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Closet Office 5

In a previous posting I explained why I built the deck and the support cleats the way I did, I showed the trash shelf side, but didn’t go into detail on the other side.  I cut the deck short on both sides deliberately.

The first reason is it is  a whole lot easier to install it especially when your walls are not square or flat.

Secondly is wire and cable management. Look at your desk right now. You probably have wires all over. If you have pets they are probably getting fuzzy.

Here is the left side of the desk.

At the top center is the DSL modem for the internet. The day before yesterday there was a cable modem and a cable router.

Below that is an 8 port D Link hub for the network wires we added in other areas of the house. Behind the Fax machine is the phone lines for the modem and Fax machine. There are still a lot of business that requires faxes.   Also not shown is the cover plate for the network and CATV cables.

Here is a closer view of the tower and the surge suppressor. Don’t connect electronics without one.

The tower box was built out of leftover material from another project. I attached it to the underside of the deck to keep it off the floor and make it easier to clean around. Plus keeping the cables off the ground. On the left is the surge suppressor,(I use Belkin) which has everything plugged into it. They can reach the plugs if they have to change things as well as adding new stuff.   This has the switch pointed out so that when they are not going to be using the office they can shut down the entire system saving money without having vampire drains on the electric system. You would be surprised how much electricity these things use on standby.

Yes I still need to clean up the cables, but it will be easy. I like easy.

Storage Project 6

The floor is finished and the last of the installers are out of the attic and the shelves are in. 12 feet wide, 6 feet high and 24” deep.

It wont take long to fill up.

Recap:

Storage Project 1
Storage Project 2
Storage Project 3
Storage Project 4
Storage Project 5

Closet Office 4

There was a push to get the components up and running for the Internet install as the clients were bundling and changing providers. So there was a mad dash to get the stuff installed and connected. Mission accomplished.

Not shown but behind the LCD display is the 2 1/2” grommet for passing cables under the deck and out of sight.

Note: The deck is 29” off the floor. This allows you to slide a 2 drawer file cabinet underneath in case you want to.

A 2 1/2 ” grommet is standard and  can be found in the big box stores. So is the hole saw. Back in the day I used to install computers with parallel cables. They fit through this size. You don’t want to know what you have to do to customize a 2 1/4” grommet.

On the right is the trash shelf. I recycled the material from a shelving  unit from another closet. The slot on the bottom allows the client to collect trash for shredding and recycling. The slot was cut with a 2” hole saw and a jig saw was used to connect the two holes. I used blue tape on my cut lines to minimize chipping as I cut,

Checking Internet connectivity.

It works.

I will get some better pictures once we get all of the crap out of this room.

Cause all the stuff that was in the closet is behind me.

Closet Office 3

We are doing a lot of recycling in the closet office. Here is a progress shot of the current state of affairs.

The deck is salvaged from the old bedroom where the current office is. The shelving unit upper is the old closet shelf. The dividers are scrap 2×4’s from the Storage Project
The shelving unit bottom is salvaged from the old storage room. A note about the cubbys. They are 11” deep and 9” inside. the 2×4 dividers are 10” deep. This allows the client to store various papers in them as well as having easy access either from the top or either edge.

The arrival of the paperless office is a premature announcement.

The deck is shorter than the space available, by design. Home offices have a lot of cords, plugs, and paraphernalia around them. The cleats for the deck look like this.

The back cleat is screwed into the studs with 3” deck screws. The arms are screwed into the front and rear cleats even with our opening. This allows a space on the left for running our phone, internet, and networking cables as well as the various boxes they connect to. The right side will have a small shelving unit made from left over material from another project and will have a slot with a trash can underneath for trash and shredder materials.

Here is our closet office with the light on.

The light is deliberately placed so that the desk area has task lighting and the wall between the cubby unit and the deck does not have direct light. This translates into no glare on the monitor and soft reflected light on the walls. Which is why we painted this BEHR Ultra White. The down side to this is all the White outlets and plugs look grey. I am not an advocate of painting cover plates or outlets.

Quick note on the cubbys. The next person who paints them will swear a lot. Me, I painted before assembly.

But no day on this project would be complete without a trip into the attic. But we have a fax line and pre wire for a phone line.

Closet Office 2

In our last episode we had done the demo, run the electric, built a deck/ceiling frame, and done some taping.
The taping on the cornerbead is done the texture is matched, and it has been primed.
Upper Storage
I have also installed the plywood floor for the upper storage area.

Note that I taped the ceiling and wall to limit the mess as I finished the face of the closet office. I pre-drilled the plywood and screwed it down. It is a two piece installation as there is a wing on both sides. The plywood in front comes even with our drywall and is covered with a 1×6 MDF trim board.
Here is a longer shot.

I extended the trim to the wall on the right and an equal distance on the left. This allows the homeowner to attach curtains if that is their choice. The work top will not extend beyond the sides of the closet so the ability to install bi-fold doors is also open.

In addition to screwing the MDF to the header in front, I also screwed it to the plywood using a thinner screw known as a trim head to stiffen the deck and the corner.

I used quick clamps to align the trim and deck as I screwed it together.

Closet Office Ceiling
The first thing here is installing the electric box and blocking. This is the box recycled from the ceiling in the storage area project.

The placement of the box was decided by the fixture I am using, which in this case is an switched 18” flat florescent. Because of the mounting holes for this fixture I installed a 2×4 backing strip on the left. Because the back wall is next to the garage I caulked the hole where the romex came through, (despite the fact the wall is insulated, it gets moved and bunched up when you run wires through it) and stapled the romex in place which is just good technique. This will provide general lighting on the work surface. The box allows the client the ability to change the fixture in the future if desired.

In measuring the closet it turns out that it is not square. No surprise here. My first sheet goes from 22 1/2” on the left to 23 1/4” on the right.

Here is a trick for cutting small angles. I took my drywall square and lined it up with my measurement marks and used a couple of quick clamps to hole it down as I cut the sheet.

This works fine for small angles, larger ones require either a chalk line or a straight edge.
After cutting and buffing it, I trial fitted it to see that it would fit without breaking any corners or edges.

The light box is in this sheet so I made my measurements and used a circle cutter to make my outline. I used a keyhole saw to cut it out.

Here is a tip for cutting holes. When cutting close to the edge of a sheet, start your cut at the narrowest point to the edge and cut away from it. The chances of breaking the sheet go way down when done this way.

Taping
I taped the ceiling box with blue tape to avoid crap in it. Having hung the drywall, I masked the wall and mesh taped all of the seams.

Next up is taping.

Flat taping into corners like this is more art than science, as you have to cover the tape and yet not so hard into the corners that you telegraph the wall texture into your mud. It leaves ridges at right angles to the line of your mud. Sand or fill. If needed your second coat can run from the wall edge to the feather edge to fill in those ridges. Depending on how picky you are. As you can see taping the ceiling box closed was a good idea.
After sanding, I removed the masking paper, ran a small bead of caulk into the corners and primered.

Leave the tape on the box until your painting is done and you are installing your light.

Next up will be shelving and decking.

Closet Office 1

This is a typical closet in a ‘modern’ home. Around 2 feet deep, 7 feet wide and on the inside 8 feet tall.

This design is cheap and fast to build and keeps the bi fold and slide-by door industries alive. It is also the whipping boy and training center for young drywall hangers and tapers. Closets are the last things to get hung and taped so they are usually not the best finished inside.

We will turn this into a home office. We will need to install electricity, cabling for network, telephone, space for the cable modem, router, hub, a desk surface, shelving and storage. We are not changing the basic exterior dimensions as the window on the right side limits depth expansion. But I will grab every bit of space I can.
The area above the header on the inside is awkward as a closet as anybody who has been smacked on the head is probably nodding.

We are going to create storage here. First up after removing the rod and shelf,(leaving the cleats as we will be reusing the shelf) we run a band of 2×4 around the interior of the closet above the door opening.

This will serve as the ceiling for the office as well as the deck for the storage above. I placed these above the opening in front to flat tape the ceiling and not need to skim coat the walls.
After completing the deck/ceiling I opened up the front of the closet from the top of the header to the bottom of the top plates. There were no cripples above the header, which is just a 2×4 flat with a 2×4 nailed to it in front for nailing and hopefully to keep the opening level.

I also pulled a power leg from the outlet I have already run to power the overhead light.

After cleaning up the opening I corner beaded it on both sides and mudded it.

Tip: In spaces like this, finish the mudding before installing the floor and ceiling. You may also to paint it also.

Next up, rough in and taping.

Flat Screen TV Install Episode 4

The TV is installed. That was relatively straightforward minus the electric untangling.

tv2

The closet is done and getting populated.

Now.

closet3

Then

closet1

Now

closet4

Then

closet2

Putting in the TV boxes and making popcorn.

Shelving

In the closet behind the Flat Screen TV Install we built a couple of wide shelves out of a Bi-Fold Door. We needed to shelve the rest of the space. Because of the width of the space(41”) and the depth of the shelves (15”) we made them out of 3/4” plywood.

The client decided how much space she needed between the various shelves which determined the spacing. In small sizes plywood is a sound shelf. In larger sizes you need to stiffen it for use.

Having determined our locations, the first order was to install wall cleats to support the back and sides of our shelves.
cleats1
These were made with 1×2 pine screwed to the studs with 2- 2” deck screws at each stud location. The right side pictured here has the cleat extending beyond the face of the shelf due to the location of the stud. Not elegant but sturdy.

Here is our closet with the cleats installed.  You can also see the outlet mounted for the TV toys, Dish receiver, DVD/VCR Player, surround sound, etc. Also are the holes for passing the cables between the boxes and the TV. I offset the holes between the front and back to that light was not an issue. Yes I know it is a picky detail.

cleats2

Shelf Edge Detail

The fronts of the ply shelves are  reinforced with an aluminum channel. Here is a photo showing the edge detail at the front of the shelves. This is an aluminum channel cut to length and glued and screwed to the front edge of the shelf. I used a countersink bit to drill the holes to keep the top of the screw below the face of the channel.  We also sanded the channel and sprayed it with KILZ primer sealer as a base coat for the finish paint. Latex paints do not stick to metal very well.  We are using Shelving and BEHR Premium Plus Ultra   Semi Gloss in White.

edgedetail

Speaking of BEHR

We bought a can of BEHR Premium Plus Ultra to try out. I will not recommend or use it again. The theory is that having the primer and paint will save time and or steps. It doesn’t.  The cost of materials is basically the same within a buck, and your savings come from having to cover the area once.  It did not seal and cover the mill stamp(the black printing that is stamped on all lumber telling you where it was produced) and the two areas we used it in had an uneven finish. Part gloss part flat. We ended up second coating it. No net savings labor wise.

It is still better to use primer and paint as separate operations. Priming coats and seals your wall surfaces, as well as pointing out defects that get covered by sanding so you can fix them before putting down you final color.

I am still a Fanboy of BEHR Paint, just not the primer/sealer paint.

Here is our closet with the shelves installed and painted.

cleats3

Flat Screen TV Install Episode 3 Pantry Side

Having finished the viewing side and mounted the TV,
flat1
It is time to check the progress on the pantry side.

After removing the box that held the old TV, we sorted out the wiring. We also saw a bit of history. This area was originally a pantry that was about 8 feet wide. It was shortened to install a built in large side by side reefer/freezer during a previous kitchen remodel. It was further shortened with the arrival of the projection TV.
tvwall4
The various colors display the history of shelving.

One of the things we are trying to do is to recover the maximum amount of space. One of these areas in behind the built in reefer.
This was the access for the back of the reefer.
cubbystart
There is a good bit of space behind this wall. First up was to open up this wall to access the area for storing the 16 folding chairs and 4 folding tables that used to be in the main closet. Trust me it was packed.
cubbytwo
One of the requirements was shelves that were at least 14” wide and 21 inches high for a series of serving dishes. They could be higher as these are not everyday dishes.
Hollow core doors to the rescue. We bought a 30” bifold door, and remodeled it to provide the shelves we needed.  Basically we cut the door into two pieces, and joined them together to form our shelves.  We installed 1/2” cleats around the perimeter to hold the shelves in place.
hcd1
Here is a detail.
hcd2
We only needed to add 5/8” to the end of the doors for a perfect fit.
hcd3
Hollow core doors are not for heavy shelving applications. But there are many places where you need wider than normal shelving and these are a cheap alternative to manfacturing shelving in odd spaces. Occasionally you can find them in the clearance bins at the big box stores due to a surface defect that will not hurt their lives as shelving.

Flat Screen TV Install Episode 2

One of the objectives is to de-clutter the viewing area for the new flat screen. Behind the old TV was this.
Cables everwhere
Here is the rats nest of old cable, new cable, surround sound cables, connectors for the old vcr and splitters.

After demoing the box on the closet side, I reused the lumber to create the new wall on this side. I used the bracket to locate the 2- 2 1/2” holes for the various cables to pass through. The new TV has the connectors on the right, but in the case they replace this TV they have the ability to hide the cables regardless of which side the TV connects.
tvwall3

I may have mentioned before that remodeling is never as easy as the plan. You know, demo the closet, build a wall, mount the TV, build some shelves. Well the demo brought up a surprise with the outlet that had been supplying power to the old TV. There was a standard piece of 12/2 romex as expected for the end of a circuit. There was also a piece of 12/3 romex that terminated in the box. Somebody had wired 1/2 of the plug on one circuit and the other half was a different circuit, both fed from the same breaker.
electric1

But Wait! There’s More! Not only were there two circuits in this box, but the outlets, lights and fans in the viewing room were also on the same circuit. This led to computers eating power supplies, fans shutting down computers and other interesting effects.
Code? Code is not even in the same county!
A call to Joe the Electrician brought him out to straighten out this mess. We now have a dedicated circuit for the computers, a separate lighting and fan circuit, and a circuit for the TV.
We are moving on.