current project: master closet


For the last several years, we have put off building a proper master closet. It’s not that big of a project, and closet systems are reasonably priced; it’s just that we had a “good enough” system, and appropriated our funds to other projects.

28-IMG_0620 (1)
My “good enough” system for the last few years

These racks are great, if that’s all you’ve got. But we were ready for an improvement.

IKEA recently had a discount on their Pax wardrobe system, so we jumped on it. I love planning and drawing out systems way in advance. Unfortunately IKEA’s online wardrobe (Pax) closet planner tool completely sucks. I couldn’t figure ¬†out, for the the life of me, how to make it work. I use a lot of design software, too. Their’s is impossible.

Fortunately, Bryce has patience and brilliance. I gave him the measurements of our closet and he painstakingly went through the wardrobe sizes online and found ones that worked.

Next house we build, we are starting the blueprints with measurements from the following items:

  • pre-fab shower pan dimensions – it is sooooooo hard to make a perfectly, or even marginally, well-sloped shower floor
  • standard kitchen AND bathroom cabinet dimensions
  • closet system dimensions

But here’s a little news flash, we’re never building a house again!

In the center of this scribble pile is Bryce’s sketch for the Pax wardrobes fitting into our closet. Amazingly, IKEA sells deep wardrobes and shallow ones. For some reason the door is off-center, so the wardrobes on the North side of the closet are all only 13″ deep, the other 2 walls fit wardrobes with depths of 22″, fortunately.

The other scribbles on the page are from me frantically drawing out how I want the shelves and bars, while simultaneously juggling a 22 month old nearing a meltdown in IKEA on a Saturday on President’s Day weekend, while trying to pin down the one IKEA worker who is the only person who could enter my order in the system. Good times. Hence, two more trips this week back to the store. [Which is a real peach, I might add, while they have demolished their parking lot and are working on a new Seattle store. But I digress …]


We got enough parts to make a ton of progress. We aren’t completely finished, because we had to build a wall, and that takes a lot of drying time with the mudding and taping of sheetrock.

Pax wardrobes are super easy to put together. They are not anywhere near as sturdy as IKEA cabinetry, but that is OK for our setup. We are building these guys all into the closet. I do not recommend using the Pax system for permanent, freestanding wardrobes, unless you’re just renting for a couple of years, maximum. They are made of such cheap materials that they scratch, rip (yes, rip – the backs of the wardrobes are basically paper), and dent too easily.

We are building them into our closet so they will be protected by walls, and we are also finishing them all off with molding, which will hold them all nicely and securely. So it’s a great-enough, very reasonably priced solution that should last us 10 years. Then, by that time, we can afford a custom, solid wood, forever system.

These come in 94″ heights, so we had to assemble them actually in the closet itself because they would not fit through any doorways standing upright.

You just put 3 sides together to make a box, then nail on the back. This is the part that I mentioned that was like paper.

Stand them up straight and they go right to the ceiling. I am so excited about all of this storage space! In the bedroom in this photo you can see how we have had to store our clothes.


Here is the wall that I mentioned. Bryce figured out that we could just move the light switch by building a wall. This allows us a lot more room in there.

Daddy’s little helper! Again, you can see how we’ve had to store clothes.

Closet shells all assembled!







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