It all started when my husband, Dray, said he tried to surprise me last year with a closet renovation but couldn’t find a contractor to do the job while I was in Italy with two of my sisters. Wow! What an amazing husband…and an amazing idea! I hadn’t even thought of it…but now I can’t stop thinking about it! So, when the timing was right we secured a contractor. I came up with a plan. Dray gave great suggestions on the design, such as mixing wood grain shelving with the wire racks and exposing the beam.
So it begins….
First I had to take all of my stuff out of the closet – that took about half a day to neatly stack and hang my stuff in the boys bedroom/closet and the guest bedroom/closet. Making these rooms now uninhabitable (says Dray’s son). 🙂 You might think our closet was big enough before. It was 8 feet wide and 10 feet long. I was using the space as wisely as I could, but I needed more (says the fashion blogger!). I emptied an 8 ft wire rack of dresses and hanging shoe racks and two 8 ft wire racks of tops and bottoms. I also had a wooden shelf that held sweaters, jeans and gym clothes. I had sweatshirts, purses, hats and other random stuff stacked on top of the wire racks (up to the ceiling) and underneath my clothes were more shoes. To say I packed the closet full is an understatement. It was full from the top to bottom and I was starting to fill up the guest room closet.
So the first day of renovations was the demolition of a wall and the construction of a new wall. We are taking 10 ft from the loft area of our home to expand our closet.
The contractor, Belvedere Construction Company, put plastic down and respected our home and our request for minimal dust and dirt. We are a little bit of crazy about cleanliness and our home. But in our defense…it’s the only home we have – we better take care of it! Our home is our refuge, a place we love and enjoy – we bought it new 5 years ago and we want it to stay as nice and new as possible for as long as possible.
New walls are going up!
The second day of construction was putting up dry wall and electrical work. It is really starting look like a new room. We can now visualize how our space will look. The second picture above is our loft space. It used to be 15 ft long and 10 ft wide. Since we’re taking 10 ft for the closet, it is now 5 ft. long an 10 ft wide. Making it more of a hallway and nook instead of a loft.
The third day of construction was taping and muding the drywall. Muding and sanding the drywall took a couple visits, so the same process for day 4 and 5. I decided to go with another florescent light fixture because I already had one in my original closet and I wanted it to match. To tell you the truth I’d never even noticed the light fixture. I decided that is not the most important feature in the renovation. And, it could always be upgraded in the future with chandeliers. Just saying…
Then I got busy painting the entire closet and loft area. I decided to paint the room to save a little money. It was hard (read impossible) to get the exact match on paint, so I had to do the entire rooms. This was more than I anticipated doing when we first talked about this project. Thankfully I enjoy painting.
On the 7th day of construction, they brought the shelving I requested for shoes and clothing. From the first picture above you see a side-by-side picture of what I got for my shoes and what I requested. Not exactly the same. This shelf was soooo big, that they nicked a part of our stairwell wall, got stain on the carpet in the struggle to bring it upstairs. Well….I’m not proud of this, but I had a meltdown. I went outside and called my husband crying. I’m not happy with the shoe shelf they made. I was REALLY upset with them nicking the wall in the stairwell and the stain on the carpet. In my defense I was emotional because the anniversary of my son’s death was the next day, and that is always an emotional time of year for me. I was really crying. Understand…I can’t fix the wall or the carpet and I didn’t want to spend any additional money getting these items fixed. After talking to Dray, I calmed down enough to talk to the contractor. I showed him the areas of concern. I’m pretty sure he could tell I’d been crying. He said he would try to fix them, he felt confident he could, and if he couldn’t, he would paint the stairwell. I immediately calmed down. Happy to report, he fixed the wall and cleaned the carpet, so everything was as good as new. Whew! I got over the shoe shelves not being what I requested. After talking to the contractor, he thought I wanted sides on the shelves (like the smaller shelves) and it was a miscommunication. In the end I was happy with the shoe shelves more than I was unhappy with the new design.
So things were shaping up pretty good. Until, I asked where the other two smaller shelves were. He said he didn’t know I wanted two more, even though I clearly put three sets of shelves on the drawn up plan. Another mis-communication. He said he would build them and bring them next week, at an additional cost. Everything was done except for the new shelves and the stain on the installed shelves needed a couple days to dry completely. I still can’t move into my new closet…
On the 8th day of construction (over a span of two weeks), they brought the last two wooden shelves, secured them to the walls, touched up any areas of concern and the closet was done! I was able to move my stuff in! Below are the 3 wooden shelves.
I took the better part of the upcoming weekend to get everything back in the room. Then I took my time folding clothes on the shelves and deciding where to put everything. I didn’t really have a plan for my jewelry, as a result my jewelry armoire is tucked in the corner, under the wire rack. One day down the road, I may have to buy a thin dresser for the middle of the room with drawers for my jewelry. I’ve displayed a few necklaces on the floating shelves under the window.
I should probably note that my husband has two 8 ft wire racks and his portion of the closet never changed. It should also be noted that we both have dressers/armoires for tees/shorts/pj’s/socks, etc. in the bedroom.
Overall, everything fits much better now. I’m a visual person and I love that I can see what I have. I don’t know how closets of famous people looks so neat and color coordinated. If you have any tips – send them my way. This is real life here! Each section is neat and organized. I feel I’ll be shopping my closet a lot more! I’m very happy to not stack clothes on top of the wire racks..all the way up to the ceiling. I’ve got everything in one room (except Halloween costumes and some coats/gloves). I’m not encroaching on the guest room closet any more. I feel it was a huge success. I’m very happy with the results.
This is the loft nook now – after the closet renovation took 10 ft from this area.
I can tell you that there hasn’t been a time in my life that I was spoiled, not in my childhood or my first marriage. I’ve been a working girl since I was 15, working full time since I was 16. I got my bachelors and masters degrees while working full time and raising my child. I’ve humbly experienced many decades of just trying to cover the bills. Dray entered my life in my 40’s and has definitely treated me the best I’ve ever been treated. I’ve traveled with him to places I never thought I’d go. We have a beautiful home, he supports and encourages my travel to see family every few months. He takes me on his business trips and supports trips with my sisters and/or friends. He fully supports and encourages my fashion blogging, purchases and photo shoots. He has given me more time and attention, respect, love, gifts and consideration than anybody. And…I definitely feel spoiled with Dray and now with this closet…I’m overwhelmed! It really was all for me and I ever am so grateful. My husband is so sweet/generous/considerate to think of this and then go through with it and not get anything from it. So, BIG props to him!
- Things I’ve learned: Go over the details of the plan and make sure you and the contractor are both understanding what you are expecting. Be more detailed than you think, ask questions, confirm design plans and make sure you and the contractor are on the EXACT same page. Get an agreement ahead of time that if they damage carpet or walls that they will fix these damages. Make sure you make clear your expectations on dust/dirt/clean up. As far the design, I would get adjustable shelves for shoes and include a plan for your jewelry.
Overall project cost: $6,000 and about 2 weeks time.
Are you thinking about renovating your closet? Reorganizing your closet? I hope this blog was helpful in some way.