I have watched the options for glass and mirrors come a long way over the last 15 years, with the exception of one specific product- Mirror Closet Doors. In the glass business I have multiple suppliers I turn to for the various glass options. One supplier might offer the best selection of antique mirror, while I have to turn to another supplier for glass table tops or decorative glass to get the best options and pricing. The one product that I struggled with was mirror closet doors. Not one of my suppliers offered something different, and something different was desperately needed.
If you have closet doors in your home that are mirrored, chances are, you know what I am talking about. They are full mirror panels that are either framed or frameless, sliding or bifold, all made with the same flimsy feeling aluminum frame! I hate to use the word ‘cheap’, because if you have ever purchased them, they are actually quite pricey. I will admit to having these unimpressive closet doors in my own home. They came with the house when it was built and I have never liked the way they looked or operated. Over the years I became very accustomed to using those doors as a dressing mirror. I knew a solid wood or MDF door would not work for me!
When I recently opened The Glass Shoppe, which serves as a showroom to Builders Glass of Bonita (our parent company), I knew I had to find a better option. I wanted the showroom to have all the latest options available in mirror and glass. From frameless shower enclosures to vanity mirrors and mirrored walls, I installed the latest looks and most modern options. I made sure my showroom had everything possible from antique mirror, hidden television mirror, all the way to a custom cut glass counter top. Three months went by and I still didn’t have a mirror closest door on display!
Over the last few months I have been designing and experimenting with a few different looks. It took some trial and error, but at the end of the day, I knew my mirror closet door dilemma had to start with a wood door. I made a bold announcement to my staff one day. It went something like this- “I don’t ever want to sell, or install, another flimsy, cheap, aluminum mirror closet door. Ever again.” I informed everyone that all mirror closet doors would have to start with a wood door.
My next step was to experiment with a few different options. I started with some beautiful solid wood doors that had raised paneling. I knew we couldn’t simply add mirror to the doors because the panels were raised and it wouldn’t look right. We now have a full-time carpenter on staff and I asked him if he could cut the paneling out to allow me to install the glass or mirror. He got right to work and they came out perfect! He installed the doors in my showroom, at the back, to separate the workshop from the front. When it was time to put the mirror in, I decided to use the doors as a place to showcase some of the different types of glass that could be used in a door.
When my sister purchased a new home, I knew she would be the perfect guinea pig for trying out this new option in mirror closet doors. She desperately needed new closet doors. She happened to have the aluminum framed mirror bifold doors that had a (gasp), gold frame. Much like the doors in the photo above. It was an easy sell! We made a trip to Lowe’s where she picked out some nice solid wood shaker style doors. A shaker style door is the perfect option to simply add mirror to. The doors came primed, but she enhanced them with black paint. Once the doors were painted and installed we measured the opening where the mirror would be inserted. I thought a beveled mirror would look even nicer with the beautiful black door and she agreed. Seeing the final installation in person, it was clear that a beveled mirror was the right choice! The bevel is hard to capture on camera, but it adds such a richness to these black closet doors. The final touch was adding the 4 decorative knobs.
The beveled mirrors were installed using mirror, or glaziers, tape. This stuff is strong! Once that mirror is stuck it will take a suction cup to remove the mirror.
These mirrored closet doors are functional and add to the design.
I recently had a similar design dilemma in my own home that I recently purchased. The kitchen has a small pantry with wood bifold doors. They were functional in the sense that they were bifold and allowed me to fully access the pantry, but were not functional in the sense that the doors were always in the open position, allowing my cluttered pantry goods to be exposed. The bifold doors were constantly breaking or wouldn’t close properly. After trying to replace the pins for the 2nd time, I decided it was time to replace these doors that were driving me crazy on a daily basis.
I was so excited when I discovered two vintage wood doors I had bought at an Architectural Salvage Yard that fit in the opening perfectly. That never happens! I wanted to keep with the vintage look of the doors, so I painted and distressed them with my favorite paint – chalk paint. I used a combination of Cece Caldwell and Annie Sloan chalk paint in a custom mixed color. I added 2 mirrors to each door in the recessed panels. I opted for a bypass track installation to maximize the space in front of the doors. I again hit the jackpot with some vintage hardware I had in my stash. The knobs that were on the doors originally wouldn’t allow the doors to bypass fully. This nearly flush hardware added to the aesthetics and provided the functionality I was looking for. These doors slide like a dream, thanks to the quality sliding track system used.