Master Bedroom Closet Organization & An Elfa Review

One of the things I did early on was design our bedroom closet organizational system.  We knew we wanted to work with the white wire shelving we used in our old house.  I know there are tons of systems out there, but we liked it for it's price as well as the option to reconfigure.  I actually reconfigured our old closet a couple times while living there to better utilize the space.  And, we completely redesigned the office closet into a nursery closet easily using the same rail system.

I had wanted to try the Pax system from Ikea, but all my designs either didn't fit our dimensions, or didn't maximize the space we did have, so I went back to the wire systems.  I knew I wanted to incorporate drawers (I like drawers way more than shelves - in all organizing situations), so I looked at The Container Store since I loved their wire drawers in Archer's closet above.  Anything was going to be a vast improvement over the one sagging clothes hanger/shelf situation that we started with. 

I inputted our dimensions and they're planning tool asked questions like was it a male or female, or combined closet, and then what types of doors.  Then it gives you a couple premade designs.  You can modify it a little like adding in more long hang space if you have more dresses (I do not), or shoe storage for example.  I had to be very cognizant of where the drawers were because of the bi-fold doors.  I needed them to line up with the openings to be able to open fully.  After some tweaking, I came up with this design.

Because everything is 2' wide, I knew I could switch the pants hanger and shoe drawers (the shoes lined up right where the bi-fold doors were so they wouldn't work in that location), I just wasn't able to change the design online to show this.  Because I made this while I was 8+ months pregnant I didn't want to drive to the nearest store and spend time designing with someone so I just bought this whole premade design and also some extra drawers and shoe drawers to switch out in our final design.

To prep the closet, Mike skim-coated the walls after removing the old shelf/hanger and to even out the texture, and installed the base trim before I painted everything.  I like to use semi-gloss in closets because it adds a little more forgiveness to all the bumps and scratches that happen when you're moving things in and out.

It was actually at this point that we realized that adding a light inside the closet would be really helpful.  Mike wakes and gets dressed while I'm still sleeping and usually uses a headlamp to get his clothes out of the closet so he doesn't wake me or Finn, who's still sharing our room.  That's love right there!  Having a light inside would mean he doesn't have to wander around our room with a silly headlamp and creates minimal disruption.  It was relatively easy because there's an attic above where Mike ran some wire to the new LED light and added a switch right out side the doors.  He installed it above the closet doors, so it kind of shines at (as opposed to down if it were mounted on the ceiling) the clothes.

The installation of the closet system was pretty easy, but I will say, Mike was not a fan of the "Easy Hang Standards" as their called.  Basically you screw in the top rail and then just hang those rails off of it, they don't get screwed to the wall.  Because they're not attached to the wall, they can swing and shift, even after adding all the components like shelves and rods.  Maybe once you add clothes and more weight they don't, but Mike didn't like that idea and drilled and attached them to the walls.  We later found out they make wall clips so you don't have to but for free we can just drill holes too.

I did go back to the store to return the extra drawers and things that I switched (like switching out a high heeled shoe rack for a regular shoe drawer) and grabbed some extras like shelf liners and a valet rod, because I'm fancy, ha!

We were able to install everything in an hour or so, and we can't wait to load it up with all of our stuff.  Mike keeps pushing to start putting everything in there now, but I know it'll be easier to paint all the trim without worrying about our clothes getting splattered.  Patience is neither one of our virtues!

This is our first time using a complete Elfa system and we had to make some modifications for personal preference, but I really like the system.  We also probably could have made it cheaper by utilizing different systems like we did in the old house (like the rails and hanging supports from Home Depot) and only purchasing the fancier items from The Container store (like the drawers and extras).  But, at 8 months pregnant I didn't have the brain capacity for that type of designing so it is what it is!

Because we were restricted by the doors, our design wasn't centered and after a lot of thought I decided to put the long hanger behind the left wall.  I don't wear dresses that often so it made more sense that way.

This left about 18" empty on the right side.  The online design tool only lets you design 104" wide, so I didn't have anything here.  Mike pointed out that we could extend the top hanging rod and gain a little more space, duh!  We had to go back to the store to get the extra pieces, and by a happy accident our laundry basket fits in that space on the bottom!

Next closet on the agenda is Archer's "big kid" room so I think I may suck it up and head up to the store to design it since they don't offer a premade kids closet.  I want lots of shelves and drawers so that the boys can grow up putting things in the proper place.  Hey, a mama can dream, right?!     

Casing and Base Molding Decisions

Heading back up to the bed/bath project, one of the major decisions we had to make when redoing these rooms was the trim. This was particularly important because it would be what we would replace the entire house with one day, so no pressure!  I needed to pick the base molding, (somewhat easy), as well as the casing molding, (so much more difficult than I thought).

The base was somewhat easy because we knew we wanted to beef up the 3 1/2" dark-stained base the house currently had. We came from a charming 1927 house with most of it's original trim and loved the large base molding.

I didn't want to copy this exact style and found a similar style that I thought was more appropriate for our new home's style and age.  Instead of the 7 1/4" height, I went with 5 1/4".  Still substantial (and much better than the builder basic), but the shorter style felt more appropriate for this 1970's home.  The cheapest I found locally was from Lumber Liquidators.

We actually bought a piece similar to the old style for different project and you can see the difference between the two.

We're working smarter, not harder, on these remodels and bought everything pre-primed.  It's saving me tons of time and that's a hot commodity over here!

For the window and door casings, I struggled for awhile on the style.  I couldn't find a lot of inspiration out there, mostly because the rooms I looked at were styled rooms and the trim details usually gets washed out in all the pictures.  It wasn't until I noticed the casings in Young House Love's Instagram progress photos of their duplex that I found the style that I wanted.  It's a simple Craftsman style casing, without the top casing cap (illustrated below).  I loved the simplicity, and it worked well with the base molding.

 Source unknown

Since we started in a room that had two large door openings (the sliding exterior door and the 4 bi-fold-door closet) Mike needed to come up with a method to create the profile while using readily available pre-primed pieces.  That's the reason we bought the 7 1/4" base shown above, it came in 12' pieces which he needed.  He ripped that down and used it for the top casing.  We still have to sand and paint everything, but here's where we're at right now:

We also are updating all the doors.  We went with a three-panel shaker style solid core for the doors and think they'll not only update the style of the house, but provide some necessary sound proofing as well.  We haven't had many instances of brothers waking each other up with crying, but I'm not risking it!

Once every things painted, we'll be adding matte black hardware.  I'm excited to try something different.  Even though I loved the black doors in our old house, this house needs more lightening up, and I think white doors and trim will make everything look completely different and updated.