Our one major goal after last winter was to live in a warmer house come this winter. We’ve been lucky as the weather has really helped with that goal. Except for a few days, including this one, we’ve had a very mild winter. Still, our goal was to make the house more efficient and not to just magically make the weather warmer… so we’ve been slowly working on a few projects.

I mentioned a few months ago that we were hoping to turn the reach-in master closet into a cloffice and shared my inspiration for the finished product. We finally made some headway on the project when we got the closet cleaned out and hung drywall.

Here’s a peak at where we started:

We started with this closet that had been quasi-finished by the previous owners of the house.

We also started with this much stuff in the closet, in addition to the old box spring in the above photo that goes with the queen mattress upstairs but won’t fit around the dogleg in the staircase. All of that stuff had to go somewhere when the closet was finished, so we also had to clean the closet under the stairs to make room for it. This means I have to share the following horrifying photo:

Yikes! I’m pretty sure that closet had a box of nonperishables that hadn’t been unpacked from our move, two window panes from the window we took out of the kitchen, a bag of trash from one of the many days we cleaned up during remodelling to get the place ready for whatever was next, and a bunch of other things I would rather forget that I once shoved in a closet.

Kyle tackled the closet refinishing and I tackled the cleaning.

And Logan tackled the climbing around on the piles of stuff that had came out of the closet.

Kyle began by taking out all of the insulation and fixtures to make the plyboard covered walls ready to frame over and drywall.

That’s when he discovered that all of the fixtures were secured in with long nails many of which were quite a struggle to pry out.

This ductwork was one of the biggest problems. The house didn’t have forced air heating or cooling on the second floor when we took possession of the house. The owner of one of our great local heating and cooling companies figured out a strategy to get ducts upstairs. Part of this strategy involved ducts running through our closet. The unfinished basement let a lot of cold drafts in from that hole so we insulated around the ducts as best we could, framed in the area, and insulated around the interior walls in the little space so that we could limit the cold draft’s movement into the rest of our house.

Next, we added another level of 2x4s to the wall. We knew that it was insulated behind the plyboard and the location of the 2x4s so this step was fairly easy.

After the framing was done, Kyle had to complete a series of much more difficult math equations to get the drywall hung. Luckily, our friend Greg showed up — it would seem that there is like a bat signal for him anytime we start doing work on our house — and helped him with some of the harder parts of it. The final result (pre-mud) was better than I imagined!

You don’t even have to wear socks to walk in front of the closet anymore!

Meanwhile, under the stairs…

My closet project finished nicely, too! All of the stuff that had been in both closets is now put in a correct place around the house or organized into just one closet. And, everything is pretty easily accessible in this closet too. I’ll admit, it took me a few days to adjust to not being able to just open the door and throw something in when we had to put it away.

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Yesterday, Kyle and I discussed our fall punch list for this house. We know we need to do some weatherproofing including replacing the weatherstripping on the front door, insulating and drywalling our mud room/laundry room/pantry, and insulating and framing in the reach-in closet in our bedroom.

I suggested that we turn the reach-in closet into an office.

I did this because on Friday I saw this picture from Whimages and it had me so motivated to turn the closet into an office.

This really makes sense for us to do because:

  1. We have to frame the closet in anyway because we ran vents upstairs from our basement through the closet and it’s basically a hole leading into our basement.
  2. Kyle has been doing a lot of work from home because he teaches college and is essentially telecommuting for a new company he’s working with and would like to have a dedicated desk space on our main floor.
  3. Our bedroom is a more ideal spot for an office area because it’s relatively out of sight and we have a tv in there.

I was so excited when Kyle got as excited about this idea as I was.

So I started a pinboard and fired up Google Sketchup.

On Pinterest, I discovered this closet-turned-office and for some reason I keep returning to it.

I love the bold wallpaper which would be nice for us because it would mean we don’t have to drywall over the plyboard that was used to build the closet by the previous owners.

I really like the use of wire shelving at the top and the melanine shelving that’s more visible.

A curtain is ideal for us because a sliding door would keep it half-closed off all the time but even a bi-fold door would interfere with the door into the bedroom.

I’m still working on our sketchup designs so for those, tune back in next week. Until then, check out my Closet Project Pinboard to see what I’ve got inspiring this latest project.

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I work Saturday to cover for our regular Saturday desk person who is out after surgery so as of 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon, I am on vacation. I’ll be off work for the most significant amount of time since I first started this job a little over a year ago. I have all kinds of fun plans taking short overnight trips, relaxing, and getting some things done around the house. I hope to finish up a lot of the little projects that have been sitting around waiting to be finished and I want to try to really organize the kitchen and — depending on my ambition — the closets too.

One of the first things on my list of little projects is to hang the old school pull-down map of Africa that we bought at an antique mall months and months ago. When we purchased it, the walls in our office were still half-covered with terrible wallpaper and we were pretending that the problem would just go away on its own. I eventually broke down and did my best to give the walls a little bit of wallpaper-minimizing texture and a coat of paint.  Then, we moved in the furniture, set the map on the back of the futon, and went back to forgetting about the room.

Next week or soon after, you’ll get the before & after of my office wall hanging. But for now, get excited about your own map decor. Here are some vintage map printables at the Graphics Fairy to get you on your way:

*The Graphics Fairy*: Thursday is Request Day - Map of Africa, Steampunk Globe, Botanical, Horse

*The Graphics Fairy*: Old Map of Paris - 1888.

*The Graphics Fairy*: Craft Project - London Map Decor - DIY.

*The Graphics Fairy*: Vintage Clip Art - World Maps - Printable Download.

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These Flexible DINO Lamps by Deger Cengiz are beautiful! They really seem to have a very natural looking shape, almost like the light is a flower, even if you opt to use it for pens rather than plants.

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So Eclectic is a blog dedicated to great ideas for home design. Austin, Texas-based writer Mary Marcum and Savannah, Missouri-based writer Jess Rezac feature affordable decor, decorating solutions, and inspiration. At So Eclectic, we experiment with design together. So Eclectic posts new content every weekday.

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