French Doors with Custom Transom

A family in the Budleigh neighborhood came to us with an increasingly common issue in these weird new Covid times: The need to close off a room with doors, to better soundproof the de-facto home office.

The office room entrance had a curved radius above, so the original plan was to nix that and replace it all with a rectangular 3-bay transom, matching another room entry and French doors down the hall. Once it was all delivered however, the clients decided they’d rather keep the arched doorway look. Ok, change order. No problem, we can switch gears. But it naturally expanded the scope of the project and the amount of labor hours. And we would have to order a custom-cut piece of radius glass to insert above the door, essentially crafting a custom-made transom. (It also meant that the client had to essentially eat the cost of the unused transom, which had already been built and delivered…the vendor wasn’t about to take it back or refund the money. As the clients had changed the design after the fact they willingly accepted this.)

We took off all the existing trim — carefully saving most of it, to re-install later — and slid in the new French doors, which fit perfectly. (We did have to trim off some of the baseboards a tiny bit, to accommodate the slightly larger dimensions of the new doors.) All of the trim/door casing on both sides up to and just beyond the rise of the radius is new; most of the trim/casing on the radius is the old, curved extant trim, pieced back in place.

After securing in the doors we went to work creating the custom transom, using some of the existing radius trim. We then left for a few days until the custom-cut glass was ready for pickup at the vendor.

With the new glass in hand we returned to install it. A great fit, thankfully. (Robert did a great job sanding down the plywood “pattern” we used to give to the glass vendor, and had the exact measurements.) We then used a kind of flexible trim to enclose the glass in place.

Final touches included installing a T-Astragal and crafting a special “sweep” down at the bottom of the doors, to further inhibit outside noise from entering the room. It’s not completely soundproof, but they report that the room is a whole lot quieter than before, with the doors, new transom and sweep blocking off most of the exterior noise.

The clients were quite pleased with it all and the office room immediately put to use! As we’re carpenters and not painters, we offered to find a sub to do that, but they had all the matching wall and trim paint already and wanted to do it themselves. Win, win!

(We also did at least a day’s worth of extensive rot repair on their front porch surround. It looks great too, but kinda’ boring picture-wise, so I never got an “After” pic of that particular project.)