Master Closet – Part 6
Well, 99.98% done. Between a quick trip out of state and Thanksgiving activities, we only had about 2 good work days the week after my last post. We bought the rest of the boards for the drawer boxes. We needed about 15 1×8 poplar boards, but Lowe’s never seemed to have more than 3 in stock at any one time. It took a few trips, but we finally got all that we needed. Putting the drawer boxes together was pretty redundant, but I did get sick of drilling Kreg holes for the screws since I had so many to do. We decided to go the easy route with the drawer bottoms so we just glued and stapled 1/4″ plywood to the bottom instead of cutting a channel in the drawer frames for the bottom to slide into.
Since they will only be holding clothes and none of the drawers are very large, our glue and staple method should hold up fine. (My Kreg Jig depth was off a little on some of the pieces which is why you can see some screw tips sticking out the sides of a few of the drawers. Not an issue now that they are installed.)
While I finished up the drawer assembly, David started installing the drawer slides into the cabinets. Since our trim pieces overhang the cabinet frames, he had to use a combination of 3/4″ and 1/4″ plywood scraps plus shims to mount the drawer slides so they would clear the trim pieces. It was a tedious and time consuming job to get everything level and the right width so that the drawer slides would operate correctly. That was one aspect we probably could have planned better in the beginning. Lesson learned.
Once he had the drawers installed, I was able to start building the drawer fronts. Since neither the cabinets or the drawers are perfect, each drawer front had to be measured and installed individually to try to get the spacing on all sides to be as even as possible. Assembling the drawer fronts was fairly easy. I ended up moving indoors since it has been raining and windy most of the week.
I installed the bottom drawer front first on each cabinet leaving 1/16″ clearance below it. I had planned for 1/8″ clearance between each drawer and found that a paint stir stick is right at 1/8″ thick. So, once the bottom drawer front was installed, I’d lay a paint stick across the top and set the next drawer front on top of it. I used double sided duct tape to temporarily hold the front in place while I screwed it onto the drawer from the inside. The bottom 4 drawer fronts were all the same heights, but the widths varied 1/16-1/8″ due to the cabinet frame plywood not being perfectly straight. I wrote the measurement for each drawer width on the front of the drawers, where it would later be covered, so that I knew which drawer front went on which drawer. Once the bottom 4 drawers were done, I would measure and build the top drawer front to fill in the remaining space. Some drawer fronts had to be shimmed so that they would stay flush with the cabinet trim. Others stuck out beyond the cabinet trim so I sanded them down some and will try to adjust the drawer slides to compensate.
Installing the drawer fronts on the rear cabinet was a bit more complicated since it has 4 different drawer depths (You can see it on the left of the picture below). The top 2 drawers in the rear cabinet are too shallow for framed fronts, so I just put 4.5″ flat fronts on those.
Once that was finished, I filled all the seams with wood putty. I then carried all 27 drawers back outside so that I could stand down the fronts to get everything as smooth and flat as possible. Fortunately, I remembered to label each drawer as I removed it so that I knew where it went. Since each drawer is slightly different, they are not interchangeable. Once sanded, I blew the dust off with the compressor, than moved them into the garage. I spent Friday caulking the inside of the drawer front frames, waiting for that to dry, then giving them all 2 coats of paint. I brushed the paint on, but ran over them with a 4″ foam roller to give them a more uniform and “sprayed on” look.
Meanwhile, after 2 months of searching, I finally ordered a new light fixture to replace the old fluorescent one. I had a horrible time finding something that didn’t cost a fortune, came in chrome or polished nickel, would put out enough light, wasn’t flush mount to the ceiling and wouldn’t put off a ton of heat. I came across a chrome island light for $60 last week and I ordered it. It has 4 -100W bulbs in it and is plenty bright enough. I put my favorite Reveal bulbs in it which is a nice change from the awful florescent light color. It came with 3-12″ down rods plus a 6″ one so we could determine how low it hangs. Between the 10′ ceilings and the tall cabinets, the closet now has a bit of an elevator shaft feel, so I wanted something that hung down enough to get light to where our clothes are actually hanging.
I have also ordered cabinet pulls for the drawers and they will get here on Monday. I had a hard time deciding on those too because I didn’t want to spend a fortune, but wanted something I liked. I spent a bit more than I planned, but I really like what I ordered. They are also chrome to match the new light fixture. For the top 2 drawers on the rear cabinet, I think I am going to put knobs instead, but I’m waiting to get the pulls so I can decide what will go with them. I’m very excited to get the pulls installed so we can actually get the drawers open without a battle!
There are still several little things that need finished before we can say it’s completely done. We still need to install the remaining crown molding, then caulk and paint all of it. I need to touch up the blue paint on the walls and paint the ceiling where the 4′ fluorescent light was hanging. I hope to get this all finished this week, but it will depend on when/if we can finish the crown molding. Once it’s all done, I take some “real” pictures and post the final reveal 🙂
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