Monday, November 21, 2016

Master Closet - FINALLY

Well, it's been exactly four years since I tore out the wall between the closet and storage room to make one giant walk-in. It's been on my mind the entire four years. Scouring Repocast, Odom Reuse, Habitat Restore and Craigslist for the best, cheapest and best looking solution to create built-in storage.

 

It's been a disaster ever since I knocked the wall out and added carpet. We have my dad's old dresser in there, an old mail sorter shelf, a wire shelf, and another old dresser in there holding all our clothes. Most of the time you could find piles of clothing on the floor, random shoes on the built-in shelves under the angled ceiling, old mirrored closet doors leaned up against the wall. It was a source of stress every time I walk in the room.



In June, I struck gold with Repocast. An office auction in Wayland had a large collection of solid wood credenzas and bookcases, all in pretty great shape and a nice dark wood color. And with a large inventory like they had, I could move focus to another lot if one got to expensive. My goal was to get two credenzas (6' long) and four bookcases (each 3' long) to create two large drawer/shelving units, one for each of us, and all for under $500. And I did it - all six pieces for just $450.


All summer, they sat in the garage, taking up space. They were too heavy to move by myself. Too hot to ask people to help. The closet was a mess and would have to be emptied to be put back. There was so much too do with the nice weather and the kids, I couldn't spend time sitting in a closet working. So many excuses. But I knew by winter I'd have to get them out of there so Becky could park the car in the garage - you know, what it's there for.

Finally this week I decided the only way to really get it done would be to take the credenzas apart and move them upstairs piece by piece. So I started by taking the top off and investigating whether it could easily be split into parts. Sure enough, without too much work, I could split each one into three pieces, all easily moved upstairs by myself.

I cut the carpet around where they would go, just because I knew these would be a permanent fixture, and the carpet could be upgraded at some point. Then I got the first one upstairs, put together and in place. It was an exciting feeling.


Then it was on. I got the other one upstairs and put together, and then had Becky help me with the four bookcases (not worth taking apart) while the kids ate lunch.

With it all upstairs, the next thing I had to do was get the light switch combined and moved.


These two switches each control one light bulb, which made sense when there was a wall between the two rooms. But now, not only was this switch in the way of one of the bookcases (would end up behind it), but we really only needed one switch. So I texted my buddy Tommy, master electrician and amazing musician/sound engineer, and asked him the best way to combine these two switches.

NOTE - the following can only be used with my specific set of circumstances, so do not attempt this unless you are certain your wiring follows this exact model.

Each switch was powered at the light and then sent to the switch individually, as evidenced by the two different sets of wires coming into the box. Also, I knew both lights were on the same circuit, since turning off one breaker disconnected power to both lights. That meant that I only needed to carry one of the white (hot) wires over to the box. The black wires were my switch wires, so both of those needed to be pigtailed to the new switch. Same with the ground. So one white to one white (the other white capped off), two blacks to one black and two grounds to one ground, and I was good to go. Well, almost.


I was using a reno electrical box, which has two wings on the top and bottom that hold it in place, so I needed to find an open spot in the wall in which to place it. Unfortunately, the studfinder failed to find this double studding right next to the doorway, so my hole became quite large for just a little box. Luckily Becky's great at patching holes. I drilled through the next stud over to fish the wire through, wired up the switch and turned the breaker back on and it worked!

I threw the cover plate on the old box in the closet and was able to put the last shelf in place.


It's really starting to look like a REAL closet! Next we'll be creating a cabinet between the two using the old mirrored closet doors from the playroom, and selecting better lighting than two bare bulbs in the ceiling and wall.
 

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