It is often we can take the most important things to us for granted. Take for instance that I wake up in a soft, cozy bed with my loves around me in my HOME. In the morning, I get out of bed while it’s still dark, and I pause to listen at each door. Hearing their breathing sends my heart soaring, and I say a small prayer of thanks. It’s at those times I am truly thankful for my family just being there, and for a place for us to dwell. There is no doubt, a home is the key. Unfortunately, in reality not everyone is afforded such a peaceful feeling as they might be struggling from day to day.
Back in late winter, it was finally time to give my much used and much abused family mud room (walk-in-closet) a closet renovation like its never seen before. We live in a 1952 ranch home that has some great amenities in it, and this closet is one of them. It totally suits us because with 6 kids (8 people total) one can quickly accumulate a little bit. Just take how many coats, shoes, hats, gloves you own and multiply that times eight (don’t forget we live in Ohio which requires 4 seasons worth of apparel)…you get the idea.
So here it is. Let me give you a tour…
…perfectly vintage river stone linoleum, funky 80’s wood paneling, bare bulb fixture in main section, as well as a pull-string bare bulb fixture above hat shelf (you have to reach up to turn that one on if you are so inclined), 12″ ceiling tile in main ceiling that doesn’t match tile in hat shelf ceiling, no floor trim, outdated closet within closet. I could go on, but I think you’re getting the picture. Yes, I even added my watermark to actually claim this as mine.
I should have taken a picture of the before I emptied out the tractor trailer truckload amount stuff we had stored in here. It needed some love, eh?
First, I tore down all the tile along with all the extra things little friends that live in ceilings leave behind. Let’s just say I wore a mask, gloves, and a bandanna on my head. yick. All the while, trying to save the trim and anything else that could be reused.
Next for this closet renovation, I decided to wire up the lights so that they both would turn on when you flipped the switch. In order to do that I had to drill through the beam (shown below) to be able to connect them. Some genius guy wired the two fixtures separately to our breaker box, which meant one had a pull string. No fun.
This was no easy task because the drill bit I had was not long enough to reach all the way through, so I started on one side and then tried to match the hole on the other to connect the two. I wanted to hide the wiring up above the trim, so I had to drill right against the ceiling. A typical drill doesn’t fit up there very well.
Once I had the hole, I cut the hat shelf light fixture wire and fed it through, then spliced it with our new main ceiling fixture. Note: before doing any electrical work you need to shut off the breaker for that room!! ‘In case you’re wondering, no, I didn’t learn the hard way. tsk.
For the ceiling, I used some wood luan panels (thin, smooth ply) we had in our stash that my husband grabbed from his workplace trash pile. Can you believe they were the exact width of our ceiling…perfect!! Replaced the trim, but didn’t hang the fixtures until the painting was done.
Then, it was time to put in the built-in shelves to that empty far-right pocket. Previously, I just stacked big storage tubs there, but this time I wanted shelves for my husband and I to put our shoes/boots.
While typing this, my heart is racing because I did the stupidest thing I have ever done in my entire life. I have been using our table saw for over 12 years, as well as my husband. I have always given him a hard time about keeping the guard on. Well…this time I didn’t keep it on. It’s by God’s grace that I did not lose two of my finger tips on my left hand. Sorry if you’re squeamish, but just warning you they put those the guard there for a reason.
I did severely cut my fingers while catching a piece that flew up off the table – DUH!!!! Thank the Lord we had just put on a new, clean blade. I’ve never been so mad at myself or had the pain similar to birthing a child outside of birthing children. Thank you to the healing power of our bodies, I am am able to type to you now. This closet will forever remind me of my stupidity, and thankfully I’ve only suffered nerve damage in my tips.
If you know me, I am as stubborn as a mule and continued with my painful fingers to finish that closet because I wanted it done… and not in 3-months-from-now done. NOW. Just picture me managing a drill with one hand and my other hand wrapped up. I’m also so stubborn as to not go and get stitches, which I know I should have had done. ahem.
Here’s the photo I sent to my mother in an email telling her to only open it if she could stand to look…
She could have strangled me over the internet once she opened the picture when she got the nerve after a days time. Ha!
Sorry there are not more pictures of work-in-progress. My injured hand was not going to let me mess with photos. I did manage to snap a picture of my cute little helper though.
On to the painting… Yes, you can paint paneling, just make sure to wipe it down and prime with quality primer. If it’s been stained, you’ll need to use a stain-blocking primer. Since my closet was so dark, I wanted it white. I knew it would show me all the dirt that was there, but that’s fine by me…the better I can tell when to clean! And because the rest of the adjoining room was just painted white earlier that previous summer.
We decided to go over top of the linoleum with your basic peel & stick vinyl tile since it was in even and pulling it up would cause pits in the sub floor. (This is where I had to step out and let hubby take over) We really had hoped to put down ceramic tile, but budget didn’t allow. We figured we could yank the tile up at a later point.
Once the tile was down, we added the baseboard.
You have no idea how excited I was to say goodbye to that river rock linoleum. When you have 6 kids within two years of each other, there just isn’t time for this type of work, especially when you are a DIYer.
Remember the mismatched accordion type hooks on the wall? Those had to go. I needed more hooks and I wanted a rustic look, so I went back to my stash of barn siding that I used from my valances in the adjoining room and my garden.
Can I just say this closet renovation was the best thing I have added to my house yet. Each kid has four double hooks to themselves, with a few leftover for bags and such. BONUS: I even got more of my favorite barn wood in my home. cha-ching!
Aaahhhh…tidy at last and bright. At the flip of a switch I now get 2 lights on at the same time….genius.
I hope you are inspired to give you space a refreshed feel, even on a budget. You can do it! Do pin this closet renovation to inspire others too.
See the latest update to our space HERE and how we removed the dreaded BOOB LIGHT. ugh.
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