After we removed the wall between the entryway and kitchen we were left with the radiator extending out into the middle of the space. To deal with this we had a couple options, we could either re-route the radiator to keep the space open, or come up with a solution around it. We choose the latter.
Besides supporting the radiator, the half wall acts as a visual divider that distinguishes the entry way from kitchen. It's a nifty spot to hold things when going in and out the door but most importantly it gave us the opportunity to make a pocket door that really divides the space when needed. I will explain later why the pocket door is so important to us.
First I built two walls with 2x2s. I tried to make these walls as strong as I could by adding glue and screwing it all securely together and adding diagonal bracing. I then pin nailed and glued tongue and grove bead-board paneling to one side.
I test fitted the wall in place to see what needed to be done to get it level and secure.
The walls and floors all angle in different directions and nothing is straight in this old house. So to deal with that I added a lot of shims.
I predrilled and then used big lag bolts with washers to secure the walls. Make sure to use lag bolts and not big screws which I initially tried; this is to provide more stability.
I added a spacer with a little over 1/8" tolerance bigger than the door and screwed the two walls together.
Now with the framing complete I can divert my attention to making the pocket door. REWIND in time..... Here I am removing doors off a big closest that used to take up almost the entire entry way.
I thought it would be fitting to reuse the doors to create a new kind of door. I had to cut the pieces and join them together with a dowel jig to get the right length.
At this point I realized I wasn't even close to being done. I stepped back and looked at this big panel and thought... "nahh, this doesn't look good, it needs to be sexy"
So I designed a pattern and used the CNC to make it. I have a desktop CNC machine that I use and was just barely able to fit the pocket door within the cut area; the max. cut area is about 32"x 32"
If you dont have a CNC, there are a lot of other patterns that you can do with just a drill and a jig saw. I considered a lot of different patterns for the door but went with this one because I have the means to make it and we will have other lantern shape finishes in the kitchen as well. Another option that I was thinking about is just using a hand drill and drilling random size holes through the wood and make a gradient with holes. You can still make very interesting patterns that are relatively easily with just basic hand tools.
Fresh off the CNC, things were looking better but I still had a lot of finishing work to do. I hand sanded what seemed like an eternity, to break the edges and remove all the burrs left from the CNC..
I then primed and painted the door white.
And then used an orbital sander to leave the paint in the details to make the pattern pop.
Next, I stained the door to match the beams in the kitchen. (this was very satisfying).
With the door done it can be installed. I added felt to the bottom to make it slide smoothly and not damage the floors. In hindsight, this is not the best solution. The felt collects micro dirt particles and is already wearing the floors a little, I think rollers may have been a better solution.
Once the door was in the pocket, I was able to add the bead board to the other side with an pin nailer and air compressor.
Luckily, I was able to find trim that was very similar to the existing trim to continue around the half wall.
Then, I added a piece of mdf on top by using construction adhesive and pin nails to secure it.
Now that the construction is completed, I was able to prime and paint!
We're not done yet though, I still had to figure out a way to open and secure the pocket door, so I came up with this.. its a tab and a latch.
The tab is screwed to the top of the door door through the over sized holes that become a slot. The tab can be pushed in and out., by pulling the tab out it becomes a comfortable surface to pull the door across..
On the other side, the tab then inserts into the latch and secures it tightly.
...And were done!
It works! :) and we use it quite often! Aside from its function of dividing the spaces, it's a great barrier for the cats, so they don't make a "quick escape" outside (even though they can jump over it) and it's also a block for Wally when we need to clean him off before coming inside or to keep him from running out the door when we need to leave and he doesn't want to stay home; sometimes he's too smart for his own good!