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  • Writer's pictureJacqueline Loiacono

From Bifold to French Doors

Everyone has had their experience at some point or another with Bifold Doors in their homes, rentals, vacation spots or just visiting others. Bifold doors are hinged together and pulled open from a track at the top of the door frame. They're perfect for small entryways and closets, but they're not everyone's least not ours.

Since we rent a tiny lake-town cottage/bungalow, our bedroom is very small, and very narrow. When we first moved in (pictured in the gallery above) we had a hard time with the layout of the room. It could only fit the bed in one spot. I didn't like the head of the bed under a window...especially since we needed a window AC, and I never liked the side of the bed up against a wall (how can the inside person get off?!) ... So the only spot left had to be the blank wall to the right of the doorway. Unfortunately, the bottom of the bed reaches halfway into the doorway resulting in the bedroom door being unable to close. During last Spring's One Room Challenge Kitchen Reveal, I admit that I moved the bed to stage the door closed to showcase the beautiful new door knobs gifted to me from Stone Harbor Hardware. How could I not show such beauty and the cohesiveness of the matching new hardware? Even if the only time I could see it was while I was inside the bedroom :(

We continuously struggled with the tightness of the bedroom; especially since the open door didn't lay flat against the wall. This resulted in the inability to use the blank space behind the door. Eventually, we would like to build storage on that wall, but Vienna's nursery chair (that also pulls out to a comfy lounger) is now in that corner and the useless door had to go. One day, when we couldn't take it anymore, Brian removed the door and put it in the basement. It made the room feel bigger and I could breathe a bit easier. Since we are renting, we had spoken to the landlord about installing a bifold door since we did not have any privacy with the current door situation. He had agreed, and when we had the funds we were we.

The blank doorway didn't bother me, so we left it for a bit. I had finally repainted our bedroom a moody pink and seeing the fresh new space from the kitchen wasn't a problem we had to fix quickly. I patched and painted the doorframe where we removed the old door hinges so it was prepped and ready for our new door. Since I was NOT a fan of bifold doors (For a few reasons....1. Being that it sticks out a bit when it's open and 2. They always get stuck on the track eventually and 3. I just hate them) we decided to DIY our own French Doors by using the bifold doors as a template. I had researched and heard from others that it was a fairly simple DIY but never without a few adjustments along the way. Our experience went the same...

The bifold door that we bought from Home Depot was a 30x80 and a perfect fit for our bedroom doorway. The first step was removing the non-mortise hinges (hinges that do't require cuts to be made into the wood to install them) that held the bifold doors together. We then dry-fitted one door to see how we felt about using the previous hinges and it was a no-go. They stuck out too far for our Iiking so I ordered these Matte Black Hinges from Amazon and they fit perfectly.

After I primed and painted the doors in the basement, it was time to install the hinges. While downstairs, I only painted one coat of Dove by Behr Paint on the front and back of the doors, which matched the upper part of the Kitchen walls. I planned to add a second coat while they were hung up in the doorway after the handles were installed and take care of any touch ups. The purpose of painting the doors the same color as the upper part of the walls was that it felt seamless and aesthetically pleasing to the if the french doors led to a built in pantry and not a bedroom. With the scallops on either side of the door, it felt only right to keep it that color and not a high gloss white the same as on Vienna's bedroom and our bathroom doors.

To make sure the hinges were the same on both doors, we made sure to measure from the top of the door to the middle screw hole of the hinge. The measurements for the top hinges were not the same as from the bottom, so we made sure to double check before drilling the hinges on. Of course no project goes without hiccups. One thing we realized after the fact, was that we installed the bottom hinge of one of the doors upside down and we didn't notice until it was on the frame. We then had to take it off and flip it back which of course is a hassle. I used a cutting board under the doors to make sure they were off of the floor and high enough while we drilled the hinges to the frame. (This was tricky because even with a level and the correct measurements, our house slopes to the back so sometimes eyeballing it works a bit better).

Another hiccup was that the doors got stuck when closing them. To solve this problem, We sanded the inside of the doors where they met in the middle to shave down 1/4 of an inch. This set us back a little time, but they close a bit better now. I may sand more at another time for aesthetic purposes, but for now it was good enough for us. We decided to hold back from using the magnet at the top of the doorframe to keep the doors closed (due to the lack of space where the doors meet, they stayed shut already).

The last issue was installing the handles. I only had two farmhouse handles leftover from the Kitchen refresh, so Brian was able to cut a screw and tighten a cabinet pull on the inside of the door so we could open it from the inside of the bedroom until we got the new ones in the mail. The new ones are screwed in back to back to one another in the bottom hole of the handles and then glued on the top since there was no way to tighten them together. I could've bought handles that were able to connect but we wanted to save money.

*My aim was to keep the cohesiveness of the hardware for all the inside facing doors to the Kitchen (Both with the doorknobs from Stone Harbor Hardware and the cabinet handles). *To please the eye, the door handles were to be the same on either side when it was open.

All in all, I'd say that this DIY was an easy one. Easy meaning that the issues were able to be solved in a timely manner. The doors, hinges, handles and magnet were less than $200 in total. I already had sandpaper, Stix primer and leftover paint from the Kitchen project so we were covered in that department. I try not to throw anything away unless it's very much done and empty. You never know when you need a tool or a product in a pinch and you don't have time, patience to wait for an order to be delivered, or want to go to the store.

We love seeing our bedroom finally have some privacy. It makes it more exciting to open the doors and see the moody pink walls hiding within the bedroom. (More pictures to come and video tutorial on my social media sites). I feel happy and proud when I look at the fruits of our labor. Brian and I worked on this project with minimal disagreements. That was a true win for me :) If you really want to test your marriage compromisation and communication skills, try doing a DIY project together...<3 You may surprise each other ;)

xoxo- Jacqueline

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This project came out great!! It really makes a big difference . Great job!!

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