Fear, Loathing, & DIY

Master Closet Expansion (or how I discovered drywall dust is the best dry shampoo)

December 15, 2015 by Kirby | 0 comments


One of the very first things I knew I wanted to do to our house  was remove the hallway closet to expand the one in our master bedroom. The hallway closet was narrow and couldn’t hold anything thick like quilts or comforters without us having to fold them impossibly small. It easily held towels, but we don’t have a closet’s worth of towels to store, so it was pretty useless. Our master closet was located on the other side of the linen closet and was also, small. It had two rows of bars to hold clothes, and then two shelves above each bar, and that was it. While it could hold all of my things, they were cramped. K’s things were a non-starter–fitting them into the closet was a no-go from the start. So the hallway closet had to go.

Here is how it went.

The process was relatively easy (to watch). One could tell from knocking on the wall that it was hollow–there were no load bearing supports and a quick check in the attic showed no electrical. We were clear to demo.

The closet door was removed then a Dremel Sheetrock cutter was used to remove the material around the frame. Next, the back wall of the closet removed via sledge hammer. I didn’t bother to remove the clothing located on the adjacent shelf but that would have been a good thing to do. Everything was covered in dust and had to be washed.


After I cleaned all the material up–I was deemed the cleaner by the demo crew–K built a fame to screw the sheet rock into. A simple lower-case T would have worked perfectly, however I thought there needed to be a support  to mount the horizontal clothing bar to in the inside of the closet. This was a pretty useless idea, as I later chose to not run a bar entirely across the closet between each of the walls.

IMG_1665Because the sheet rock/jib board encompassed the entire hallway wall and the door frames from the bedrooms on either side made the opening to slide the material into smaller, we had to cut the sheet rock in half in order to fit the hallway wall into place. This caused a seam down the middle which then had to be covered with tape and putty, then sanded over once dry. The closet side went into perfectly.

Sanding and texturing: one thing I learned through this process was that sheet rock debris was the perfect dry shampoo. It somehow provided a nice volume to my hair that I haven’t found anywhere else. While prepping all the seams for texturing and painting I didn’t bother washing my hair at all because I loved the volume so much. It was probably carcinogenic, but I really didn’t care.

K has no patience for finishing work, so in addition to the sanding, the texture and painting were up to me. I first primed the walls with a basic primer, then bought a few cans of spray texture. The spray texture went on gloopy and no matter how many light layers I did, it didn’t look like the other walls. So I turned to a professional on craigslist. For $120 a guy sprayed down this wall and a few others that had been effected by our plumbing issue. It took him no time at all, he put down plastic everywhere, and it looked perfect. Painting after that was easy.

The next, and most annoying step was to figure out what I wanted to happen inside the closet. I initially wanted to hang clothing on the two sides and back wall in a shape of a U, however, because of the narrowness of the new room, I decided that it may be a pain to find stuff on the new far wall against the hall. I decided instead to reuse the shelves we had just pulled so that I could stack jeans, pants, and organize boots and small organizational tubs of “accessories”. I could also use the shelving, which was now spaced wider and all the way up to the ceiling to store bedding for the master bedroom.

The closet now has six shelves against the hallway wall to store stuff in, shelf along the back wall above a long bar to hang shirts and dresses, and on the right hand side–two clothing bars: one for shirts and one for pants with a shelf along the top. On the wall shared with the bedroom, I added some wall-mounted hooks to hang belts and a laundry basket.

I made the illustration below, as the space is too awkward to take a picture:closet The whole thing is now a lot roomier and I can fit more in there. If we ever decide to sell the house, we can now advertise a walk-in closet, too. The cost of the DIY was relatively low as well. With reusing the wood shelves, we spent less than $100 on the sheet rock, tape, putty, framing, and closet hardware. K, also purchased the Dremel tool, but it’s now paid for its self in use since we got it. The major expense was paying for the texture, but it was worth it, especially since we had him do several walls at once.

AND THAT’S IT! I’ve now purged my closet several times and I keep finding (buying) new things to put it in. However, I’ve also been able to slip a dresser in the closet that was crowding our bedroom, so the extra space has been worth it.

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