My bathroom closet is… okay, well, it’s not done, but my part is. And it doesn’t look half bad, if I do say so myself. I’ve mentioned before that this house doesn’t have much in the way of storage — the bedrooms have closets, and there’s a mostly-useless space under the stairs, but there aren’t any linen closets. We’ve got some extra bedding in the guest room’s closet (and someday I’d like to really fit it out with shelves to make it super useful), but I’ve been wanting to finish this one off my bathroom for extra towels or linens or just STUFF.
In January, I got it into my head to sheetrock the closet — it was just bare studs between this area, the utility room (to the left), and the empty space under the stairs (to the right). I got all the drywall up and did some taping and mudding, but then I got pregnant. Everything feels really tenuous in those early weeks (like breathing in a bunch of sanded joint compound might hurt the embryo), and I was too busy eating Cheez-Its, anyway.
So it stayed in pretty rough shape until this weekend, although I did put a couple of extra bookshelves in there and used it to temporarily store odds and ends. My original plan was to have the guys (our contractor and his men) complete the mudding and sanding for me, but I wasn’t sure they’d be able to get a halfway decent finish starting where I had left off. I had been unable to sink in a lot of the sheetrock screws (the studs seemed to be made of petrified lumber!), and my taping left a lot to be desired. I mean, it’s only a closet, so I hadn’t put in my best effort, but it was still pretty crummy, even by those standards.
Maybe because I’m having ‘beadboard’ put in the main part of the bathroom, I decided I liked the sound of paneling.
At this point, the closet was all, ‘What have you done? Seventies faux-wood paneling? You’re not helping — you’re making things so much worse!’ And I was all, ‘God, I’m not done yet. Have a little faith. You didn’t even have walls until I came along.’
I could have bought white paneling, but nobody in town keeps it in stock, and I didn’t fancy driving an hour with 4′x8′ paneling hanging out of a truck bed that’s a little less than 4′x6′. So I went with what I could get in Sandstone, which was this lovely ‘birch’ stuff. I knew that painting it wouldn’t be a ton of fun, but it was inexpensive and much lighter than the nicer paneling that’s going in the bathroom. And lighter = easier to throw on some sawhorses to cut to size.
The sheets are 4′x8′, but the basement walls are a little over 9′ tall. So I bought a couple of extra 1x4s and planned to trim out the top. That would leave only about a foot of wall and then the ceiling to show off my crappy drywalling job.
And here it is, a million coats of paint later! Not too shabby, eh? We had a few gallons of ceiling paint left in a five-gallon bucket, so I used that (after priming everything). It was thin, which meant more coats, but it also meant that it rolled right into the grooves of the paneling without my having to press extra hard.
I attached a 1′x4′ melamine-coated board to the ledge that kicks out at the foundation, making that more of a useful shelf. And then I hung four wire shelves. I’ve got two more, but I think I’ll put them lower, and I don’t want to make it difficult for the guys to tile the floor. The closet is about 40″ deep and 54″ wide, and with the new bifold door going in, I’ll actually be able to use all that space! (It used to have a regular door, which swung into the closet — I took it off the hinges before I started with all this paneling.) I’m thinking the vacuum cleaner might finally get a place to live.
I also put up the new light, which you can see in the very first photo. It used to be one of those basic bare-bulb fixtures, and even though this one was only $10 or $15, it looks SO much better.
I know a little closet project isn’t very interesting, but this is going to be my ‘chopping firewood’ — when I was eight months pregnant, I paneled and finished the bathroom closet! And I swear I feel better for it. It’s nice to move around and actually accomplish something concrete. But I’m glad the guys are arriving tomorrow to do the rest of the bathroom work!