Closet details (finally!)

Hi Everyone! It's Holly here. Sad to report that my most favorite camera lens died this week and my lazy butt has taken a "moment of photographic silence". Hence the lack of posts... so I decided to force the Mr. into finally posting his detailed closet reno guide. But never fear, I am on the hunt for a replacement wide angle lens but will make do with my zoom lens and share some small scale projects for the present.

Without any further ado, I present Mr. Fun Lane (aka the muscle, brains, project manager, laborer and skilled tradesman behind our dreamy new closet): Sean {in the event you missed the post where we unveiled our closet click here}

Thank you to everyone who complimented our new closet. It was really a type of job that I have never completed before. I mean I’ve touched up drywall, laid down floors, wired new lights, but to start almost from scratch was a first. Much of what I learned from our laundry room remodel I used in the closet. The big difference was in the preparation. The laundry room was already a functioning room so if our re-design was a bust we could just have gone back to the original. Not the case with the closet. Prior to the demolition I researched converting attics into living space which “You-Tube” provided many examples. Once I had fell through the kitchen ceiling I knew that whatever I thought to be a good solution or deemed acceptable by code (whether for floors, walls, support, etc) I had to make it even more durable so I could sleep at night.


As noticed in the pictures, this space needed insulation, drywall, lighting, ceiling, (bead board in our case) flooring, and of course closet organizing items.
Insulation was fairly straight forward. All exterior walls needed insulation including the ceiling. Only one wall required the transferring of insulation which was really simple, and was when the fall into the kitchen occurred. The ceiling was more challenging. I added vapor barrier and drywall up to where the lights are placed and then I used the spray insulation from the floor (or kitchen ceiling) and shoveled it down the new sloped ceiling right up to where the lights started.


Once I fell through into the kitchen I decided to not focus on the insulation and moved on to beefing up the floor joist, so I could move around safely. There was 3 2inch x 6inch (small wood boards) that had one nail on each side, basically strong enough to hold the insulation and the kitchen ceiling. I added 10 2x10’s with appropriate hangers which made each joist about 6 inches apart. I also used some spare lumber to attach braises to connect each joist so it was even more stable. I also had to alter some plumbing by drilling holes into the joists to hide some exposed pipes. Once all that was done I added ¾ inch plywood (not OSB)on top.
Typical drywall set up. I did realize (maybe only on our house) that walls that should or seem to be straight are not! I had to frame out a section for our furnace vent. Once that was up I left it for awhile as I was contemplating hiring someone to tape and mud it as I really didn’t have the patience for the perfection.


The lighting that maybe looks complex was actually really easy. I just spliced wires from one light to the next and wired it up to the light that was currently in there. Having the ceiling open made it even easier. You do need some room to move around and secure the wires to the wall and to feed wires to the designated areas. I added only pot lights that were compatible with insulation this way there was no risk of a fire. I took it one step further and added a plastic cover that acts like a barrier that protects the light from any condensation build up or a sneaky piece of insulation wanting to ignite.


Once the lights were up it was time to complete the ceiling. I added big chunks of insulation (avoiding the loose insulation that literally goes everywhere) to the opposite side of the lights then added vapor barrier and then drywall. I didn’t bother taping & mudding the ceiling because we decided to use the bead board. This was also the case in the laundry room. The laundry room had a popcorn ceiling and one light. Once you put up the bead board you cannot see any imperfections (or holes made to run wires for lighting) in the drywall & as stated above I am not a tape and mud kind of guy. Let alone trying to match up bulk popcorn from the eighties to current available spray can touch up. Bead board is nice because you can mess up the drywall to install the pot lights then slap on top the bead board to cover the drywall.


On the flip side, installing the bead board can be a pain in the butt! And not look the greatest if you don’t know what you are doing. You have to know where the studs are which are tricky to find while you are holding the 4 foot by 8 foot bead board up against the ceiling. Once it’s on, I only added about six screws per sheet but also used the air stapler to clean up any areas that sagged. One good trick is to really screen each piece at the store before you take it home. Some can really get banged up at the store and only require more work once up on the ceiling.


Connecting one sheet to another is probably the toughest job. The 4 foot section is much harder to connect; you kind of have to map out the layout so that some connections are not directly visible. It will take time to finesse the connection and line up separate sheets, but I found that using a drywall spackle and running your fingers or a screwdriver through the ridges works the best. I also use the same compound to fill the staple and screw holes. Once there are up, painting them also tends to help smooth the connections. Practicing on a small sheet that is not on the ceiling will help. I used a jigsaw to make my bead board cuts which made a very sloppy cut, but I knew I was going to cover it up with trim. You could take the time to cut it with a skill (hand) saw or table saw but you will likely cover it with molding or trim anyway.


I finally moved on to conquer my fear of mudding and taping and actually did a really good job, just made a bit of a mess continually sanding.
Floors were also simple just very repetitive. Simple tongue and grove with the floor stapler.


Trim also very easy. However ceiling molding on a vaulted ceiling is too complex for me, especially when you have outer corners. We just got a thick piece of flat trim and framed it. Using bigger trim and crown molding will allow for more wiggle room when installing (cutting) the bead board, also you don’t have to mud the drywall right to the floor.


The next steps where to paint and add all of the closet rods. (Rods were purchased at a store called Totem) They installed really easy with 2 screws on each side. We also added L shaped brackets to offer support from the weight of the clothes.


Some areas require city or code consent for converting an attic space. If you are required to get approval (permit) to convert your attic it will vary from city to city. We had to make sure everything was in place before we started. Be sure you get yours if you do require one.


I still am in a little shock over the completion of the closet. I have to give it a good stare and walk around before bed every night just to confirm it’s real.
Holly was right it did take a little longer than I had hoped it would take, but all good things come to those who wait …………………. Right???