The Hungry Engineer

Studio Closet

11 Jun 2008

This week’s project was to refashion the clothes closet in my husband’s converted bedroom of a studio into functional shelf-based storage for his ever-growing assemblage of audio and photography equipment. To get ahead of the game, we procured most of the necessary items for the project over the weekend: paint, a few tools, wire shelves and the necessary infrastructure to mount them on the wall. On Monday, we began.

Step one in the project was to remove all the old shelving. It took the better part of a morning to carefully remove all the old nailed and glued down wooden shelving and clothes-hanging rods while minimizing damage to the drywall. I even took a razor scraper thing and carefully scraped off as much of the glue / caulk raised areas as I could in an attempt to make it stand out as little as possible against the textured walls. The next step was spackling all nail-holes and screw-holes and dents and gauges, both pre-existing and newly created <blushing>.

After the spackle dried out, the real fun began. Since the paint we had gotten was one-coat paint and since the walls we were painting over were a light shade of what can only be described as baby blue, I chose to primer over only the spots that I had spackled or that had never been primed or painted. Since I had other things to do, this was the end of Day 1.

Day 2 began, sensibly enough, with painting the closet ceiling. It had been white before and we were painting it white again, so no worries there. Then I started on the wall, and that’s when I noticed that the baby blue of the walls was showing through my allegedly one coat paint. Theoretically, we’d have to either decide it was a closet and we didn’t care that much, or repaint. I made the executive decision at that point to now primer the entirety of the walls I hadn’t gotten to yet. That done, I went back to painting. Now, this closet isn’t very big, so I had reasoned out that I’d only need a quart of paint to cover it. I was mistaken. The primer had done the trick, but it didn’t matter because I didn’t have enough paint anyway. <sigh>

My husband was sent to the store to procure more paint while I did other work around the house. This time, he went for the gusto and bought a full gallon of paint. It was a good thing too, because the color turned out to be different from the quart we had purchased previously. I would be repainting the entire closet. <sigh again> Luckily, the closet’s not that big, and the new color turned out to be more favorable than the old color, so it all worked out okay in the end. This was the end of Day 2.

Finally, the next day we hung the shelves. Getting the top track and the vertical standards installed was fairly easy. We drywall anchored the top track about 6 inches or so from the ceiling (the closet-maid folks recommend an anchor (and requisite half-inch hole) every 8 inches, though it felt a little strange swiss-cheesing our wall like that) and screwed the standards into the studs. Next came cutting the 8-foot-long shelves down to fit into our 80-inch closet. The bolt-cutters we had were not up to the task (or rather we were not up to the task with the bolt-cutters we had), so we had to borrow a heavy-duty one from a friend of ours to actually get our shelves cut. Once they were the right length, the shelves went in very easily.

The last step in our process was to lay some masonite or hardboard down on the wire shelves so smaller items didn’t fall through the grates. We had originally been looking at acrylic, but it was so expensive. At my father’s suggestion, we checked out the masonite instead - it turned out to be perfect for our purposes. We went to Lowes (after going to Home Depot, finding what we wanted, and being told their saw for cutting the board to size was out of service) and had them cut a 4-foot by 8-foot sheet down into one 4-foot by 16-inch chunk and three 80-inch by 16-inch chunks. This was the real bargain of the project, by the way. We covered nearly all four of our shelves 80" x 16" shelves with the hardboard and it cost us all of $6 (plus tax).

Total cost of this project was about $240. In the interest of reality, this includes the extra paint we wound up buying and the purchase of a few items we wound up not needing. We already had a lot of the painting supplies (tray, rollers, drop cloths, etc.), so some money was saved there.

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