Sunday, May 15, 2011

hall closet makeover.

Our house is old. And based on the lack of storage- I am assuming back in the hey day, people had less stuff. It’s probably a better way to live. (And the future for Ryan and I, as we have no more space.) But it makes moving into the new digs a bit more on the difficult side.

We have no hall coat closet. And much smaller room closets. But, in the hallway we have a massive cabinet. It is an odd place for a large cabinet, as it juts out in the hallway. But it isn’t custom. This cabinet existed in all the homes of this floor plan we toured. It may have been an afterthought of the house designer, but it’s standard nonetheless.

Well when we moved in, the cabinet looked like this:

That’s right, 50 year old contact paper. In shells and checkers. But beyond the nasty shelf liner, we had an odd odor going on as well. It is what you would expect contact paper from the 60’s to smell like. Gross.

I knew there was no way that I would store my clean linens, towels and toilet paper in a cabinet that I couldn’t classify as clean. So we decided to update. First order of business, take off the contact paper. This, like every other project we have tackled, took longer than expected. Much longer. We thought that using our putty knife to scrap the paper off would work ok. And it did, for the seashell paper. But, the checkered paper lived under the seashell paper- and it wanted to stay.

Ryan’s dad had brought over a plethora of tools to our place for various projects, and in his pile was this bad boy:

He said it is used to pull up flooring. What I saw was a big razor blade, and I knew it would do the trick. And it did. But boy, oh boy did it take forever.

[Side note- don’t suck up old sticky contact paper with a shop vac. As it will get stuck in the hose and create a big clog. Consider yourselves warned.]

So once the paper was off, I wanted to sand the paint off, to get down to the wood. So I pulled out a borrowed palm sander, and went to town. But, the shelves were still too sticky, that it was creating problems with the sand paper. So before I continued to sand, I pulled out my trusty goo-gone (a new-house staple) and wiped down the cabinet. It seemed to help get off the thick of the residue.

Then it was time to sand. And we were left with a much better state of shelves.  And I am happy to report that the weird smell from the cabinet was almost gone at this point!

The painting plan was I wanted to paint the back of the cabinets a color, then the shelves glossy white.  I had seen this idea before and couldn't wait to try it out in our house.  Much like this idea:
However, I didn't want to buy new paint.  So I used what I had.  I had purchased a few samples of paint for under $3 when picking out the paint color in the bathroom.  I had purchased a really dark one, which was darker than I wanted for the bathroom, but would be great for the closet.

Also, I wanted to prime the shelves, so I used a color match trim color sample (in flat not gloss) to prime the boards.  At this point it was looking good.  After they were primed- I went over them with our semi-gloss trim paint.  The shelves were looking so much better!

Lastly I swapped out the bronze knobs for our new brush nickel knobs, and voila- our cabinet was clean and up to date.

After the paint was dry, I went to town filling up the space.  I used containers we already had in kelly green from Ikea (which really popped well with the blue.)

Once we get a bit more settled, I will spend time prettying up the shelves- but for now, it is a 100% improvement from before, and is a great place to stash our crap!


  1. You are so creative! The closet looks great!

  2. Thanks- yes it is much better then before! Just need to find a way to pair down my bathroom items. It is nuts!


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