Closet Mod

Current Location: Fort Toulouse Campground, Wetumpka, Alabama

This project is something we’ve been planning and researching for a while. When Malcolm got home from work and after we ate dinner, we decided to go ahead and move forward with the project. The objective was to remove the shelf across the closet so that the hanger rod could be moved up toward the ceiling, lifting the clothes off the floor. The shelf would be replaced by wire rack shelving off to the side.

Here was the existing closet on the right side.

Right side of closet before mod.

Right side of closet before mod.

And here is the left side. There is space to the left of the door opening that is about a foot deep, but the shelf unit intrudes into that space several inches.

Left side of closet with intruding shelf unit.

Left side of closet with intruding shelf unit.

The first step was to remove the shelf unit. It was held into place by four screws that were easily removed from the front opening. The box then just slid out from behind.

Shelf unit removed.

Shelf unit removed.

The opening was framed in with standard 2×4’s. Malcolm plans on cutting the shelf box down to about a 3 1/2″ to 4″ depth and re-mounting it in the same location. That will make a shallow, but handy cubby for small items.

Shelf framing from inside the closet.

Shelf framing from inside the closet.

The next step was to take down the rod and the support brackets from under the shelf. Malcolm had done this one time before as the rod was too far towards the doors and we were always pushing clothes back into the closet to shut the doors.

Figuring out how to remove the shelf was the next piece of the puzzle. The obvious thing to do first was to try to remove the front trim piece. It was simply brad nailed onto the shelf. This exposed the framing in the front.

Trim strip removed from the front of the shelf.

Trim strip removed from the front of the shelf.

The next step was to pry up the top piece. It is just a 1/16″ piece of veneer mounted to the shelf frame with more brads.

Top of shelf being pried up.

Top of shelf being pried up.

Prying the shelf top up all the way around allowed it to be removed, exposing the remaining framing and showing the mounting method (screws through the frame into the walls).

Shelf framing and mounting screws.

Shelf framing and mounting screws.

With the mounting screws removed, the shelf was lifted out and set aside, leaving the closet empty and ready for re-construction.

Empty closet.

Empty closet.

The first thing to do was to mount the hanging rod. Where it was previously mounted on the right-hand wall was backed by a stud. There are no studs behind the wall up toward the ceiling (except for a 2×2 right at the ceiling). We decided to use a couple of 7/8″ thick trim pieces from the trim department – one on each side of the wall. Screws were driven through one trim piece, through the wall and into the back of the opposite one, sandwiching the wall between them and providing a more sturdy mount for the end of the clothing rod. We will come back and stain these pieces to match.

Trim piece mounted. Piece on opposite side of wall has screws going through to back side of this one.

Trim piece mounted. Piece on opposite side of wall has screws going through to back side of this one.

Next it was time to re-mount the brackets that support the hanging rod in the middle. If we were to screw them to the ceiling, the rod would be too close to the ceiling and be blocked by the light fixture in the closet. Malcolm grabbed the trim piece removed from the front of the old shelf, cut a couple inches off one end and screwed it to the ceiling. Then the brackets were screwed to the trim.

Trim piece with bracket mounted.

Trim piece with bracket mounted.

The rod was a little too long to fit between the new wood block and the opposite wall, so a 1″ hole was drilled into the block so that the end of the rod could be pushed inside.

Mounting block with hold drilled.

Mounting block with hold drilled.

With the rod in place, it was time to screw the end caps to the wall and mounting block and call the hanging rod portion of the project complete.

Rod complete.

Rod complete.

Next, the mounting rails for the shelves were hung on the left side of the closet. A level was employed to keep everything square.

Shelf rails mounted.

Shelf rails mounted.

With the rails in place, we put the brackets on and placed our shelves on them. We had the hardware store cut a 6 foot piece of shelving into 22″, 24″ and 26″ lengths to accommodate the odd space. It turns out we have room for two more shelves, so Val will stop back by the hardware store to have a 4′ piece cut into 22″ and 26″ pieces and grab 4 more brackets. The shelves are mounted “upside down”, with the front lip upwards to keep things from sliding off while in transit.

Three shelves mounted and items placed on them.

Three shelves mounted and items placed on them.

Once we get the other two shelves, we’ll mount those. Malcolm will cut down the cubby box sometime in the next couple of days, depending on wedding schedule this weekend. It was too late in the evening to be running a saw in the campground by the time the project was nearly complete. An extra bonus with the shelves being 12″ deep is that the space behind that side wall was almost exactly 12″ wide inside the frame.

Stay tuned for the project wrap-up.

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2 thoughts on “Closet Mod

  1. It appears that you did not remove the mirrored closet doors during the mod. I’m assuming that you didn’t feel you needed to or did you have trouble and gave up? I have been wanting to redo the front closet completely and your design helps me along.

  2. John, he did not remove the doors. Found he had enough room to work in there with all the clothes, shoes and other items removed.

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