Building our Master Closet: Progress and Plans

Every girl needs a walk-in closet that makes her feel like a queen, right? 

Ok.... "needs" might be a little strong. A girl can certainly survive without said walk-in closet. However, life is just that. much. better. when you have one. Growing up, I had a classic sliding-door closet (there's probably a technical term for that but I don't know it...) and never really knew what I was missing. When I graduated college, my first apartment (the cutest tiny studio, in Uptown, Minneapolis) had a DREAMY walk-in. We're talking glass-paned vintage double doors with tons of shelving and storage and enough space to fit my full-size bed. I think it was actually the same size as the kitchen and I'm not exaggerating! I fell in love with fabulous closets then and there, and have dreamed of having a huge one ever since. 

When walked into our home and started dreaming of a new layout, we knew we wanted a master suite with a bathroom and closet attached. There were two small bedrooms right next to each other, separated by a wall containing closets for both. We thought to ourselves ... what if we knocked down this wall? By doing that, we'd gain about 3 feet on either side. We could build a new wall and increase the size of the bedroom, and then have room for a large closet and bathroom on the other side. It worked best to have a "walk-through" layout for the closet in order to maximize the design of both the closet and bathroom. We decided to do pocket doors between the bedroom/closet and closet/bathroom to save space. I started saving dreamy closet inspo pictures on Pinterest... here are a few of my faves! 

Removing the wall/closets between the two rooms was actually not as easy as we thought, for a couple reasons. First- I'm pretty sure our house could withstand just about any natural disaster because it was built like a freakin' bunker. They used two layers of cement plaster and drywall on just about every wall and then also had a metal lathe in every corner and in the ceilings. If you don't know what I'm talking about- imagine chicken wire that's much tighter bound and 25 times as strong, super sharp, and rusty. Yes. Tough to work with, to say the least. It was a labor of love and patience to pull out the metal lathe- my dad, Josh, and I all took a stab at it but my dad definitely did the most work (thanks, dad!). Also, when we pulled out said metal lathe, we now had gaping holes in the ceiling that needed to be patched. Nothing is ever as easy as it looks on TV, friends. NOTHING. There is no "magic removal of walls" a la Chip and Joanna Gaines. Anyway- Josh then had to patch the ceiling holes with new drywall that we then had to skimcoat and blend as well as we could. Fast forward to me, covered in sanding dust... that's the story of a lot of rooms in our home. 

In the midst of all of this, we also removed and closed in the window that would have been in the middle of the closet. I hate any idea of removing natural light but in this case, it was simply a must in order to make this space more functional. We also patched in and refinished the hardwood floors (which we did all in one shot- the bedrooms, living room, hallway etc.). 

 The "before"- the window on the left is now the bathroom window, and the window on the right is gone. Needless to say, we didn't save the curtains... 

The "before"- the window on the left is now the bathroom window, and the window on the right is gone. Needless to say, we didn't save the curtains... 

Josh framed in the new wall between the closet and bedroom first, leaving a spot for the pocket door. We had to move some electrical wires around to get a light switch for the closet light. He then built the wall between the closet and bathroom, with the same measurements for the pocket door. We also put a light switch on that wall for the closet light. The light itself also needed to be moved, as it had been in the center of the old bedroom and now we wanted it in the center of the closet. The light fixture that I picked is a little "modern glam"- black with crystals. I wanted a bright but stylish light- this one has 4 lightbulbs so will hopefully be perfect! I would've put in a chandelier, but with Josh being 6' 3" and our ceilings being 8' tall, we just didn't have enough headroom. Maybe in our next house! Ha! 

 Looking into the closet from the master bedroom (pre-finished bedroom)

Looking into the closet from the master bedroom (pre-finished bedroom)

 Framed in pocket door between closet and bathroom

Framed in pocket door between closet and bathroom

When designing the closet, I was thinking of the number one thing that closets are about... storage. What's the point of a closet if it doesn't have lots of functional storage? After looking at a few closet websites, DIY closets on Pinterest, and IKEA.... I decided to go with IKEA. The main closet websites (that shall not be named) are just way too expensive. Maybe in our dream forever home, but it's just not worth it to spend $4000 on a closet in this house. Josh already has way too much on his plate to have time to built a closet- for the amount of time he'd spend doing that, we figured it's worth it just to go with IKEA. 

So, one afternoon, I went to IKEA and spent an embarrassing amount of time in the closet section looking at everything and thinking about every single possible design. In the end, I decided that it would work best to have both walls have wall-to-wall closet space and then do floating shelves and hooks on the smaller walls where the pocket doors are. I designed similar sides for both of us, with custom features such as a tie hanger and more shelves for him and a dress hanging section and jewelry display drawer for me. I still haven't nailed down the design of the smaller walls' floating shelves/hooks etc. but that will come once the larger walls are done. 

 It's chicken scratch but you get the idea! 

It's chicken scratch but you get the idea! 

I painted the closet walls and ceiling a bright white. We just need to install the trim, the light fixture, and the builtins themselves. We're going to hold off until we get the bathroom past the "dusty" stage- once the drywall and tiling is done! Stay tuned, my friends!