Closet Case

It’s no secret that my closet has always been an issue.   Small closets are one of the drawbacks of living in an old home.  Mr. Man and I have shared the tiny thing for 12 years now.   I dream of a closet kinda like this:

via Pinterest

Well, that’s not gonna happen.  But I have been working with a professional organizer, and she’s managed to find a way to rework our storage so that Mr. Man is FINALLY out of the closet! Ok, that didn’t come out quite right . . .   anywho, we are using a pair of armoires in the bedroom that will enable us to shift some clothes around.

Very similar to Mr.  Man’s new closet

The closet isn’t very large, but it’s MINE, ALL MINE!!!   So what can I do to make it fabulous?  I have a few ideas . . .

via Pinterest

I know I want it to be colorful and fun.

via Pinterest

I’d love to paint the interior or wallpaper it.

via Pinterest

I definitely want it to be super-organized.  A place for everything and everything in its place!

via Pinterest

There’s only one problem – or maybe a few.  It’s really ugly,  and I’m not exactly sure how on earth I’m going to tackle it. It’s cedar-lined, but it’s really cruddy looking and stained from past water damage.  If it’s not pretty, I will never be able to keep it organized – that’s just how I am!

Ugly Cedar-Lined Closet

Help!  If you have any ideas how I can make this closet a little jewelbox, please share!  I need to make some major decisions before moving forward – I really hope there’s a happy ending to this closet case . . .

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32 thoughts on “Closet Case

  1. Julie Eps says:

    Are you going to take the cedar down? I’m going through a gold phase and think that painting the slats alternating white and gold would give it some glamour. I’m still afraid of wallpaper (my mom, a former interior designer told me that most homeowners remove wallpaper ONCE since it is such a PITA to remove. After that, you never use it or hire someone else to take it down. Lol.) I think a gorgeous, glam mirror is a must. I’d go with an ornate frame in white or gold. Then maybe a shock of bright color–turquoise or blue/green? What are you thinking of as far as lighting? I’ve seen mini chandeliers in use, but I’m not sure if they’re going out of vogue or what. I’m new to giving a care about my home being beautiful. But I’m learning! Love your blog!

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      I am considering the option of removing the cedar – it’s not in good shape and has a few holes in it. Then I’d have to have somebody drywall it – but that would give me more options to make it pretty! I’m really not afraid of wallpaper, especially in a space like this. I wallpapered both bathrooms in my home 12 years ago and still love them. I would love some beautiful lighting in there!!!

      • Juliet says:

        If you wallpaper the pipe, consider the hot and cold changes that may lessen the adhesive and cause peeling. Decoupage may be the best way to make that stick and stay. Metallics or mirror finish paint on the ceiling will increase your light and give the illusion of more ceiling height…perhaps a real or faux tin even? The little chandeliers at Hobby Lobby are very affordable and come in a variety of colors and while they are plug ins, I can show you how to convert. This looks like lots of fun Kristie, I can’t wait to see your finished product!

  2. Amy says:

    Don’t forget that there may be a reason why that closet was lined with cedar …. Wouldn’t you hate to take it all down only to find out?! Wonder if you could just put in new cedar? Before you paint it, make sure that painting it won’t hinder the good effects of the cedar. Remember your house is old and surrounded by large trees in the south….:)

    I will look forward to seeing how you tackle this project! My closet needs intervention too!!

  3. Christina says:

    We’ve been researching better ways to organize our master closet, too. Hubby really wants cedar installed. I’ve read that it’s the oils in the wood that repel moths. After a few years those oils have largely dissipated but you can resand to prolong the effectiveness. Sounds like a lot of work when you can just dry clean then seal up woolens in garment bags and then your clothes don’t smell like a hamster cage. Dry wall, paint, wallpaper and new lighting sounds awesome. And the easiest, quickest closet trick for making everything automatically look nicer I ever did was throwing out all my plastic/wire hangers and hanging everything on wood hangers. It really was remarkable.
    And I love that photo you posted with the shelves above the closet door. I totally forgot about that space!!

  4. Karina says:

    I just read in my Country Living magazine (March 2012) that York Wallpaper company makes an easy to remove wallpaper that they make for apartment dwellers. You could wallpaper sections and paint others. I would remove the cedar. If you do want to do a traditional wallpaper I have a friend who hangs wallpaper for a living. Not sure if you ever met Dawne Harris. Her daughter went to Granbery. Let me know if you want her number. Good luck! I can’t wait to see how your closet comes out after you transform it!!

  5. Mary says:

    There are some good ideas here. I like wallpaper, the glam mirror and the chandelier.

    I can’t tell how much room you have to the right of the pipe but perhaps that is where you can place the mirror and then flank it with iridescent silk-like drapery, with tie-backs, to make it look like the mirror is peeking out from the drapery – it hides the pipe (if heat is not an issue with the pipe). The new lighting will make the drapes shimmer.

    I like Jocelyn Warner’s wallpaper.

  6. Donna McBroom-Theriot says:

    You are right. That is a really ugly closet! I’d tear the cedar out, have Hubby drywall. I’d paint or paper with pretty colors. Hanging at the top, shelving cubbies on the bottom half. The peg board would be really great, repainted, and hung on drywall and installed with hooks for bags (purses) and scarves, etc. as art. A nice wood floor (hopefully you have that with it being an old house) and a pretty rug. I like pretty – can you tell? 🙂 I have a very small closet but it lives large. I have pictures on my blog. It’s my happy place – so wonderfully organized. Good luck. I can’t wait to see the finished product. Enjoy!

  7. joy says:

    I thought you just did a fantastic job on painting the wood paneling… so why not do the same here. Holes are easy to take care of I think, just fill them before painting. yes, do make sure painting cedar does not hurt the function of it.

  8. Sheila Zeller says:

    Okay, I’m not for getting rid of the cedar. I think you should Annie Sloan Chalk Paint it and maximize it’s vintage look… cover over the the peg board so you can wall paper it with something fresh and glam, and either wall paper the pipe to match, OR paint the pipe to match Annie’s colour and then wrap the pipe in a burnished metal mesh similar to what is used when boxing in old radiators. I saw old pipe covered this way at the Edison Hotel in NYC and it was awesome. I’m all for a glam chandelier and an antiqued mirror… paint out the shelves, add pretty hooks where you can (DIY vintage glass knobs into hook/peg hangers), incorporate baskets or vintage fruit boxes, and wooden hangers will finish the look! I love the idea of a wooden floor as well, and depending which way you decide to go, you can always lightly whitewash (grey wash, or… another colour? ) the floor, maybe even do some stencilling to compliment the glam factor. I can’t wait to see what you do! I know it’ll be Kristie fab in the end!!! 🙂

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      wow, sheila – thanks for all the great ideas!!! wish you lived in nashville to help me 🙂 i have totally been thinking about painting out with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. Mr. Man actually wants to rip out the cedar – there’s old plumbing behind one of the walls that totally needs to be replaced and it’d be a perfect time to do that if we ripped it out. but now you are making me rethink that . . .

  9. Kristie Barnett says:

    wanted to share this email i got this morning from Rachel:

    Good morning-
    You asked for help, but I think you are probably too close to this project because I feel very certain you would come up with a quick and brilliant solution if it weren’t your personal closet!

    “I have faith in your brilliance and I barely “know” you. So, that’s my first piece of advice– pretend it is someone else’s and see what you would do.

    Secondly, I think you have the answer right here- paint it a happy light color, and go with a great wall paper. And make sure there is good lighting. And baskets or boxes you love for organizing, and let the professional organizer help you, And weed out. I look forward to seeing the finished project. And now I am thinking of getting my husband a wardrobe… Good luck!”

  10. Colleen says:

    I was going to suggest painting everything white, including the pipe, to start…. but I see many others before me suggested painting it as well! That would really lighten it up.

    Another thing you could try is buying those new slim hangers which allow you to hang more as they take up less room on the rod, and you can get them velvet lined, all the same color. This would bring in some unison and the velvet prevents clothes from slipping off the hangers.

    BTW, I think painting the cedar would be better than removing it as it brings in texture instead of just a smooth painted wall.

  11. [email protected] says:

    Good morning! I think the drywaller’s are winning, hands-down. I love the first suggestion of alternating gold and white shelving. I’m on the slow road to having my husband build enclosed closet cabinets, because open shelves always look messier than I’d like. My doors, if the project ever gets completed in my lifetime, will have mirrored inserts with frosted stenciling, to look etched…I hope! P.S.: how does the hub’s feel about being sent out to pasture?

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      You know what, Barbara? He’s actually ok with it. Although I had to agree to empty my coats out of the teeny-tiny coat closet by our entry so he has some room in there for all of his. Small price to pay!

  12. Kristie Barnett says:

    sent via email from Kathy:

    “Obviously you could paint it, not sure if you need to keep any of the cedar…if you want to paint it be sure to prime with shellac based primer, that will prevent any stains from coming thru, it is really smelly so be prepared. That was a long sentence! I think some fabulous wallpaper would be fantastic, great lighitng, ooh a chandeleir! If you can squeeze in a great mirror, even if it is small, it will give you more sparkle. Not sure how big it is but what about a small cushioned chair or stool, so you sit in style and put on those great shoes? I can’t wait to see it, you are so talented!”

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  14. Kristie Barnett says:

    I got this great advice from a reader via email in regards to removing water stains from the cedar. Hope it’s helpful to one of my readers!

    “Mix 2 tbsp. of oxalic acid (available from your friendly neighbourhood pharmacist) in 1 quart of hot water. Stir it until it dissolves.

    Paint the mixture onto the water stains that sit on your cedar. Allow it to dry, and the stain will begin to lighten.

    Apply another coat, which you may need to do three or four times, until the stain disappears. Make sure you allow time for the cedar to dry between coats.

    Mix 2 tbsp. of borax in 1 quart of hot water to create a mixture that will neutralize the oxalic acid mixture.

    Wet a rag in this mixture. Wipe it on the stained cedar. Allow it to dry.

    Once the closet is completely dry, use a palm sander to sand down all the wood. Vacuum.

    The wonderful smell of cedar will return again.

    Spritz with water occasionally to revitalize the cedar smell.

    Ensure that all sources of water leakage are treated so there is no future damage to the closet or contents.

    Good luck, Kristie! Appreciate all your tips and advice.

    Kathie (antique refinisher) from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada :O)”

  15. Kristie Barnett says:

    another email i got with a cool idea:

    Maybe, you could use a burlap type of fabric, or finer woven weave fabric and use upholstery tacks on each corner. I would also wrap the shelves in a similiar fabric or possibly a paper. You blogged about another type of sticky paper inside a china cabinet recently. That might work better on the shelving.

    Good Luck!

    Love all your posts and inspiration!

    Marti Mathes
    Walls That Talk
    Custom Decorative & Faux Finishes
    Cell: 713-303-1634

  16. Adrienne Mikulka says:

    Just came across your blog. Fabulous writing style and love your ideas. I am left wondering… what ever happend with the closet? Couldnt find a later post. I am completely inspired by your black door sophistication technique and am ordering a dutch door for my kitchen. Will most certainly paint it black. Lower cabinets are medium grey, upper cabinets are white. Havent chosen a wall color yet, may go with very pale grey. still looking.

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