Custom Closet Makeover - Phase 1



Our closet has been a space we’ve never really been happy with ever since we built our home 3 years ago. We went back and forth on having someone come in to build it out but we never pulled the trigger because the cost just seemed outrageous. As anyone who moves into a new home knows, there’s a seemingly never-ending list of ‘wants’ and it takes years to check each box! The closet just kept getting pushed back on the priorities list. Until a few weeks ago, that is! I wouldn’t consider myself type A but I do love for everything to have a place and things to feel organized. The way our closet was laid out made that impossible because there was no space for shoes! I decided to take a chance and demo a long wall in our closet that had previously been used as a long hanging space with shelves on top. I looked all over the internet for inspiration and drew up a plan for what I wanted. It took me about 2.5 weeks from start to finish on this project because I was squeezing it in between nap times and late nights while the boys were sleeping and husband was out of town. If you're able to send the kids over to their grandparents for the weekend it can certainly be done in that amount of time! This is only one wall of my closet- I do have three more that I plan on re-doing but for now the shoe situation was a priority so I'll be showing you how I did that one wall.

Here's how I did it!

Tools Used

Miter Saw

Circular Saw

Drill

90 Degree Angle Clamp

Speed Square

Sander

Tape Measure, Straight Edge, Pencil

Eye and Ear protection


Supplies Used

Plywood (I used a mix of 3/4"'blondewood' and 3/4" mdf)

1x4 (used as trim)

1x2 (used as trim)

Base molding

Lattice Molding

Mirror

Paint (I used Valspar Polar White)

Wood filler

Caulk

2.5" self tapping wood screws

2" wood screws

Cabinet Paint Roller


Approximate Total Cost: $400




A FEW NOTES!

-The unit I built ended up being 8'x8'x4.25' for reference on price, etc.

-I used blondewood ($50/sheet) for the structure and mdf ($30/sheet) for the shelves.

-I used a backing so it would appear smooth behind the shelves. This definitely isn't necessary- I just didn't want to have to mess with the sheet rock I damaged when I did my demo!


TAKE INVENTORY/COME UP WITH A DESIGN

The first thing I did was clean out my shoes and figure out about how many shelves I would need. I needed a shelf tall enough for my boots and certain heels and then others small enough for my sneakers and flats. Because I chose to build the shelves to remain permanent as opposed to drilling pegs where I could change the heights of them (I just personally like the look better), it was important for me to measure just how much space I'd need for each shelf. I wanted as little extra space above the shoes as possible!

DEMO DAY!

I ripped out all the existing shelves and baseboards so I had a clean slate to work with.




MEASURE FOR BASE

I used 2x4s and cheap plywood for the base because I planned on covering it with the shelves so it wouldn't been seen. Check your 2x4s when you're buying them to make sure they're straight and it'll spare you a massive headache! I drilled the base into my studs with 2.5" screws to secure it. I then screwed the plywood to the top.





BUILD EACH SHELVING UNIT/DRAWER UNIT

I chose to divide the wall into 3 lower units and then 4 boxes to add on top. I used an ikea dresser I already owned for my drawers and just took off the legs so I could attach it directly to my base. I used a mix of blondewood and mdf for my project- honestly because that’s what I had enough of at the time. I didn’t want to use mdf for the whole thing because it’s more finicky to work with than wood but it can certainly be done that way and would save a bit of money! For each shelving unit I used 3/4” blondewood for the outside and 3/4” mdf for the shelves. I had the wood cut lengthwise at Lowes to save myself time and then cut the shelves down to size at home with my circular saw. My 90 degree angle clamp made this SO much easier since I was doing it solo! Make sure you're building on a level surface and continuously level throughout the project. This is especially important when attaching the shelves!

After completing each unit, I measured exactly where I wanted my mirror and glued it to the wall. I also added backing to my shelves because I didn't want to worry about fixing the sheetrock I damaged while doing the demo. This step isn't necessary- I just wanted to make sure it looked nice and finished!




ATTACH EACH UNIT TO BASE/WALL STUDS

After building each unit, I brought it in and attached it to the base. I also secured it to the wall by finding the studs and screwing it into those. Again, make sure to use your level because your walls may not be perfectly straight. I used shims to account for this! Always go by what's level as opposed to what's already there..your builder isn't perfect and you find this out the more projects you take on!


BUILD UPPER SHELVING + ATTACH TRIM

After completing the lower part of the shelves, I decided to break up the upper parts and build 4 boxes where I could store bins/purses. It was easier building them separately as opposed to one long unit because these get VERY heavy and just lifting one at a time was enough for me! I then attached them to the base unit and secured them to studs in the wall.

For the trim, I wanted a pretty minimal, modern look so I used lattice to finish the front of the shelves and then 1x2s and 1x4s for the top. I attached these to the front of the unit with my nail gun. I also attached the baseboard and upper molding.



FINISHING WORK

I used wood filler to fix the nail holes and caulk for each seam to give it a more finished look. Wipe down your wood with a damp cloth to get rid of any sawdust and once it's completely dry, you're ready to paint! I used Valspar Cabinet paint in Polar White. Make sure to use a cabinet roller instead of a paintbrush so it looks finished and you don't see streaks. Let it dry and you're ready to fill her up!


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