Shoji Screen Sliding Doors – Getting the Look Without Using Glass

Last week I posted about our dining room transformation after we removed a wall. If anyone were to ask me what the biggest impact was in renovating the space, I’d have to say the sliding doors that hubs and a friend built. Once we knocked the wall down, I wanted the option to close it off occasionally but still let the light through. It was the perfect opportunity for me to design something spectacular!

As you may have seen in our previous post, hubs mocked up my design in cardboard to make sure the scale would work first before he even purchased the wood. I’m so glad he did that because I could see that I wanted the wood on the bottom of the door to come much higher than the mockup, so we were able to make the adjustment and not waste a thing!


Hubs installed the sliding door mechanism, but before he did, he added a piece of plywood so we could add a valance to it later.


Then he installed the doors on the track by following the manufacturers directions. We used KN Crowder hardware.  It’s not cheap, but we also used their pocket door hardware in my craft room because we think it’s the best on the market and believe that you really do get what you pay for  (and no, we don’t get paid to say that)!

We didn’t want heavy frosted glass in the doors so hubs came up with a brilliant idea to get the same effect! Want to know the secret? Laminated rice paper! It looks beautiful and can still be cleaned if necessary. If you want a true shoji look though, make sure that the laminate you use is low sheen. The laminating shop we took it to actually used high sheen on one side and hubs didn’t notice it until after he installed it. We don’t like the shiny side (too much reflective glare), but we never took it back to fix it so I’m passing this tip along to you so you don’t make the same mistake we did.


Since we took the wall opening right up to the ceiling and I didn’t want to see the track hardware, we created a valance to cover it in matching wood. Before we added the valance, I decided to stain the edge of the plywood it would be mounted to so the lighter colour wouldn’t catch my eye if I ever looked up into the gap. I can’t say I ever look at that gap, but maybe that’s because there’s nothing to notice! Anyway, the best time to do something is BEFORE it’s all finished, so I went ahead and put in the extra effort.


To attach the valance itself, we stapled on some heavy duty velcro so we could simply velcro it into place. That way, if we ever have to get to the mechanism, we can still easily access it by detaching and lifting away the valance.


It took two of us to lift the valance up and attach it; here it is all finished off:


On the other side of the door, we attached a smaller piece of valance in the same manner just to bridge the space between the door opening.


As you saw in the dining room reveal, we repainted and redecorated. Here’s the finished look:


I think the doors really do make the space, don’t you? If you enjoyed this post, please pin and share. Follow us either on Bloglovin’ or right here at Birdz of Feather and you’ll get an e-mail whenever we post.

If you missed our DIY on how we knocked the wall down in the dining room, click here for a link to that post.


For more reno DIYs, check out our tutorial on how to tile a backsplash….


….how to replace a bathroom fan or…

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maximize space in a bathroom renovation:

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And don’t forget that I’ve just started a new craft blog called Birdz of a Feather Craft. You can check out by clicking here.  I have an incredible indoor water feature tutorial coming up soon, so follow me there too!

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Removing an Interior Wall – Dining Room Transformation

This post is dedicated to my sister who’s thinking of opening up a wall in her home. Even though I love her house just the way it is, if she’s determined to do it she might as well know what she’s getting herself into, right?

For us, removing an interior wall was the best investment in time and effort we’ve ever undertaken. Because our house faces north and there are no windows in the front of the house, our dining room was dark and uninviting. Opening up the shared wall to our family room let in a flood of southern light and has changed the whole flow, look and feel of our main level.

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However, it’s not as easy as just knocking through to the other side. There are things to consider such as whether the wall is load bearing, how to transition the flooring where the wall is removed and whether there are there any utilities such as plumbing or electricity in the wall cavity that may have to be moved. Most importantly, if you don’t know whether a wall is load bearing or not, call in a professional. Don’t be tempted to mess around with a wall that could potentially be holding up your second story! Bryan Baeumler has some good insight on load bearing walls in this video clip:

As hubs used to build custom homes, he knew our wall wasn’t load bearing so we went ahead with opening it up. Once we determined the size of our opening, hubs cut some exploratory holes into the bottom of the drywall to see what obstructions we would need to deal with. We only found an electrical outlet on the other side of the wall. Whenever you’re cutting into drywall, ALWAYS TURN THE ELECTRICITY OFF AS A PRECAUTION!  I learned that the hard way on my very first house reno when I was shocked by a loose wire.

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If you’re able to, it helps to open up to the studs on either side of the opening so you won’t have to add additional studs to finish it off.

Before you start, don’t forget to don a mask, safety goggles and gloves. This is messy, dusty work so don’t overlook these safety precautions:) Speaking of dusty, cover up any furniture pieces you’re not able to move to another room. Have a wet/dry vac on hand to vacuum up any debris as you go to keep the work site as clean as possible (or you’ll just trek the dust through the rest of the house).

First remove the baseboard on either side of the wall (you’ll be using it again to trim out once you’re done). Hubs used a stud finder to determine where the studs were. It’s helpful to mark the opening with  painters tape so you can clearly see where you’re cutting, but we used pencil to draw out the opening on the wall.

We decided to remove our drywall right up to the ceiling so hubs scored and cut along the lines with a utility knife. If you have crown moulding that you want to keep, as in my sister’s case, you’ll want to match the height of your opening to other doorways in your home. In that case, remove the drywall up to the height of the doorway, then cut the studs with a reciprocating saw and leave them hanging from the ceiling so you can add in a header. If your crown is plaster, be careful as you nail in the header or the force of hammering may crack it. The video at this link gives some good general tips for framing out an opening in a non-load bearing wall and framing out for a pass-through.

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We worked on one side of the wall at a time and used brute force to break off the drywall in sections (it’s actually not very hard once the perimeter is cut). We pulled the drywall off the studs as we went.

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Once the first side was done, hubs drilled through the corners to the other side so we could accurately transfer our cutting lines. He cut through the drywall on the other side with the utility knife as he did before. I couldn’t wait to kick through the lower parts of the wall, which was way more fun than just pulling it off! There’s a reason that demo day is a favourite among many HGTV personalities!

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Once the drywall is removed, you can start pulling out the studs within the opening.

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You can cut the nails with a reciprocating saw first along the top and bottom plates or just hammer the studs outwards until the bottom is released and then pull out the upper part.

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Once the studs are removed, you can cut the bottom plate through to the floor and the top plate against the ceiling and remove those too if you are taking the opening full height. As you’ll see later we were going to be installing sliding doors (designed by me and built by hubs and a friend).

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I’ve had the crow bar shown below since I renovated my first house and it’s an absolute must for any renovation (I can almost hear my sister asking me to borrow it now!) It will help pull the bottom plate away from the floor.

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Hubs took care of mudding and sanding the opening. You can now re-cut the baseboard you removed to size and re-use it (in our case, we took the opportunity to replace our baseboards on the entire main level).

We painted our previously red walls with a colour called ‘muslin’ from Benjamin Moore; it’s a lot easier on the eyes! Hubs then mocked up my vision for our sliding doors in cardboard so we could visualize how it would look. You’ll see more about those in our next post!


We replaced the carpeting with hardwood floors, installed the sliding doors and, as you’ll see in the final reveal, we also replaced our light fixture.

Here’s how our dining room looked before we took down the wall…

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And here’s how it looks now.

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The light just floods in from the back of the house and illuminates the space. It’s fresh and modern; it even looks bigger. We couldn’t be happier with the result!

Next up, I’ll be posting some tips on how we did the shoji screen sliding doors. In the meantime, if you’re interested in other DIY reno’s, check out our laundry room tiled backsplash:


And how to make the most of your staircase and landing:


If you enjoyed this post, please pin and share. Follow us either on Bloglovin’ or right here at Birdz of Feather and you’ll get an e-mail whenever we post.

In case you haven’t heard, I’ve just started a new craft blog. Click on this link which will take you to my new site where you can find craft projects such as the blue jean planter and dog bone basket shown below. Some people think these blue jean planters are creepy; others think they’re fun, but we can all agree that they’re definitely unique 🙂


This dog bone basket is the perfect gift for any dog lover in your life – or make it for yourself to corral all your dog toys!


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Organizing a Craft Room

Today marks the launch of my new craft site Birdz of a Feather ~ Craft Rehab! I’ll still post our home reno projects at this site (Birdz of a Feather Home) but if you’re interested in crafts, be sure to follow me there too! Follow this link and click on the follow button if you’d like to get an email whenever I post a craft tutorial. Craft Rehab is about more than just my addiction to crafts: it aims to put sustainable crafting on the map with creative, fun and easy to accomplish projects that pack a wow factor so check it out!

Since finishing off my craft studio at the end of last year, I’m spending more time on craft projects. To kick off my new focus for 2017, (and celebrate my new craft studio) I thought I would dedicate this first post to craft room organization.

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Hubs built an entire wall of storage cabinets for me using Ikea Pax units. Although they’re meant to be used in the bedroom as a wardrobe, the interior options are ideal for a craft studio. I’ve used the interior organizers to full advantage. Here, we’ve installed a pull-out shelf to store one of my sewing machines:

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I put a few felt dividers into one of the drawers to corral small items such as my pressing hams:

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There’s a ton of room to store both my hanging and tissue patterns, my glass grinder, my tools and even my thread (although I changed my mind about the tread as you’ll see further on).

The clear glass drawer fronts allow me to see everything I have in an instant!


There’s a flat storage space for my self-healing cutting mats and all of my tools are stored on pull out shelves so they are readily accessible. It’s impossible to loose anything when you can simply pull out a drawer to see what you have! The only trick to keeping it organized is making sure to return everything back to where I got it; so far it’s worked like a charm.


I even have a few pullouts to store some closed storage bins:

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Instead of hiding my cone threads and yarns in the cabinet, I decided to relocate them to display them in all their glorious colour. The vintage glass oak display cabinet keeps the dust off everything.

The 6-drawer card catalogue resting on top of the cabinet adds additional closed storage. I organized things like tape and fasteners in the drawers.

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To organize my collection of vintage irons and other cast iron objects, I’ve displayed them on an Ikea Lack shelf. I love being reminded of how far technology has come in the last century.

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I couldn’t believe it when we found the shabby chic highboy shown below on the side of the road. It was missing its drawers, but it turned out to be perfect to tuck away larger project components so I can clear my work table when I have things in progress and need to move on to another step. It’s so easy to store and grab things from the open shelf space.

My grandmother bought me the industrial pattern table to christen my first studio. Hubs added a shelf onto the bottom of it so I could store some closed bins that are holding my fabrics. My grandmother (and Mom) taught me most of what I know about crafting and I always think of her when I’m looking for some inspiration for my next project!


My favourite piece (if I had to pick just one) is the kitchen drawer units we repurposed from our kitchen renovation. We faced the front of each drawer with MDF to get a clean slate. I blew up a picture of a VW beetle that hubs restored and attached it to the MDF for a unique storage piece.

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There are six large and deep storage drawers as well as a vertical pullout (similar to the pull-out cabinet we built for our new kitchen). I store most of my finished projects in the drawers that are still waiting for their final place in our home (or someone else’s home!).

In one half of the pull-out cabinet I’m storing mostly liquid items such as paint, caulk and glue. The shelves are adjustable so that my storage options are totally flexible and I can switch things around whenever I want to:


On the other side of the divide, we installed a perforated metal backer. I can hang some items on the metal,  either peg-board style or by magnets. I haven’t organized this spot yet, but will likely store my rulers here.


My work area will one day hold a laptop or desktop computer so I can design and execute in the same space.

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For now, it’s the perfect work surface to shoot my how-to videos, such as this Duct Tape Pop-art portrait of Elvis Presley that gets constructed before your very eyes:

While you’re watching, subscribe to my Youtube Channel. Once I have 50 subscribers, I’ll be posting the full tutorial on Craft Rehab, so subscribe to my channel if you’d like to see it!


Above the floating desk, we installed additional wall cabinets to maximize storage space.


I’ve got inspirational magazines stored in one of the cabinets, as shown below, and a collection of craft books in the other units:


I’ve organized all my smaller items in a vintage card catalogue. Everything is labeled alphabetically so I can easily find it:


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Lastly, here’s a little project that we completed just outside my studio doors. Click here to see how we built the floating shelf.


Now that everything is coming together organization-wise, I can fully concentrate on the fun aspects of my new craft studio: creating and making things!

Here is a sneak peak of my very first craft project in 2017 where I showed you how to make your very own blue jean planter. Isn’t it adorable? Click the link to see the full tutorial and video!


Here are a few more things you’ll find on my craft site: a floating tap water feature made from an upcycled paint can, a paint stick pallet wall hanger and an industrial remote control caddy I made for my husband’s new mancave (the mancave will be revealed right here very soon, so follow me here too if you haven’t already).


Don’t forget to follow me on my new site, Birdz of a Feather ~ Craft Rehab if you want full tutorials when they’re hot off the press!

If you enjoyed this post, please pin and share. If home and garden makeovers are your areas of interest, check out a full listing of the projects we’ve done right here on our home page.  If you follow us either on Bloglovin’ (link below) or here at Birdz of Feather (link in footer), you’ll get an e-mail whenever we post a new home or garden project.

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Reupholster an Office Chair

Happy New Year everyone! For my first post of 2017 I have a tutorial to show you how to reupholster an office chair. You may have seen the embarrassing state of my office – which I finally got organized. My office chair was no better shape and when the tear in the seat looked like it was trying to run right out of the office, I knew it was time for a makeover. I relocated it to my craft studio to give it the Cinderella treatment.


I’ve never reupholstered an office chair before so this was uncharted territory for me. There’s nothing more fun than a challenge and learning a new skill! I was interested to learn just how it had been professionally done at the factory so I could try to duplicate it the best I could.

For this project, you will need:

  • sewing machine,
  • serger,
  • airgun with staples (both light and heavy weight),
  • pin nailer with 1″ pins,
  • staple puller,
  • eye protection and heavy gloves (to wear while stapling or nailing),
  • upholstery weight fabric (find something heavy that will be durable),
  • needle nose pliers
  • thread, and
  • some cord.

I also used some brown packaging paper to make a pattern for the backrest and panel. You could use a regular staple gun but I find it too difficult to squeeze; having a compressor with a pneumatic stapler is a real hand-saver!

I broke the project down into 3 stages: the seat, the back panel and the backrest.

First, I turned the chair onto its side to explore how it all comes apart. Looking at all the levers was a bit daunting, but I noticed 4 large screws in the centre and removed them.

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I thought the arms of the chair had to come off too, but it wasn’t necessary at this stage. I removed one and left the other one on so I could prop it up to get some leverage (and a better picture) once it was in my work table.

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Interestingly, there weren’t too many staples holding the fabric on around the perimeter of the seat. All the work in gathering up the fabric was done by a black grosgrain ribbon tape with cord running through it.

I decided I wanted to reuse the ribbon again; you have to be careful not to let the cord slip out of the slots as you remove the staples.

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I removed all the staples using my upholstery staple puller; tie a knot at the ends of each cord before you remove the staples holding the cord. This will prevent the cord from accidentally slipping out – trust me on this, you don’t want it to unravel or you will have to feed it back through the teeny tiny slots in the ribbon and that won’t be fun!

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Luckily the manufacturer left enough of the cord to work with before cutting it or I would have had to replace it. I did a quick Google search and couldn’t find anything comparable online so I don’t have the faintest clue what it’s called or where I might be able to buy it again (if anyone knows, please leave me a comment)!


To save the ribbon, I had to use a seam ripper to cut through both straight stitching and serger thread holding it to the fabric. It was a bit time consuming so I just cranked up the music and chilled while I was at it. To break up the monotony, I would leave it every once in a while and then come back to it. When it was finally released from the fabric, I pick out all of the loose threads from both the ribbon and fabric and set the ribbon aside.

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Now it’s time to cut new fabric; I used the old fabric as my pattern. If you have a directional pattern as I did (shells), ensure that all your pattern pieces are placed on the fabric in the same direction. I wanted the fat end of the shells pointing downward (as you’ll see later in the finished chair).

I folded the new fabric right side in, put the old fabric on top of it and pinned around the perimeter (my antique irons helped hold it down).

As I only discovered after I cut the fabric, the old fabric had stretched out of shape so it was now bigger than the length of the ribbon; I had to adjust and re-cut the fabric so the perimeter was the same size as ribbon. This part was a bit of trial and error.


After the fabric is cut, make sure to iron out all the creases – otherwise they’ll always be there in your finished chair. Don’t get lazy and skip this step!


Pin the cord around the perimeter and sew it on. Because I re-used the ribbon and it had already been gathered onto the seat cushion, you will have to straighten the area you are sewing so there are no gathers, then push the gathered section ahead into the area you just sewed so the next section is smooth. It sounds confusing but it will make sense once you get to this stage.


Once the ribbon is stitched, I also serged around the edges. Again you’ll need to move the gathers around so you’re stitching on ungathered fabric as you serge. Once that’s done, you can pop the new cover onto the seat cushion.chair-makeover-028_bof

You’ll need to pull it tight as you go to get it evenly distributed.


Put on some eye goggles and gloves. Where the cords cross over, add staples in a zigzag fashion as shown below to hold them in place. I forgot to get a shot using the actual fabric (this is a before shot).

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I used a pneumatic staple gun with my air compressor to place staples around the perimeter. You’ll notice that I finally removed the other arm so I could maneuver the fabric around. I found it hard in some places to stretch the fabric over the sides so do your best to get it evenly distributed.


Turn it over and admire your work!


Now on to the back panel and backrest of the chair. I wasn’t sure how to take it apart but I noticed a seam running all the way around, so I inserted my staple puller and gave it a little tug around the edges. To my delight – and relief – it popped right off.


Here’s what the back panel looked like on the inside and outside.



The panel had been held together by small head pin nails. They were shot right through the fabric of the panel into the backrest and because the heads were small, they sunk right through the fabric; brilliant!



I made note of how close to the edge the pin nails were placed so I could reverse engineer it again when I was putting it back together. I also noticed that this time, there was no ribbon with cord gathering up the slack. Instead the manufacturer just simply serged around the edge of the fabric and inserted a cord right along the serger thread! Again, I decided to do the same thing.


Remove all the pin nails with the needle nose pliers.


For the back panel, I didn’t bother to remove the fabric so I made a paper pattern instead. Roll out some brown paper and place the panel on top. Mark the top and bottom, then roll the panel to the right side as you trace the outline. Roll to the left side and trace the other side.


Measure with a ruler to see now much allowance you’ll need to add onto the pattern for the edges.


Add the seam allowance onto the pattern . I add 1 3/8″ around the perimeter.


Cut the pattern out.chair-makeover-061_bof

Before you pin and cut the fabric, make note of the direction you want the fabric to run. If you have a pattern or nap you’ll want everything running in the same direction. I put an arrow on the paper pattern – but forgot to photograph it.


Once the fabric is cut, serge around the edges and then feed a cord through the serger threads using a blunt needle (I used some rayon knitting yarn I had left over from another project).


Start the cord at the centre of the bottom and make sure you crisscross the yarn once you’re back to the beginning so the two threads overlap – it’s easier to pull them tight in the opposite direction when they’re crossed over.

Lay the panel onto the wrong side of the fabric and gather up the fabric by pulling the cords until it’s neat and tight around the panel.chair-makeover-073_bof

I used some lightweight, shallow staples to hold the fabric in four spots, plus another few to zigzag the cords as I did with the seat cushion to hold them in place. Here is the finished back panel. Note that the shells are running in the same direction as the seat cushion and I could have ironed it a bit better!


The last piece is the backrest. The backrest was held onto a metal brace with three screws; once the panel was removed the screws were exposed and could be unscrewed.


Again, I decided not to remove the fabric and make a new pattern instead, as I did with the back panel. Using the directions above, make a paper pattern and cut out the fabric (in the same direction as the other pieces).


Serge around the edges, insert the cord, put new fabric onto the chair backrest and gather up the fabric.chair-makeover-085_bofchair-makeover-086_bof

Flip it upside down and then staple around the perimeter in the same manner as the back panel. I used a heavier gauge staple for the backrest than I did on the panel because of the difference in the depth of the material and the amount of use it would get.


As an extra precaution, before I pinned the back panel back onto the backrest, I marked with some piece of green tape where the staples were (only if they were an inch from the edge – which is where I was going to pin). By knowing where the staples were, I could prevent some potential ricochet off the staples when I pinned on the back panel.



I also dry fit the back panel on and did the same thing with the green tape to mark potential hazards where there were staples.


At this point, I needed an extra set of hands and Hubs jumped right in to help. He held the back panel in place and squished it all together as I pinned 1″ in from the edge around the perimeter of the panel. It probably would have been a good idea for him to be wearing gloves just in case, but he was careful to keep his hands away from the target area and I moved the nail gun around. I should also mention that we were wearing eye protection – you can’t be too careful.


Remove the green tape and ease off any fabric that may have caught in the nail heads so you can’t see any puckers.


Here she is all done up in her new red dress.

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The chair looks so great with all the red accents in my studio that it’s going to be hard to put it back where she belongs in the office upstairs! I think I’m going to have to search out another second hand chair that’s the same model. This one was made in 1998 by the Global company and I was impressed with the construction (as you saw in the before picture, it has gotten a lot of use over the years!).

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If you enjoyed this tutorial, please pin on Pinterest and/or share on Facebook.

This is the second in a series of 3 chairs I’ve done for my new craft studio. The first one was this drafting chair:


I’ll have one more chair makeover coming in a future post so if you’re interested in seeing that, be sure to follow me here on Birdz of a Feather or on Bloglovin’!

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