Stefan Morikawa, LLC brought this project to us. His client needed a relatively simple way to close off a closet area, and had settled on the barn door concept. We had a collection of reclaimed wood options to show her–antique white oak, American chestnut, ash, poplar, and hemlock. When she saw the hemlock, she fell in love!
This is one of the things we love the most: when a necessary, even desired, architectural element becomes a love affair with a storied material, rich in personal meaning, a living passion. The hemlock is slowly dying from a blight that, if unchecked, will send it the way of the American chestnut. It turned out that this long-lived tree (I’ve seen 1,500 year old hemlocks flanking a church doorway in England) is her favorite conifer. So it seemed only right to memorialize this ancient tree with something she will see and touch and love every day. It helped that our vintage reclaimed boards were especially lovely samples of the species.
We had a variety of boards ranging from monster 14″ wide boards to narrow 3″ boards. We offered to make the vertical boards equal width, but she said, “No! Don’t cut anything!” The wood was too beautiful, too special. That makes us smile too. When the love of a thing allows it to be imperfect and irregular, it is its own kind of beauty.
Stefan handled the installation. This included the matching ledger board we provided, and the track hardware the client purchased (Real Door sliding barn door hardware – we highly recommend this high quality hardware). We provided additional wood for building a light-footprint closet interior for the area behind the door, which Stefan installed as well (photos not available).