Web Analytics

DIY Custom Built In Closet From Scratch Modern Home Office

Bryan Avila / small / 27 January 2022, 09:05:14
Diy Custom Built In Closet From Scratch A€“ Modern Home Office Makeover Woodworking How To Tiny Into On Budget Dream Organization Ideas Shelves Tour Img Vi

I've always treated my closet as a place to dump all of my miscellaneous things: Camping gear, travel bags, and network devices. No matter how many times I've tried to organize this space, it always ends up looking like a mess. That's because the existing built-ins were meant to store clothes and not gear. Hello, I'm Matthew Encina, and in this article, I'll take you through the process of how I rebuilt my closet from scratch. Before I begin, I want to thank Milanote for sponsoring this article.

I've used Milanote for years as a way to organize my thoughts in a visual way. From planning out projects, creating mood boards, and brainstorming and mind-mapping ideas. You'll see how I've used it throughout the process of this DIY closet build. When I began this project, my goals for this space were to: Update the look of this closet to match the rest of my office Get rid of the old sliding doors and built-ins Create a simple solution to store and hide all of my things Once my goals were set, I moved into research. Before I know exactly what to build, I need to see what else is out there.

I like to start by looking for inspiration on Instagram, Pinterest, and Dwell magazine– Then I pull everything together into one place and curate the ones I like best. This helps me set a general direction for the project. From there, I measure out the dimensions of my space. Then take note of how I intend to use it, and what I plan to store in it. I start sketching out ideas of possibilities, which usually takes me a few days to settle on a direction, and then I continue to refine it as I work through the project.

Once I'm happy with a direction, I lay it out in Cinema 4D to make sure I've considered all of the details of the build, including the measurements of each piece. For this project I started with the overhead shelves, marking where they would land on the wall – spreading them about 12 inches apart. As you may have seen in my previous projects, I've built alcove shelves like this in the past. Starting with wood battens on each wall, which would serve as the support for the shelves I put on top of it. But then, the unexpected happened.

I could feel it as I was drilling into, what I thought was a wood stud inside the wall. Within a few minutes, I could feel the floor wet, and I realized what I had just done. My worst DIY nightmare. I hit a water pipe. I quickly ran to shut off the water to my place, then opened all of my faucets to drain any pressurized water out of the pipes.

I carefully removed the screws, and confirmed it, cause water started shooting out of the wall. So I put the screw back in until the pipes were completely drained. I was surprisingly calm throughout this experience, because I knew in my mind that this wasn't the end of the world, and I could fix this. I started by researching online how to repair this, but ultimately I decided to call an expert to have it fixed in a reasonable time. I called a local plumbing service, which was amazing, cause they showed up the same day and had it repaired within an hour.

To fix it they cut out the punctured pipe and soldered in a new copper pipe. This did put a delay in my project for a few days. I had to make sure any moisture in the walls was completely dried out before I patched it up. I ran some fans to help circulate air into the wall. When we did the pipe repair, we cut out a section of the drywall, I kept that piece to close the hole back up.

I found a great tutorial on how to patch up drywall, which I'll leave a link to in the description. With my wall fixed, I resumed the project and began painting the closet the same Icicle white, I used in the rest of my office. While it sucks to have hit that water pipe, it actually was a great learning moment. It taught me what to do if you hit a pipe, how to repair drywall, and inspired me to upgrade my stud finder to detect metal and electrical currents. Not only that, but the delay had me reconsider the design of my closet.

Originally I had planned to use prebuilt cabinets for the base, but hitting the pipe gave me downtime to tinker with my closet configuration and came up with a better solution. So I canceled my cabinet order and decided to build everything from scratch. I finalized my materials and cuts, using a handy tool you all shared with me on Instagram: the Cutlist Optimizer. This helps you plan out your cuts, so you can get the most out of your materials. I took this information to my local lumber yard, and had them cut everything for me, out of 4x8' sheets of White Oak plywood.

To finish the top shelves that I started, I took long pieces of my white oak, and added 2.5” faces to it for thickness. Using dowels and wood glue to combine everything together, and edgbanding to hide the plywood edges. I designed these to slide onto the wood battens I installed onto the wall previously. It was a little tricky because the existing closet frame was in the way. But eventually I got it to work by sliding it up vertically, then angling it down onto the support.

For the base cabinets, I built a frame out of common 2x4's to have something sturdy and flat. I covered those with my pieces of white oak. Normally for cabinets, you would build out a box carcass for structure, but I wanted to maximize the storage space, so I ended up using my walls, as-is. I then moved onto creating a frame above, similar to the base, which would be the top part of my cabinets, and covered those with big sheets of white oak. It was a little challenging to get these in here, because the space was so confined.

I had to uninstall a few things to get enough room to slide everything in at an angle. During my downtime, I found a great solution for doors I didn't consider. Instead of installing the typical hinge doors, I discovered these tracks to install sliding doors. To attach the tracks to the wood, I used liquid nails, which is a super-strong adhesive that can bind almost any material together. I had to install one set of tracks directly onto my ceiling.

And because I didn't want to damage it, in case I wanted to remove it later, I used hot glue to secure it. I don't know how long it will hold up over time, but the track is fairly lightweight. The doors themselves are a 1/4" white oak plywood. I did a dry fit of the pieces to make sure they all fit snugly into the track. To finish them off, I cut a 1 1/2" finger hole to act as a handle, lightly sanded them, and then applied two coats of my favorite oil wax onto them.

I did one pass of sanding, using only printer paper, for an ultra-smooth surface. I used this same finishing technique on all of the white oak pieces in this build. With the main structures out of the way, I moved onto the lighting. Underneath the middle shelf, I installed a Phillips Hue light strip, which was perfect to fill up this section with light, and syncs up with the lighting in the rest of my office. One aspect of this build that was a little challenging was this access panel, which hosts the cable line into my entire place.

I don't like the look of it cause of its crude edges, so I had to figure out a way to cover this up, while still having access to it. Throughout my office, I have these Ikea pegboards, and I thought this might be the perfect way to cover up this door. The problem was that the panel was metal, and I didn't have a great way to attach the pegboard to it. I'm not sure how it came to me, but I decided to try and use magnets to see if they would hold. To my surprise, they held up strong, and the magnets I ended up using were rated to hold up to 20 pounds per magnet.

Now I could hide the panel, and still, have access to it. One small detail I added at the tail end of this build was to replace the original sliding door track from my closet. I created this wood threshold out of leftover off-cuts, to fill in the gap. Moving onto the last part of this project: setting up my networking devices. This includes my Modem, Wireless router, and Ethernet switch.

A UPS for backup power. My Phillips Hue Hub, which controls all of my smart lighting. And a Network-Attached-Storage device where I archive all of my article projects. Because the wiring of all of this can get a little complicated, connecting to my computers across the room, I used Milanote to quickly map out where everything would go, and what was connected to what. I wanted to minimize the visibility of my devices and cables, so I drilled a hole and installed a grommet to route some cables through it.

Then wrapped the rest in a white sleeve, to keep everything looking clean. Here's a look at the closet before, and after. This project was one of the most complicated ones I've tackled to date. There were so many variables to consider, and I ran into so many unexpected delays. That being said, I am so happy with how it turned out.

Thank you again to Milanote for sponsoring this episode. If you haven't used it yet click on the link in the description to give it a try the next time you need to sort out your ideas and plan your next project. This article was part of an ongoing home office update series. If you haven't seen the other episodes, I'll link the playlist below. In the next episode, I'll give you a complete office tour, and show you how I work in it.