Tricks of the trade

Sliding doors have become more and more popular in the last 5 years as technology has improved and contemporary aesthetics have reduced the home owner’s desire for conventional side hung doors that take up space. Unlike their clumsy predecessors, modern mechanisms can be discreet and can even be used as a feature in their own right.

There is a long history of using sliding doors, or shoji, in Japan, where they are an integral part of the traditional architecture. Used as a door or window, or to make divisions between rooms, they are usually made of translucent mulberry paper over a wooden frame, allowing light to penetrate while still affording some degree of privacy.

In the UK we are more familiar with the large glass systems that are commonly used to redefine the open and closed space, seamlessly joining warm climate controlled interiors with the natural landscape. However, it is also becoming fashionable to use doors of this type in other formal spaces , particularly in flats or basements where space is limited.

In a recent project, one of the challenges set by our clients was to combine the busy life of a modern family with a small basement living space, while keeping the heart of the house – the kitchen – as functional and as welcoming as possible. By widening the opening and replacing the original hinged door with a sliding glass system (designed and built by Goodbody & Co.) the room was transformed into a much brighter and more spacious area. The door frame cleverly hides one of Hafele’s best creations … the ‘invisible’ sliding mechanism.

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