Change This One Thing and Get Instant Rustic Appeal
Utah-based Rustica Hardware’s door created from vertical slats of reclaimed wood is shown with triangle contour hardware in a flat black finish
Looking for a way to give a room instant rustic appeal? Replace a hinged door or divide a space with a sliding barn door and distinctive hardware.
Rough-hewn wood doors hung from metal tracks add a focal point to a room, whether they’re used in living spaces, bedrooms or kitchens. Barn doors were traditionally designed to be large and easily slide open to allow for the passage of animals, equipment and crops into the shelter, keeping out wind and moisture.
Homeowners like the function that sliding doors offer inside the home, particularly in tight spaces where a hinged door obstructs traffic flow. They also love the idea of adding some history by reusing doors pulled from an old structure or reclaimed wood doors.
A hand-hammered arrow door hanger from Rustica Hardware
Because it’s increasingly hard to find the real thing that speaks to both American heritage and authenticity, companies like Utah-based Rustica Hardware have sprung up to give homeowners options. Kate Allen started the company in 2007 after she noticed a lack of sophisticated and customizable handle sets, knobs and other door products on the market.
Her husband Paul, who had been designing rustic furniture since he was a teenager, worked for a door company. When he saw demand increase for barn doors and hardware, he pitched his employer to add the categories but was declined. The Allens then turned Rustica’s focus to what it is today, designing with Paul’s goal that doors could be canvases of art and modes of expression.
A bootstrap face-mounted style from Rustica Hardware
“People love the feeling of bringing something nostalgic to their home, whether it reminds them of their grandparents or a farm they visited. It’s real and didn’t come out of a mold,” says company spokesman Ben Lewis.
Homeowners choose from a range of door styles, from those with classic raised Z- and X-panels to rustic models with simple horizontal or vertical planks made of new hardwoods or reclaimed and recycled fencing from farms and ranches throughout the West. Novelty materials include a design made of scrap metal that has a steampunk vibe and a leather version crafted from a cow’s hide—barbed wire and brand marks included. The company’s artisans turn the materials into a one-of-a-kind door. “If it looks distressed, it is distressed, with all its rough edges,” Lewis says.
Hardware can be endlessly customized; here, the industrial-inspired “sawmill” flat black metal style; Rustica Hardware
Hardware is selected to customize the track, wheels and hardware to hang the door. Finishes and color choices include classic steel or black metal as well as oil-rubbed bronze and weathered rust. Hardware can be bold and industrial or ornamental, featuring playful iron scrollwork, hammered arrow or horseshoe-style outside door mounts. Decorative pulls and latches further customize designs.
The “archer” in weathered rust; Rustica Hardware
The end result should be both useful and beautiful, Lewis says. “If we approach it from just function, then we’re not doing our job. The door should be a work of art.”
The triangle brushed steel face-mount hanger; Rustica Hardware
A top-mount design in raw steel; Rustica Hardware
Distressed wood bi-parting doors with X panels get a luxe touch with hand-milled aircraft alloy track, hardware mounts and pulls.
If you are considering adding a barn door to your home’s décor, here are a few questions to consider:
What effect do you want to create? Classic barn doors have a rustic appeal and look good in residences with a casual and laid-back feel, while contemporary designs with industrial looking tracks are better suited to a modern setting.
Do you want the door to make a statement and contrast with the walls, or to blend into the environment? An example of the former would be a rustic wood door juxtaposed with white or light walls to accent a spacious room. In a small bedroom or master bedroom, a sliding door for the closet or bathroom could be the same color as the walls for a low-key look.
What type of material should you use? A variety of woods are available, from actual barn doors to recycled woods and new hardwoods. Paints and stains can add other effects. Metal, acrylic and mirrored doors are options as well.
Where will the door be installed? Sliding doors can be used just about anywhere a hinged door is positioned, and they are great options for concealing a home office, pantry or laundry room. Sliding doors can also be used as exterior doors, with bypass or bi-part design alternatives. One key point to remember is that the track for a barn door is double the width of the door opening, so the installation site must afford ample wall space for clearance.
Is this a DIY project? Before purchasing a door and hardware, decide if you’re going to install it yourself or seek professional help. Accomplished DIYers should be able to successfully complete a project, but accurate measurements are a must. Company websites tell you what you need to know.
A variety of manufacturers offer doors and hardware in both standard and custom sizes, so shop around to find what will work best for your project. Rustica Hardware, for example, makes both hardware and doors to order at its Provo, Utah-area manufacturing facilities.
And please note: If you’re installing an antique door or one that is particularly large and heavy, you might be wise to call a professional.