Ideas for a built-in walk in closet? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 Old 08-21-2012, 02:02 PM Thread Starter
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Question Ideas for a built-in walk in closet?

Hi all,

I am new to the whole woodworking scene, but I have been reading up and watching a lot of wood working video's. We recently bought a house, and I have quite a few plans for it.

The first project I would like to tackle is our walk in closet. It is 15' long and 10' wide, so it is fairly large. It has carpet on the floor and some wire shelving for hanging clothes. Here is what I would like to do. I want to remove carpet and install hardwood flooring. Then I would like to install built-in closet with french doors all around.

For the closet, I was thinking of framing the basic structure using 2X4's and then use plywood to finish the sides. The front will have french doors.

My questions are,

1) Is this an acceptable approach? Is framing out the whole structure using 2X4 a bit of an over kill. Also, will the 2X4's wrap/twist in the future if I were to use regular Kline-dried studs from big box stores?

2) I would like to stain the 2X4's and the plywood in Brazilian Cherry color, since the floors will be of that color. Can I stain the studs and plywood and will they differ in color because of the difference in materials?

3) To make the french doors, I will buy stile and rail router bits. What type of wood should I buy for for this? Again, these I want to stain in Brazilian cherry too

4) What is the best place to buy materials? Big box stores or a lumber yard? Just so you know, I have never been to a lumber yard before and I don't know any around Bolingbrook, IL

I know that some of these questions might sound elementary for you, but these are the questions that I am stuck on. Once I start the project, I know I will have more questions. Any answers/guidance will be appreciated. Also, if someone can point to any site that can guide a beginner, that will be appreciated too.
If all goes well, I will document everything and put in a step by step guide with pictures on this site. Thanks again everyone
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post #2 of 14 Old 08-21-2012, 03:17 PM
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The 2x4s most likely will warp and twist but there fastened so they wont move enough for it to matter. It's probably what you house is made out of.
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post #3 of 14 Old 08-21-2012, 05:41 PM
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My suggestion would be to make a sketch of what is existing, and what you want it to become. Figure out your hanging space (both long and double height). You might want some open shelving and some drawer space.









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post #4 of 14 Old 08-22-2012, 10:07 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for your replies. I actually sketched out everything and have a fair idea as to how it should look. Where I am stuck is at what what materials to use.

My plan is to have a rectangle made out of 2X4 studs on the floor in the shape of the built in, matching rectangle made out of studs on the ceiling and 4 vertical studs on all 4 corners connecting the 2 rectangles. This will make the frame for the built-in. (I also plan on adding some more vertical studs in the front as needed, for stability and attaching french doors). I will finish 2 sides using plywood and front will be french doors, made out of some sort of solid wood. I am guessing maple or cherry.

This is where I am not sure about myself. For the built-in, I like the dark wooden look, so I am guessing I need to stain it. So if I stain the 2X4 stud, plywood and the solid wood french doors with say, a dark stain, will they all look the same color and will they all differ due to the difference in wood of stud, plywood and solid wood.
Also, I am worried about the studs warping/twisting which will make the built-in crooked!

Am I confusing you guys with all these questions? I guess that is one of my problems. I think too much about things. Maybe instead of worrying too much, I should just do it and live with the consequences!!!
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post #5 of 14 Old 08-22-2012, 10:24 AM
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How about a sketch? What's there now? Is it just a bare wall?






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post #6 of 14 Old 08-22-2012, 11:15 AM Thread Starter
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I am at work. Here is a rough sketch that I did just now.

First one shows the frame. Second one shows with french door added to the front. Hope this helps. If you need more info, please let me know. Thank you

Also, right now, there are wire shelves on the wall. I plan to remove them. So yeah, the walls will be bare when I start this
Attached Files
File Type: pdf MX-M503N_20120822_100923.pdf (14.6 KB, 456 views)
File Type: pdf MX-M503N_20120822_101359.pdf (30.2 KB, 350 views)
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post #7 of 14 Old 08-24-2012, 07:47 AM
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Are you dead set on the doors? The reason I ask is that the cabinets will have to be approx. 20"-22" in order for the doors to clear the items on hangers. It is hard to tell how wide the doors will end up, but if they are in the same ball park as the depth we are looking at a total of 40"-44" of depth to open the door.

If you double that to account for the opposite wall you are talking a total of 80-88" of space requred if two people are opeining doors to get ready for work in the morning. This would leave you with approx 32" walkway which isn't alot of space for two people to occupy.

Also, while shelves that deep are good for large items like travel bags, they don't work so well for smaller items like shoes, sweaters, etc.... Stuff ends up just getting "lost" at the back of the shelves.

I would suggest using tape or cardboard templates to layout things on the floor once you finalize the dimensions of things just to make sure you don't accidently turn your large closet into a closet thats too small for two people to be in at the same time.
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post #8 of 14 Old 08-24-2012, 10:23 AM
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If I interpret the sketch correctly, the studs will actually form the exposed frame supporting the doors???? If so, you will almost certainly be disappointed with the appearance....they aren't going to stain anything like the plywood you have for the sides, and most certainly won't look like your doors. Consider making this more like a face frame cabinet, where the frames/doors/side are made out of similar or matching woods. Also consider, it's very hard to make rail/stile doors that tall that stay perfectly straight. I recently made that are about 78" tall. I followed every trick I knew and they still bowed about 1/8" in the center...these are made of hard maple.

"I long for the days when coke was a cola and a joint was a bad place to be" (Merle Haggard)
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post #9 of 14 Old 08-24-2012, 11:37 AM Thread Starter
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Fred,
You are right. The studs will actually form the exposed frame supporting the doors. So it will be hard to match the stain with the rest of doors and sides. I am starting to consider paint instead of stain. A dark brown should give the appearance of wood (or so I hope!).

I will look into making this like a face frame cabinet. The reason I wanted studs is that I was planning on having double hanging and wanted to make sure that the structure can support the weight (My wife has a lot of clothes..haha!)

Also, is there anything specific I can do to make sure that the doors won't bow, like using thicker wood for stile and rail? I was thinking 1". Mine will be about 6' tall, similar height to what you have Fred, so bowing will be an issue.

BIP,
I am kinda set on the doors as it will give the whole closet a rich look and also hide some of the monstrosity, that is different types of clothes hanging, behind it. Since the closet is large enough, I don't see open doors and people moving around will be too much of a problem. But I do appreciate your input
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post #10 of 14 Old 08-24-2012, 03:46 PM
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I think it would be good to use 1" wood, mine are about 13/16". When I made mine I ripped the stiles down the center and then glued them back together. The doors are flat panel with panels made of plywood, so I assembled them gluing the ply panel to the rails/stiles for added strength, also thinking it may help any bowing/twisting. Of course, before I built the doors, I let the wood sit for a week to see of it stayed straight and flat...it did, only after it was a door did it bow. Anyway, the tall doors are the far left of the cabinets in the pic....these are in our game room.


"I long for the days when coke was a cola and a joint was a bad place to be" (Merle Haggard)
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post #11 of 14 Old 08-27-2012, 02:21 PM Thread Starter
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That's a nice looking built-in you got there Fred.

From the looks of it, I will have to paint instead of stain. I am hoping to start working on it very soon. I will post some pictures of my progress once I have them
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post #12 of 14 Old 10-25-2012, 10:29 PM Thread Starter
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Hey everyone, I know I haven't logged in or updated this thread. Some personal things came up and I couldn't do much until now. Anyway, I had some progress with the project and thought I would update you.

I ripped the carpet out and put hardwood flooring down







Here is the picture of the base that I built



These are the pictures after I built the upper part and connected it with the studs




Now, the main problem I am experiencing has been the 2X4's twisting. I bought the studs from Lowes and tried to pick the straight ones, but they are still twisted a bit. So when connecting the base with the top using studs, the bottom is square but the top will be twisted. I did the best I could using clamps and screws to make them straight, but they are still not perfect. I am hoping all the deformation will be covered up later

Last edited by Bond; 10-25-2012 at 10:37 PM.
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post #13 of 14 Old 10-30-2012, 08:37 AM
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Those 2x4s may be a problem for you all the way to the end. If you look at Fred's picture. He most likely built each unit as a plywood box with 3/4" plywood for the sides, top and bottom and maybe 1/4" plywood for the back. The face frames are 1x hardwood that could be pocket hole screw from the inside or dattoed and glued (some people face nail and some people just glue with a ton of clamps).
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post #14 of 14 Old 10-30-2012, 11:01 AM
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you really should just go to the library and pick up a book or two to show you the construction and give you ideas

http://www.amazon.com/All-New-Built-Ins-Idea-Book/dp/1600853889/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1351609203&sr=1-6&keywords=closetshttp://www.amazon.com/Black-Decker-Build-Custom-Closet/dp/B005SNLQ4S/ref=sr_1_10?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1351609203&sr=1-10&keywords=closets

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