Saturday, March 5, 2016

Creating My Dream Closet :)

Hey ya'll! It's been a while. I have so much to catch up on as far as blogging is concerned, it's not even funny. Today I'm sharing my progress on my master bedroom closet built-in. It's been a pretty big project. Now I completely understand why custom built-ins are so expensive! But it does feel good to create something on your own from concept to finish. So, here it goes! This is my progress to date.....
The closet was NOT functional
The Problem.....
The problem here is that I have a 1980's double closet with tons of non-accessible dead space. It just didn't make sense. There was sheet rock separating the 2 closets, so the hanging space behind that was pretty much impossible to reach. Then on each side of the closets to the right and the left, there was additional space that was very hard to reach.

So embarrassing......
The Solution....
I needed more drawer space. I had way too many things hanging that didn't actually need to hang.... So I set out to design my perfect custom closet with a media center for my TV. My ultimate goal is to create the perfect master retreat where I can escape the world and just relax. This is the starting point.

Step 1: Measure a billion times and draw out your plans
I wanted to utilize every square inch of space that I could. So I measured over and over again then started drawing out my plans. Sawdust girl has a really good tutorial on this. I'm a bit old school, so I prefer to use pencil and paper.
Step 1: Draw out your plans
Step 2: Do Math
Next, I figured out the dimensions of each box that I needed to create. I went to a random website and entered my dimensions and quantities for every box that I needed to create. The site laid out my cut sheet quite nicely and I was able to figure out how many 4x8 sheets of mdf I needed to buy. I also decided to use beadboard for the back of the cabinets, just because I love the look and feel of it.

Tip: Go to your local lumber yard to purchase building materials. It is so much cheaper than the big box stores.
Step 3: Demo
We demolished the old closet and did a little reframing for added support. I also had my dad cut into the studs so that I could utilize some of the space above where a standard bi-fold closet door goes. I hate all of that wasted space. I planned on putting a cabinet there, so it had to go!

Tearing away existing trim...

Sheetrock is cut away at the top and in the middle. The wall in the middle was not structural but we reinforced it anyway.
Step 4: Cabinet Bases
We built the bases for the boxes out of 2x4's. This way I was able to literally build a box for my cabinets, and using a base like this is so easy to shim and level. We made the bases and screwed them together. The cabinet boxes will sit on these.

Cabinet bases to set the boxes on. Constructed out of 2x4 material.
Step 4: To the shop!!!
We went to my dad's shop to build the cabinet boxes. It is important to make sure you ALWAYS have a shop buddy there to bark at you every time you make a cut on the saw or use your drill.

Rudy the border collie. Loves to bark and scare the crap out of you when you least expect it.
We assembled the boxes. My dad still hasn't forgiven me for using MDF rather than a sanded ply.... I chose MDF for the boxes because they are going to painted, and the surface is nice and smooth when painted. One of the huge disadvantages of working with this material is that it's so dang heavy.
After cutting on the panel saw, we assembled the boxes in the shop.
**Make sure you square up your cabinets before attaching the back piece**

Step 5: The Install
Time to put these suckers in place. We secured them by screwing them to each other as well as to the studs in the wall.

My solution to utilize the dead space in the wall. Shelves for shoes!
Cabinet install

Step 6: Prime & Paint
I LOVE paint sprayers. I use a Graco Magnum 15. Once you learn how to use it, you'll love it. YouTube taught me well. My dad was kind enough to paint the cabinet boxes for me. I used a kilz primer and Olympic One enamel for finish paint. I had it color matched to Benjamin Moore "White Dove", one of my favorite go-to colors.

I suckered my dad into painting for me :) 

Cabinets after finish paint, color matched to Benjamin Moore "White Dove"

Step 7: Add hardware
I purchased the chrome hanging rods and brackets from Lowe's and used a pipe cutter to cut them down. I love the sharp look of chrome against the white paint. It's beginning to resemble a closet now!

Install hanging rods

Step 8: Install the drawer glides and the drawers
Sawdust girl has a great tutorial for how to build drawers. We built ours with a dado so that the bottom could slide in. Check out her tutorial here: I can honestly say that installing the drawer slides has been my least favorite part of this project.... awkward angles & tight spaces make it pretty difficult. But I got it done and installed the drawer boxes (this is the box only.... the drawer front is what is attached to the box and makes it pretty).

Drawer slides purchased from Lowes

Installed drawer boxes
Custom built-in dividers for organization
Step 9: Build and install the face frame
The face frame is what covers up the raw edge on the cabinet boxes and makes it pretty! They also provide structural support, as well as giving you something to attach your cabinet doors to. My dad has an awesome porter cable pocket hole cutter in his shop, so I didn't have to use one of those silly kreg jigs :) Here's a great tutorial for building and attaching cabinet face frames...

Getting ready to attach the face frame
Face frames installed
Step 10: Trim out the bottom
Now I added my base molding to cover up the 2x4 base. I used my rigid pneumatic air nailer with my porter cable compressor.

Add base molding
Seriously awesome tools
Now it's time to fill holes with wood filler, caulk and paint! And build some drawer fronts for this beast.

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