The Bear and I have always been on the same page when it comes to interiors. Which is fortunate all things considered.
When we first started looking for a home all those years ago, we knew the kind of abode we wanted – and that was a New York city warehouse loft apartment. And yes I know, we live in Dublin – get a grip. But it was the look, the feel of a NY loft that we wanted – the brick walls, the high ceilings, the full embrace of raw materials and of course…the metal sliding door. Now when we found this house, we discovered much to our delight, that many features that we had been striving for were here, under copious amounts of plaster board but here non the less. Unsurprising the metal door was not.
As we worked on the house, that dream abode and THAT sliding door was always in the back of our minds but you know what’s more important than a door? A functioning kitchen, a non-overflowing toilet and heat on a cold Winter night! And so the sliding door became a ‘someday we’ll get to it’ scenario – it wasn’t a priority and quite frankly we needed to focus on the rest of the house.
And then on one of our recent weekend jaunts to the local salvage yard (Old Bailey Gibson Yard, South Circular Road) – we found THE door. By chance the yard had just taken in several sliding doors from a Mill, both wooden and metal but as soon as we spotted the metal door hidden behind stacks of old chairs – we knew we had to have it. It was metal, covered in green flaking paint, slightly too small for our door space and covered in graffiti – in other words, perfect.
We promptly bought it and left in the hall for weeks as the Bear tried to figure out how we were going to hang it.
After much mulling, we decided to just go for it and now I’ll be honest. I say ‘we’ but I took a purely documentarian role during this DIY escapade – we enlisted my wonderful Dad and our always-deadly Dave and work began.
We decided to install the door in our hall, in the opening between it and the living room – see image below (Image Credit: Mark Scott for Image Interiors).
Straight up, the door is INCREDIBLY HEAVY, it is made from metal after all, meaning that we HAD to ensure we had sufficient support in the wall we were hanging it off. The Bear and my Dad decided the best thing to do was to use very large and long bolts to attach the track to the wall – essentially the idea was that the bolts would go all the way through the track and wall to the other side, in several spots to give maximum support. These bolts would hold the metal track at the top of the door in place for the actual door to hang from. Then we had to figure out a way to make the door slide, we spoke to a few door companies and they were charging MEGA BUCKS for a sliding contraptions so instead the lads decided to install castors with ball bearings inside onto the bottom of the door which cost less than 30 euro – much more economical. So here’s how it all went down:
Firstly the two wheels on top of the door needed some sanding down and oiling so that they would easily move along the track. After that measurements were taken and marked onto the walls.
Holes were drilled through the wall for the bolts and then the metal track was installed above the door space.
Then to the door! The castors needed to be attached to the bottom of the door so the lads decided to drill through the door and channel out some of the base so that the castors would sit mostly within the door with a certain % sticking out of the bottom so that the door will be able to glide along the floor – this is also important for weight distribution, this way the door is supported above by the bolts in the wall but also by the castors at the base of the door.
After that it was just a matter of lifting the door so that the top wheels slotted into the track above the door and hey presto – DREAM DOOR installed! And even better it works! So far we’ve had no issues but that doesn’t mean we’re finished. Oh no. The castors are slowly chipping away our painted floor under the door, so we’re going to need to install a metal plate under the door for the castors to run along and as we mentioned before the door was slightly smaller than our door opening so we’re going to have to build the wall in a little bit too. The bolts in the living room wall are mostly hidden with our art but there are a few sticking out that we’re going to paint at some stage…
But all in all we’re delighted, we’ve got the door of our NY loft dreams – and yes, we’re keeping it that colour!