Anyone who lives in a small space will tell you that the biggest challenge they face is storage.
No where is this more true than in a century home. A hundred years ago, people owned very little and storage was never an issue. They had one outfit for Sundays and funerals and a few other assorted items. Homes were built with very small closets, which at the time were more than sufficient. Today, however, people just have a lot more stuff and need places to keep it all.
A few years ago, I did some work in an east end home built in the 1920s. That post is here:
At that time, we discussed what to do with the bedroom closets but budget constraints meant putting that on hold, until recently, when I was called back in to finally deal with their storage issues.
Upstairs, between the two bedrooms, were closets, one for each room, that were about 4 feet wide and a huge almost walk in linen closet on the end that opened into the hallway.
The plan we discussed was to “steal” space from the linen closet and the second bedroom closet to create a much larger closet in the master bedroom. This meant, pulling out some walls, moving a doorway and adding in some new walls to end up with a small yet functional linen closet, a 3 foot closet in the second bedroom (home office) and a large 7 foot closet in the master.
The plan called for two IKEA PAX wardrobes to be built into the wall in the master bedroom and a new closet interior in the home office.
This was not without it’s challenges. Over the past almost 100 years, the upstairs floor had sunk in the middle by about two inches and as such the master bedroom floor was horribly out of level. The wardrobes needed to be level in order for the doors and drawers to function properly. The other challenge was the walls were constructed of “lathe and plaster”, wood strips nailed to the studs, covered in a heavy wire mesh and then layered with plaster.
Anyone who has ever done a renovation in a lathe and plaster home knows that the destructing part of the job is, for lack of a better word, horrible. It is extremely labour intensive and messy beyond your wildest imagination. The plaster essentially disintegrates into sand and unlike drywall, doesn’t come off in nice big sheets. It comes off in tiny chunks along with piles and plies of sand and dust
Let me just say that I was never so happy to see a job completed as I was with this one. Up and down the stairs a zillion times, 4 trips to the dump and more time spent leveling things than I’ve ever spent on anything.
BUT, the end result is fantastic. IKEA really has storage figured out. We were able to customize the interior of the wardrobes exactly to what the client needed; 4 drawers, 1 jewelry tray, 5 open shelves and two rods to hang both long and short items. This can easilly be changed over time as well, should her storage needs change.
In the home office we installed a custom unit that can also be changed if necessary (i.e.) resale, consisting of 4 drawers, 3 shelves and a small rod for hanging a few things.
In the linen closet, we cut and installed 4 simple shelves.
Have a look at the photos and see the project from start to beautiful finish: