Monday, March 24, 2014

the misfit builds a closet

Have you heard of the one-room challenge?  It's a little idea whereby a list of invited bloggers each remakes a room over a six-week period.  They post an update on their progress (with photos) each Wednesday.  I've been following it for a couple of years - it's highly entertaining.  Most of the aesthetic choices are very creative.  A few are really ugly (I get to be honest.  It's the internet).  I have not been asked to participate, possibly because:

(a) the people running it have no idea who I am
(b) I am not actually a design blogger
(c) I cannot finish anything in six weeks, and if I did I certainly wouldn't get the photos done

but since I was gearing up to start a big-ish project and I have this notion that I can totally finish it in way less than six weeks and I am always wrong about these things, I thought I might join the ranks of pathetic groupies who post their own updates during the one-room challenge even though they have not actually been invited to participate formally.  It starts next Wednesday, and I will try to actually post every Wednesday about my progress, like a good groupie.  One of two things will happen: (1) I will totally fail to meet the standards set by the actual participants, demonstrating why I have not been and never should be invited; or (2) I will far exceed the standards set by the actual participants, demonstrating that I am above such foolishness and don't need them. 

Either way it promises to be entertaining (to me), and provide yet more fodder for therapy.  (Not that I was running out.  There aren't enough letters on my keyboard for that post.) 

Another reason that I don't belong in the ORC is because I'm not actually "redoing a room."  Of course, I've done so many times in the past (probably not in six weeks.  I think my kitchen took just under a year).  The rooms ORCers have done in the past have ranged from bedrooms and dining rooms (obvious) to powder rooms and laundry rooms, so the terms are fairly flexible.  However, my project is a bad fit (hey, that's true of a lot of things I do!).  It's not quite a room - it's just a closet.  And it's not quite a redo - I am actually building it.  Probably none of the real participants are going to start out with studs and drywall, or put in wiring and a light fixture where there formally was none.  (Actually, occasionally someone remodels an existing space fairly extensively - adding or subtracting a bit of wall here and there - but I think they always hire out.  In fact, some people have even hired out for painting and wallpaper, which is against my religion.)  So while I will make a poor showing on square footage, and also on fancy decorated-ness of the finished product, I'm going to blow everyone out of the water on hardcore DIY.  (Again, this is assuming I finish.) 

So let me show you the area I'm going to be working on.  There is currently a wall closet in the master bedroom - which I carefully did not clean or organize for these pictures.  Here is my master bedroom closet:

It has a box of pictures (with sweaters on top) and also a tool box in it.  Those sweaters are usually slightly neater; I shoved them around a bit.  This will give you a very slightly better idea of where the closet is in the room:

The closet has a very special feature you'll all enjoy:

It is too shallow to hold a standard hanger (or a standard piece of clothing, such as would hang on a standard hanger).  I'm not having you on here:

The hanger is touching the back of the closet. 

That is the only closet in the master bedroom (which is the largest bedroom by far).  So our clothes are in the closets in the other two bedrooms.  This seems fine, as we are the only people who live there, but I find it is awkward with guests.  Also, it would discourage people from buying the house if we needed to sell it.  Therefore, it was on my "some day I'll work on that" list.  Then I remembered how I have a policy against "some day" lists; if it needs doing, I should do it as soon as I'm not doing something else.  Namely now.  (Soon, I will be working full-time outdoors.  But the weather isn't cooperating yet.  So I need to accomplish something.) 

Partly because I already wallpapered the wall in the master bedroom that has the closet door, I will not be doing any construction work from that end.  I will be working from the second bedroom.  That room has two closets.  One looks a lot like the master bedroom closet, and is probably about equally old (maybe even as old as the house).  That's the linen closet of which I am so proud:

Have I mentioned that it looks like that all the time?  It's true.  I didn't just clean it.  (I never remember to clean for photos anyway.)  Here's another picture, so you can appreciate its beauty:

I'm going to demolish it.  The other closet in this bedroom is not large, but it is a normal depth and has a handy wire shelving system.  (That's where all my clothes are now.)  So this bedroom doesn't need the second closet.  Moreover, the second closet shares the distinctive feature of the master closet:

They are the same depth.  Which, by the way, is perfect for a linen closet.  (Requiescat in pace, linen closet.)  They are also back-to-back - hypothetically speaking, if you knocked out the right-hand wall of the linen closet, you would find yourself in the master bedroom closet.  As you may have guessed, I'm about to make that not hypothetical.  The superfluity of this closet (except for the storing of linens - all neatly folded - I'm really going to miss it.  I'm already pondering a replacement) will enable me to double the width of the master closet, using its existing door and frame.  But I will also need to increase the depth, so we can use actual hangers in it.  And since I'm not planning to give it double doors, it will need to be even deeper - so we can actually scoot in and see the clothes that are hanging in the part of the width not revealed by the door.  (If I did double doors, it could be shallower, but then I wouldn't have a wall to put our bed on.  Also, I double closet doors don't belong in old houses.  So that's out.) 

Last week I was supposed to start work on the project, because after buying a bunch of studs I had stalled out - I couldn't decide on a design that I wanted to execute but would also function.  Then I got the flu for a week.  Happily, time at home on the sofa only somewhat groggy yielded the pathetic but essential progress I was looking for.  Without further ado, here is what I accomplished last week:

I taped a line on the floor.  That's where the new wall is going to go.  But first, I'm knocking out the wall to the right of the door up there.  And also removing the door and its framing.  There's also some issues with the ceiling height of the closet, but I'll explain more when I get to that.  It's going to be disgusting (that will sound odd if you haven't done this sort of thing before), but I am planning to be brave.  Oh, there in the corner are two other relevant items:

Two outlets (AND a phone jack), within a foot of each other.  Obviously we do not have a land line in the bedroom.  (This room actually has two phone jacks.)  Since we don't have a land line at all.  And strangely, both of those outlets actually work (one is even grounded!).  The room has two others, which is not a ton, but for a guest room, it works.  Both of the outlets above are within the taped area - but, no, I am not planning to have four plug options in the closet.  Instead, I'm going to re-route one set of wires so I can have a switched overhead light in the closet.  (Given its shape, lighting will be absolutely necessary.)  Apparently I have learned nothing from all my past failures, and am setting my sights high. 

All this should offer plenty of fodder for weekly updates; if nothing else, there will be lots of highly photogenic demolition. 

You'll want to check back on my progress.  It will make the chaos in your home seem like nothing. 


  1. i have to admit, i was a little overwhelmed by your stove options- who knew there were THAT many stoves?!!? but this closet challenge is awesome! cant wait to see your progress :-D

  2. You are quite the handy woman..good for you! Sounds like your hobby of redecorating is perfect for you. I couldn't imagine trying to create a closet or reworking wiring. I do love HGTV....and watching flip houses shows...but of course, I'm not the one doing the work. Looking forward to hearing about how this new project pans out.