straightening the studio closet doors

by | Apr 24, 2019 | All Things Home, home improvement, Tutorials | 29 comments

As I shared a couple of weeks ago, we got the first set of doors for the studio closet built and installed, but unfortunately, they were a little warped!  Ah!  We were trying to make this a simple, easy project, but these doors were not playing along with that and made things complicated.  They were warped just enough so they wouldn’t even catch on the magnetic catches we installed.  They would just pop right off.

It was a drop-head-in-my-hands moment.

The good news is that they didn’t look that warped or that bad and there was a fix that did not involve taking anything apart or building new doors.  (Which would not have fit in the simple/easy plan.)

I bought a piece of hardware called a turnbuckle.  It is made specifically for screen doors, but I watched tutorials where it was used on gates, shed doors, and even cabinet doors.  I wasn’t able to find them locally, so I ordered them HERE off of  They measure 42″ long, which was just enough to reach from brace to brace.

I have to admit that I was a little skeptical, but they actually worked!  I installed the first one on the bottom of the right door, positioning the turnbuckle so it stretched from the corner of the door that stuck out to the brace.  I then tightened the center with a pair of pliers.

Anything with tension makes me nervous, so I was tightening the bolt (I guess that’s what you call it) with my head turned away and my eyes closed!  I know…silly.  I’m just expecting it to fly off at my face at any moment.  It didn’t, though.  This is made for tension and it was just fine.

The top of the left door was warped, so I installed another one from the top corner to the center brace and tightened that one as well.  It’s still not perfect, but it’s so much better.  As the wood acclimates, we’ll tighten them again to see if we can get them straightened out even more.

We have one more small door to build (which Jeff told me is happening tomorrow), and then I’ll prime, paint, and add the hardware.  This project has been slow-going, but it’s almost done!

Since turnbuckles aren’t that exciting, I thought I would also share a couple of my latest magazine features…

The German magazine, Land Leben, featured the mural in my dining room…

It’s a beautiful home magazine and I wish it was easier to find in the US.

An old article was also republished in Home Style magazine…

This one goes way back to the blue and white curtains in my dining room!

You just never know what happens to those old articles and photos and when they’ll show up again!

And, lastly, The MMS Milk Paint brand has a big, beautiful, full-page ad in the current issue of Flea Market Style magazine!

The ad was a part of the collaboration with Junk Bonanza’s recent show in Shakopee, MN.

I’ve shared before that when I first started my business I had a goal to get in one magazine.  I now have several stacks of magazines with features, articles, photos, etc. in them.  Even though it’s a “common” thing these days, it never feels common and I always have the urge to buy several copies and show “my page” to the checkout clerk.

I hope I never lose that sense of excitement…



  1. Sarah

    In this old house, where closets probably did not exist, someone built nice roomy closets. One had a schmancy plastic acorrdian door and two others were minus doors altogether. Recently we tackled this door project, making house appropriate bead board doors. We did a “Z” pattern on the interior of the doors. It’s pretty good but there is some un-alignment. I’m learning to say, “Perfect is in Heaven” and not get bogged down with perfection. It still is a vast improvement and the bit of flair at the bottom will probably go unnoticed by most. We are so happy here…..our wonky just matches the wonky that was already here for the last 130 years!

  2. Linda

    Enjoyed seeing the old pictures in new magazines! Those blue and white curtains were so beautiful and I still wish I could have some just like them.

  3. Shelia P.

    Congratulations on making it into more magazines, Marian! That is so wonderful! I wasn’t signed up for your blog when you had the blue and white curtains so I missed out on that! I’m a huge fan of blue and white though. I just knew your mural had to be picked up by some magazine because it’s phenomenal! It’s been such a pleasure watching you grow as an artist. I’m always eager to see what you’ll paint next! Again, congrats! Have a great day! 😊

  4. Jenny

    You might want to replace your magnetic door catches with a roller style catch which has more “hold” to it.
    Amazon has them. It’s called a mobile home double pole roller on Amazon.

  5. Mary Beth

    Turnbuckles are exciting! I may need them for my gate. Plus, I think they add a bit of interest to the interior side of your doors.

  6. Pamela

    I am ALWAYS interested in how people who build things solve mid-project problems. So glad yours was a simple fix.

    Congratulations! On your magazine articles! It’s so heartening watching you accomplish your goals!

    Keep going!

  7. Elizabeth St

    I’m excited, too, whenever I see you and your work featured in a magazine. Among other things, it shows their good taste.

    Thanks for the pic of the Land Leben feature. Could you translate the caption superimposed on the photo of your mural? I don’t speak German, but seeing the brief text made me curious.

    Great job on the turnbuckles. I swear, nothing intimidates you.

    • Laurie

      So glad to learn about turnbuckles! I’ve seen them and heard the word but never put the two together before.

      • Marian Parsons

        I had to do google searches to even figure out what to call them!

  8. Arlene

    Here’s a stab at the translation of the “Land Leben” magazine caption:

    “With this fairytale-like wall mural setting, breakfast turns into an enjoyable outdoor picnic experience.”

    • Marian Parsons

      That sounds pretty good to me!

  9. Anne Lynn Jarman

    Turnbuckles are thrilling, I’ve seen them but never understood them until now, and certainly did not know their very Dickensian name. Thank you for such a wonderful educational experience. My shed doors could benefit I’m sure, but they need more than that I think.
    How do you stop your house from filling up or being done? Is it a constant trade up, and if so do you have an outlet or shop where you dispose of the items weeded out. I love to play around and create but the house is at saturation point with furniture and I don’t want a she shed. MIne is strictly for my gardening tools and sundry other garden things.

    • Marian Parsons

      The turnbuckles might actually help the shed door. They are only about $4/each, so it’s worth a try. And yes, it is a Dickensian name! I hadn’t thought about that. He did have the best names. Skimpole, Flintwinch, etc.

      So, I used to sell at markets, online, and years ago at antique stores, so my house was constantly in flux as I was swapping out pieces. Nowadays, I’m a bit more settled, although we’ve only lived in this house for two years, so I’m still finding the right pieces for each space. Even though I don’t have a retail space, I will sell pieces if they are displaced. I don’t hoard things, but try to only keep what I have a perfect place for.

  10. Hannah

    Congratulations on the magazine publications— It must be fun to get giddy with excitement over an article about you and your wonderful accomplishments!

    • Marian Parsons

      It is always exciting!

  11. Kathie

    It’s no surprise that the German magazine featured an article about your mural. I always feel the French and German influence in your decor and designs, particularly the colours, furniture selections and the mural. I think that childhood experiences often influence our tastes. Whatever the source, your style is timeless and universally appealing. Congratulations on these articles, Marian. I’m so pleased more people can appreciate your work.

    • Marian Parsons

      Thank you! And yes, things that are European feel like home to me. I love that I can reflect that in my decorating style.

  12. Debra Schwicht

    I love the Land Leben magazine! Such an honor for you to show up in there! We lived in Germany for 18 months and I bought every issue of Land Leben I saw—and even paid to ship most of them home when we returned to the states! Congrats!

    • Marian Parsons

      It really is a beautiful magazine. I always love looking through it.

  13. Cindy

    I’m assuming since you and Jeff build things all the time, you probably know that new wood warps at rapid pace if not used right away. It takes no time at all for it to twist and turn if not secured in the position you wish it to dry. I have learned that the hard way by experience. So glad you found an easy fix. Looking forward to seeing them finished and painted.

    • Marian Parsons

      Yep. And it’s hard to find perfectly straight boards at the hardware store.

  14. Roberta

    Congrats on another magazine. Your hard work is paying off. Years ago we moved into an old house with the most insignificant, narrow and slanted mantel. The first candlestick I put on top slid right off.

    My husband set to work adding large heavy boards and hidden shims to improve the situation. Unfortunately, the heaviest, widest and most expensive one he installed was warped.

    I remember weeks of wet paper towels and weights to improve the situation. And it did!

    When we finally moved from the house my husband fondly caressed “his” mantel. He was so proud of his Rube Goldberg job.

    • Marian Parsons

      What a great story! Where there is a will, there is a way!

  15. Melanie Bollentino

    Ha! Thanks for sharing about your nervousness when installing the turnbuckles. I would have responded the same way.
    Hooray for simple fixes!

    • Marian Parsons

      It’s so funny! I just hate things with tension. I’m always expecting them to snap or spring back at me!

  16. Mary in VA

    So excited about your magazine features!

    • Marian Parsons

      Thank you, Mary. It’s always an honor.

  17. Susi

    I have just begun to follow your blog. Oh my, I want to change my whole house! Thanks so much for your wonderful ideas! What an inspiration!

  18. Regina Anthony

    Congratulations on being published again! You deserve it! And I’m happy that you found an answer for your doors. Keep up the good work!


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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