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Planning this closet build wasn’t easy, but building the cabinets for the closet was even harder! First, I placed an online order with Home Depot, it was easier that way because they load my truck for me rather than loading my truck on my own with 4×8 sheets of plywood. I ordered this plywood and 2x4s for the back wall. Ordering plywood online is pretty safe, but I was a little hesitant to order 2x4s because I usually like picking those out on my own to make sure I get 2x4s that are straight. But I was impressed with this order! My 2x4s were VERY straight!
Getting the plywood out of my truck on my own is a lot easier than loading it into my truck on my own. I’m 4’11” so moving large pieces of wood can be a challenge.
Luckily, Tyler got me this Gator Lift for Christmas last year and it is VERY helpful when lifting plywood on my own!
It’s basically just a clamp with non-slip material on the inside. You put it over the plywood and it uses the weight of the wood to clamp down hard. You use the handle to lift it.
I started by laying out a moisture barrier, which is just a thick layer of plastic that comes in a roll to protect the wood from the moisture that comes up through the cement slab of the house.
Then I used the 2x4s to create a base for the cabinets. I wanted them lifted up a little bit so I could add a baseboard underneath, I didn’t want them sitting directly on the ground. If you notice, your kitchen cabinets are set up off the ground too. I made sure it was level and then screwed a back 2×4 into the studs.
I could have assembled this entire piece and then brought it inside, but I chose to assemble it right here in the closet, piece by piece. I used pocket hole screws to make boxes. These sit out 21 inches from the wall.
I’m doing one side of the closet at a time. I started ripping down the plywood with my circular saw. I have the plywood set up on some 2x4s to keep it off the ground while I cut. I use a long straight edge clamped down at both sides to make a perfectly straight cut. Don’t forget your safety goggles or glasses!
I had to assemble these cabinet boxes inside the closet because they were too large to fit through the door once they were built. This was a huge pain! But I made it work! I used wood glue and brad nails to hold the pieces in place as I screwed pocket holes into the sides.
I added back supports to help keep the cabinets square. One on each end and one in the middle. These were just scrap 1x3s I had in my shed.
This cabinet build took me a few weeks. I was NOT motivated at all, this part wasn’t fun for me. I’m also a flight attendant full time and leave for 3 days at a time, so that added to this time frame. This is where I left off after the first cabinet was built. I planned to put that first cabinet on the left side of the closet, but when I stood it up I realized I didn’t account for the slope of the ceiling on the left side and it was too tall. I didn’t measure twice and cut once this time! Oops!
I cut down more plywood for the left side of the closet, this time measuring properly.
These cabinets are huge and standing them up on my own isn’t easy!
I finally got all the cabinets built and then started on the back wall. I’m building a wall 18 inches out from the back of the closet to use it as a hidden gun room that you can get to by a secret mirror door. This will eliminate the need for the safes that were previously in here.
Once most the wall studs were up I started on the backing of the cabinet boxes. These would be open so I wanted them to be a bit prettier than just plain and boring inside. I used wooded sheets of beadboard for this.
I ripped them down to size and secured them with brad nails to the back supports.
I wanted these cabinets to go all the way to the ceiling, but the angled wall made that a little tough. I ended up building boxes for the top that weren’t as deep as the 2ft deep cabinets on bottom. I used this corner clamp for all my corners to keep everything nice and square and tight as I screw it all together.
I did a test fit before adding the beadboard backing.
Once I knew the depth was correct I built the other 2. I secured them to the top with wood glue and brad nails.
Since I’m so short I’d never be able to reach to put my clothes all the way to the top of these boxes without a ladder, so I tested out about how high the clothes rod should be that I could easily reach and then I figured out where to put an additional shelf.
I wanted drawers too, so I built some spaces on the bottom for drawers. I also left a little room on the right side for any dresses or jumpsuits. I don’t have many of those so a small space would do.
The space behind the door was too small for a 2ft deep cabinet, so I decided to make that into a shoe rack and shelving area.
Tyler didn’t need the full length of the cabinets either, but since he’s 6’4 he would be able to reach higher, so I added a shelf to the very top of this and space for 2 drawers at the very bottom.
Next, we added drywall over the studs. I cut down a full piece of drywall and Tyler helped me carry it inside and place it on the wall as I stood behind it and cut out the door hole from the inside. I don’t have that part on video, but it was pretty funny! This is him cleaning up the lines a bit.
You can see at the bottom we left about half an inch from the bottom of the drywall to the cement slab. I noticed when taking off the baseboards around the house the drywall never touches the slab. I’m assuming that’s a moisture thing. We did the same here.
I also filled in the top. I did’t fill in above the cabinets because there would be trim and crown moulding going to the ceiling and would cover that up.
This was the toughest part of the project! There was a lot of plywood cutting and boring stuff to deal with.
Next up, we get to the more exciting part of choosing a color for the cabinets, adding trim work and the new lighting fixture!