Smart Home Design: Sliding Doors

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Posted By susanne

A sliding door—say, a door of planks hanging from exposed hardware—transforms a room. It’s so eye-catching, so unexpected, that it invites closer looks. It brings smiles.

There are also practical reasons for choosing sliding doors. They can be larger—taller, wider and heavier—than hinged doors. They don’t require open floor space like swinging doors. But mostly, architects and designers love them for their looks.

A sliding door softens a formal room, said Charlotte, N.C., designer Emily Bourgeois, who used sliding pantry doors in an award-winning kitchen she created for a Charlotte townhouse. The doors were painted a vivid blue and featured exposed hardware.

Any door delivers a message about the space, she said. “So what’s it saying? Let’s all sit up straight? Or please feel free to put your feet on the table?”

Architect Ken Pursley of Pursley Dixon Architecture says a large sliding door doesn’t just create an opening in a wall—when opened, it removes the wall.

And, like Bourgeois, he appreciates the look: “There is a charm to it. It ‘de-suburbanizes’ the door.”

For all those reasons and more, interest in sliding doors is growing.

You’ll find sliding doors at Lowe’s and Ikea, and the California-based Sliding Door Company hopes to expand along the East Coast.

What are the basics?

For interiors, architects and designers typically use custom sliding doors built by local craftsmen or, perhaps, vintage doors.

Familiar door makers such as Marvin and Jeld-Wen make quality exterior sliding doors, Pursley said. They’re a good choice, because the barn door style can be hard to seal tightly.

Whatever the style, a sliding door needs to operate smoothly. It’s going to invite attention—and tempt people to give it a try. “It’s very important, if you’re going to use one of these doors, that you use good hardware,” Bourgeois said. Continue reading. . .