My Maker Home: J's Multifunctional Closet
Kids spaces: organization, multi function furniture and storage, and personality.
These are key elements in designing a functional kid friendly space whether it be a playroom, bedroom, or in this case a closet.
My son’s room was the “master” bedroom in our house’s floor plan when we purchased it five years ago so it has a massive closet. The closet had clothing storage for 2, a nice built in, old carpet and a sink… a random corner sink/vanity. Carpeted room with a sink… nope! The carpet was first to go and it was nasty.
Our house doesn't have room for a traditional playroom for our kids so their rooms have to accommodate all toy and game storage making this closet more about legos, nerf blasters, and hotwheels than dress shirts and slacks. He is 9, he has maybe 20 articles of actual clothing, so toy storage was key to each phase of this closet transformation. Early stages included replacing hanging storage with adjustable shelving and drawers, hanging the first panels of Wall Control for Nerf storage, and painting the built in. The sink however remained, lurking in the corner, playing host to science experiments and potion making for far too long.
J had three main requests for his new closet:
1.a quiet place to hang out.
2. a place to display and play with his Harry potter Legos (that was high enough so little kids can’t mess them up)
3. For the sink to stay.
Spoiler alert... The sink is gone but we will get to that later. The other two requests however I was happy to incorporate in my design.
My three main requests for the new closet were:
1. Removal of the petri dish, I mean sink.
2. STORAGE, organized, labeled and easily accessible storage for toys, books, supplies and clothing.
3. That the closet serves multiple functions that would grow with him and can be easily adapted to future needs.
With the plan in place the transformation began with a demo and a fresh coat of paint.
I happily ripped that sink out of the corner and after capping and covering the plumbing I replaced it with an adapted Closet Maid system for clothing storage. I joined the stackable cubby unit, the stackable drawer unit, two shelves turned side panels, and the stackable shelf unit to build this custom wardrobe, watch the quick video here. An inexpensive mirror, new light, and labeled bins completed the clothing corner. Goodbye sink, and hello organization.
Partnering with 84 Lumber, the closet was transformed from top to bottom with quality materials. New plywood plank flooring, new trim, a platform and shelves for storage or a magical display, and a Mama Made stepstool to make it all accessible.
The plywood plank flooring is a modern diyer's dream. It is easy to prep, install and is inexpensive. I simply ripped boards to 5 inches wide and nailed them in place using my brad nailer. I chose not to cut a tongue and groove because I was fixing the floor directly to the subfloor and I allowed enough breathing room for wood’s natural movement.
Before I brought the planks in I sanded to 120 grit, leaving the final finish sanding for post installation. Once installed, the floor sanded quickly and I sealed it with 4 coats of high gloss Varathane. The new floor is durable, wipeable, and looks great!
Because our house is a series of additions, room reassignments and bizarre structural choices (made by previous owners), the trim in each room is different and in several cases new drywall was installed resting on top of existing trim. Removing the trim before installing the floor would have left an awkward 5 inch drywall gap and likely more drywall damage. Capping the existing trim after the floor was in allowed me to avoid the drywall damage and install trim that follows the modern style of our home. To do this I ripped select pine from 84 lumber into two different widths. The first to the height of the old trim for the face and the second to the distance from the wall to the outside edge of the face for the cap. I painted these white and then installed them. A little filler and caulk and the base of this transformation was complete.
In designing this closet I had very specific purposes for the storage I would build and install and how they will function at this time in our life and how I will be able to adapt them for future needs. The structure of the largest platform is designed to bare weight. It can be used as the grounds of Hogwarts, a loft, large item storage, and whatever else the future may need.
The frame is made of high quality 2x4 lumber, skinned in ¾ inch plywood and painted. The two smaller shelves are similar in construction, though not meant for climbing. Under the large platform I hung a hammock for that requested quiet spot to hang out… pun intended. I fixed LED strip lighting for a fun effect. Using my cricut joy I created vinyl accents to set the stage and bring the forbidden forest to life, all while reminding myself that they are not my legos...
I built a step stool with the remaining plywood and incorporated slots for bins to slide in and shelving for added storage. The stool is on felt sliders and can be easily moved on the smooth new floor. From the top step Jack and reach the highest shelves and safely play within the wizarding world. The step stool stows against the wall under the platform when not in use.
With the building component complete it was time to bring in the organization.
The adjustable shelving and drawer unit returned to its spot on the wall and the drawers and shelves were emptied, reassigned, and labeled.
To maximize the function of the built-in and minimize its clutter potential, I used these white bins to corral collections and small parts. Books and games filled the remaining space leaving no room for clutter and chaos. The open wall to the right of the built in was converted into an nerf armory last summer.
These wall control panels, hooks and accessories are so versatile and can be used basically anywhere… but here they are the perfect storage solution for our families’ nerf arsenal. After a few birthdays and Christmas we were beyond the capacity of our existing panels so additional wall control was needed. Each panel is easy to hang and packed with possibilities. Watch the installation process here. Once up Jack and I used a variety of hooks, hangers, and storage accessories to not only organize our Nerf wall, but do so in style.
With everything in its place the only thing left to do was make sure it ended up back there after use. My kids both love the excuse “I DON’T KNOW WHERE ANYTHING GOES, SO I CAN’T CLEAN UP”... To be fair, one of my favorite things to do is organize, it brings me peace and joy, so I often do it without them. However, if they are able to get it out wouldn’t you think they would remember where they got it from? I took extreme measures to ensure that my son would never find himself lost in his own belongings again. I LABELED EVERYTHING. I labeled each bin, each shelf, each drawer with giant black vinyl labels. So far they are working, I know the excuse will likely be replaced with another but for now I am celebrating this one as a win.
A well lit hangout, a wizarding world, an organized storage masterpiece, a wardrobe and an armory all within 50sqft of closet. The space is packed with function and style, modern and adaptable, and without that dreadful sink.
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