A lucky find

Sometimes you just get lucky.

And sometimes that luck gives you just the excuse you need to avoid some work.

As you can see from the kitchen plans, we opened up some new space in the kitchen (and made a more effective pantry space) by knocking the 45-degree angled pantry entrance at the back of the kitchen back a few feet to a perpendicular wall and opening. The kitchen gets better with the 3 feet or so of extra space, and the pantry gets better because the door will no longer open into the pantry and block all the space behind the door.

The plan is for a pocket pantry door to maximize space in the kitchen and make the best use of this opening that’s really just crazy narrow at 47 inches. That gives about a 23 inch door and a 23 inch space, with an inch left over. The back part of the kitchen, as you can see from the plans above, gets really narrow, with only 20″ of clearance between the brick former back wall of the house and the cabinets on the other side. Moving the pantry wall back helps open up that space a little bit.

There’s a lot of good light in the kitchen, but none of it comes from walls directly in the kitchen with no direct kitchen windows — other than the pantry window. There’s an old window at the former back edge of the house that opens onto the porch and the door + 3 windows within. And there’s a window in the pantry. So we’ve been planning to try and find a pocket door with glass or resin in it to let all that light in.

It seems like such a waste to have a window doing nothing but shining good window light on our food all day long.

My initial plan was to take the old pantry door, pictured here, cut off the top few inches to lose that section with the angled cut in it, cut out the top panel along with the molding, and get a piece of composite resin to fit the panel opening and then put in some new door molding trim to hold it in place. Voila, new lighted pocket door.

I had Rudy go ahead and install the track for a pocket door, which will have the door hanging from a track on the top, rather than on the bottom, while I figured out what to do about the door. With lighter doors like these smaller ones, the mechanism works best to have it hang rather than slide along a track on the bottom. Nothing worse than one of those heavy pocket doors that won’t slide because of a worn track. You’re fighting gravity and physics with those.

My backup plan was to look for doors at Community Forklift and the Brass Knob warehouse for doors that already had glass panels in them or were missing the glass.

I had really wanted to take a stab at keeping the old door and turning it into a new pocket door. And after not finding anything that jumped out at us Sunday, I was ready and even sorta excited to tackle that this week.

As you know already, we stopped by the Home Depot out in College Park Sunday night. (The same trip when we bought our cabinets and the windows.) While in the doors/window department buying the windows, we found a section of clearance doors in the back. Lo and behold, amongst the orphan vinyl and wood and steel doors in this back cubby, was a 24×80 solid wood door with a floor to ceiling panel of smoked glass in it.

It had no price on it so we asked the windows dept. guy if he knew what the price was. He said that it’s original price was $145, but that he couldn’t sell it and wouldn’t know the price until someone priced it out and got a tag on it. He offered to call us on Monday, which he did with the great news that it was only $70.

I went out tonight after work to pick it up, and it’s waiting patiently on the porch to be hooked up to a new pocket track. So not only did we pick up some great windows at half the price, we found the perfect pocket door when we weren’t really looking.

My plan to make the door myself is gone now, but it’s not like I won’t have plenty of other things to do here, right? Live to fight another day; all that stuff?

And better yet, two pleasant surprises in one night that saved a little bit of money?

We’ll take it.

I'd be remiss if I didn't also mention that our good pal Shepherd is letting us borrow his car for the month while we shuttle back and forth handing house stuff every day. Thanks Shep!

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