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Old 06-05-2012, 09:29 PM
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Default Japanese-style pantry folding doors

As you come in the front door of our house, you enter into the dining room. On your left is a wall punctuated by a closet door, and a wide set of 4 folding doors that cover our pantry:



I've always hated the pantry doors. They're bland, cardboardy, and make an awful rattle when they move. They came with the house - they're cheap and ugly. So I took it upon myself to design and build some replacements.

I wanted something with a Japanese flavor to complement the other furniture and aesthetics in the house (including the giant photo of koi that hangs on the wall perpendicular to this wall):



I started designing the doors about a year ago. I thought I'd walk you through the evolution of my design, and see what you think. I'll start another thread to show you what I ended up building.

Initially I thought I'd do something simple. I was pretty set on doing a shoji-type panel up top with some lattice work (kumiko), and a wood panel below. Here is my first iteration (done in Sketchup):


I was envisioning that the horizontal bars would be 3/4". But the more I looked at it, the more boring I found it. The horizontal bars really dominated, and I was worried that it wouldn't be strong enough structurally with the main horizontal element so low down.

So here's my second iteration:


This one has fewer horizontal bars, and a larger panel. Still didn't like it. The width of the horizontal rails was too dominant.

Here's the third version:


Here I tried making it a bit more delicate, with more shoji and less panel. But I worried that there wasn't enough strength horizontally to stop the 79" tall doors from racking.

So here's try number 4:


This one has a thicker middle rail. But I thought it looked too weak. So I came up with this one:


But I wasn't happy with the balance of the wood and panels.

I put the project aside for a while so that I could stew on it. Some time late last year I suddenly had a brainstorm: I didn't have to make the lattice work all horizontal! I could play with it a bit, as long as it wasn't important structurally.

This new-found freedom led me to this design (number 6):


This was getting closer. The kumiko now had a nice balance of open space, squares, and rectangles. Lots of golden rectangles, leading to a pleasing proportion of space and bars. But I didn't like the overall balance of the kumiko - it was too top heavy somehow.

This was my next iteration. From here on I'm merely swapping small elements to try to achieve a better top-to-bottom and side-to-side balance. This is number 7:


Still not quite right. For some reason I felt tension from the top to the bottom, particularly along the outside edges. So then I came up with number 8:


Ah - this was more like it. A nice balance across all the doors, with a peaceful sort-of feel to them.

I tried one more design, just to see (number 9):


This one was also nice.

How to choose? I printed out versions 6-9, and showed them to people, including John Economaki. Everybody I showed them to chose the same one.

Which do you like? Why?
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Last edited by Poto; 06-05-2012 at 09:33 PM.
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Old 06-05-2012, 11:50 PM
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Default Re: Japanese-style pantry folding doors

No. 7. Dunno why, just do. Wait, maybe No. ?, No it's #7.
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Old 06-06-2012, 12:21 AM
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Default Re: Japanese-style pantry folding doors






That was a great breakthrough to pierce the grid.
Should be fun to build too.
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Old 06-06-2012, 12:47 AM
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Default Re: Japanese-style pantry folding doors

Interesting. No. 7 has maximum symmetry, while No. 9 is quite symmetric, particularly top-to-bottom.

Any more opinions?

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Old 06-06-2012, 12:53 AM
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Default Re: Japanese-style pantry folding doors

#7 for me is the most pleasing to the eye. It has a friendly flow. #8 is more confusing in flow and feels quite aggressive. #9 I think it good also, but #7 is smiling more
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Old 06-06-2012, 01:05 AM
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Default Re: Japanese-style pantry folding doors

I actually like #6.
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Old 06-06-2012, 02:47 AM
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Default Re: Japanese-style pantry folding doors

I picked #6 for first, #9 second. Fibonaccied.
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Old 06-06-2012, 02:57 AM
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Default Re: Japanese-style pantry folding doors

I like the white ones!

Okay if I have to vote, I'll take 7.
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Old 06-06-2012, 03:06 AM
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Default Re: Japanese-style pantry folding doors

Thanks for the input, guys! Very interesting.

By the way, in case I didn't mention it, I'm not going to take any of your advice: I've already made and installed the doors. But I am very interested in your opinions and justifications. I'd also be interested in modifications of the general design that you might have. I can send you the Sketchup file if you like. Let me know.

I'm also looking for ideas for replacing that closet door to the left of the folding doors.

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Old 06-06-2012, 03:20 AM
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Default Re: Japanese-style pantry folding doors

I thought I'd try to make it easier to compare the doors, so I made up a composite figure of the four candidates together:



Keep those opinions coming!
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