3.05.2010

Enjoying the View

The week after we closed on the house, we had an intense work weekend with family and friends. Before the day was over, our master bedroom closet was demolished, leaving an open, damaged wall as a place holder for our new, space-efficient dream closet. Might I remind you that our house has no basement or attic, so storage space is hard to come by here. I welcome this lack of storage, as I do not wish to become a pack rat. No room for it? Get rid of it!
When we moved in, we began working on other, more important projects (that is debatable), and the closet project was pushed to the back burner. As I dug through the boxes of my clothes over the past couple months, the regret of tearing out the existing closet began to set in. In place of our new closet, sat three mismatched dressers, with two bare light bulbs dangling from above; an Interior Designer's nightmare.
Our original plan was for Matt to install built-in cabinetry where the previous sliding-door closet was. The estimated timeframe for this to happen was predicted for late summer, so we shifted gears and contacted a friend, Jason, who works at the Closet Factory. I started off by sending him a drawing of my closet design and asked him to quote it in solid walnut.
Learning experience: that is very expensive. When our quote came back at almost $6,000, we looked to him for guidance on how to achieve our goals for more like 1/3 of the estimated costs. He suggested we use a laminate or melamine instead of solid walnut, and limit the amount of door and drawers. At first this discouraged me, but then I saw this picture on the Contemporist of built-in cabinets, with floor to ceiling doors . Hello, gorgeous.
If we could achieve this modern look with the floor to ceiling doors on the outside, and the drawers and shelves on the inside, we could sacrifice the solid walnut request. So our compromise on the design turned out like this. Thanks, Jason!
After agreeing on the closet design, Matt and I had a couple tasks on site to complete prior to our custom closet installation: lighting and painting. We wanted to replace the hanging light bulbs with four recessed cans, to provide accent lighting on the closet doors. This task required some careful planning. We have radiant heating in the ceilings on that level of the house, and the last thing we wanted to do was drill through one them. Thankfully, we have the original blue prints for the house. We were able to measure how far out on the wall we needed to install the cans, in order to avoid hitting a copper pipe. Matt has experience in electrical work, so to him this was a simple task. He attempted to start and complete it in the middle of the night one Saturday when was on a role working at the house. Unfortunately, we failed to notice the connecter pipe that feeds the pipes we were so carefully planning on missing. At 1am, we accidentally had a small waterfall pouring down from the ceiling! Matt has a friend who was able to come out the next day and solder the hole in the pipe, as well as move it over so we could still center our recessed cans as we desired. Matt had quite a bit of patch and repair to deal with after that hiccup, and here is mess in the bedroom we lived with for the time being.
For the finishing touch, we selected brushed nickel trims from Whitmer's Lighting. The end result turned out beautifully, and it was definitely worth the effort! Nice work, Matt!
There is nothing like leaving for work one morning, with no closet, and then coming home that night to a new, custom closet, completely installed by someone else. Matt and I spent the evening over a bottle of wine (that Jason left for us), putting away our clothes that had been packed away for months. It was one of the most enjoyable evenings we have had for a while, and it will definitely be one to remember for years to come. I know I sound superficial about clothes and closets, but until you experience this, no judging.
The final task was installing the door handles. We purchased handles to match the ones we picked out for the kitchen cabinets on our road trip to IKEA last weekend. Matt installed these a couple days ago and here are the final results of our closet!
The master bedroom is almost complete. It still needs a final coat of paint, as it is currently just primed. We also need to paint the doors, touch up the ceiling, install base boards, and install new hardware on the doors. That will all have to wait as the kitchen is the current focus. So for now, I will just continue to be patient, and enjoy the view.

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