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Murphy’s New Law: Anything that Creates Room Space Can’t Be Wrong

Today, resourceful homeowners are creating more space without moving walls. One innovative solution uses heavy-duty sliding door hardware to show how a vacation home benefits from more efficient floor space. The owner of a New Hampshire lake house wanted additional sleeping space for guests. Ira Kirby, of Kirby Custom Carpentry, built a custom Murphy-bed unit using hardware originally designed for wall-mounted sliding doors.

The furniture piece matches the cabinetry used in the surrounding area.  It’s comprised of four sections; two rolling bookcases in the center and a wardrobe on each end. To use the queen-sized bed, the bookcases roll right and left, covering the wardrobes.      

“The homeowner wanted a place for guests to stay. Guests also needed a place to store their clothes and items like snowmobile gear. There’s plenty of additional space for books, pictures and knickknacks,” Kirby says.

The rolling-bookcase unit Kirby designed was modeled on a Murphy bed he had seen in a store. The owner there pointed him in the direction of Johnson Hardware, manufacturers of hardware for sliding, folding and pocket doors. Kirby’s design uses Johnson’s heavy-duty 200 Wall Mount Sliding Door Hardware, which can be used with doors up to 300 lbs.

As with many wall-mount door applications, this custom unit uses a valance to tie the design together with a clean, beautiful look. The sliding hardware is mounted to a top edge that runs the length of the four sections. “It needs a valance to hide the whole soffit build-out that the track is attached to, and to hide the wheels and hardware. It’s all one top piece,” Kirby says.

While this project was the first of its kind for the carpenter, he says it went quite smoothly. “All the diagrams on the Johnson website allowed me to make the cabinets even before I received the hardware. The diagrams were a big help.”

Wall BedThe heavy-duty hardware is the only structural contact the bookcases have with the unit. Kirby says one challenge with the design was the swinging of the bookcases since they don’t have even weight distribution like a door. “I made a brace on the back to ensure there’s no finish damage. It’s a toe kick with a 3” reveal underneath the wardrobes, while on the back of the bookcases, I made them come out 3-1/2”. There’s a little neoprene slide on the back so when you slide the sections, there’s no way it will damage the finish on the wardrobes.”

While the wardrobes on the custom unit are 22” deep and the bookcases are 11”, the amount of usable space in the opening for the bed could also be used for other purposes, such as a computer desk and document storage for a home office. Additional uses could include sewing or scrapbooking stations, or a display for collectibles, certificates or awards.

According to Kirby, the sliding door hardware functions great for his unique application, and he’s looking to use it again. “With custom designs, there are endless possibilities for what you can do, even something like sliding screen covers for home theaters,” he notes. “I plan on building myself a barn here sooner or later, and it would be great for barn doors.”

To learn more about Johnson Hardware and the 200WM Series Wall Mounted Sliding Door Hardware used in this project, or to view other unique applications created by Johnson Hardware customers, visit or call 800-837-5664.

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