Pocket doors

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I have a remote switch that I use for my backyard lights. The rear of my house has 3 exterior lights all switched separately (deck door, patio door, & garage service door all have a light outside that is switched just inside their respective door). What I did was get 2 remote control switches (they replace the switch at the patio & service doors) and then I put the remote (which looks like a 1" thick light switch) near my deck door. This way, when my dogs won't come inside at night, I can switch on all three lights from the deck (which is where they go in & out from) to see what kind of trouble they're getting in. It works really slick for our needs!
Just my $.02
Michael (LS)
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IMO? As often as possible. A lot of space is IMO lost to nothing more than swing-space for doors; I'd like to replace all my regular doors with pocket doors, given my 'druthers (and a large Lottery win <L!>)
Personalyl, I'd ttake it even further and have sliding "walls" wherever structurally possible - IMO, it'd be great to be able, for example, to close off the kitchen during cooking (esp. stuff like fish, and high- garlic dishes), combines with a fna that actually ahve a motor that *pulls air* as opposed to mostly just making noise.
But I digress...
I think pocket doors can be as nice as any other door when closed; it mainly seems to depend upon the strangth of the frame that the door is mounted into. THere are also frames that seem to slip pretty much right into existing "normal-sized" wall spaces - I don't know whetehr those dampen sound very much, tho'.
If what you mainly want to do is hide a view, you could use a louvered door so as to still allow air circulation.

I don't think of it as "proper"; that word seems INMO to be misplaced. Basically, some people see it as a stylistic choice - IOW, I don't know that a pocket door would "go" well with a "Victorian" style house. But they're certainly good in 20th-century "contemporary" style houses.
To me, a hallway would be a good place to use 2 small opposed pocket doors, because you would have no doorframe/doorjamb sticking out into the hallway, meaning that it'd be much easier to move things (and yourselves...) through the hall, which, really, is the purpose of a hallway: transit.
Sometimes, hall doors are used for privacy (close teh BR area off from the entertainment area, to provide more quiet and privacy for kids when the parents are entertraining), but it's just a big annoyance IMO to have doorjambs sticking into the hall space.
Also, those teeny "mini-walls" and added corners end uop beign just one more PITA place to have to dust.
ANyhoo, to me, both aesthetically (since I prefer contemporary or "tropical" and otehr "streamlines" styles), and practicality, teh "proper" use of a pocket door would be pretty much anyplace where the walls adjoining the doorway would accept the framing for them.

COuld you send a sketch? I don't understand what you mean.
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Really? I lived for 27 years in a brownstone (built in 1859) that had very impressive pocket doors between the Living room and Library (which we made into a kitchen). They were double, and opened up a space 7' wide X 8' high. Each door had 2 panels of frosted glass with a climbing rose pattern. Each weighed over 200 pounds and was 2" thick mahogany. They rode on several recessed wheels on a bronze floor track and operated very easily. As far as I could see there were at least 1,000 houses in our district similarly equipped. There were also smaller pocket doors in some locations upstairs. The pull hardware was very nice, installed in the ends, with push buttons to pop out the pulls, allowing the doors to be completely hidden.

re-spacked it about every 2 weeks and repainted. Don't do it!! EDS
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There's the voice of experience....see my other post about traditional buildings being thicker where they get pounded.
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I don't know much about Victorian, so I wasn't sure and only meant that as an opinion ((IOW, that's why I said "I don't know that [blahblahblah...]..."
I know that at least some older houses had what were almost more like "sliding walls", but dunno the time periods. All I emant was that, assuming that the space, wall-thickness, location of load-bearing walls/studs, and so on, being equal, to have or not have pocket doors would be a stylistic choice.
I personally like the entire idea of "moveable walls" a great deal.

That sounds beautiful, esp. if (as your description seems to indicate) the wood was showing.

I've seen those smaller versions, and IMO, they offer a great combination of beauty, practicality, and space-expansion (in that you don't have to keep x-number of square feet totally empty jus tto have some silly door open/close). I tend to find swing doors very annoying, in part because my balance isn't always that good and I get a lot of knob-height/shaped bruises =>:-p Not to mention that they make ti harder tio bring stuff into and out of rooms, what with all the parts there are to get caught up on.
If I can ever have my own place designed and built, I want there to be as few swing-doors as possilbe, the best number being Zero.
((Not to mentionthat most swing doors are IMO kind of ugly to begin with...))
[ ... ]

Oh - thinking about it, I guess that the small changes due to thermal expansion an dcontraction, plus settling, and so on, *would* be a continuing problem...
Is there such a thing as metal framing? THe otehr day, it just popped into my head (while looking at the boring "traditional" molding stuck onto everthing here from the doorways to the stairs to the fireplace and so on =:-p ) that it might be interesting to see whetehr anyone has ever used non-traditional materials such as brushed stainless as molding/frame material. If so, I'd like to see it, see how it looks in practice ((sometimes things that sound like they ought to be interesting, just end up being ugly...))
- K.
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There's also some "functionality" concerns that should be considered when thinking about pocket doors. They tend to be harder & more awkward to open/close than a swing. It very difficult to "put your weight into it" with a pocket door while a swing it's easy (both pushing & pulling). The hardware is almost never appropriate for arthritic homeowners. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera....
I personally like pocket doors (especially since they've gotten much better over the last few years). My next home will have a "dutch" pocket door between the kitchen and mudroom (a nice way to keep the dogs from tracking mud throughout the house!) Even though I like them, I wouldn't put them into my parents house. Also, I wouldn't use them in a location where the door will be open/closed a lot of times per day. Nor in a location that might see heavy abuse as this can really wreak havoc with the operation smoothness of the door over time.
Another option that is often overlooked, but I love, is an exposed sliding door (i.e. "barn door"). I put one in at the bottom of my basement stairs (the last tread extends past the wall 4" so the door is actually 6" off the floor) and when not in use the door slides halfway down the wall (so it centers on the wall). We have a picture mounted on the door and it's white to match our trim and to contrast with the cream wall paint.
One last comment on pocket doors.... it's real tough to get satisfaction from slamming a pocket door in someone's face!!!
Michael (LS)
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This is a good point, Michael....when closed you have to come to a complete stop to use it in either direction. There is a marvelous phenomenological experience of push a hinged door at full walking speed and passing though a narrow throat before busting into a new space.
I've got a pair beveled glass/gumwood pockets between Living and Dining rooms...83 year olds with one surgery to revive them. We use them carefully and infrequently. For infrequent partitioning of space, usually for acoustic reasons, there serve a function, but I wouldn't want to use them.
On Star Trek they used to have those nifty motion-sensor operated ones that where about a quarter inch thick, and made that breathy swishing sound when opening. It would appear that the technical issued have been resolved by the 24th c...stage hands buried in the walls with peep-holes to see when some one's coming. (One per leaf.)
Which raises another issue, once you get past the hinge.....door/portal shape. I still haven't gone by our recently opened architectural joke, but will be betting that the doors will all be rectangular panels in a vertical plane.
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Michael (LS) wrote:

You put it well. Liked the digression. I think pocket doors/sliding walls, etc. can be nice for creating spaces that look to some minamalists as arhcitectural and basically hide the way we all normally live and the things and detail we like to look at and have around us. Eclectic to brutalist simplistic in one closa da door wall
Same concept of shoji screen but slightly heavier , less light permeable. Although the shoji screen effect has its purposes as well.

A lot of four square houses turn of the last century had very functional pocket doors and hardware you could lean against. Hard to replicate at reasonable cost.

Hard to visualize for me. Have a pic?

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On Tue, 31 Jul 2007 14:52:43 -0400, ++ wrote:

Yes he did. I'm in SW FL so we have a lot of sliding glass doors. Some are 4-6 panels and they are hevy a they couple together. Then you still don't have a completely open space to enjoy the in-outside living. Saw one company that had an actuator/motor to overcome the opening issue.
http://www.doorsinmotion.net/gallery /
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THat's just 'cuz ya don't hafta live with *all* the daily digressions <LOL!>
No, seriously:

THe thing is that sliders/pockets can be adapted (well, IMO at least <g!>) to just about any style. It of course depends upon the situation - sometimes, open/closed doors, esp. (IMO) paired arched doors, are part of the "visual statement".
I'm a "partial minimalist" by preference but a clutterbug/opackrat by nature, so that's probably part of my desire to be able to close off rooms/spaces <G!>
But, in all seriousness, in part, I think it'd make spaces *more interesting* if one could reconfigure them every now and then.
I actually like the idea of Lofts for that reason - they seem to lend themselves more to that sort of lifestyle. But I also have "the Antaeus gene": as allergic as I am to pretty much everything, I nonetheless go nutso if I don't have some land around me, even if it's only a little bit. What I *really* need is a loft-building on about 10+ acres <LOL!>
Even there, tho', I think it'd be great to be able to use sliding walls/doors/screens in the outside space as well as the inside space.
I never entertain, but being able to adapt, to hide or reveal, various spaces at will might make me more amenable to it - I loathe teh idea of people coming in and seeing the entire house all at once, regardless of whether I'd want them to.
ALso, it'd be easier to adapt the house to the seasons, if one could easily open spaces or divide them to adapt to heating/cooling needs, and useage needs.
- K.

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For me, I'm always bumping into the dang knobs and into the edges that stick out, an dso on. THen you also have to have those ugly anti-bang things either stuck into the baseboards, or plastered onto teh wall, to prevent the knobs from gouging out the walls. Honestly, I hate swing doors.
I've seen crappy pocket doors, but also, I've seen really good ones (the latter on an early 1900's house). EDAS described his - the good one's I';d seen were more along that line.
OTOH, a lot of swing doors are made of crappy material, too, and can also suffer from warped frames, crappy installation, and all th results therefrom.
For those fo us who are arthritic, I think a well-designed and well- installed pocket door could exist. Like any other type of accessability puzzle, it usually just takes a little bit of thought... One option, of course, is a power-door, but there would also be a lot of other possible solutions for easier accessibility.
Accessibility, of course, always depends in part upon personal preference and what sorts of trade-offs a person is willing (or eager ;) ) to make.

THat is an interesting idea :) - you still get an open view, with the added bonus of a "baby gate", with all of it being made "invisible" when you wish.

All of those are of course considerations. ((One size never does fit all, does it ;) ))

I saw something like that done on one of those <yikes!!> TV home shows. The individual wanted an "industrial" sort of style, and wanted to be able to close off the kitchen, since th econdo was small and the poin t was to be able to close off the kitchen while serving and entertaining guests (since you want to be with your guests, not screwing around with cleaning dishes and so on). ANyhoo, they mounted a track over the kitchen opening (apx. the size of a french door) and "slung" a door on rollers in the track. It sounded tacky when tehy'd described it at the outset, but in th eend, it actually looked quite good, esp. with the style of rest of the place.
I guess that's the fun of it, tho' - having a lot of different options to adapt and apply ;)

Er, ah, I don't worry about that... ...learned *very* early on that the eventual consequences always faaaar outstrip any momenhtary satisfaction <LOL!>
- K.
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MiamiCuse wrote:

When you've got room for it. They can also be a very elegant design detail with a nice wood and hardware. Can cut off noise if fitted right, cut off smells

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