Friday, March 14, 2008

tHe nEW PlaCe to hAnG is IN the CloSet.

a PlaCe fOr EveRyThiNg and eVerYtHing iN Its’ PlAce…yes, that would be nice. The only problem with that is, sometimes we lack the proper space, or we simply have too much stuff. What to do, what to do. Re-organize, get rid of things, or add-on. How about a bit of all three!? I changed our floor plan slightly to carve out a tad more closet space off the bedroom; nothing extravagant, just enough room to store all of our clothes, shoes and accessories in one place. Running from guest room to guest room to find this or that and the mounding laundry baskets scattered about just weren’t doing it for me anymore! My dream of being able to walk into a room and look around to see all my things neatly displayed has finally come to fruition. Now, when most people are faced with a shiny, new room, they tend to fill it with shiny, new things. Not at my house. We chose to fill our shiny new closet with the oldest, most tattered fixings I could find. The design was simple…floor to ceiling shelving and a few hanging bars. Let me just say, that searching for your lumber and hardware at an architectural salvage store (the one here in Des Moines is fab-u-los-o!) is way more exciting than picking out your lumber at the home improvement center. There are no two boards alike, and every one you pull out is interesting and full of character. I headed home with what I thought would be enough to build the shelving and trim out the room, along with a great looking piece of furniture for my shoes (I’m thinking it must have been an old storage unit for screws and bolts.) Wait ‘til my husband sees the beautiful, shabby trimwork he has to work with! (I believe his reaction was one of “I knew we were using reclaimed lumber, but man, this stuff is pretty crappy…and you paid how much for it?!! My enthusiastic response was yeah, but look at how colorful it is and all the character it has…you can’t get that just anywhere!) I sketched out the plans and off we went building our shelves. The challenges we faced were: One, I didn’t have quite enough lumber…and, even though everything is fairly mismatched anyway, getting pieces that are equally as mismatched can be hard to find.. BUT, thankfully my brother-in-law just bought a dumpy fixer-upper to renovate and everything he was tearing out, is what I was buying! (a concept that he thought was crazy… “that’s the stuff we normally burn or send to the dump, you know!) Once he saw what we were doing, he started looking at what he was ripping out a bit differently and even donated a few more treasures to the closet cause! I’m pretty sure he still wouldn’t put that kind of stuff in his own closet, but he at least enjoyed watching us use it! Anytime you have the opportunity to reclaim old lumber, do it! It’s unique and it’s hard to find. Every inch of the shelving is created out of it, the trim around the doors and baseboards are also salvaged material.
I wanted to maintain the ‘worn and torn charm’ of the lumber, so I didn’t want to sand it down, but I did want to clean it up, get rid of any loose paint and seal it. All I did was vacuum everything good, scrubbed it with cleaner and water and gave it three coats of shellac. It gives the woodwork a smoother finish and insures that none of the paint will ever chip off. I love the look of the shellac finish, it’s what I used on all of the old lumber and trimwork, as well as the nuts and bolt bin. Also…whenever you’re working with old lumber, you always want to be aware of the possibility of lead paint….so use common sense and any necessary safety precautions like using a respirator mask if you’re going to be sanding it down and stirring up any dust. For the closet rods, I just bought steel rods from the home improvement store and to knock down the shine and make it look distressed like the lumber, I sanded it and brushed it with some gun bluing liquid. Blends right in now!
I also left a small opening at the end of the shelving for a hair and make up station…it’s nice to have an area to sit and get ready and not worry about having a mess out and about for all to see! We tried to maximize every bit of space, so we added a top shelf that goes all the way around the room…makes for a great place to store bags and purses – and I have enough room underneath the shelving to roll in a few pallet boxes. No sense leaving the middle of the room open…let’s add an island! We created a simple 2x4 frame and covered it up with old bead board that came out of the ‘dumpy fixer-upper’ and topped it off with an old narrow door – this offers additional shelving, and a great place to fold and organize clothes or pack a suitcase. I think I’ll hang some hooks on the outside and use it to display my necklaces and scarves.
It’s definitely a room that makes me smile every time I walk in…it’s full of warm character, it was enormous fun to put together, and we did it ourselves in our own unique way. That, in itself, is an awesome feeling. (not to mention, it was WAY LESS EXPENSIVE than using new lumber or traditional closet organizers)
Our only dilemma now is – my husband and I have no clothes to fill it up. When making the move from closet to closet, we realized we were storing a plethora of dated, unfashionable belongings (nothing worth salvaging, there!) and it was time to send them off! A fresh start all the way around.
(It’s no Kimora Lee Simmons closet, but I think it’s a close second! To some of us, Salvage Style is absolutely FABULOUS!)
I leave you with photos to peruse, and quotes to ponder.
Turn it up, so you can enjoy the laid back tune…“LiFe iN a BuCket”.. by our friends The Nadas off their Not a Sound album....an oldie but goodie, as they say!

Enjoy, and cheers to making YOUR home YOUR own!
michele.


1 comment:

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