Master Closet Renovation

This post is completely UNRELATED to sewing, but I figured that since I did the renovation myself and built everything from scratch, it still counted as pretty darn crafty!

As with most homes built “en mass” around our area, we were blessed with an awesome sized master closet- but with HORRIBLE use of space… You can tell the construction crews are mostly male- they put a 1 lightbulb fixture in a closet that was 12 feet deep and 6 feet wide.  Before this renovation, I would literally dig out a flash  light to find some of my clothes in the back of the closet.  They also had very poor use of the space- basically threw up 3 Long wire closetmaid racks and called it a day…

You can see the disaster that we were dealing with in the photos below- HORRIBLE use of space, and lots of rubbermaid bins that were used to hold more stuff (socks, exercise apparel etc) that wouldn’t fit in our dresser.

 

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That’s pretty much a hot mess right there…  I searched for inspiration to fix this, and once again, went to www.ana-white.com for my help.  She had made some closet towers for her master bedroom that I could modify and use for our closet… I knew that I wanted to add a laundry drawer, as well as shoe sheves, and that our closet was a bit longer than her unit- but at least it was a start.  After sketching it out on graph paper (very old school, yes, I know) I picked up my materials and got to work when grandma came to visit and watch my nosy  helpful toddler.  For this build I decided to use cabinet grade plywood from home depot for the tower carcasses and 1/2 inch purebond plywood for the shelves, drawer fronts, and drawer boxes.  For the closet bars, I used adjustable bars so that it would be a perfect fit and I wouldn’t have to worry about cutting the bar too long or too short (still getting used to the large DIY projects!)

 

So, to get started EVERYTHING had to come out of the closet. EVERYTHING.  This was also a good time for me to purge a lot of clothes that were old, didn’t fit right etc.  Once everything was out, I removed the wire shelving- it was pretty basic to remove- and then filled and sanded the holes.  Here is the blank slate that I started out with once everything was removed…

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I used a Ryobi One multi-tool to cut the moulding along the back, as I was going to recycle it and use it on the front of the closet install.  I then created a base for the tower units with 2 by 4’s.  I leveled them as best I could (They were being placed on top of the carpet and not directly on a firm surface) and drilled them into the wall studs.

 

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Once the base was in place, it was time to make the two tower units.  As I do not have a table saw (ahem HINT HINT Hubby) I had Home Depot rip the plywood into 15.75 inch pieces and I would take the remaining piece and rip it at home.  I used my Kreg Rip Cut with my Porter Cable circular saw and it worked GREAT.  Set up my saw horses, along with a folding table and a computer table on either end, with pink board insulation as a “work top” for cutting- it was a great system and its nice to have something that I can just pack away when we’re not using them.

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The tower constuction was relatively straightforward.  I used my Kreg Jig to create pocket holes, and also used my kreg shelf pin jig to create the adjustable shelf holes prior to building the box.  With this step- it was extra important that I measure twice and drill once- as I was building the box AFTER the holes had already been drilled.  This part was a bit nerve wracking to say the least!!

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Once the boxes were cut and ready to assemble, I brought them into the closet and assembled in there.  It was simply easier as I have a horrible back and knees (what, jumping out of Airplanes is NOT good for you?) and the pieces were very heavy.  I then built each individual tower, and leveled it on the base 2 x 4.  I screwed the towers into the studs via 2 pieces of 1 x 3 lumber that was attached along the back of each tower unit.

Once all tower units were in place, it was time to add the hanging bars.  I had to account for one section of wall having our alarm system box, but wanted to make the unit look as “built in” as possible.  On the back wall I used a piece of matching plywood so that a face frame could be added.  In the front wall, by the alarm box, I had to mount the clothes bar directly to the wall, but I added shelves above the closet rods to create the “built in” look.

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For the drawers, I knew that I wanted a total of 6 drawers- 3 large ones to hold bulky clothes etc, two small ones to be used for small items ( costume jewelry, accessories) and one large one to hold a laundry basket.

The laundry drawer was rather large, so I used 1/2 inch ply wood to create a “u” (solid bottom, back and front) and then used 1 by 4 pieces of pine to create a top and bottom brace for the side.  I then found a rather inexpensive basket at our local discount store, The Christmas Tree Shop- that fit perfectly… I can easily fit 2 loads of laundry in this basket and it works well with the drawer.

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Here are the drawer boxes installed, ready for drawer fronts… I used Euro hinges for the drawer boxes, and used scrap pieces of 1 x 3 lumber to attach to the sides of the tower- it simply made it easier for install as I was able to attach pieces of the euro slides to the scap pieces and then attach those (with a level on top) to the towers.

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For the drawer fronts, I used 1/2 inch purebond plywood and 1/4 inch cedar planks from home depot (the 2 inch wide ones used for lattice work great).  The drawer pulls were simple ones purchased from Lowes- I didn’t want something TOO fancy as this isn’t our “forever home” and you never know what the next owner of the home would want… To create the drawer fronts, I simply glued and nailed the planks to the 1/2 ply wood, then nailed the drawer front to the boxes.  The hardware was then screwed through both pieces to help secure the unit as a whole.

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Shoe and Clothes shelves were very basic and straightforward- I simply cross cut pieces of the 1/2 ply wood to the correct length and used metal 5MM shelf pins to support them… They hold quite a few pairs of shoes and sweaters/jeans just fine without any sag (about 22 inches wide)

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For the trim, I used 1 by 2 pieces of furring strips and cove moulding.  I was not going to be able to do crown moulding as I wanted due to the closet towers coming close to our attic access door in the ceiling… so instead, I used my jig saw to cut out small decorative pieces for the two towers, and then used the 1 x 2’s on the long sections. I tried to cut out long pieces of trim to match the small tower ones, but lets just say my jig saw skill are lacking right now.

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Once I re-sanded everything down and installed the moulding on the front, it was time to paint.  I went with white for the main cabinets and decided to do the shelves in my favorite color- dark walnut with a satin poly to seal it… The wall was painted the same white color in the front to make it “flow” together better and act as a built in unit.

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For a fun decorative accent, I purchased a roll of target brand wall paper (at $22 dollars on sale, it was too good to pass up) and installed it on the back wall… It was a bit tough to line up properly and there are some creases here and there, but they’re very small and you can’t really notice them unless I point them out.  I also purchased a nice dark walnut looking mirror from Target and installed it on the back wall ( Until now I’ve had no floor length mirror, so I’ve had to stand on our tub to see what my shoes look like with my outfit!)

After impatiently waiting for it to dry, I was finally able to install my final two touches- a pull out valet bar and pull out tie/belt rack for my husband.  Both were by Rev-a-Shelf and both purchased off of Amazon.com… they both work wonderfully and I’m very pleased with how solid they seem and how easy they were to install.

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Finally it was complete and it was time to put everything back in the closet… needless to say, I’m completely in LOVE with the use of storage (I forget how much we waste vertical storage space until you use every bit of it) and how much larger the closet seems now that it doesn’t have all of those rubbermaid bins sticking out and all of our clothes are neatly put away!  DSC_0595 DSC_0594 DSC_0596

 

All in all, it ended up costing about $750 dollars- that is including all hardware, screws, paint, my AMAZING $17 dollar 3 lightbulb light fixture, the mirror, wall paper and all lumber.  I had priced out the Allen and Roth system at about $1600.00 and it wouldn’t have been NEARLY as good of a use of our vertical space as I would have still had to install shelving above the Allen and Roth system.  California Closets would have cost us about $4,000, so I’m very VERY pleased with the savings and the end result of this DIY!

 

Thanks for reading- and happy crafting!

 

Stephanie

 

 

Comments

  1. Great job! Your build has been selected as “Brag Post of the Day” on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/knockoffwood! Thanks for sharing your awesome project with us!

  2. Cheryl Coleman says:

    Wow! Your closet is pretty much shaped like mine, but I have two exactly alike and have been wanting to do a closet makeover. Your details are giving me motivation to just do it. Thanks for the inspiration I really needed. Thanks Ana for making this a Brag Post of the Day, that’s how I found it. Fantastic job Stephanie!

    1. Thanks so much! I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, and finally I just decided to stop procrastoniating and start! Ana’s plans really helped out alot- using the towers as the main focus made it seem not as “scary” to build… and good luck with your closet!

  3. Lisa E says:

    Over from Ana White. Seriously impressed! I’ve been following Ana White for a few years and have built several smaller things and larger ones (outside sectional) with the help of the hubby. I would love to do this as our master closet is oddly shaped and the layout doesn’t work for me either. You’ve given me the inspiration to not second guess myself and just do it! This really came out beautiful!

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words! The tower plans that she had work well with anything- you can always modify them to be bigger or smaller as needed ( in my case I made them a bit wider) and it makes it so much easier to “build” if you base your design off of those towers… best of luck on your build!

  4. Beth says:

    Beautiful work on your closet! Inspiring.

  5. Jen says:

    This is great!!! How did you finish the tops of the towers? To attach the molding and trim pieces, did you use pocket holes to attach one long piece? Thanks for your help!!

    1. Hi Jen- Sorry for the delay in my response! For the Trim I did cut it up into smaller pieces (and then put the cove moulding on to make it appear as one solid piece). I inset the two scalloped pieces and used my nail gun to hold, and then did screw in a pocket screw (just one on each side, as with the nails/brads it works pretty well holding it in place). THe cove moulding was attached with a nail gun as well.

  6. Hi! I love the changes to the plan you made…everything looks amazing! it’s exactly how I plan to do mine. We have almost the same exact closet…one quick question. When you say you attached the towers via 1x3s did you screw the one by three to the inside of the tower? Just want to make sure I do it right! Thanks!

    1. Yes! We screwed the 1 by 3 with a pocket joint onto the inside back of the tower – sorry for the delay, we are expecting and I’ve been horribly sick this go around

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