And the award for most boring blog post title goes to….points thumbs towards self…moi. I honestly couldn’t think of anything witty for tonight’s post. Maybe I’m tired. Although I do have about 5 post titles all picked out, some of which we have projects for. But back to today’s post. As the title alludes, we’re talking closet building and painting and how we turned our closet into this:
After it spent WAY too long looking like this:
Although, if you sneak onto our Instagram page you may get a peak of our closet organizing in progress and a nearly finished closet space (shameless Instagram plug). But have no fear, we will catch up on our closet building/painting/organizing progress here on the blog in due time grasshopper. As a refresher, we came up with this plan for our master closet:
We intended to use 3/4″ particle board, also known as furniture board, which is a pretty popular product for cabinet and furniture building. It’s not as high quality as a 3/4″ plywood but it’s lighter weight (slightly) and cheaper at only $20 per sheet Lowes, compared to $40 for the plywood. We ended up needing three of the 4′ x 8′ sheets for a grand total of $60 in particle board. With our plan and materials on hand, we moved on to the construction part of the project.
We strategically planned our closet’s depth to the max depth we could get away with without needing to move the outlet, a max depth of 28″ which was just enough space for us.
With the closet depths marked out, we needed to remove the baseboards where the closet would sit. It was kind of painful removing relatively new baseboards. It still feels like yesterday when we were painting the floor in this room and installing the baseboards. To remove the them, Colby used our Milwaukee multi-tool with the blade attachment while using a square to keep his cut as square and level as possible.
With the baseboards removed, we began to build up the closet from the floor up. If you’ve been with us for awhile, you already know how un-square and un-level our 100+ year old home is. For those of you who are new, the un-level and un-squareness of our home is the bain of our existence and we constantly find ourselves working around it. With this project, we wanted our closet to be as level as possible so we built the closet up off the floor and made sure that our closet base was level. To do this Colby screwed a few pieces of pine into the wall, 100% level, which will serve as support wood for the particle board base.
Here’s a view of the pine supports, which are screwed into the wall with your run of the mill sheet rock screws.
After carefully measuring the space where the closet base will sit, Colby went out to the driveway (where we setup a makeshift shop since the sheets of particle board are large and cumbersome to maneuver through our home or in the basement workshop) to cut the base piece using a circular saw. Random side note, when dealing with a stack of particle board like this, you can layer a few chunks of pine between the sheets to prop it up enough to cut the top piece without damaging the bottom pieces.
In went the base piece of our closet which was screwed into the supports attached to the wall. Colby also added a few “feet” underneath the front parts of the closet to support the front from underneath. Those will later be covered up with baseboards but likely not until we install our new flooring. Before starting to build the closet up, Colby made sure the base was as level as possible. Any out of whack-ness would come back to haunt us later when building shelves, doors, etc. Thankfully, the closet base was perfectly level.
Next, Colby measured, cut, and nailed in five more pieces of particle board. That’s two large strips to form each set of side shelves and one piece of particle board in the middle to divide the his closet from the hers closet. He also started cutting and nailing in the top shelf part. We didn’t have quite enough particle board for a full, one-piece shelf but had shelf halves leftover from the other cuts so two boards ended up making up that top part. At this point in the closet build, the pieces aren’t too secure. They wobble alot (especially the middle board) since there’s not much for the boards to nail into, but that gets fixed in a moment.
Obligatory shot of the bottom part of the closet so you can see how it’s built right up to the baseboards:
It was about this point in the project that I decided I was taking a blog hiatus. That meant Colby continued to build and I stopped taking pics. But the show must go on folks so I’ll try my best to explain the rest of the build using the following pic:
Here are the details on each of these closet anatomy pieces:
- Support & Trim: The middle sections of particle board ended up being super wobbly since there wasn’t a simple way to nail them or secure them to the wall directly. Thus, Colby ripped down some pine to 3/4″ x 1″ and nailed them first into the wall and then nailed them to the particle board, making sure each piece was secured and vertically level.
- Hides Seam: This is just a regular ol’ piece of 3/4″ x 6″ pine nailed to the particle board shelves to join them together and form what looks like a solid shelf. The pine also helps support the top shelf of the closet. Eventually, our closet rods will be installed just underneath this piece of pine so hopefully it doesn’t look too weird.
- Door Frame: Eventually our closet will have two sets of doors. To prep for the doors, Colby had to build a basic door frame. To do this, he capped the particle board with 3/4″ x 1″ pine, the same depth as the doors will be. This pine capping also provides a place for the door hinges to screw into. Bonus…it even gives the closet a more finished look than just the raw edge of the particle board.
- Crown: It looked really weird just having the closet particle board pieces jet straight up to the ceiling. It felt unfinished. So we added some basic crown/trim pieces. It’s 3/4″ x 2″ pine pieces nailed around the top of the taller, end closets. Here’s a closer look of the closet crown.
Hopefully that all makes sense. It was a pretty easy build, just tedious in measuring, marking, cutting, tweaking and installing since dealing with an un-square home is never simple. In the end, we were left with a closet that looked like this:
And it was left like that for FAR too long before we finally decided to punch/fill all those nail holes and paint the closet up properly. We ended up painting the closet our go to white, Valspar’s Betsy’s Linen, in a semi-gloss finish. Although, we did switch the paint to Benjamin Moore, you know, since we’re currently having a love affair, and had the paint color matched.
Can we just talk about the tediousness of painting this closet?! So much cutting in! In retrospect, I wish we had painted the pieces as we went. It would have saved a ton of time in cutting in and we could have rolled pretty much the whole thing. But no, we didn’t think of that until we were on our FOURTH coat of white paint after priming the entire closet with one coat of primer! In retrospect number two, I probably should have primed the closet twice before breaking out the paint. Since it was a white over wood, it took too many coats of paint to get a solid, even finish. But alas, it’s done. Next step, shelf building (which you can kind of see where we started in the pic above).
Pssst…Show of hands, anyone else have trouble getting good white paint coverage? Did you end up using two coats of primer before painting? Did it help? I’m totally curious it that would have saved us from our four coats of paint dilemma.