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The Walk In Closet Project Series End

The Walk In Closet is Finished.

This is His side. We had the cabinets painted to match the rest of the room. The client found some containers that fit nicely above the clothes racks.

This is Her side. After assembly, we did some sizing, and added shelves.

This is the other side of her side. You can see the little window which the client will be making a stained glass panel. Also in this picture is the shoe shelf.

The clients reused the track lighting that was removed from another bedroom.

I like the hollow core idea a lot. So when I get my house situated, I will build a closet like it.

The Walk In Closet Project Episode 10

The Walk In Closet Project is racing toward paint.

Here is our first look at the closet entrance


Here is the closet entrance today. The cabinets are in, the hollow core door dividers and shelves are in, the brackets for the clothes rods are in and spackled using DAP Pink Stuff. The shoe shelf has been placed on the left.

The shoe shelf verticals are manufactured 12” shelf material with 1” on center holes, and edge banded on one side. The shelves areĀ  manufactured poly particle board shelves cut to length. The uprights are glued to the wall with Powergrab. I built the walls square and plumb, the tapers laid a consistent texture, we did a very good job of painting, and you will literally have to destroy the wall to get these things off the walls.

This is a cost effective solution, especially if you factor in the labor for designing, cutting, assembling, and finishing a custom unit with a back and finished sides.

We also completed the door and base trims, as this room will be carpeted. We also eliminated the toe kicks under the oak cabinets on the other side of the opening so we have an easy to clean area without weird jogs and small places for dirt and dust to hide.

There are a few details left, like patching the holes in the floor from the old walls and the holes from the tackless carpet strips.

Yes this is one of those little annoying details that you never see described on the home and garden shows.

The photo above shows some of these. You could forget this step, but I wouldn’t advise it. You may get by with 60 dollar a yard carpet, with a real good backing, but just as sure as you walk on the bottoms of your feet, you will walk on the holes, and over time destroy your carpet.

If you use economy grade carpet, it will almost happen in front of your eyes.

You can spend a few minutes doing this yourself, or you will end up paying the carpet guys a lot of money to do this, as they will not install carpet on a ‘holy’ floor, nor will your warranty be any good.

The end game

( I have mentioned on various occasions that remodeling is almost biblical in nature with one thing begatting another. For those of you less comfortable with the spiritual, think of it like a virus, spreading from one area to another)

The photo below looks amazing like the 2nd photo above. It is, but if you look closely into the doorway, you will see another doorway. Behind that doorway lurks……….

the master bathroom! Oh yes, that is where the current end game is. The Walk In Closet Project is merely the prelude to remodeling the master bath. Hidden in the master bath is a closet full of clothes that must move to remodel that room.

The Master Bath Project will have some surprises, which in remodeling are a mixed bag, but it is where the endorphins come from.

The Walk In Closet Project Episode 9

Now that the bases are done, and covered with plywood, it is time to build partitions. For this project, we are using 24×80” hollow core door blanks. There are a couple of reasons. They are dimensionally stable, pre primed, and inexpensive. Around 20 bucks a piece. A 24” panel allows you to center the closet rod at 12” giving you lots of room for hanging your clothes. With a few screws and some Powergrab, you have a strong stable structure.

We also are using the doors for the top of the partitions as well. We build the top in one piece out of a number of doors that we doweled on the ends.
Here is one view. The chrome strip on the top are steel studs we screwed to the ‘roof’ assembly to allow us to put it up in one piece. They will be detached and the screw holes filled prior to painting.

Here is another view. This one is from the new doorway.

Our trims are MDF pre finished flat moldings, which is great stuff to work with.

Since it is also primed, painting will be easier as well. We used a 2 1/2” molding for the top and the ends, a 3 1/2” molding between the partitions which allows us to hide the ends of the closet rod support brackets. The closet support brackets are 5 1/2” MDF.

The Walk In Closet Project Episode 8

In our last episode we had attached the cabinets to the wall and built the bases for the closets. Concrete floors are rarely level. From bad construction to aging, over time the earth moves and affects concrete floors. In most cases you are building a base to put cabinets or other things that for the most part are square, and level. If you don’t it to move, here is one method to achieve that.

The technique to bolting down a base assembly is straightforward.

You need two levels, shims, A34 strong ties, blue screws, and drywall screws. You need to find the high spot and work out from there. You need a long level for your front edge, and the short level for front to back.

Once you have a high point, you shim away from it, and checking your levels, place your anchors. In this case I am using A34 Simpson Strong Tie anchors.

Using this anchoring system is relatively inexpensive, and quick. Place the anchor on the floor and use a couple of drywall screws to fasten it to your 2×4”. Then use the Tapcon Tool to drill the hole in the concrete, to attach the base flange to the floor with the blue screw. (You really need a hammer drill for doing this, so it doesn’t take a long time or burn out the bit)

Depending on the load, I usually place them every 32-48” apart. Being that this is a closet with rods, 48” is close enough to anchor the base.

If you are doing a lot of attachment to concrete, buying the Tapcon Condrive tool is the way to go. Has all the parts you need. You can buy replacement drill bits, and if you buy the blue screws by the hundred, they throw in a bit.

The Walk In Closet Project Episode 7

The painting is done. In this photo, you can see the wall and the floor. Let’s look at the floor for a moment.

As you look, you see the area on the left where we removed the carpet and the pad. This allowed us to install the bottom plates for the new walls. We deliberately left the rest of the pad and carpet down while we were building. The clients are still living in the rest of the house. This controls dust and dirt during this phase and the extra soundproofing helps as well. We will be cutting it up into manageable chunks for removal.

It is time to begin installing and setting the cabinets.

Something Used, Something New

We are recycling the old cabinets that were in the old closet. We are also putting a platform for the hollow core door dividers.

We also are installing a cabinet on the right side. That one is new. One of the details that is not currently apparent is the removal of the kickspace on this project. In the closet there is really no use for it, and as the client notes, it will make cleaning easier.

The base is just loose right now. The floor is not flat. We will address that in our next episode.

The Walk In Closet Project – Episode 6

Taping was done last week, and the the texture guys were in tuesday and wednesday. I am not a fan of texture as so much of it is done badly, but Rich and his son are very good. They will go in my people book in ink.
This project had as one of its goals the elimination of the soffit and moving the closet wall. Here is our starting point.

Having removed the soffit and moved and framed up the new closet wall, we now have a patchwork of new drywall and and existing construction.

With a lot of taping and skimming, the texture guys made us look great.

Inside the closet, we blended the new and the old.

On the other wall where we removed the doorway, this came out well also.

The hall side is looking good.

Today, carpet removal, platforms for the closets, and base trims. Today I am 55 and am spending my birthday remodeling. It’s gonna be a great day.

The Walk In Closet Project – Episode 5

The Walk In Closet Project is moving along…..
Sound Control
Adding sound control on the north wall which is the party wall for the guest bathroom is installed with 1” styrofoam glued and screwed to the wall. This is in response to the noise of plastic plumbing in the wet wall and the lack of insulation and shimming of the pipe during the original construction.
Northwall1

Note: Plastic Pipe used for waste drain and vent, will rattle if not secured. It is annoying more than anything else, and only takes a few moments to secure and insulate during construction.

In adding depth to the wall, it is important to remember to use extenders on the outlet and switch boxes, to provide secure electrical connections and reduce the risk of fire or damage. You will also need longer screws to penetrate the wall, foam, wall assembly to secure the new drywall. In this case we are using 2 1/2” screws as we have a 1/2” of original drywall, 1” of new foam, and 1/2” of new drywall. You will also need longer screws for your electric boxes.

New drywall
We have drywalled our foam wall as well as framing and drywalling the old doorway. One of the last minute changes we made was to frame an opening in the old doorway, so the client who does stained glass can build a panel to provide some more natural light in this hallway. If you look at the photo above and this one you can see where we framed out opening in, and then decided to make it longer.
Northwall2
We are using paper tape for the new work, and mesh tape for the transition between the new drywall and the existing drywall, which has a heavy knockdown texture. I am using a lot of speed set on this job as there are elevation issues on the floors and walls. It works much better for the sort of fill in, as you can mix it much thicker than premixed mud and you can do multiple coats in a single day which saves time.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…
We wanted to save the mirrors we removed from the south wall. I called my glass guy, and we were successful in re cutting and remounting the mirrors in various locations.
Westwall3
The mirror sizing and spacing were dictated by the outlet on the left side of the window and the closet rough opening number. We will be using 24” door blanks as partitions and shelving materials. Cost effective and low impact. More on that in a few days.
Mirror, Mirror in the Hall
We put the other mirror in the hallway. This decision is what led to re routing the air conditioning ducts and return air, which was on the bottom of that wall. It also allowed us to eliminate the soffit in the bedroom and in the guest bath. Plus removing the return air plenum in the new closet, shortening the wing wall in the closet, gaining more efficiency for the ac system, moving the scuttle, and adding drama to the hall.
Hallmirror
The hall appears to be about 90 miles long….
I’m off to mud more…

The Walk In Closet Project - Episode 4

Now that the tin men are done, we installed a new 36” pocket door, sheetrocked the closet side and are ready to finish the drywall on the bedroom side.

The sheetrock hanging is done, and screwed off. (Note: We used 1” screws on the pocket door frame so the screws will not interfere with the operation of the door) I choose to screw the drywall just because it is a better fastening method and in the case of the pocket door frame, nailing would just bounce off the frame.

On the bedroom door side, with the soffit removed and the ducting cut back,they have gained 20 square feet more room in the bedroom.
Taping will use both paper and mesh tape. Paper tape will be used on the seams and inside corners of the new drywall, and mesh tape will be used on the transitions between the new drywall and the existing construction.

I have also used blue painters tape to cover the trim over the bedroom door and the new pocket door frame. This allows me to build up the mud coats to get the walls flat, and not spend extra time having to scrape and chip mud off the trim later.

The pocket door side has its first coat of tape and mud. I used speed set here for mudding as there are some elevation differences and gaps that would take extra time to dry with regular mud, In the case of gaps and elevations, regular mud shrinks back and cracks, requiring much more time to finish.

The bedroom door side is taped and will require using smaller knives to tape as the ductwork protrudes from the wall just a little bit, and using a large knife will just fill up the duct, and smear mud on the trim and floor.

This is one of the areas that we will be remodeling. The closet being finished, so that clothing that is scattered in different closets around the casa can be consolidated, will allow us to work on the master bath which will be getting an extensive makeover. Today we will be going out and looking at different storage solutions.

Some remodeling has plans down to the millimeter, some projects morph as conditions change and are seat of the pants deals. I like these projects as I love the challenge of thinking on my feet and adapting ideas as projects progress. New construction is boring. But that’s just me.

The Walk In Closet Project – Episode 3

I mentioned in the last episode that we were removing the bedroom closet wall to eliminate the soffit over the door and make the room bigger. Here is that wall.
The Bedroom Wall

Bedwalloutside
The desire to just blast away with hammers and bars to get it all done at once, must be resisted. It doesn’t matter if it is your house, a friends house or a clients. A measured plan will help you control the mess and allow you to minimize surprises. And there will be.
The Backside
Here we have removed the drywall from the backside of the bedroom wall. We now know where the electric runs are and can plan our new runs as well as moving various control panels into the hallway. We also know how the wall is attached and anchored, so that we can remove it, with the smallest mess. This is why we have left the bedroom wall for last. It minimizes dirt and dust into the living areas.
Bedwallinside1

New Wall
We installed some 1/2” plywood and a stud on the left side corner assembly. On the right side I used a 10′ steel stud track to establish my plumb and to provide anchoring for the wall. I anchored it at the top and bottom as well as gluing it to the wall and running drywall screws into the inside corners to hold it in place for the glue to set. PowerGrab does the job.
Bedwallinside2
It has a wide header for the 36” pocket door that will be installed.

Bedwall Demo Right
Ed got the electric rerouted, so now we can take down the bedroom wall. Starting with the soffit and working across. You can see the ductwork that will be cut back, and a rough idea of the patching that will be required.
Bedwalloutside2

Bedwall Demo Left
The wall is gone and you can see where we have patched the walls and ceilings with small strips of drywall.
Bedwalloutside3

We will use Mesh tape and Speedset to fill in the gaps.

The Walk In Closet Project – Episode 1

The hanger, the hook, and the closet.

Clothes closets have always been the redheaded stepchild of home design and construction. They get shoved into the corners, siamesed between bedrooms, given crappy rods, inadequate shelving and access, provided with headers for revolting door schemes like bifold, accordian, and slide by doors. Because of this, getting to the storage above the closet rod is another one of those deals where you wish you could put the designer into them for about 6 months until either they repent, or they pursue a career in food service.

Typical clothes hangers are 16” wide. Which is why so many closets have the rod at 10” off the backwall. Somebody decided that 20” was enough room for a depth for hanging clothing. This also allows for a 10” shelf above the closet rod only about an 1 1/2 – 2” below the shelf. This makes getting clothes off and the rod a bit of a pain.

Not all of your clothes, are 6 feet tall, nor do they weigh mere ounces. You can do better.
[end rant]

The client decided that she no longer needs 5 bedrooms as the kids are gone. But she does want more closet space. To this end we are going to turn the bedroom next to the master bedroom into a walk in closet. We will be removing the current closet in the master bedroom, removing the soffit over the doors in the master bedroom, removing the current closet wall, which will result in a larger bedroom, reframing and installing a 36” pocket door for access from the master bedroom, removing the back wall between the the two rooms eliminating the closet in the next room and turning the room into a big walk in closet.
These photos were taken on 7 september, 2007 and show what I started with.
The Murphy Bed occupies the west wall. It is leaving and will find it’s new home in one of the other bedrooms. The bookshelf and corner unit will be reused.
Murphybed_2
This wall will get floor to ceiling shelving and closet rod units from wall to wall.

Moving counterclockwise is the west wall containing a nice sized window to provide natural lighting.
Westwall1
Next is the other side of the west wall where it joins the south wall.
Westwall2
The only change in this area maybe a different window treatment.

The South wall has floor to ceiling mirrors which will be removed. One of them we hope to salvage and cut down for use in the hallway. Hope is the operative word as mirror mastic has a holding strength of 800 lbs per inch, which is great for attachment, but is a real challenge in removal without wrecking the mirror backing.
Southwall1
Once these are removed, the wall patched, and the final design decided upon, this wall will contain floor to ceiling dividers. The dividers will be 24” deep with the closet rods centered at 12”.

The east wall is where the current closet was. As you can see there is a small office area here.
Eastcloset1
We will be removing this and reusing the uppers and the lowers and deck in the new closet. This is also the party wall between the master bedroom and this room. As part of this project we will eliminate the bedroom door from the hallway.
Eastwall1
This seems to be a straightforward project. Wack a couple of walls, patch and prep, and boogie into the sunset…

Not quite so fast. The office area closet is 2′ shorter than the master closet. The reason for this is there is a return air plenum behind this wall with the filter sitting on the bottom of the hallway wall.

Remember this is the wall we are going to reuse one of the mirrors from the south wall. So in order to make that happen, we are going to move the return duct and grill into the ceiling in the hallway. To do this we needed to move the alarm, smoke and motion detectors, and cut a hole in the ceiling.

The first Problem showed up here. This is the top of the plenum in the closet.
Ventblock
Notice that 15% of the air return is blocked. This was done during the original construction and nobody cared to pay attention. The heating contractor couldn’t hit the center of this hole for some reason, despite having the entire framework of the house open to him, the inspector missed it, the job super missed it, the drywallers ignored it, and so here we are.

This adds a burden to the AC unit that resulted in the replacement of the unit recently. The original plan of moving this to the hall ceiling came to a halt as soon as we went into the attic above the hallway and discovered that the trunk line came all the way to the the end of the hallway.

We called and had Bill the Tinman stop by. After looking at the situation, and providing us with the 15% figure, was also able to come up with a solution that would allow us to put the vent in the ceiling.

It involves extra expense on the front end, by cutting the trunk line back, and using flex for the supply registers in the master bedroom where we are removing the soffit, which was only there as a holder for the duct and as a line for the wall for the old master bedroom closet. According to Bill, this will not only address our immediate issues, but will actually provide a net gain in the efficiency of the air system as well as getting the return air plenum into the ceiling which will allow for the better distribution of the air.
This is one of those gotcha’s that happen in remodeling, that in the short term do add to the time and cost of a project, but in the long term pays for itself.

I have more photos of the next episodes that I will post soon, but I am on my way to pick up my buddy Carl the glass guy to get the mirrors off the wall.