Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Closet renovation: phase one.

I debated this post because I typically do not like posting a work-in-progress.  It's difficult to explain the end picture, and it's not as pretty.  The final is pretty.  That being said, I haven't posted a Wednesday post in a couple weeks, so I feel compelled, and this is our current focus.

Our closets started as dark, plywood cubby-like areas in our walls.  We painted them the weekend we closed on the house to brighten them up and to give them a fresh smell.  We filled them up and knew a better storage system was in our future.

Some time after that, we took off the big door because the track was so old and bent, it was more frustrating that it was worth. We had a big open closet with a hanger rail, a shelf above that, and the cubbies up top that I couldn't reach.  It wasn't the best use of space

A couple weekends ago, we smashed it all out. 

In one of the first fortunate finds of this house, after removing the floor of the closet (which was a piece of plywood about two inches above the floor), we found that there was underlayment ready for a continuation of the hardwood. 

Then, in another turn of very fortunate events, the gunstock color available at Lowe's turned out to be a very close match to the flooring.  We scooped up two boxes (in anticipation of flooring the master, office, and guest closets, at least).  In a couple hours, I had the flooring down and was considering a career change because I truly loved doing it.

After the flooring was complete, we lined the back wall of the closet with two thin pieces of plywood, secured with too many nails because we love the nail gun.  In tearing out the original shelves, we found the back wall adjoined to the office, and all the smashing opened up the closet between the rooms.  Zach briefly considered one giant room and forgoing the closet, but no. Instead, the office closet forced itself up the remodel list.  It's now a couple steps behind the master.  We supported the back walls of both with two pieces of plywood each, then worked out more of the build. 

After spackling, sanding, caulking, priming, painting, and even adding a quarter-round to the top (because that's where we chose to get fancy), we were ready for the install of shelves, drawers, and all the best IKEA gadgets.  

We had known we wanted to use IKEA's closet system after my dad revolutionized the closets in my home growing up.  He was able to successfully utilize their different options in three different types of closets, so we knew we'd have options.  I used IKEA's wardrobe planner to work through different options, hopping between the computer and a measuring tape with the closet to figure out the best fit.  I settled on a plan, had Zach review, then we stopped at IKEA a couple months ago after meeting my sister for a long run.  We made a couple additions and adjustments, then picked up all of the boxes.  It made for quite a long day.

We pulled pieces from the PAX line.  Since we weren't building these into the closet forms, we needed some support system to mount.  We debated 2x4's - the most solid of the option, but decided on 3/4-inch plywood, the same stuff my dad used.  Knowing that it's held up for at least ten years in that house so far, we had confidence. 

Zach had the birch cut to size at Lowe's - which helped with transportation and with ensuring uniform sizing.  I then painted the boards the same white as the closets (and the rest of our house trim) - BM's Simply White.  Then we installed.  Well, I painted at least one side before installing Zach's drawers. 

The installation was pretty simple, but very detail-oriented.  It required precise measurement and triple-checking before drilling.  We found the 3/16-bit fit best for the screws provided with the IKEA pieces.  We drilled before screwing in the screws. I started by mounting the top shelf so that I had a way to keep the two sides upright.  Then I did the bottom shoe shelf.  Next, I did the pant hangers because I wanted them at least 24 inches above the shoes.  That was the most difficult installation because of the triple task of holding the sliding bars level, spacing correctly, and screwing into place. From there, the shelves were spaced on top and held level with temporary shims - see that slide mount balancing on them?

Over the course of a week, the closet installation was complete.

Next, we have some finishing strips to attach on the raw ends of the plywood.  I'm also going to experiment on staining the raw piece of hardwood between the existing bedroom and new closet flooring.  That piece was hidden under the baseboard to the faux closet floor.  There are a couple IKEA pieces we may add as well, such as valet hangers.  Very obviously, we're debating the door situation. 

Until then, I'm marveling that my belts have an actual, real space to corral themselves.

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