Her Clothes Fell Off the Wall | Walk-In Dream Closet Part 1

Written on 08/21/2023
Marc Spagnuolo

This post appeared first on The Wood Whisperer.
Making my wife a dream closet to replace the builder grade wire shelving.

Have you ever considered converting your builder-grade closet into a Walk-In Dream Closet? I’ve wanted to tackle a project like this for a long time and now I finally have the opportunity. But first, a little story.

After moving into our new house, Nicole proceeded to hang her clothes on the builder-grade wire shelving, like you do. The next day, she walked in to see an entire wall of clothes laying on the ground. Eventually the second wall of clothes came tumbling down as well as the third. Needless to say, she was very frustrated and the closet project was pushed to the top of the honey-do list.

Sketch and Planning

To get started, I took exact measurements of the space and built a rough representation in SketchUp. By the way, if you’d like to learn more about SketchUp, check our out introductory course in the Wood Whisperer Guild: Intro to SketchUp. With the space roughed out I can easily devise a plan of attack for the cabinets. If you’re doing this yourself, you’ll definitely want to get the significant other involved during this phase as they’ll likely have thoughts on the number and placement of shelves and hanging bars as well as other features like shoe bins. In order for it to be a true walk-in dream closet, it has to be customized to the owners specifications.

Prep the Space

Back in the closet you’ll want to prep the space by removing baseboards, filling old holes, and painting where necessary. In our case, we also had a floor register to deal with. We decided to redirect the airflow under the cabinets and through the toe kick with the help of a cool product called The Toe Ductor.

The cabinets will sit on top of bases made from 2x4s and OSB underlayment. The nice thing about using bases like this is that they automatically create the toe-kick space while also giving us a flat level surface to install the cabinets.

Process the Plywood

Back at the shop, we were able to cut the 3/4″ cherry plywood (nothing but the best for Nicole’s Walk-in dream closet) down to the appropriate sizes, adding shelf pin holes and joinery where needed. Because we plan to assemblei on-site, we’ll be using a combination of Dominos (to locate the parts) and pocket screws (to pull the pieces together).

Pre-Finish

The plywood components are much easier to finish prior to assembly. It also limits the amount of finishing we’ll need to do in the house, which is always nice. The finish we’re using is Osmo 2K Wood Oil, which performed very well in our Hardwax Oil Comparison.

Assemble On-Site

The cabinets are so large that they would be very difficult to install if they were pre-assembled. I honestly don’t know that we would even be able to fit them through our bathroom and the closet door. After each cabinet is assembled on the floor, we lift them onto the base, check that everything is level and plumb, and then secure the units to the wall and each other.

Apply Face-Frame Trim

While it’s common to assemble a face-frame prior to attaching to the case, I really didn’t think it was feasible in my situation. So I cut and installed each piece one by one. Of course where the face frame contacts the wall, we needed to scribe the stile to the contours of the wall. An easier alternative would be to apply an additional thin piece of trim that can be bent to the shape of the wall and secured on top of the face frame.

Finishing Touches

To finish off the cabinets, we applied crown molding and then finished any bare wood. The toe kick was also applied under the cabinets, making sure we included a gap for the HVAC duct.

Stuff Used in the Video: