Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Closet Office / Craft Space (Part 1)

When my daughter was born, she claimed not only our hearts, but also my former office/craft space.  This meant that I needed to find a creative way to fit a queen sized (guest) bed and all of my office furniture and craft supplies into a 10' x 10' room.  My solution?  A closet office...which later morphed into a closet craft space.

In today's post, I'll share details about the quick and easy DIY closet office that I created using freestanding furniture (photo below).  In my next post, I'll share how I reinvented the closet office into the tandem craft space that you see above, using a $5 hollow core door and no power tools!

To transform my regular closet into a closet office, I:
1. Removed the closet doors and replaced them with curtains.
2. Painted the interior of the closet.
3. Moved in some furniture!

Here's what my closet office looked like at that point:

Was this my "dream" workspace?  Well, considering that my dream space would involve enormous windows, a long range view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and a time-locked Oreo cookie dispenser, I'll have to answer, "No."  Did it function well for me?  Sure.  For the most part, I used what I already had on hand.

I often advocate using furniture "placeholders" to test how well a space will function. An example of this would be placing a folding chair in a corner where you're considering placing a new upholstered chair.

If you're considering a closet office, start with freestanding furniture (even a card table and a folding chair) for a "test run" before you invest in new furniture or built-ins.  There are definite feng shui drawbacks to working in a space like this. The word "closet" comes from the Latin "clausum", meaning "closed space". Think of the symbolism alone--can you think "outside the box" while you're...in...a box? Can you overcome writer's block when a literal block (wall) is several inches from the tip of your nose?  These are things to consider before you dive into the closet.  Now, back to the "how-to":

The "curtains" were a no-sew project: I simply hung twin-sized, white, flat sheets from a curtain rod using clip rings.  Fold these at the top unless you like a "puddled" look at the bottom.  Similar twin sheets can be found for about $5 each at Walmart.  

I saved the closet doors and hinges in our attic.  If we ever put our home on the market, the first thing I'll do is replace the closet doors and turn this space back into an ordinary closet.  Why?  Nothing screams, "Small House" to a prospective buyer louder than a closet office! 

I painted the interior of the closet using a $5 "Color to Go" sample sized jug of paint from Sherwin Williams.  The paint store color-matched Behr's "Corn Husk Green" paint color for me.  Yes, I am well aware that sample paint is not intended to be a topcoat, but the paint police haven't tracked me down yet.  I like how the different paint color defines the closet space as a "mini room".  The walls in the rest of the room are "Lighthouse" by Benjamin Moore.  "Lighthouse" is a nice, soft yellow that infuses rooms with the feeling of gentle sunlight--it's great for nurseries and bedrooms (these photos aren't true to the color).

The framed prints are "Wild Roses" and "Begonias" by Kim Parker.   I framed them in simple, inexpensive Format frames.  The beauty of decorating the inside of a closet is that nothing has to be perfect because, hey, it's just a closet!
 I had enough sample paint left over to paint this little wooden stool. This chameleon stool keeps changing colors because it only takes 5 minutes to paint it.  I added ball fringe for fun.  I used regular Elmer's glue to attach the ball fringe, as I wasn't in the mood to break out the glue gun.  It's held up for a few years now with no major ball-fringe-related incidents to report.
Storage & Accessories 
I left the closet rod in place for guests to use for hanging clothes when they visit. Again, for resale, a bedroom by definition needs a closet, so I didn't want to alter this space too much.

You may remember other posts in which I've sung the praises of cardboard, economy weight banker's boxes for home organizing.  Here they are again, storing fabric on the top shelf of the closet office.

To make the chalkboard labels, I painted chalkboard paint on a thin, plastic-coated paint sample board, cut the board into label-sized pieces, and glued the labels onto the boxes.  Chalkboard contact paper would have made this even easier. 

I was inspired to make this little cloche accessory when I saw some baby photo pixies on The Shabby Nest.   The "cloche" is actually a vase from the Dollar Tree which I placed upside down on top of a saucer.  These photo fairies are simple and fun to make; I even used regular printer paper and our home printer to print the photo, since I was too impatient to go to the photo store.  (Are you detecting a theme of impatience here?)  They can be customized for different holidays--for example, you can add a Santa hat to make a Christmas cloche.

In my next post, I'll share details about how I made a craft desk using a $5 hollow core door and no power tools!

This post has been linked to The Open House Party at No Minimalist Here.