Closet Update: Installation and Reveal!

Oh my gosh, it's finally done! For the most part...

Installing this system was quite a bit more complicated than I had imagined. I thought maybe I could assemble the pieces laying down, then prop them up and secure them, but no. They pretty much have to be built from the bottom up.

Hmm... nope. That doesn't work.

We started by marking out the placement of the floor flanges. I measured about a dozen times and cross-referenced with my drawings, but I also laid the shelves out on the floor where they were supposed to be and made marks through the holes just to be sure everything lined up.

Once we knew exactly where the flanges needed to be, we pre-drilled holes into the floor and secured them with #10 flat head wood screws, making sure they were all facing the same direction. We eventually loosened these so the shelves could move away from the wall a bit while we added stuff and attached the flanges at the top.

We then started adding our risers and shelf supports, then shelves, then more risers and shelf supports... you get the idea.

Attaching these things to our old walls was kind of a mess. They're constructed of lath and plaster, so basically it's a layer of crumbly, delicate plaster smeared all over a bunch of wood slats. It's kind of impossible to find studs in the walls, although apparently you can use an extra-strong magnet to find all the nails in the slats, which are secured to the studs. Because the walls are essentially hollow, toggle bolts were the best option for us to attach the shelves securely.

Wall guts. Just an example... I didn't rip open any walls. :)

A toggle bolt in drywall.

The holes that we needed to drill in the walls to accommodate the toggle bolts were HUGE- and I think that's what terrified me the most about it. The package recommended an 11/16" hole (say WHAT?!), but we figured we could get away with a 9/16" bit instead. I was so concerned that the flange wouldn't cover the entire hole and it would look awful... but surprisingly it worked out fine. I just feel bad for the next owners of this house should they decide to remove them!

Just look at that giant masonry bit!

We had originally purchased matching 2" flat head bolts that fit in the toggle nuts for the upper flanges, but they weren't quite long enough to make the toggles work well. It's a bit tricky; you have to get the tip of the bolt securely into the closed nut and push it way inside the wall so the wings can spring open behind the lath, then pull back on it and screw it tight. We ended up using the 3" bolts that came with the toggles and adding washers to prevent them from going through the holes in the flanges. They don't look fantastic, but it works, and hopefully nobody looks that closely anyways. :)

It's so amazing to have nice-looking, efficient storage for our stuff! There's actually enough room to get dressed in the closet now, and the shelving makes use of the wall space that was previously just bare. I'm still working on getting all my clothes sorted out; having them on display really makes me think about what I want to keep and what I should just get rid of. I may need a step stool though to reach that top shelf...

I still want to add some simple hangers on the bare walls for long dresses, and a mini-pipe jewelry rack in the corner. And maybe some art and a mirror or something. I found these cool accessories at Hobby Lobby... I could totally make some stuff like this!

I know I said I was going to design a light fixture for in here... but we found this simple industrial-looking one at Menard's for $40! I probably would have spent more than that on parts to design my own, so we just went for it. It's not the brightest light in the world (we could always get brighter bulbs, but they were $9 each so we just kept the ones that came with it). The back corner is a bit dark, but the light looks neat and it's definitely better than a single bare bulb. I'd love to put a little lamp on the corner shelf, but there aren't any outlets in the closet. We may be able to add a matching sconce near the light switch... but we'll see.

The $40 Patriot light from Menard's

The matching $25 sconce

We're really proud of how this project turned out... hopefully this success inspires us to tackle more of the projects that need to be done around our old house!


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