Sunday, November 25, 2012

Build LLC in Seattle

This is just a little shout out of love for one of my new favorite architectural blogs.


Build LLC is a design/build firm in Seattle that does a great job restoring and building MCM homes or at least homes with a Modern flair.

Their website is a nice showcase of their work, and their blog is a FANTASTIC resource for those of us doing things that are a little beyond simply buying materials at Lowe’s and putting them up in a typical fashion.

I stumbled across the blog looking for information on edge treatment for drywall (L Bead, J Bead, reveals, etc.) and was amazed by the amount of “secrets” that Build LLC had made available on their site. [that specific post is here]

Another post I read regarding drywall was giving tips on how to make sure minor mistakes in the framing, construction, etc. don’t show through to the finished wall.  That’s some valuable and extremely helpful information (not something construction people are often apt to share!).

Kudos for not being so guarded with this fantastic information and for helping people like me figure out how to create beautiful work in a not-so-typical fashion!

Sliding Doors (Barn Door Hardware for Trolley/Rail Mount Door)

On the journey to our MCM Atomic Ranch home, we restored and lived in two other homes.  The first was an Ohio farm house (1917) that we restored/reinvented to something more “modern,” but definitely on the contemporary side of things, before I became a fan of more “purist” MCM ideals.  The second home was a beautiful little American Foursquare (1911).  In each of those locations, I built a sliding door and used simple galvanized steel barn door hardware for the sliding rail/track.

The room is obviously in progress, but you can see the door style on the left (click to enlarge photo).
In the first home, I custom built a giant door for the bathroom that was clad in steel sheeting to look like an old freezer door.  On the second home, the installation was for an exterior courtyard “gate” application.

I am currently building an attached shed on the back of my studio, and when I visited Lowe’s and Home Depot to pick up the barn door hardware I needed for a large (barn door sized) pocket door, I was surprised to find that they don’t carry barn door hardware!  How can Lowe’s/HD in COLORADO (land of horse and barn) not have sliding barn door hardware?!

I had quite a bit of trouble locating a local store that carries what I need, and it was also fairly difficult to find anything online at a reasonable price.  The typical Stanley rails I’ve used before are not even available at Grainger (my source for “to the trade” hard to find hardware type stuff), and the ones they DO have start at $110 (with local pickup) and go up from there. WTF?!

The cheapest thing I finally found was at It’s $18.36 for an 8 foot rail or $13.76 for a 6 foot rail (each is rated at 450 pounds).  I was nervous about the shipping cost of an 8 foot piece of steel, but the shipping was only $25 (the site said it would only be $15, but they charge a $10 shipping surcharge on the item –beware of this when ordering from other sites, some say “additional shipping may be charged, we will contact you if this is the case” –so you make your purchase and they call you to tell you it will actually cost more to ship!!!).  So that’s $44 total for the rail delivered (a far cry from Grainger’s starting price of $110).  In comparison, the rail is $30 at Sears (but only online, so $15 more for tax and shipping), and can be found for around $40 on Amazon (with a shipping price of anywhere from $11 to $125 (!!!), depending upon the vendor).  I can’t decide if I’ll be going with a more “known” vendor like Sears or Amazon (hopefully this could mitigate taking care of any issues that might arise) verses ordering from, which I’ve never heard of or used before.

The link below illustrates the kind of thing I had been running up against prior to finding the options above.

$341 for barn door hardware ($629 for the stainless)?! Obviously they are preying upon those who were not raised on a farm and think they must pay a premium for something “quaint” (I understand a higher price for the stainless stuff, but still…). The Real Sliding Hardware site IS a great place to see different installations of this kind of setup, and they also have some cool stuff that is a little more custom looking/functioning than simple barn door box rail.

To complete the project, I lucked out and found a box with all of the rest of the hardware (the hanging trolley wheels, rail hanging brackets, guide rail/wheels, etc.) at my local Habitat for Humanity ReStore for $15 (it’ll run you anywhere from $85-$125 for all the extra stuff new, or $35 for a two-pack of just the trolley wheels).