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Repurposing: The Very Bad Barn Door

So usually I can dig a barn door in a house.

Not all of them, but a good modern one which provides both great form AND function. I even built one myself back at the farm when we designed and rebuilt our entire bedroom & bathroom from scratch, as I'd literally built a new wall and this was going to be hella easier than a regular door. Worked like a charm. Plus, primary bathrooms are often excellent candidates for a barn doors, so you're not taking up a ton of space with a traditional door.

However, when we bought this house in late summer, I knew this baby was coming down in our room - pronto.

Why? Well check out the photo. First, it's clearly not an actual well-functioning door. Someone f'd around with some shitty scrap wood (or literally took it from an old shed), didn't measure it right, and apparently thought it was cool to install it with an eye-level peephole, not to mention not tall enough to actually go all the way to the floor. Kind of like a creepy public restroom door vibe. And when you have to get up to pee in the middle of the night (or when my husband has to get up at 4:30 for work), you do NOT want beams or shafts of light coming in a nice dark room, folks.

Ironically, they forked out the money for the hardware kit, so when we removed the door we carefully took off the hanging bits and stashed it aside for a future door. And then I stuck the door in the garage. Then on the patio. Then in the yard. And then, finally, I forced myself to get into Repurposing Mode...and these two creations are what I came up with:

For a while I'd thought about turning the door into a picnic table, but with the 'peephole' and the sliver-filled door 'handle" (another hole hacked out of it, no actual knob or hardware), it was not viable. But you know what WAS possible? Yep, I cut the sucker in half.

And as soon as I did that, the solutions materialized.

  • First, we had repurposed the original crawlspace 'hatch' cover - a satanically heavy 3'x3' concrete slab neither of us could move on our own - to become the base for one of our rain tanks, and I'd had it temporarily covered with a thin piece of plywood and bricks on top to keep it from blowing away. Turns out half of a crappy former bathroom barn door? Perfect weight and dimensions to cover this up - not to mention look so much better in our backyard!

  • Second, hey there ain't nothing wrong with a little square table to eat at, right? Not a picnic table but heck, it's just the two of us so we're good...especially for a price of Absolutely Free. So I sanded the top of it, attached legs made of scrap PT 2x8' from our recent deck project halved lengthwise, and painted it the same super dark gray as the trim on our house (the seller left it behind for us). It's not the perfect specimen of carpentry, but it'll do for the purpose.

OK so some might say "what about the bathroom door now?" Well, we have the barn door hardware when I'm ready to build a new one, but honestly, we don't even use that bathroom. The primary 'suite' came with a half, not a full, bath and the mirror in there appears to be permanently glued to the wall, preventing a normal medicine cabinet, and so we use the full bath right around the corner in the hall. Not a big deal. Part of me is thinking we might gut it and turn it into a WIC, but right now it's not a priority. A curtain works fine if privacy is needed.

So there you have it - one door, two new creations!


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