Sliding pocket doors help family make most of space in Grand Designs build

A house that was designed and built in the tradition of a Derbyshire longhouse to become home to three generations of a family has made maximum use of space and architectural flexibility using sliding pocket doors from Em-B Solutions. The stunning home in the Derbyshire hills featured on Grand Designs on Channel Four and was designed by Lomas and Mitchell Architects Mike and Sarah who wanted to join three generations of their family – parents, grandparents and children – in one unique property . 

Architect Jillian Mitchell chose three pocket doors throughout the property, each one offering a solution to a different challenge. 

Slide show

The first, to the ensuite bathroom in the independent annexe to the house, was chosen to save space in the bedroom that the swing of a conventional door would have taken up. The timber Em-B pocket door disappears into the wall allowing safe and efficient access to the bathroom without encroaching on the bedroom space. Sliding doors are a popular choice in independent living settings since they are often easier and more convenient for less able users to use. Gripping and pressing a lever handle while moving out of the path of a swinging hinged door can be difficult, especially if the user has crutches, a frame or a wheelchair for example. A sliding pocket door removes many of those obstacles and can help make a home more accessible and easier to use for everyone.

The second sliding door was chosen for its neat, aesthetic appeal, separating the kitchen from the adjacent scullery as the pocket door allows it to be tucked tidily away into a corner. Pocket sliding doors save room space compared to conventional swing doors: the most common reason why people consider pocket doors. They save wall space as well as room space so furniture, pictures or storage can be placed on the wall next to a pocket door without the problems associated with a hinged door swinging to obscure, foul or damage it, making the most of every inch in a home. 

Pocket door

The third and largest door at the new Derbyshire long house  was a 2.4m tall pocket door dividing the informal TV room with the main open plan living space. This provides a visually appealing acoustic barrier between the two spaces when needed, without permanently breaking the flow of the overall space. 

Sliding doors can open up spaces, providing a flexibility and adaptability in room planning, instantly converting an open plan area into two more intimate spaces. They allow a building’s layout to flow according to the occupants needs and become “sliding boundaries,” at the same time preserving the spatial uniformity characteristic of a home. They disappear completely into the walls affording rooms the permeability and transparency of an open space free from barriers, but capable of creating strategic divisions when required.

“We chose to work with Em-B because we have a great relationship with them,” says architect Jillian Mitchell. “We worked closely with Andy Fitzgerald at Em-B: he really knows his stuff and the company has the range and quality of products that we like.”

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