It was time to tackle this larger project (actually ten projects) and we hit the ground running! This closet was always on the back burner for an upgrade, but the urgency never seemed to mount enough to break ground. Moving a few storage bins uncovered a disturbing flaw that was about to become a catastrophic failure- we had severely overloaded the hardware, and a good portion of the shelving and mounts were pulling away from the wall.
Part 1- Empty The Closet
You can see the bow easily here- this is fairly normal on bare bones closets.
This was the “oh $h&*” moment! Why is light coming from behind the shelf in the closet? If this isn’t a cause for concern, we don’t know what is!
This pocket folder is 5/8″ thick including the outside of the clip, and it is fitting in the separation of the furniture to the wall. Not a good sign at all.
To further elaborate on the seriousness of the issue, this level shows the ugly truth. Time to start anew with a system that can give us more hanging and shelf space, and weight capacity.
We opted to purchase four of these racks from Amazon, due in large part to the attractive pricing. We will be spending enough on this project as it is, and saving money on a temporary solution helps overall. We didn’t observe the 30 lb weight capacity though…
Here is a 3 hour time lapse condensed into 14 seconds. We set up shop in our exercise room, which had ample space and could be sequestered from the cats. If you have pets, you know full well the issues of hair and the like. This was a chore to organize our wardrobes, shoes, and other items to be somewhat accessible during the 2-3 weeks of downtime.
Part 2- Demolition
Halfway through the demolition process, you can see the cross section of the furniture pulling away from the wall. This was the state of the closet, not demo related at all. It reinforced the fact that this was an urgent situation, seeing a few brads were barely holding on to the drywall.
The closet demolition is complete! A quick walk through after all of the clean up, we now have a blank slate after removing everything but the vacuum. Our first project to tackle: cedar lining the entire closet.
Part 3- Cedar Lining
There are only two brands of cedar lining available in our area, and this was our first haul cleaning out big box #1. We would end up purchasing 24 boxes, and returning 8 full boxes of culls. You’ll see why as we continue…
It was time to load in materials and equipment, our miter saw fit nicely inside. We needed two air hoses to reach our compressor in the garage for the brad nailer. Our newer compressor is too large and heavy to move upstairs, and this was a simple solution. Let the fun begin!
We started in the narrow segment first, to get the hang of the process. We leveled the bottom row with shims as we nailed the cedar in, since the bottom isn’t exactly square with the floor. Since the planks aren’t perfectly dimensioned, we leveled each row as we went, trying to keep everything as true as possible. It is a little extra work, but well worth it for the finished product.
This wall gave us enough room to finish it off flush with the ceiling, it felt good to be making some progress. The smell was intoxicating, loved the aroma!
Wall number one is complete! You can see some color swatches and test paint going up, decisions still needed to be made on that front.
Damaged and warped planks were very common with this product :/ This is an extreme example, but we pried and fit many less deformed boards to use as much material as possible. You might be thinking about the color variation- it varied immensely between lots. Months later, as it has dried out completely, it has blended in nicely.
We have one corner to meet, and mitered all boards on a 45 degree angle. The downside is a piece of furniture will hide almost this entire joint and it’s hard work.
As we neared the finishing stages of these two walls, we noticed that we would not have enough room to fit a finishing plank. After thinking about a number of solutions, it was back to the garage to work on something decent.
We ripped some cedar planks down nearly an inch, and rounded one edge with a 1/8″ round over bit to soften the look.
Wall two finished off, looking good! You can’t even see the edge standing on the floor, it turned out just like we wanted.
Part 4- Structured Wiring Cabinet
This project was intended to add a 42″ cabinet in the next stud bay over from our existing one. Neither bay offered a full depth for the cabinet, so we tackled the task of removing the existing one and installing the larger one in it’s place. Let’s get started!
Cabinet removed, and hole enlarged. You will notice all of the patch work from our exploratory holes. This part sucked, since it added a ton of extra work and texturing that we didn’t budget time for.
Cabinet test fit and wiring pulled through, getting closer to a finished product.
Masked off for texturing, we finally found a good match to our existing knock down that looks decent. We covered nearly the whole wall to blend it in, the extra work payed off.
We stuffed this with all sorts of electronics, and mounted an external monitor to easily access the DVR feed for our surveillance system. It turned out pretty neat despite the fact that we needed to mount the monitor on an adjustable mount to be able to open the cabinet door.
Part 5- Wall Safe
This was a last minute add on, and was as simple as finding the stud bay and cutting the appropriate sized hole. This model is designed to fit precisely in between 16″ on center studs, and is secured by lag bolts on both sides. While it is a locking safe, the directions state that it isn’t suitable for valuables or firearms. Must be a cover your ass liability thing. That said, there isn’t much interior room since the locking mechanism fills nearly 50% of the interior. It is great for small items and keeping a little cash out of sight when needed.
Part 6- Paint
We decided on a very light gray paint, which isn’t the color on the wall from earlier in the thread. Nothing fancy here, we masked off the edges of the cedar and rolled a few coats of paint before the flooring went in. We have halogen lighting, and the color plays well with the cedar, flooring, and furniture.
Part 7- Attic Ladder
While we are kicking up dust, we added an easier way to access the attic space. A pull down ladder was the perfect cure for this, and nests nicely out of the way. This kind of ladder did not require any more drywall cutting. It isn’t as heavy duty as a more traditional pull door type, but will work well in our application.
Installed, looking into the attic. This will help the one or two times a year we need to get up here.
Part 8- Flooring
We opted for a floating engineered product for the floor. We bought and obtained a half dozen samples to see what would work best. We ended up with our second choice based on product availability- we were planing to re-floor our entire upstairs and wanted all of the flooring to match. Underlayment was laid out for sound dampening; this product has a vapor barrier built in, even though it isn’t needed on a second story. We taped it together to prevent movement while laying the flooring.
As a flooring newb, we used shims on the walls for expansion. You have a little wiggle room with baseboards, so don’t get too wound up in accuracy of the cut edges.
We didn’t want to nail our T molding finish strips, so we used construction adhesive instead. Cure time was 24 hours under a plate, that weight set has come in handy!
Part 9- Furniture
Our initial measurements and calculations left us in a pickle- how would we increase our hanging storage and shelf space? We would have to add two tier closet rods, and add furniture to accomplish both goals. We wanted something with utility and a classic look without breaking the bank. While that isn’t exactly possible, we did find a compromise. The version above comes as a wall hanging kit, but freestanding bases were also available. We had to opt for the bases, since our desired layout would not allow us to hit two studs on any of the three closet organizers. Add those to the budget 😛
A tenuous trip to another big box was made to pick up four items on a pallet. This stuff adds up, it was nearly 1000lbs as loaded. Getting these upstairs was a two person task.
Our first task was to assemble the stack-able corner unit. It went together easily, and was bolted to the walls since it would have three closet rods attached to it. We did not complete any baseboards or molding at this time, to allow the furniture to be as close to the walls as possible.
These are well built pieces of furniture, and it showed in the assembly time. We had one full 8 hour day just putting these together. Once built, we played with the placement a bit to maximize our hanging space. This run would have one two tier section on the right, and one single tier section on the left for long items.
Two of the three units are mounted flush with an adjacent wall to maximize our continuous hanging space. The directions weren’t exactly direct on how to mount the rods, multiple clothing items were used and measurements made, before we commit to anchoring them in their final configuration.
On the other side of the closet, we can see the shelving coming together. We only managed to add one foot of linear hanging space. While we didn’t gain much there, we did gain nearly forty feet of shelf space! We used the same closet rod measurements on this side to keep things simple.
That’s a wrap! Check out the completed project before we move to the final step, moving back in. We altered some of the shelving to convert them to shoe organizers, which is what you see in the thumbnail above.
Step 10- Moving Back In
We made it to the other side, despite setbacks with time and budget. How much time and budget you ask? We tried to realistically figure 3 weeks and $1500 before breaking ground. We added 100% to each to get this project to completion. The attic ladder and wall safe only tacked on $214 combined. All in all, we are very happy with the finished product. Maybe we can finish the last details on the baseboards before 2017 is up!