set-up a Z-Wave wireless system. Monthly subscription $12.99. Available at Lowe’s, Radio Shack, and, or visit www.consumer.schlage. com for retailers. Evoba Modular Wood Ceiling System Turn any room into a stunning showplace with the architectural impact of a rich “coffered” wood ceiling. Prefabricated Evoba system (that’s “Above” spelled backwards), offers the warmth and beauty of real wood without the cost of custom millwork. Pre-engineered main beams and cross-tee grid components surround 2-foot square, beautifully finished, recessed panels and offer easy installation. Available as a suspension or surface mount system, in a variety of wood species and finishes, at $12 to $30 per square foot. It’s affordable-chic that rivals the elegance of any Euro-mansion or lavish boardroom. Available at There you have it. Great peel-and-stick innovations, dynamic new paint concepts, valuable entry door/security solutions, a cool new lighting option, affordable designer treatments for ceilings, several easy ways to save water with new green technology, sexy new surface materials, and a classic phone zapper that gives telemarketers the boot. Hope you found something you like, and maybe a little motivation too. Dave Albin has been a general contractor / interior and exterior designer / space planner for over 25 years. Write to him at ALBIN720@AOL.COM.




Lawn Maintenance Spring & Fall Cleanup Bush & Hedge Trimming Brick Walkways Retaining Walls Ground Cover - Rock, Mulch, etc. Planter Boxes Flowers New Lawn Installation - Seed or Sod New Lawn Sprinkler system installation, repair and start-up Landscape Design & Installation Pressure Washer Services - Patios, Decks, Homes, etc.

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(837797)(837797) From page C5 C6 The News-Dispatch and Harbor Country News Thursday, March 17, 2011 We’ll Come To You. ANameYouCanTrust RESO...