Master Closet Remodel

The Dream

When we moved into our house 3.5 years ago, we knew we’d want to upgrade the master closet *some day*. It came as a basic room with one shelf and a single rod all the way around. It was a large space, but not very functional and I tried my best with random containers and organizers. But it was never satisfying. This is also our overflow storage as we really only have one other large storage space inside the house – so we needed to accommodate extra linens, travel gear, and sports gear.

Sometimes, we need to make that *some day* happen now! So we planned to make it our Christmas present and project to ourselves. Several months before Christmas, we started planning. The high-end custom closets can cost at least $10K, but probably more like $15K+ for the size room we have. We had also talked about Andrew building it himself, but with the price of materials and the fact we have 2 little kids, I just laugh at that thought now. After numerous YouTube videos, we settled on an IKEA PAX system, with Andrew adding trim for a more polished look.

We started decluttering, and then I began to plan out what would go where and which sizes we needed. IKEA has an online planning tool to visualize the space. Using the tool, I set up our new space as best I could, then we went into IKEA to work with an expert to finalize the plan. Then we ordered on December 8th because we were worried about having all the pieces in stock before Andrew had time off for Christmas. Thankfully they did and we gladly paid the $50 delivery fee – the entire order included 98 separate packages!

Specifications

We chose the 22 7/8″ depth and 92 7/8″ height. We had 10 frames and 1 corner:

  • (1) 39 3/8″ width
  • (6) 29 1/2″ width
  • (1) 19 5/8″ width
  • and 1 corner with a 39 3/8″ piece attached (the corners are a little different process)

Based on the frame sizes, I planned out what would go where and picked drawers, slides, and shelves. We ordered the white canvas containers that fit the top shelf perfectly.

Process

On Friday, December 18th, I emptied out all the clothes and other items as Saturday was #demoday! Andrew pulled off the built in shelf and rod, patched any holes that wouldn’t eventually be covered, and painted those spots. He then installed furring strips to attach the frames to the back walls.

By Tuesday, we started assembling frames. This process is much easier to do with 2 people and thankfully we had Grandma babysit so he and I could work on that part together. After a grueling day, we finished all 10 frames (seriously, my back was on fire). We attached the frames to the walls and connected them to each other.

Just to make it look more finished, Andrew caulked the back edges of the frames. I had seen a blog post where they wallpapered the backs of the frames then painted everything (there is a seam that goes up the back) and it looked SOOOO good (they did some other really cool stuff too like adding fronts to the drawers). But after much debate, we decided to skip the wallpaper as it would take too long, and we were not planning to paint the wallpaper, so there would still be a seam. So the end result would not have made it worth the effort.

By Thursday, we started assembling drawers and installing shelves. That was Christmas Eve so didn’t get much done the next few days. I, however, have a weird enjoyment of assembling IKEA furniture so put together a couple at a time when I had a few free minutes. By the following Monday, we had everything assembled and installed and I was able to transfer hanging clothes. At this point, it was effectively functional, AKA the urgency to finish died down.

As I gradually organized all the items into place, Andrew’s next focus was adding trim to make it look more finished. He added thin strips on all the seams between the frames, crown molding on the top, then closed off the gaps between the sidewalls and the frames. He also extended the power outlet so it was accessible. Then caulk and touch up paint. All the tedious tasks to make it look polished.

After over a month of living with everything in place, I finally mustered up the courage to start plugging the open holes. We started with 20 packets of 100 plugs, then I ordered another 14 more packets. It took me about a month (including waiting for the second batch to arrive) as I could only complete 2 packets at time before my fingers hurt. I love the completed look so it’s definitely worth the tedious time doing the plugs.

Plugs in progress

Overall, I am so happy we took on the project. It doesn’t look Home Edit worthy, but I guess I don’t have that many rainbow order clothes anyway. It functions so well and always looks neat. The ultimate goals.

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