Moss Doors in Detail: Pocket Doors And Sliding Barn Doors


Although it’s often relegated to the land of design afterthoughts, we integrate door design into our plans for the beginning. The plain old hinge door is a lovely choice for a many a space, but move beyond that and the choices become more exciting, transformative and practical for a variety of spaces and functions. Pocket doors slide out of the wall frame, and then back in: out of sight, out of mind. Barn Doors do almost the opposite: with their big, bold hardware and lift-off from the wall surface, they can easily become the focal point of a room no matter if they are open, closed, or semi-ajar. 

Although the white and glass pocket door may pop into mind at first, the pocket door is more of the Victorian-era, where it made a serious resurgence circa now. It was also widely found in old Craftsmen homes, which had their origins in India. A pocket door is perfect for those high traffic zones in a house or multi-room office; instead of propping open interior doors between the kitchen and living room, for example, a pocket door is tucked neatly out of the way until it’s called upon again. Multi-purpose rooms in an apartment where the TV room now needs to turn into a place to make conference calls? Slide in the pocket door and keep the kitchen a collaborative zone. For parents with small children, a pocket door can signify work time or nap time, without cluttering up the home with needless doors that all demand turning radii. It’s one of those small things with a big visual impact, that can make a home feel modern, fresh, and easy on the eye in a snap.

Taking their cue from barns of course, these doors are a great way to fit wide interior archways with a touch of privacy without installing gigantic doors that need to open out into the sofa. In commercial spaces, they help keep design on theme, adding vintage and farmhouse charm, while providing convenience for diners and waitstaff as they move about the space.


A sliding barn door in a vintage wood finish can add warmth, dimension and personality to a living room. It can also add versatility, easily creating partitions during entertaining or an afternoon sick-day movie. But our favorite application for barn doors is in commercial spaces that evoke a sense of time and place, such as at Appellation, sister outfit of Bar Pastoral. Here we employed solid wood sliding barn doors to reveal the dining area, where they add both intimacy and scope to the diners experience.

To contain this fantastic wine and cheese market and restaurant in one space that evoked old-world european markets, we installed sliding barn doors that allowed for the separation of the spaces during private events, while allowing light to illuminate the entire space the rest of the time. The barn doors were also a great strategy for design continuity; we had designed Bar Pastoral a couple years prior, and wanted to subtly link the restaurants in aesthetics, while still giving each their own character. Some things, like the stunning retail wine racks, made this process easy, but connecting the spaces with similar material choices accomplished this as well. To read more about the Appellation design process, our completed project post tells all.  

An elevation sketch below demonstrates the plotting of the sliding barn doors.

Is this one heck of a specific reason for loving a pocket door? Of course. But hear us out. As often the smallest room in the house, the bathroom sometimes requires the deftest of designer prowess to cram all those bulky appliances into a small footprint. It’s one of the reasons even finished bathrooms can lead to those “design FAIL” moments when the door won’t open fully due to colliding with the toilet, or someone has to contort into an awkward position to use the vanity. A pocket door eliminates the need for a spot to place that cursed door in precious little space. It slides into its little pocket when open, and slides back out when closed. Neat, simple, and problem-solving—music to an architect’s ears. We employed a translucent pocket door in the master bathroom of our light-filled West Loop Loft to leave maximum floor space for the good stuff: a luxurious soaking tub and curbless shower stall.

A pocket door isn’t perfect in every situation of course, that’s why there are so many door options. One thing’s for sure, it’s a great choice for closets. Pocket door installation tends to run into trouble when it crosses paths with electrical wiring or plumbing running through the desired walls (you wouldn’t want the door bumping those delicate pipes, would you?), but, dark and gloomy as they usually are, closets generally have no such obstacles. Being able to see the contents of your closet or kitchen pantry when you want to, and silo it away when you don’t, all without having a door propped open awkwardly is a wonderful design touch for any bedroom or office.


We consider the following extra carefully when incorporating pocket doors or barn doors into a new home or renovation.
Pocket Doors: Very old properties with uneven flooring or sloping ceilings. For all their vintage charm in a sea of cookie-cutter lookalikes, the very-old-vintage-victorian house might not agree with the pocket door. As the floor slumps more with time, the track may get thrown off, resulting in a pocket door jam.
Sliding Barn Doors: Wall integrity and space concerns. Sliding barn doors may not require space to be propped open, but when slid open, they will occupy a large swath of wall. That might mean no artwork, no end table, or no wall sconce. Additionally, these doors require some serious structural integrity and invasive drilling, so it’s best to feel committed to making them the star of the show for years to come.
Sliding Barn Doors: Privacy and sound proofing. For all their charm, these doors don’t create a seal when closed, nor are they fabulous at keeping out drafts.

We love these styles of door to customize a space for the perfect fit, whether its safeguarding limited square feet, or adding rustic charm and versatility—or both. Watch our blog for more uses of pocket doors and sliding barn doors!