This project started last year when we decided that the layout of our living room was not functional and did not go well with the furniture arrangement we had in mind. We had a niche in the living room that im guessing was historically a closet. It was about a 4' x 5' space--about the size of a closet--that carved a little space out of the room. Initially we had many ideas for what this small space could be... a fireplace? a bookshelf nook? built in seating? But after much thought we decided to settle with none of the above... and to make it a flat wall... esentially a TV wall. And so thats what i did. I built out a 2x4 studded wall and drywalled over top to allow for a more simple floorplan for our living room. and for a little while... about a year.. we had a 4' x 5' dead space in between our office room and our living room.
Until this year... when I finally decided to tackle this dead space closet project. Here is the before photo:
Not really showing much here... but a blank wall right? Well stay tuned...
This is my office. and the closet on the left is a coat closet. Right behind the middle section of this blank wall is the "dead space" with the living room on the other side. The idea was to open the space into the office and create a closet that also functioned as a desk area with a desktop and shelving above. Let the demolition begin!
As you can see I had to remove some original studs and use a sawzall to tear away at the plaster and lathe in order to access the space. I tried to be careful and accurate with my demolition zone in order to minimize waste and extra repair work.
I used poplar wood for the trim of the cloffice. I had a difficult time matching the profiles of the original trim--especially with the header and trimwork above the door opening. I found that my local lumber store, Cleveland Lumber Company, had the best selection of wood to choose from and was the best option for me for this project. By the war, the black tube and cord you see in this photo is for the TV in the living room. It allows for a place for the cords and cables from the TV to go and connects to outlets below--it was a great find!
For this project i tried to salvage as much trim and material as I could. If I dont re-use it for this project, I know down the road I will probably re-use it for later projects.
For the desktop material we decided to use bowling alley wood. Butcher block is a material they would have used in our 1903 home and we wanted to remain true to the time period. I ended up finding salvaged bowling alley wood on craigslist. Here is a photo of me picking up the wood from the guys barn--very cool!
There was a lot of dirt and grime on the bowling alley wood that I had to use a planar to get off. I think the wood had been sitting in a barn for nearly 20 years! The planar was able to get through most of the layers of grime and I finished with several passes with my orbital sander. Finally, I coated in an oil based polyurethane and I think I did two coats.
I decided to use left over bead board from my front porch to use as the back wall for the cloffice. I painted it white and used a nail gun to mount it to the studs. I also found a drawing with the sliders attached online that i mounted to the underside of the bowling alley wood. I also added a grommet for cord access.
I found a 24" door from a local antique shop that matched the original panel doors in our house. I also found antique art nouveau hardware and copper hinges. The last thing I want to do is put up some modern bronze home depot door knob.
And here's the complete project once the finishing touches are added!
Brandon E. Young