Laurel Street Blog

Closet Renovation. Our one, and only, closet.

Posted on: February 18, 2009

The Closet Under Old Management (Previous Owners)

The closet under old management (previous owners). Click to see it it's full, magnificent hideousness.

I’m not griping, really. To have only one closet in the entire house, it’s fairly big. In fact, this single closet was added during the renovation in the 1980’s. Houses of this age in New Orleans rarely had built in closets as they were considered additional room and were taxed as such. Early New Orleanians and others in Louisiana made great use of freestanding wardrobes or chifferobes for storage (and still do!).

To begin,  I took measurements and made my drawings. Actually, I probably spend as much times on my drawings than I do in construction generally. I want to be completely satisfied on paper before I make my first move. Plus, a good drawing helps Richard visualize the finished project and gives him some confidence that getting dressed in the dining room for two weeks will pay dividends.

:-)

However, tidy little drawings on 8.5″x11″ paper make a project feel smaller in scale. When you hold the drawings in your hand, it can be a little misleading in regard to what will actually have to happen!

Original Closet Drawings

Original Closet Drawings

So, I unloaded the contents of the closet to the dining room, got my hammer and pry bar and started pulling out the old stuff. Only one original feature was to remain, the original handy man vertical ‘cubes’ that run up the wall by the closet door. Originally intended (I suppose) for shoes, it’s more convenient for us to store folded shirts and shorts, so I’ll build in new shoe storage (the narrow vertical shelving along the back wall of the closet.

The new shelves would all be trimmed in fascia for a custom, built in look. Looking back at the original drawings, I planned to finish the tops of the shelving with crown but once complete, (and due tho the extreme height of our closet) it was unnecessary. Also in these drawings I had wanted to apply some component wire pull-out shelves but I discovered most new modular closet components are built at least 14″ deep. I was working off existing components around 12″ deep. So in the final construction, I just replaced those with additional, standard shelves. Here’s how the project went – not my best photos, I just took them with my iPhone since it was always handy:

Starting Point - notice 'cubes' to the left of the photo

Starting Point - notice 'cubes' to the left of the photo

All old stuff ripped out, my one support board to frame the dressing area and divide the load of the shelves along the longest left wall has gone up.

All old stuff ripped out, my one support board to frame the dressing area and divide the load of the shelves along the longest left wall has gone up.

Cleats for shelving go up. Getting all the cleats on the wall took a lot longer than I thought. Actually, everything about this project took a little longer than I thought ;-)

Cleats for shelving go up. Getting all the cleats on the wall took a lot longer than I thought. Actually, everything about this project took a little longer than I thought ;-)

Carpet goes down. I had never done this before, and the space was very irregular. I had to measure & cut the irregular shape 'in reverse' on the back of the carpet. Actually pretty easy to do. .

Berber carpet goes down. I had never done this before, and the space was very irregular. I had to measure & cut the irregular shape 'in reverse' on the back of the carpet. Actually pretty easy to do.

All shelves are in. Yay! Looking like a closet now.

All shelves are in. Yay! Looking like a closet now.

Fascia goes on to finish the edges, giving a custom look.

Fascia goes on to finish the edges, giving a custom look.

Paint is complete. Ugh, I don't like painting much, especially trim. This closet is nothing but trim. The color is Ralph Lauren 'Galvanized.' I bought a can of semi-gloss white for the shelves, too, but I thought this look was sleeker.

Paint is complete. Ugh, I don't like painting much, especially trim. This closet is nothing but trim. The color is Ralph Lauren 'Galvanized.' I bought a can of semi-gloss white for the shelves, too, but I thought this look was sleeker. I joke that it looks like I created a little Banana Republic in my closet.

Two weekends later, we are no longer getting dressed in the dining room! The photo is not great, but I designed that tall open shelf on the back wall to hold a custom wired lamp from Crate and Barrell.

Two weekends later, we are no longer getting dressed in the dining room! The photo is not great, but I designed that tall open shelf on the back wall to hold a custom wired lamp from Crate and Barrel.

Medicine Cabinet (view from the back of the closet). This was a last minute brainstorm for the dressing area of the closet. I picked up one with a simple top moulding and nice beveled edge for about $80 and painted it in the 'Galvanized" brown color. Great for incidental storage in the dressing area to keep the counter clean.

Medicine Cabinet (view from the back of the closet). This was a last minute brainstorm for the dressing area of the closet. I picked up one with a simple top moulding and nice beveled edge for about $80 and painted it in the 'Galvanized" brown color. Great for incidental storage in the dressing area to keep the counter clean.

Louis (Louie) likes his new room. He hangs out in here during thunderstorms

Louis (Louie) likes his new room. He hangs out in here during thunderstorms.

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Laurel Street Blog

Nate and Louis

Well, hey there. I'm Nathan and this is the Laurel Street Blog. It's a place for talking about design, decor and DIY (with small amounts of snarkery snuck in). I'm a pretty restless guy who loves house projects and lives in a 150+ year old cottage on Laurel Street in New Orleans. Since the house always has something going on with it (or falling off of it) I'm subsequently blessed with a never-ending supply of Web content to share. Oh - and you can drop me a line anytime LaurelStreetNola@gmail.com. Enjoy!

Can I get a tweet up in here? Follow along @LaurelStreet

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