Q: I love my small townhouse-style condo, except that it has wooden doors everywhere, especially at the top of the stairs where there are no less than five doors opening in the hall. This includes two bedrooms, two doors to a hall closet for the laundry, and the bathroom. If even just one of these doors is open, you can’t walk past it to get down the stairs, into the bathroom or into the bedrooms. Is there any way I can simplify this mess?
A: I’ve seen lots of complicated doorway situations, even in large homes. It’s funny how something as seemingly minor as a door problem can cause big headaches in your daily life, and how deeply that impacts how you enjoy your home. But, just because something is a certain way in your house doesn’t mean it has to stay that way.
Sometimes, especially in older homes, there are random doors in the middle of hallways, between kitchens and dining rooms or halls, or between other rooms that don’t need as much separation. If that were the case for you, I’d recommend simply removing those unnecessary and annoying doors. But bedrooms and bathrooms need doors for privacy and sound control. And usually, so do laundry areas.
Depending on your floor plan, it might be possible to switch how the doors open. For example, perhaps the bedroom and the bathroom doors could swing into the rooms instead of out. To fix it all properly will probably require the help of a contractor or experienced handyperson. Unless you have very strong carpentry skills, this would be a difficult DIY project to make sure all the parts line up and the door is level and swings freely. To switch a door only to find it’s crooked and won’t close properly means frustration and a lot more repairs!
Also, to save even more space, your contractor might be able to replace some of these doors with pocket doors. But some things like a corner, a light switch location, or pipes inside the walls could make a pocket door impossible.
Good luck with this and let me know how it goes.
Have a design dilemma? Jennifer Adams is an award-winning designer, author of the upcoming book “Love Coming Home” and TV personality. Send your questions to AskJennifer@JenniferAdams.com or for more design ideas, visit Jennifer’s blog on her website at www.jenniferadams.com.