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Closet Renovation


A little over twenty years ago I graduated from college. I wasn't a woodworker at that time. However, my dad was a carpenter, and I'd grown up around tools. As such, I was used to doing simple things with my dad's tools.

I set about building the most basic of bookshelves: Four pieces of plywood. Some bricks from a garden center provided the vertical support.

My dad provided the plywood. I'm not even sure which one of us cut them into pieces (48" x 15"). I glued and nailed on some trim, and some stain and varnish completed the job. For years it did duty, holding books, stereo equipment, plants, and a TV at different times.

Fast forward to the present, where my wife and I are working on converting her sewing room back into a bedroom for our growing family. The sewing room moved into a room in the basement, displacing that old bookcase. The closet in the bedroom needed some work.

I really don't have much use for the way basic bedroom closets are designed. Their use of space is inefficient, the closet rod is usually inadequate, and I find that the side walls (as well as the wall above the door opening) block easy access to the interior.

Still, ripping all that out was not going to happen.

So we settled on a simple touch-up. I would build some shelves to hold clothes and things from our kids, and a second -- lower -- rod would be added. The old bookcase provided just enough wood for me to be able to quickly put together a shelving unit. No need for refinishing; just some careful cutting, some hidden screws, and we were good to go.

The original closet rod + shelf were raised about a foot to give clearance, and to give adequate spacing for the two rods to work together. The shelving unit itself was screwed (securely!) to the wall about 16" above the floor to give room for a laundry basket to slide under. The overal unit is 48" tall, 20" wide, 13" deep, with 5 shelves spaced about 8" apart. The lower rod is at 41", the upper at 74". The closet itself is 56" wide, with a 36" door opening.

As always, pictures are worth a thousand words...

I suppose in some ways this is an an indication of age, but I find it kind of cool that I could take a 20 year old project of mine, and "repurpose" it in this way. Perhaps in another 20 years I'll find myself cutting up a 40 year old project to remake into something else?


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