Friday, June 1, 2012

Master Closet Storage

Not too long ago, our master closet looked like this:

We added the rods right after we moved in because we were just living out of a suitcase.  Then came the upper shelf.  Just like with the pantry and laundry shelves, we salvaged the melamine boards used to form our concrete counters and made shelves out of them, saving us $100-$200 in all.

This big blank wall is where shelves for more of my clothes will go.  I tossed around lots of ideas from a built in unit similar to the bathroom, to free standing already built bookcases and cubbies from Lowes or Ikea.  And cheap was definitely a priority.  

This is the awkward shelf space that we almost didn't have at all.  They were going to build those walls straight up until I stopped them.  The reason it's there at all is for head clearance on the stairs (the part where it turns and going out onto the deck).  So, I said make it as high as head clearance needs, then put a lid on it.  Thus, creating this awkward ledge area.

Notice how the top of the ledge still shows sub flooring and the drywall shows a raw edge on top.

A trip (aka "date night") to Ikea (that's right. we know how to party) was planned, complete with dinner in the cafeteria.  I was getting discouraged because I didn't see anything that would work for our narrow wall and in our budget, that is until we got to the shelving department.

I can't find the exact shelf online (ours was $7 and solid pine), but it looked kinda like this one.  They come unfinished and needed to be sanded, stained, and sealed.  Sorry, I didn't photograph those steps since I've shown it before on here.

And I picked out these brackets because...well isn't it obvious?  They were 50 cents!  And not bad looking.  I got white ones so they would blend in with the wood trim in the room.  Because they are small and made of plastic, they aren't very strong, but the only thing I'm putting on the shelves is clothing so it will be fine.  I would only worry if I was going to put books on them.

I contemplated spray painting them a cheerful color, but couldn't decide on one, so they are still white.

On top of the really high shelf is where I store my totes and handbags.  Everything was just tossed up there and I couldn't get them down without getting the folding step stool from the kitchen.  I was going to buy a storage bin, until I went in the garage and saw a huge pile of moving boxes about to be burned/recycled.  One of those would be the perfect size.   And perfect price ;-)

I cut the flaps off and cut out some hand-holds for easy usage.  A scrap piece of card stock label was fast and easy and makes it look less like a random cardboard box.  It serves it's purpose.  I might add another one for the larger tote bags.

Over in the awkward got less awkward.  Matt capped it with melamine board (yes, one more repurposed piece), and trimmed the edge with a piece of wood to hide the ugly "innards" of the pressed melamine board and also the rough drywall edge (still needs to be painted!)

Also, purchased at Ikea that night was this step stool I'd been eyeing for quite a while.  I've seen it featured on other blogs and even used as a small side table.  I needed it to reach the top shelf of the closet.  When you utilize your tall shelves with storage, you need step stools within arms reach.  

Everything from Ikea "packs flat" in other words "if you want a low price, you assembly yourself".  I couldn't wait to unpack and assembly myself.  It wasn't too difficult.  And NO, this is not "building your own furniture"!  Why do people say that??  "My husband built this."  No, he "assembled it".  Kinda like when people in new subdivisions say "When we built this house...".  You did not build that house.  The developer did.  I don't even like to take credit for building our house!


Getting back on track.

I've seen it painted all different colors too and thought it would be fun to paint mine a fun color.  It would need to be a color pulled out of the rag rug on the closet floor, which was easy because there are so many colors in it.  I almost went with coral, but the rug already had a lot of coral, I thought it would be too much.  And aqua is one of my top favorite colors and goes with my clothing well.  So aqua it is.  I picked out a valspar color because Lowes will mix up any color for just $3.  One little jar is plenty for a small piece of furniture.

All new wood will need a little sanding before and after the first coat of paint(or primer) goes on.  I didn't prime it because I was lazy and didn't want to dirty another brush.  It'll be fine.  After the first coat of paint, all the little wood "hairs" will stand up and get hard and dry from the paint.  Another round of quick sanding will take care of them.

As I was painting, I wanted to do something fun that I had seen on dresser drawer fronts and table tops: stencil or tape off a design and leave the wood showing through.

I don't have a photo, but I just applied a bunch of water tight painters tape (I used Frog Tape that seals as you paint).  Then sketched a design onto the tape and used a sharp knife to cut it out.  Only thing left to do was paint.

Be sure to take the tape off while the last coat is still wet.  This helps keep clean lines and prevents the paint or tape from tearing.

The last step was the apply polyurethane to the top of the stool.  I don't have a before and after of that but, it deepens the wood color slightly and also creates a seal on the wood.  Since the unpainted wood has no protection, it's important for durability since there will be feet on it.

In it's new home.

The last project featured was actually the first project completed.  I knew from the beginning that I didn't want a door on the closet.  With the bed centered under the window, it didn't leave much room for a door to swing out.  And there definitely wasn't much room for a door to swing in.  Lots of other bloggers have even removed closet doors and replaced them with curtains.  So when our house was built, we didn't even have a door jam installed, and saved a little money by not buying a door.

Again, going with something cheap and quick, I got one of those $2 rods from Target.  I thought about making a curtain panel, but I wouldn't really be saving much money and would still have to spend the time sewing it.  

At Target, I found a curtain panel that was the perfect shade of gray to match our duvet cover.  And BONUS, it's made out of this really chunky soft linen, which has beautiful texture to it.

Using tree branches is the "trendy" thing right now, and I hope that sticks around (haha that pun was a total accident) because I love the look, and I have lots of branches!  The style is very fitting to our house, ya know, since we're in the woods in all.

Now we can close the curtain to hid all the hanging clothes.  I was really getting tired of looking at them while I lie in bed.

Oh, and that texture I was telling you about.  It gave me a nice surprise at night with the light on.  Pretty cool effect, right.

4 Mini Projects
Shelves (3 cut in half): $21
Brackets (12): $6
Stain: already had
Poly: $5
Sandpaper: already had

Step stool: $15
Paint: $3
Painters tape: already had

Melamine board: already had
Wood trim: $3

Curtain: $20
Curtain Tie-back: free from yard
Curtain Rod: $2


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