Our Plans to Add Pocket Doors & Built-In Shelves to the Study

February 6, 2023

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Over the weekend demo started in the study (deep breaths). One of the 13 projects on our 2023 project list includes adding some built-in shelves and pocket doors in the study. And there’s no turning back.

Before Demo

After Demo

Although we’ve transformed the study into a formal dining space for special occasions, we use it primarily as a home office. Literally, every day. We wanted to optimize the use of this office space by adding pocket doors for much-needed privacy and noise blocking. That, along with adding some built-in shelves and cabinets to give us some much-needed storage. I drew some inspiration from these built-in bookshelves designed by Marie Flanigan Interiors, but ours will be different to suit our needs and home!

Source: Marie Flanigan Interiors

To make all of this possible, we’re narrowing the opening from 96″ to 60″ to lend more wall space for the built-ins and give us more reasonable dimensions for pocket doors. Here’s a little sketch to give you an idea of what we’re heading towards! (I always get a bunch of questions on how I make these drawings, I drew this up in Notability on the iPad!)

I’ve had my heart set on finding some vintage wooden french doors to use, but you may have seen on Instagram that we went “vintage door shopping” at a salvage yard and didn’t have such luck. They had thousands of beautiful doors, but we were hunting for a pair of wooden doors 30″ wide and around 96″ tall. They can be a couple inches taller, but we can’t bump up the header too much without taking away from the crown moulding.

We hunted around online and a few more places in store, before I decided “I’m thinking too much about this!” Sure, occasionally the pocket doors will be closed for meetings or calls when the girls are home, but not that much. If I were going to find these amazing antique doors I think I’d want to see them a lot more. That’s when I decided it would make a lot more sense to have these pocket doors either match the existing interior doors in our home or the pantry doors.

Kitchen Sources

Yes! The pantry doors!! That would work!! I like the idea of a window in the doors even when they are closed and we already know how to get these! I really thought I wanted something unique for the pocket doors but I think it actually makes more sense to repeat an element in the house.

In the drawing above, you can see that the mural comes down between the doorway and built-ins so fortunately we were able to preserve that part of the mural and will place it back once the built-ins are in!

We’re working with a local craftsman to make the cabinetry and it will be painted the same color as the trim in the rest of the room. You know I’ve been toying with changing the color–and I know I definitely want something high gloss this time!–so it might be the time to make the switch. EEeeek I suppose it’s time for me to finally settle on a paint color in the study once and for all…

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What do you think?

  1. Stephanie says:

    I’m notorious for changing paint colors. Sometimes it’s truly impossible to tell until after it’s painted and you live in it with all lighting situations. My husband jokes that we lose sq footage every time I put another layer of paint on the walls.

    So much of your first floor is warmer tones, so I’m leaning towards that. I love the blue (and loved the green), but agree they didn’t pair perfectly in the end. I know you’ll get there!!

  2. Karol says:

    I have been hunting for pocket doors for a similar project for a few weeks. Not in a hurry, so enjoying the search for now. Glass hasn’t been on my radar, but I could get used to your pantry doors!

  3. Jessica McAllister says:

    I can’t help but think an off white for trim and built in color. I think it will blend better with the mural and make the room look larger. The gray is pretty but my eye stops at the chair rail. Conversely, I think black might be a cool option. I think it will make the mural and desk pop like crazy and the chair rail and mouldings will fade away. It would be dramatic for sure. For practical purposes, I’m thinking off white
    would be best.

  4. REK981 says:

    I am eager to see how this develops! That is the beauty of paint! You have a few colors to draw inspiration from via the mural so change away!

  5. Polly says:

    Excited to see how this turns out! The blue has always been distracting from the mural and very *cringe* but maybe it is just the rendering on the PC.

  6. Lavinia says:

    I love the idea of pocket doors and bravo on saving your wallpaper pieces. Richmond, VA is right up the road from you and has wonderful architectural salvage shops. Pocket doors were common in Richmond’s first neighborhoods so you’re bound to find plenty of selection, though you could probably call ahead first. I would definitely take the built-ins all the way to the ceiling. They’ll look more finished and that way you won’t have to think about molding collecting on the top. A little more space for each shelf + some extra moulding up top should do the trick.

  7. Sunny says:

    This will be beautiful. I hope you go with a dark green high gloss. Drama with the light bouncing around the room.

  8. Mary-Alice Beneteau says:

    Toronto has an amazing antique door store called ‘The Door Store’ if you are still.looking. don’t settle Julia if vintage is what you want!

  9. Dawn says:

    This is a GREAT idea!

  10. EP says:

    This will be beautiful. I’d love to see a mid tone green like the darker green leaves in the mural. It would be so beautiful next to the white oak doors too, just enough contrast for both to pop!

  11. Donna says:

    Excited to see all of this, but if you’re looking at new paint, Fine Paints of Europe has the most fabulous high gloss paint on the market. It’s gonna be another great project!

    • AmandaKB says:

      Just chiming in here to say I also love Fine Paints of Europe. I’ve tried multiple brands of paint, and it’s by far my favorite brand.

  12. Jen says:

    I love this! That room was definitely calling out for some built ins and a bit of separation from the rest of the house. 😍

  13. Michele N says:

    Nice ideas! How many coats of different color paint on the trim is too much?

  14. Rebekah Olson says:

    Love love love it- always been starry eyed over the pantry doors!!

  15. Lindsey says:

    Can’t wait to see where you land on color! I’ve loved seeing how much the room / mural transform with paint! Also loving the gloss trend!! :)

    • Janice M Kirwan says:

      Love this. Will the doors go in or out? I feel you leaning toward a darker color.

    • Jo Fulton says:

      Your pantry doors will look great here. FLANAGAN’s bookshelves( while beautiful) are ridiculous with the books facing backwards. I hate that kind of decorating…just for looks and not practical. Yours will be great I am sure.

      • Carly says:

        The books are for looks as well as the vases that I’m sure are not taken down and used for the fresh flowers brought home from Trader Joes or the decorative boxes to actually hold anything. This is design . The book you are currently reading is in your bag or on your nightstand.

  16. Jacy says:

    I just love your timeliness in posting to your blog each morning. I look forward to this part of my morning routine everyday– scrolling through your post on my laptop while drinking my morning coffee. Love this space, and can’t wait to see it come together with the new doors! xo, jacy

  17. JJ says:

    Have you considered doing the trim in a wood stain rather than repainting?

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