It’s Alfred, Elizabeth’s husband, again for another to-do post. The Cloffice was one of our more unique home improvement projects, and the most fun. Why? because it was new, it was trendy and it was finally going to be a space for me in our home. Guys, if you live with or marry an Interior Designer, you don’t get a whole lot of the house to call just yours.
When we moved into our house,we quickly realized that we had to solve the problem of where to do the un-fun stuff like pay bills, do homework and maintain our family records. Our house only has 2 bedrooms and setting up a guest room in our office, or an office in our guest room was “unacceptable.” Solution: Turn one of the many closets in the house in to a mini office.
The process was pretty easy and took us bout 3 days, about 2-3 hours a day. Like any project read all the steps a few times, before starting the project.
Step 1: Remove doors to closet.
You can replace them later, if you would like to maintain the illusion of an closet, or hang a curtain up like we did.
Step 2: Remove all shelves, poles, and junk from the closet.
Step3: Patch all holes to make sure it is ready for painting.
Step 4: Paint the Cloffice.
Step 5: Shelves.
These can be made out of furniture grade wood and painted any color you want. Make a plan for your shelves, #, height, and if you want cubby holes or not. Draw your shelves to scale on a piece of paper to make sure it looks about right. You can use the golden ratio I discussed in my previous post to make the dimensions pleasing to the eye. The Construction is easy. Use 1/2 x1 pieces that go the depth of the shelves to hold the shelves on the wall.
Step 6: Framing the Shelves.
The goal is to make it look like a built in piece of furniture, so once the shelves are up you need to “frame” the shelves to look like a bookcase. A piece of 1/2″ x 1″ wood down the height of the shelves hides the wood you used to hold the shelves up. A piece of crown molding also works well at the top to give it a finished look. Finishing nails works best for attaching the wood.
Step 7: Prep and Paint.
Putty up the holes for any screws/ nails, and joint and sand ‘em till they disappear. Then prime, and paint. We used oil based, semi-gloss Benjamin Moore paint, not the stuff from the blue or orange stores.
Step 8: Prepping the Desk Surface.
We used a piece of chopblock wood countertop from IKEA, but you can use anything. Stain the wood to your desired color. It may take a few coats, and don’t let the stain dry, this will make the stain uneven. When deciding on the dimensions, you want to leave 1/16″ space on either side of the desk for crumbs, dirt and other junk to fall through when you clean it. Plus, leave a 1″ gap at the back so that you can pass electrical wires up through the back of the desk.
Step 9: Installing the Desk.
Use more 1/2″ x1″ pieces of wood to brace the desk up and attach the desk with small 1″ L brackets. Don’t forget to leave the gap in the back. Screws work best, but make sure they will not go through the depth of your desk, and you don’t attach at a seam in the chopblock.
Step 10: Electrical (Hardest Part)
If you already have an electrical socket in the closet then your job is easy. If not you can install an electrical outlet, yourself or hire a professional to to it (Recommended). Also if you have a light in the top of the closet you can replace the simple light bulb with a more fancy ceiling light. Make sure when planning your shelves that you leave enough room to install the light.
Step 11: Creativity
Let your creativity go and fill your cloffice with what you think you need, books, magazines, bills, small stone lions. Here is where you design the details. If you want to be able to cover up the cloffice you can reattach the doors or put up a curtain.
Those are the basics. You should now have a unique selling feature in your home and a space other than a kitchen table, guest room, garage or box of papers, dedicated to organizing your life. Good luck.