Monday, March 22, 2010

DIY - closet shelves (aka, project # 5-ish)

It's officially Spring in Alabama but it's still 39 degrees outside. Okay, be honest we've had some really lovely Spring days so far....all 4 of them have been perfectly enjoyable. (wah-wah)

SO...until it gets warm and stays warm, the hubs and I are stuck working on indoor projects. A couple weeks ago we decided to tackle our custom closet shelves that we've been planning to build in order to take advantage of our large walk-in closet (yeah, that definitely tipped the scales in favor of our house for me!). Our closet previously consisted of a long wall of wire closet shelving where all of our clothes hang (oh yeah, there's definitely a future DIY closet system in our future), 2 short side walls - one with a window and the other with a small wire rack for hanging clothes and a laundry chute that previously did not have a door on it (it was just an open hole that went down to our laundry room...our kitty was quite intrigued by this) - and the front wall which had the doorway into the closet on it, but nothing else. We decided to build floor to ceiling shelves on each side of this doorway, which yielded us one 4 ft wide shelf and one 3 ft wide shelf.  Mark took all of our measurements then we divided it all up to determine our number of shelves. I wanted the majority of it to be spaces for shoes and the rest to be larger shelves suitable for sweaters and clothes storage (which will be housed in canvas bins). We also left some taller spaces at the bottom of the larger shelf for boots.

After doing a little research online, we determined that BC grade plywood in pine would do the job just fine for our shelves, so off to the neighborhood Lowe's we went. We selected 3 sheets of 15/32 4' x 8' pine plywood. Luckily, Mark had determined beforehand how many sheets we would need in order to get all of the cuts we needed and he also determined all of the measurements for those cuts so that we could have Lowe's make all of the cuts for us. That's right...Lowe's will cut your wood for FREE! We learned this little trick after doing the beadboard in our downstairs half bath makeover. We picked up a few more things like trim, brackets and wood screws and about $100 later we were on our way back home to start our work. 

All of the wood piled into the back our SUV.

The next few work days consisted of sanding and painting the wood. As a last step before we put it together we took the advice of the older gentleman at Lowe's that was cutting our wood...he told us that we should put a coat of polyurethane on it after we finished painting it. Well, after two coats of white paint we put a coat of poly on it...clear semi-gloss. 

Here's the larger 4 ft shelf after it was assembled and put into it's place in the closet

And here's the smaller 3 ft shelf in it's place in the closet. You can see that i was trying it out with some shoes ;) 

After the poly dried we noticed that the white paint now seemed to have a splotchy yellow-ish tint to it. The poly directions said we should sand and then put another coat of poly on it after sanding. Well, too bad we read those directions AFTER Mark had started putting the shelves together. Trial and Error, right?! So, Mark finished assembling the shelves and then we mounted them to the wall using L-brackets that I had painted white. Unfortunately the yellow tint was just as visible in our closet as it was before, so after painting the trim and nailing it to the shelves we proceeded to paint yet ANOTHER coat of white paint over the entire units. (the above pictures were taken before the trim was added and before the additional coat of white painted was applied. you can see the yellow-ish tint in it - no?)

Painting these shelves after they were attached to the wall was no easy feat, but Mark suggested putting a sheet of paper between the wall and the shelf and it made the painting MUCH easier! Smart boy!

Here's the smaller shelf after the last coat of white paint with the trim attached. You can kinda see in this picture how we angled the shelves that the shoes would be on. I wanted to do this so that you could get a better view of the shoes even as the shelves increased in height. In order to keep the shoes from falling off we just picked a larger piece of trim that would leave a "lip" on top for those shelves. 

Here's the finished picture of the larger shelf:

This shelf is mainly for shoes, but it does have 2 cubbies that will have canvas bins in them that will probably be for socks, tights, leggings and possibly one for belts. The lower portion is obviously for boots.

And here's a close up view of the slanted shoe shelves:

So....there ya have it! Project # 5-ish (or it could be #4, depending on whether you count us hiring someone to refinish our floors as a "project" or not, since we really didn't do much on that one). I can't wait till we can get out and start on our backyard makeover project...stay tuned for that one...I'm sure it's gonna be a doozy!