Simply stated, our pantry was an eyesore.
It was a little nook of shelves with old curtains pulled to each side.
We were going to put our house on the market soon, and in looking at the competition, we kept seeing very similar houses with beautiful kitchens.
We looked at our old countertops, painted cabinets, and raggedy pantry….and sighed.
Then, I got an idea – installing French doors on the pantry.
Who doesn’t love French doors? They add a certain style and class – and it should be an easy, relatively cheap upgrade to a tired kitchen.
Planning for the French Doors
I tend to be very particular when it comes to what I want. Installing any old French doors weren’t going to cut it.
I searched and searched and finally came across a set on Overstock. Overstock has some great options when you aren’t finding what you want at the typical stores. (I also found my oddly-sized bathroom mirror there!)
A 10% coupon code, which is pretty easy to find with Overstock, helped with the price.
The before picture (above) is so zoomed that I thought I would include the below pictures too. These are unfortunately the best I could find.
The first is a picture of two of my sisters and me, standing in front of the pantry. You can see the old curtains and the tiebacks. It was pretty awkward having the curtained pantry in the middle of our kitchen.
The second is my sister PK, acting like Vanna White, and it shows the curtain rod and the pantry shelves. It needed an upgrade, didn’t it?!
The doors I found were sold as bi-fold doors, but the conversion to French doors was simple.
Also, the doors were cheaper to buy unfinished – which wasn’t a problem because I don’t mind painting. Amazon also has a lot of French Doors if you are looking for more options.
Installing French Doors
To install, Ash removed the six small hinges that connected the door panels together. These hinges were light duty and were meant to be used in a bi-fold setup with little load.
He purchased six heavy duty door hinges, figuring that due to the glass, 3 hinges per door would be needed to handle the weight. (Aside from that, no additional extra hardware was needed.
If we wanted to keep the doors as bi-folds, we would have needed to purchase a bi-fold track to mount in the door frame.)
The actual door came in several different sizes, so we bought the one that most closely fit the pantry opening. It wasn’t perfect because the door height was just a little short.
So Ash filled the gap at the top with a piece of 2 x 4 wood painted white (as you can see in the picture).
He also had to trim the baseboard at the bottom so that he could have a flush edge for the doors.
To mount the doors, he installed the hinges on the doors first. Then he took one door panel and placed it in the ‘open’ position in the pantry, with the hinges open 90 degrees. He used some scrap wood (about ¼” thick) to elevate the door off of the floor.
With the door in position, he used heavy duty screws to secure the hinges to the wall. He then removed the scrap wood supports on the floor and verified that the door swung open and closed easily.
Then, he repeated this procedure with the other door panel. Installing French doors was pretty simple, and although unpainted, they already looked so much better than before 🙂
Painting the French Doors
With the doors mounted, the next step was painting. I chose a white semi-gloss paint to match the baseboard and chair rails that I just refreshed.
It went on pretty easily with just one coat needed. There was no need to use any masking tape for the glass panels.
This particular door came with a protective plastic film on each glass panel, so it was easy to paint the doors without prep work.
Unfortunately, as easy as this made the painting process, removing the film was actually very time-consuming. However, we knew this going into the project because we always thoroughly read the online reviews 🙂
Attaching the Hardware
After screwing on the door handles, the last step of the door installation was to attach some magnetic catches at the top to keep the doors closed and to also serve as a stop to prevent the doors from swinging inwards.
A simple task, but the first try was a no go.
The magnets Ash used were way too strong, as they were making a loud, clanging noise as they connected. Also, when we opened the doors, the panels shuddered from the magnetic tension release, which wasn’t good for the glass.
Ash simply replaced them with less powerful magnets that were just as effective.
As you can see, this weekend project turned out great. Our raggedy old curtains were now beautiful French doors. A simple swap made a drastic difference.
Here’s another look at the before and after effect of installing French doors. It really updated our kitchen without touching the countertops or cabinets.
Now that we are in a new house, I miss those French doors; however, I have a plan to work them into our new house too!
Maybe in my office – they would go with our new built-in bookshelf with a window seat. I’m sure Ash won’t mind installing French doors again. Stay tuned 🙂