Words by Blain Mikkonen and Phil Bruckbauer
Shop and portrait photos by M. Schleif Photography
Barn door photos provided by Grain Designs

One of the hottest design trends from the past couple of years has been the introduction of sliding barn doors into homes and offices. Sliding barn doors are commonly rustic in appearance and the designs are modeled after their agricultural predecessors. ‘Barn doors’ have commonly been used as the catch-all term for the functional and beautiful sliding doors. However, if rustic, agricultural-inspired sliding doors don’t tickle your fancy, don’t let the term ‘barn doors’ scare you away.

As with any design trend, it’s common for trends to come and go. We think the sliding barn door is here to stay, although the designs and aesthetics will continue to evolve. We understand this trend to be one of functionality, efficiency and even artistic beauty. So what is all the riot about?

What are the benefits of sliding barn doors?
Sliding doors save space by eliminating the room needed for door swings.
They create a focal point and can make a statement for a home or office.
Unique doors look great when they’re not in use, so they can be left open and not be in the way.
They provide a contrast of materials and create interest for a commonly boring and forgotten element of the home.
The greatest benefit is that a sliding door is so much more than just a door. It is functional art.


What are the most common rooms or areas for a sliding door?
Although we’ve installed sliding doors in many different residential and commercial applications, here are some of the most popular areas/rooms:
Formal Dining/Entry
Hall Closet
Laundry Room
Theatre Room
Master Closet
Master Bathroom
Commercial and Business Applications – sliding doors have also been very popular in area business for use in offices, exam rooms, break rooms, conference rooms, and even to make a statement in the reception area.

What is the most popular style of barn door?
The most popular style we produce is probably the Double Z which is one of the traditional barn door styles seen on agricultural buildings. However, we’ve had the opportunity to do some truly unique, modern, and even elegant sliding doors. Some of these doors that break the rustic, barn door mold have become some of Grain Designs favorites to design and build. These alternative door solutions stand out for their unique details, precision, clean designs and sometimes even the challenge of creating something new and different.


Modernizing the Barn Door
One solution to add a more modern feel to sliding doors is by adding brushed steel or aluminum accents. This can add that touch of contemporary style to the piece in a way that pops unlike more common raw steel or black hardware.


Lighter colored, fully planed woods also tend to offer a more contemporary look. In this example, the combination of brushed, metal hardware, light wood and a unique horizontal pattern result in a pair of ultra modern and multifunctional sliding doors.

Dark stained wood and horizontal, raw steel bands give these unique doors a more industrial feel. However, they still offer a clean look in contrast to a rustic door and create a focal point as pillars to this living room’s entertainment center.

In addition to different wood tones and accents, incorporating other materials or reclaimed elements is another great way to change the style of the door. These solutions incorporate corrugated metal; one yielding rustic results while the other is a healthy combination of contemporary and industrial.


Creating Multi-functional Barn Doors
Other considerations for your door may be to add more functional elements. We’ve built custom doors to include mirrors, windows, chalkboards, or even slat-style privacy doors that cover patio doors, yet still let light in. The options are really endless.

Exploring Craft and Inspiration

As designers and craftsman, we’re constantly in search of other businesses and individuals working on honing their craft. We find inspiration in learning about and exploring the craft of others. Here are a few social media accounts that are worth the follow.

Originally from South Dakota, Trent Preszler now lives in Long Island, New York. He crafts bespoke wooden canoes that are truly beautiful works of art. In addition to his highly crafted canoes, Preszler restored a ‘56 Ford truck, a brand icon, built with an attention-to-detail that exemplifies his passion for high-craft.

Thunder Coffee
Thunder Coffee is mobile coffee service that brews up quality coffee for your meeting, event or gathering. How does coffee relate to craft? Visit with Dex, Thunder’s coffee educator and head barista and you’ll begin to understand the attention-to-detail that goes into the making of a perfect cup of joe.

Hix Design
Quality craftsmanship is often better evaluated when touched, felt and experienced. As a customer of Hix I can attest to this fact. However, in the case of Hix Design’s leather goods, you’ll quickly notice from his Instagram photos that each piece is well designed and crafted with impeccable detail.

Contact the Team:
Mikkonen, Bruckbauer, and the Grain Designs team currently work out of a studio Southwest of Fargo. They are working on an exciting new retail concept, Grain Designs Furniture & Mercantile in South Fargo which will be open late this winter. In the meantime, they can be reached online at graindesigns.com.

Blain Mikkonen

Phil Bruckbauer