Thursday, August 30, 2018

0 No But Seriously, The Master Closet

Okay, so the last post was almost two years ago, and it was titled as if we'd actually completed it, which was not true. It still took us the next year and a half to make incremental progress.

In April of 2017, I was ready to jump in. I'd just completed my busy season for work and was ready to get back into house projects, and the closet was the most nagging thing on my mind. A room I see every day. That's supposed to be organized in such a way that I can walk in in the morning and not have to think too hard. Where everything is in place. This was not the case. It needed to change.

The first major change we needed was lighting. The current array was just two bare bulbs - one on the slanted ceiling at the entrance and one on the wall at the back. Not ideal for making sure you have two black socks. I thought for a long time about maybe having clamp-style lighting on the top of the shelves all strung together, or maybe using cheap sconces, or any number of other silly ideas. I finally landed on just using LED recessed lighting, and rather than trying to get them in the slanted ceiling, I'd build a bulkhead that spanned the entire length.

I built the bulkhead as three boxes essentially. I started by measuring how far out from the wall the lights would have to be, and then measuring how much clearance I had between the top of the shelves and the ceiling. I then was able to determine how deep to make the boxes, so that they basically would come close to meeting the top of the shelves while also touching the ceiling at the top of the box. The middle of the two boxes had to be shallow so that I could build a frame around the vent pipes on the wall. I also had to make sure that the support pieces on each box were placed so that the lights could be nailed in to be centered above each shelf. I then attached the boxes to the wall and to each other and put in the recessed lights.

The ceiling is not quite straight, as most houses aren't, so I just made sure the boxes were level and screwed it all in. Once it was all wired and working, I started adding the drywall. I bought a drywall hole saw specific for the size of light I was working with, rather than trying to manually cut the holes - I've done that, and I'm just not that great at cutting round shapes in drywall.

I also had the idea to use the old mirror closet doors as full length fixed mirrors instead of drywall in front of the drain pipes.They have a metal frame on them that is easily screwed in, and then I figured I'd either paint the frames or cover it with 1x3.

Next, I bought a cheap ceiling light for the center above the mirrors and put it all together.

The worst part about drywall is the mudding and sanding, which I leave to Becky to do - she's better at it than I am, and frankly I don't think she'd trust me to do it anyway! It's such a messy job, though, and so time consuming that we ended up putting it off for another year again. Trying to drywall with two small children would be nearly impossible, and the job couldn't just be done in an afternoon, so we just kept delaying it. Our clothes sat outside the closet so we didn't have to face our procrastination. Then, after another winter cooped up inside, we finally got it done.

It was at this point, now that the room wasn't a disaster, that I realized I needed to frame in the mirror, both to cover up the 2x4 sides and to make it match the rest of the closet a little better. I bought some 1x10 for the sides and 1x4 for the front and built a frame to fit right over the mirror, using the Kreg jig to hide all the fasteners on the front.

Instead of trying to drywall that ceiling gap where the wall used to be, we used another piece of 1x10 to close up that hole.

I also, in all of this, took out a pole on what would be Becky's side, opting instead to move the pole to the opposite end of the closet, so that all of my hanging clothes would be by the rest of my stuff. It also allowed me to build a shelf on that end.

It was FINALLY time to put it all together.

The flooring is still an issue, just crappy reclaimed carpet, but it wouldn't be a Wolven project if we didn't leave at least one thing undone! Thanks for reading!


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