Unhinged: DIY Barn Door Opens Field of Possibilities

I've wanted a barn door in my home ever since I saw the one my little brother had in his house (wanting the toy your brother has never gets old). 

Barn door by Johnson Builders opens to reveal the homeowner's crafting room.

When I bought my place I had to have one — I literally had to because my washer and dryer needed one more inch than my closet could provide. Hanging one door on the outermost track and the other outside the closet on the barn door track bought just enough room. 

Barn door hardware by Rustica Hardware holds original closet doors.

I got the track and the hardware from Rustica Hardware but held off on the actual door, instead using the original closet doors while I sought the barn doors of my dreams.

When I couldn't find anything I liked that would fit my closet's circumstances (one door needs to hang from the existing closet door track and so must be slightly shorter), I decided to take matters into my own hands and build them myself.

Three trips in two days to Home Depot later (including a nearly two-hour visit during which I literally just stared at wood) I had a car full of shiplap planks and other lumber, and a patio-turned-barn door staging area.

Several planks of shiplap siding along with some other pieces laid out before assembly.

Several planks of shiplap siding along with some other pieces laid out before assembly.

With a simple design in mind, I measured — and measured again. I framed four six-inch shiplap siding planks with 1x8s  and 1x5s (the shorter door has a 1x4 header) and set them against a backing of three 1x10s across the top, middle and bottom. The pieces were cut, and then glued and screwed in place from the back, leaving not one screw head showing from the front. The doors look great. Now to decide on a handle and a finish: paint or stain?

Newly finished barn doors temporarily in place before being finished with stain or coat of paint.

Newly finished barn doors temporarily in place before being finished with stain or coat of paint.

Put a Cork In It: End Your End Cabinet Woes with This Fun Functional Fix

Here's a quick, easy and inexpensive fix if you have kitchen cabinets that stop without a finished end. You may have  a series of cabinets that run wall-to-wall, and others that stop short, leaving the end of the cabinet "box" exposed.  

The end  of this cabinet wasn't just plain — it was unfinished and in need of a creative solution.

The end  of this cabinet wasn't just plain — it was unfinished and in need of a creative solution.

There are what's known as decorator panels available; many of these are merely door panels without handles, affixed to the end of your run of cabinets. It's a nice finished look, but if you don't want to spend the money for the panel and installation, or if you're unable to find a match — just cork it.

This is a single, rectangular panel of cork that was cut to fit; the cork is also commonly found in 12"x 12" squares.

This is a single, rectangular panel of cork that was cut to fit; the cork is also commonly found in 12"x 12" squares.

Square and rectangular cork panels are available online and in many craft stores for less than $15. They're typically light or dark brown, but other colors are available. I chose the dark variety to complement my dark brown granite. While you're at it, pick up some double-sided mounting tape and one of those sharp snap-blade craft knives. 

Once you've measured the side of your cabinet, measure and mark the backside of your cork panel, then score it with your knife until you're left with the piece or pieces that will fit your space. Adhere with the mounting tape.

The cork offers an interesting new texture. I found push pins in green to match what I have going in my kitchen. Use it as a bulletin board for grocery and to-do lists, pin up the little one's latest creations, or display an ever-changing array of things that make you smile.

Real Deal: National Homeownership Month Has a Deal for You

I ran into a neighbor who mentioned she had been renting her home for three years. Renting makes my head spin. Now, I know there are instances, especially when you are first starting out, when renting makes sense, but that sound you’re hearing? That’s the sound of your money being flushed away.

There has never been a better time to help yourself into a better future and a place of your own.

This is a big deal for those of you looking to buy your first home. 

The Maine State Housing Authority is celebrating National Homeownership Month with a special low rate of 2.99%/3.966% APR for a zero-point, 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. 

You also get $3,500 toward your closing costs.

Stop that flushing sound. Contact Cookopoly and let’s get you into a place of your own — while the state is ready to help make it a little easier.

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