DIY: How to Build a Wall of Closets From Scratch

On Monday I shared with you the husband's biggest project yet, custom built-in wardrobe closets for our master bedroom.

Now it's time to talk about how he did it!

When we came up with the initial idea, the first thing we did was go to Ikea to look at their closet systems. I'd seen a ton of great Ikea closet hacks online, so I was hopeful we could use their pieces to create something semi-custom. A quick look at the price tag and the Pax dimensions squashed that idea quickly! They weren't going to fit our space, and they weren't going to fit our budget either.

Once we knew we couldn't afford to buy an entire Ikea closet system, we decided to build around some of the interior components they offer. The husband is obsessed with these Komplement pants hangers (we had them in our other house, too), so we started our entire design based on those dimensions so they would fit perfectly.

There was a lot of sketching involved. I looked in his notebook and found all of these drawings – some by him, some by me – as we tried to figure out exactly what configuration would fit perfectly. It took us some time to finally figure out the best use of the space using the weird dimensions of the Ikea drawers and pants hangers.

Then I must have been bored because I even busted out my colored pencils! As you can see, things have changed a little bit from our original plan. 

The next step was to figure out how to build the darn thing. Where to begin? YouTube, of course. We watched this video by Sawdust Girl to get an idea of how she built hers (impressive project, to say the least).

Before I get any further, here are the supplies:

• 3/4 inch MDF (for the base cabinets)
• 1/2 inch MDF (for the doors, trim, detail work)
• 2x4 boards (to frame out the base)
1/2 inch overlay hinges 
Liberty Steel Bar cabinet hardware in a variety of lengths (so affordable!)
Ikea Komplement pants hangers
Ikea Komplement wire drawers
Ikea Komplement glass shelf
Wooden closet dowel rods
• Paint color: Pure White by Sherwin Williams

He quickly realized our wall wasn't straight, which (of course) complicated things. Then we had to factor in the angles of the ceiling, which meant my math teacher husband actually had to use the Pythagorean Theorem in real life. I can just see him talking to his class of 9th graders: "Yes, you will have to use this someday. In fact, I just used this exact theorem to build cabinets in my own house. Take that!"

I think I'm going to let the photos do the talking from here on out. Warning: Here come A LOT of pictures. And you can tell that I really took the time to clean up the room nicely during each one. Ha, yeah right! (Some of these are phone pics and some are on my nicer camera– whatever was handiest at the moment. Please forgive the inconsistencies between each one!)

Here we go, in chronological order (starting with a photo from when we initially toured the house).

Phew. I'm exhausted just looking at it.

Since I didn't do much explaining other than showing photos, please feel free to ask me any questions in the comments section. He would be happy to help if you're trying to do a similar project.

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