Installing Barn Doors: THE GREAT HANG-UP

Building the 2 mini barn doors was one of the easiest things I have ever done.  It took a couple of hours.  That’s it.

Hanging those fatherless-children baby-barn-doors was not the same cake walk.  (Unfortunately.)  I’d like to emphasize something right now.  I am not a professional.  Most of the time I have no idea what I’m doing.  In the spirit of being completely transparent, I am about to share with you several major FAILS I had in the process of hanging doors.

I had no idea what I was in for.  In my head, it was as easy as putting hinges on the door, and putting those hinges on the wall.  I was completely unprepared for this adventure.  This week has been a rude awakening for me.  Many tears have been shed.  Many egos have been shattered.

Day 1, paint.

This is what we started with.  We had a small amount of sanding to do, then prime and paint.  That took an evening.


All the cubbies got their scheduled paint job.  The “X” is were the bead board shall be, so let’s not worry about that right now.  The paint color is Shoji White by Sherwin-Williams.  It’s a clean white with a whiff of gray.  I dig.


Since this post is all about transparency… There are times in my life when I have displayed zero common sense.  One time I attempted to fly a plane to Moab.  The plane didn’t have a GPS, so I thought I’d skip doing a flight plan, and use my car GPS.  I got lost.  Another time, I thought I could use a bag of ice to anchor a raft.  A bag of ice.  And when it didn’t sink, I thought, “It’s because there’s air in the bag!”  I poked a hole, filled it with water, and it still didn’t sink.    This is one of those times where I didn’t think this through.  I bought hinges for kitchen cabinet doors… thinking if I used 3, it would be strong enough.

Day 2, first attempt at hinges & hanging.


Aaron and Karl helped me.


And the door was so heavy, the hinges bent.


We removed the door and were left with six nice holes.  And this began the “need to go back and fix” tally.


Day 3, second attempt at hinges & hanging.

At least I was smart enough to buy strong, industrial hinges.  Look at the comparison in size.  I could make some joke about size mattering.  But it’s no joke.  It really does matter.  😉


We had Matt’s help this day.  We measured, and made sure the hinges were hung on the same place on each wall.  I was positive the doors would be level and even.


Nope.  And I had no idea why.


It made no sense to me why the doors were hanging so wonky.  We attached the hinges to the wall exactly right.  I kicked so many things this night.  You know when you’re so frustrated that you hate everything?  I’m glad you understand how I felt on this day.


Day 4, time to call in the professionals.  My parents.  My mom, the REAL boss in the bossy chair.


I’m so blessed.  My dad is always coming to my rescue.  He knew in 2 seconds why the doors were hanging like kids who scored 18 on their ACT test.


The level is being held straight.  That is the edge of the door, while opened.  Obviously when opened the door is leaning to the inside of the cubby.


As straight as Elton John…


This was because of a huge mistake I made EARLY ON.  Framing.  I wasn’t precise.  I didn’t frame the cubby out TO THE SQUARE.  Therefore, the doors were not level.  It was a hard lesson to learn.  Choices you make early on can have major consequences later down the road.  Go figure.


So I sat there like a chump.  Playing with Indy and a tape measure.  (I also had no idea Aaron was playing with my camera.)  My dad was able to fix my error.  He furred out the hinges using slivers of wood until the “wall” was level and square.  (It didn’t look like anything fancy, so I didn’t take a picture.  It was just wood behind the hinges.)  Once he did that…


THE DOORS HUNG LEVEL.  Can you imagine my joy?


Day 5, attach the latches.  

But of course, the latches won’t hold the doors closed.  I contributed $7.50 to the swear jar on Day 5.  Really???  We finally get the doors hanging straight and  THE LATCHES ARE TOO WEAK?


Day 6, latches take two.

Heavy duty magnetic latches should hold.



But due to the natural warp in the reclaimed wood, we need to fur the metal piece up with some washers.


And just like that, the doors were level and latched closed.  No one is happier about this than me.  Now I can hide our blankies and games, and any other surprises I feel like hiding.


Next step, get that freakin bead board installed.  Shouldn’t be THAT hard, right?  Or am I under estimating the amount of work that will go into that as well?


We have some patching, touch up paint, and baseboards to do.  But I’m booty-blinded by those well hung doors.  Mmm yeah.


Day 7, meet Buster.

I went out to buy a curtain rod for the basement window, and I got distracted and adopted Buster.  I love him.  Indy is so excited.  ^_^


So have any of you had major fails lately?  Have you overcome them?

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  • Emma (Broke Ass Home)

    1. I’m already in love with buster. Please bring him to Michigan.
    2. I’m glad the magnetic closures worked. Much prettier than a fence latch
    3. The wood is super super super beautiful
    4. I’m in love with Buster.
    5. I have those map pillows from IKEA too! Or I did…until one dog ate it while we were in Chicago this weekend.
    6. I love you.
    7. I would have put more than that in the swear jar this weekend.

    • Oh Emma, you are going to love Buster’s adoption story. And he is seriously the sweetest fur ball I’ve ever met. We WOULD have the same Ikea pillows 🙂 I think I need to road trip out to Michigan. Deal?

      • Emma (Broke Ass Home)

        double deal.

  • Oh how I love reading your blog missy!!! Buster is the cutest thing ever (next to Indy of course) Barn doors look great!! Sorry for the drop off of the old tv. I was told by your father in law to drop it off. You get 5 stars from me!!!!!! Loves!!

    • Josh

      Haha, yeah – we figured they’d be home. Whoops.

    • You are too kind 🙂 You guys need to meet Buster. He will melt your heart. No worries dropping the tv off! We LOVE it! I’m so excited to have it. It was more fun to have it be a surprise anyway. xoxo

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  • Henriette

    Oh, how beautiful! (the dog and the doors!) Is he a rescue? We dont have shelters here, so we have to pay crazy money to get a puppy – they are normally from $2600-$3500 so it needs a bit of planning.

    Oh, and I can feel your desperation on the whole leveling-thing, I would probably have started crying and thrown the barn doors away. (and regretted like crazy afterwards when I had calmed down – thats usually how things work here)

    • Thanks H! Yes he is a rescue. He was even being returned by another family when we were at the shelter looking. It broke my heart that he was being returned. I had no idea that there were no animal shelters in Norway. That is a pretty penny to pay for a dog. I hope you are able to get one soon though 🙂

      And if only my garbage can could speak. It would have many stories of crafts/projects I have tossed in frustration.

  • Bethany

    i love this! it looks so freakin cool! i also love your commentary on all the pictures, lol! I’m your newest follower and i look forward to seeing more! <3

    <3 Bethany @

    • Hi Bethany! Thanks for stopping by. I’m always excited to have new blog friends. I checked out your blog. It’s great! I love the “Mummy Bait.” I’m gonna have to try that this weekend.

  • megan Vaughn

    They look fantastic! I found your great blog at Western Warmth. 🙂 Megan (Our PInteresting Family)

  • orsoshesays

    These are the coolest doors! Thanks for sharing with us at ‘Or so she says…’! The newest party starts tomorrow (every Saturday). I would love to have you back. 🙂

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  • eranfaraway

    I am so sad I just found this post now! Congrats about your new pup!! I would not be nearly as nonchalant as you!

    I’m so impressed you went back at those doors every day. I’m having issues with restoring an old secretary I inherited–3 paint disappointments and the front legs fell off during the move. It’s sitting in its disassembled lop-sided glory in storage at the moment with most of my other possessions. You have inspired me, maybe I’ll try to tackle it again when the sky clears up!

    • Oh, I had my fair share of melt downs. It would so rough. I know ALL about disappointments. There are many times when I need to take a break, and come at it again with fresh energy. I’m anxious to see your secretary.

  • Ah…. kicking things. I’m good at that. And I put lots of money in the swear jar on a normal day. So, on a kicking day, people mistake me for having some sort of cursing disorder. I just string them together like beads on a preschooler’s handmade necklace.

    PS – Can you see that I’m clicking around everyone on your blog like a stalker? Because I totally am.

    • Kenz

      You and I would make such a good kicking team. Oh my gosh, there should be a blogger kickball league! And we would win 🙂 I once drop kicked a paint sprayer over the fence. Maybe it’s just anger issues I have 😉