Bypass closet doors are a relatively common design. Bypass closet doors are not only easy to install, but they work best with mirrors, and thus are very popular in bedrooms and even bathrooms. Bypass closet doors have a great number of uses, but unlike bi-fold doors, they are almost never used in pantries or food closet; however, this doesn’t mean that you can’t use bypass doors for food closets.
Interior designer Michael Bennett uses bypass closet doors in a unique way. His company, Bennett Interior Innovation (ltd.) has been designing closet doors since the early 1980’s. Bennett has made use of the versatile bypass door design to make doors for closets as wide as 64” wide.
“Sometimes, I really want to achieve a unique design,” says Bennett, “So I’ll add a few tricks that I learned in engineering other sorts of closet doors when I work on bypass doors, just to make the closet seem a bit more interesting and stylish in a modern home.”
He goes on to explain the technique, “What I essentially do is ask the customer what sort of design they’re looking for, and then I get to work,” he says, “Then, I work something out that’s really unique, and gives their home a sort of personal touch.”
Bennett works for celebrities, and his business is based in Los Angeles, “Beverly Hills sees a lot of my work. I’m not giving any names, but we worked on an amazing closet door for a rap superstar in Beverly Hills. He wanted us to use frosted glass on his doors, so we combined elements from bypass doors and accordion closet doors to make a truly unique system.”
Bennett designed it so the panels would slide over each other, like in most bypass doors. Once the panels near the wall, they begin to collapse into a flat stack of glass panels in order to give the closet pizzazz, all the while saving space.
“The frosted glass look is just stunning, and I use it a lot in homes,” he explains, “I like to see the look on the client’s face when they see what I’ve worked. That’s what makes my work worth doing, knowing that I please people and do something I love, for money at the same time.”
Bennett’s unique bypass door system works on a series of pivots and wheels. The metal tracks at the top and bottom of the frame line up with the door and the rollers. The wheels stick to the metal lip of each track, but turn suddenly as the track begins to take on a snake-like shape towards the wall, which causes the panels to pivot on their Acme springs, and turn into a flat stack of glass panels.
Special hinges are applied in-between each door and rubber bumpers are applied to each edge of the frosted glass panels, to ensure that they do not sustain fractures or damage the wall.
These tracks can be ordered directly online from most retailers like Lowes or Home Depot, and the parts for each door can be easily acquired from most hardware stores.
“It’s the satisfaction of knowing that you built it yourself that makes all the difference. There’s nothing wrong working with kits, but when you assemble the entire product and watch it open and close smoothly for the first time, all of those hard hours of trial and error finally pay off,” says Bennett with a smile.
Bypass doors are a basic type of door that has inspired much more complex designs. The bypass door was the inspiration for the new “Garage Door” style of closet door, as well as a multitude of other modern designs that have shaped interior design for the last decade.
“You can really design some unique stuff using basic elements, and that’s the real beauty of it.”
Bennett started his business at home, and began to work professionally out of his own warehouse in Los Angeles after he got his first big break.
“My first real client was Michael Jordan.” He said with a grin.
Some more complex versions of the bypass door will actually slide into the wall, collapsing into a smaller chamber to leave more room when entering the closet.
It is evident that interior design will just keep getting more complex as time passes and technology improves, but one thing is for certain: men like Mike Bennett will shape the world of interior design for years to come!
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