Part 2 – Wozney Residence, New York

Part 2 – Wozney Residence, New York (PDF)

  • John Brown


    This is the completed concept design for the Wozney residence.

  • BradW

    A nice simple solution – however, I would not have changed the bathroom at all, instead, finding a place for a small washer/dryer combo unit.

    One other suggestion – if a previous project is being used you should temporarily remove it from the archive…

  • Paul C


    Here’s one suggestion to improve upon the bathroom/front entry arrangement. It reduces somewhat the perception of having the bathroom (i.e. vanity) directly in front of you when you enter the home. Glazing in both bathroom doors could permit light into the front entry.

  • Louis Pereira

    Paul – A simple fix but very effective. Since the vanity is now next to the Linen however, which i presume would have been full height storage could now be above counter height only.

  • Paul C

    Good observation. I guess it depends on how the vanity would be detailed. I had thought about having the vanity top wrap around into the corner and if the vanity was open underneath it may afford access to storage under the counter as well. At a minimum the “oddity” of that corner presents opportunity for some inventive solutions.

  • Silus Grok

    This is a broader question: I’ve seen numerous instances over the last few months, where pocket doors would seem to have been the logical choice. But there’s an apparent aversion to pocket doors. Is this subconscious? Is it deliberate? Or is it in my head … 

    I’d love to hear thoughts on pocket door best practices.

  • Terri

    I don’t think the linen closet limitation matters much when you’ve provided a much-needed way to get to the bathroom besides parading all around the rest of the apt. Great solution!

  • Doug Roberts

    Silus — Although pocket doors have several advantages over standard swing doors, they:
    1) require at least 3′ of parallel wall adjacent to the doorway containing no light switches, electrical outlets, ducts, plumbing, etc.
    2) are more costly and time-consuming to install;
    3) do not latch or lock as reliably as swing doors;
    4) require more maintenance than swing doors; and
    5) tend to be more “fiddley” to operate than swing doors (except when they open and close automatically, such as on the Starship Enterprise).
    My inclination would be to use them for doors that are likely to be left open most of the time and only closed occasionally .

  • jim baer

    pocket doors:

    my experience with older pocket doors is they were a pita to open and close. so i also had an aversion to them.

    but i have used them a couple of times recently and they have been a good solution. the hardware seems to be much improved from earlier versions and therefore less troublesome or likely to malfunction.

    they are however a little more difficult to operate, especially for the elderly. they require a little more fine motor skills to operate than swing doors.

    paul c:

    i like your revision in concept, and given a clean slate it would function well and provide much needed light in the entry. but it may not be practical. plumbing walls tend to be packed with pipes running both horizontally and vertically. there is probably not enough clear space to create an opening and certainly not enough for a pocket door. unfortunately in high rise apt buildings relocating piping is difficult at best and often not possible.

  • Paul C

    Great question. From my experience pocket doors are loved by designers, hated by contractors for their lack of adjustability and prone to service issues. I think some of those issues can be mitigated by the quality of the hardware used. They also impact upon how the wall which the door resides in can be utilized (i.e. tough to locate plumbing around or attach towel bars etc. to) An alternative from a service perspective can be an externally mounted sliding door or panel but then that obviously has similar wall usage limitations as well.

    Good observation with respect to the effect on existing plumbing. Without going into too much detail, for there is no knowing exactly how the plumbing is run here but my thought was that the wc could maybe be rotated on its existing and furring out behind the new vanity may provide space for plumbing to get back into the “pocket door” wall if you will. No question though, all hypothetical at this point.

  • jim baer

    paul c,

    i figured that was what you were figuring. even though i may sound like the voice of reason, or possibly doom and gloom, i like the hypothetical nature of the design exercises. i have been using them to help break myself out of the real world box that can constrict me at times.

  • Louis Pereira


    Interesting discussion on pocket doors. Personally i like them and i’ve never encountered problems with operating them. I bought a ($50.00CAD) Stanley Hardware almost a decade ago for our ensuite and it works perfectly – smooth action and all. Maybe it comes down to the installation?…

    Another option that addresses some concerns with pocket doors interfering with electrical, plumbing etc. is too install them (using same hardware) as a wall sliding door. i did this for our main bath to save space and for guests to experience something ‘different’. The hardware is mounted to the underside of a custom valance. This allows one to easily access the hardware by removing the front valance piece.

    But as someone pointed out – it’s not for everyone (motorskills), but I get my kicks when some adults lock themselves in the bathroom and they have to ask how to get out!.

  • BradW

    PaulC – a good idea but only an architect would think it is easy…:)
    - both the sink and the toilet plumbing require relocation – which means removing the some floor and some of the plaster (likely) or drywall
    - the pocket door could be tricky depending on what services are located in the wall – better hardware has helped but if you want the door to be integrated within the wall and period correct with casing etc. it will require a skilled carpenter willing to take the time to get it right (unlike Louis’s pocket door which is externally mounted and, therefore, easier to install and fix should it fail)

    Once again, while possible, I would advise the client to save her money for furniture and art which she can take with her.

  • Paul C

    Jim Baer,
    Thanks for that. I agree outside the box thinking/questioning is an important part of the creative process as is collaboration which is well demonstrated here on John’s site.

    “Without a Doubt, there are No Absolutes” (likely attributable to the great Yogi Berra) is a phrase I try to keep in the back of my mind.
    (btw I think a smidgen of humor can be part of the creative process as well, as Louis has so adeptly demonstrated with his bathroom door lock story :-)

    And not to make too lite of the subject matter or drift the conversation too much elsewhere, but in honor of the World Series a little more Yogi linked here for an almost Friday chuckle. Enjoy

  • BradW

    I should mention another option for a pocket door usually found in older homes is to build a double wall so services can still be located near the door. The downside is it will impact the ceiling and any cornice moulding which maybe present – here, the demo plan removed walls from the bedroom so presumably this is not a factor here.

  • Paul C

    Brad W,
    I saw your posts after I submitted my 3:12. All valid points for the client to consider for sure. The additional wall is another great alternative related to Silus’s initial pocket door question.

  • Louis Pereira

    ^^^Haha. Paul – Excellent compilation of Yogiisms. i was waiting to hear one of favourite yogi quote, but it wasn’t in the youtube video.

    “If you don’t know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else.” – Yogi Berra