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Small Closet Redo :: Coming out of the Closet on the Coat Closet


The Coat Closet Next to our Kitchen

I guess it is time for me to update you on some of the work going on around my house. I will be working on the kitchen soon, a fact that I have mentioned frequently to almost anyyyyone. In this post, though, a small closet redo, on one adjacent to the kitchen and underneath the stairs.

The kitchen is partially complete, that is — before we moved in, we laid out, built and installed our cabs (my cabinet guy built the boxes and he installed them).

We updated plumbing, electric and HVAC, slapped in some lights and capped those cabs with some salvaged granite. (“Salvaged granite,” you might say – well, that is a story for another time).  We installed some fixtures, and we chose stainless for the appliances . . . which I installed myself.

Where did this get us? Well . . . to about ½ a kitchen. Enough to live with – but my wife actually broke down in tears recently with the simple suggestion that we had lived like this for about four years now. And I can’t really blame her.

One of the biggest highlights of the work  — cutting a pass-thru opening in the wall that divides the kitchen from the living room.  Other fun in here – we will be installing a custom-built hutch and a cute little bench under a window.

While painful at times, one thing our extended timeline has given us is, well, time . . . and we (me and the misses) have discussed these alterations like forever. But before I could get into any of it – I felt it necessary to address (separately) both a closet and a pantry that adjoin the kitchen.  My work there has included some fixes on exterior issues, too, in and around these locations.


My Small Closet ReDo

Work in my coat closet under the stairs included (this post and these pictures do not capture all):

My Small Closet ReDo in Detail

In the small coat closet, the first big issue (and yes it had been gutted for awhile and . . . was acting pretty effectively as a rather large toy chest) one badly eaten corner stud. I’ve told you of the termites that had there way with this house for many, many years, right?  No. Well, maybe? . . . Anyway — not really a big deal and not getting all funky with it, I removed a haphazardly installed sister in favor of a stud that would actually run down to and bear on the home’s central beam.

Right near this, I dug out a bunch of rotten and decomposing wood from along the house’s sill.  A messy job that took far too long.  For this, my primary tool was a flat bar.  I worked briefly on a low section of the porch just on the other side of the wall (pictured). And we continue to work on the porch roof flashing and exterior paint there, almost as we speak.

Installing Rigid Foam Insulation

Before hanging drywall, I installed a layer of Super TUFF rigid insulation by Dow (after checking in of course with their help line).  I tooled around with the floor finish.  My tests are ongoing. (FWIW Rigid Insulation really became a go to in this house.)

The Framing in this Closet was Unconventional

To fit in a neatly leveled ceiling, at a height for the folks of today – I added a v-notch (not too proudly) to the offset stringer of the turned stairs above.  Other unorthodox behavior in this little room included framing the doorway in an existing wall where no framed wall existed.

What I mean — the original wainscoting, you see, was sent through the finished flooring and was attached directly to the floor system, the joist below.  And that’s it. I did not want to disturb it, so I compensated by framing out the doorway using 2x4s laying flat – 3 ½” wide on the facing side. Later I capped (or covered) the framing with a combination of primed 1x pine and poplar, for a spartan, but eventually painted finish.

Installing Cedar Paneling

To cover the underside of the stringers, I selected what else – cedar paneling – you know that 5/16 variety that you can find at almost any home center. (I mean who doesn’t  love the smell of cedar and it is great in closets!)

Editor’s Note: For more you might see this article on Cedar Lined Closets from Bob Vila.

Installing a Shelf and Rod

I installed just one shelf (per my wife’s spec) on two handy little shelf/pole brackets (on sale for 90c each at the HD).  Note:  I did find it funny that with HD and well with the blue store too, each had an amble supply of 1 1/4, 1 5/16 and 1 ½ poles/dowels – but all associated socket hardware was stocked only in a 1 3/8 size.  (Must be I don’t know everything I need to know about closet design. But no matter, I decided to forgo that method anyhow.)

I still have separate sets of hooks that I plan to mount to some scrap 1x. A little router work and I just saved myself $40, easy.  Plus . . . a good project for me and the girls, I have let them paint the “boards” already.  I will mount the hooks and hang the rails later.

I painted with marine paint for the first time. Rust-Oleum TopSide to be exact. This alkyd paint is easy to use and fairly easy to clean up. It worked very well on the MDF I used for the shelf. (I had always heard it is great for original wood window pockets – you know, like the ones I have. But make sure to read the prep instructions before you purchase.)


Another Closet, the Pantry …

I now turn my attention to the Pantry where I have the following items planned:

I hope on these items I have a little more time to write and, well, to tell you about What I Did.

Thanks for reading. For more from our Closets category, here. ~jb

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