Thursday, July 21, 2016

Built-in Closet Shelves – Adjustable and Topped with Crown Molding

We had a motley mess of a game room closet in our family room for a while!  That needed to change!
When we finished the basement family room, we used shelving cabinets that we already had, just to get by.  Definitely a lot of wasted space and well, it looked horrible!

Before…. Of course!


There was NO staging to make that look worse!  That was really what it looked like!  ARG!

For those of you who love to read the end of book first, here is the final result!….. 

Built-in closet shelving with adjustable shelves topped with crown molding!

A Challenge

We were thrown a challenge when the contractor finished the basement.  He forgot to put in a return for the HVAC! We completed the basement in two phases for financial reasons. The first phase was the living space and the second phase was installation of the HVAC unit.  Unfortunately, we didn’t even realize the return was missing until the HVAC company told us!
The only real option we had was to put a return vent in the game closet which is next to the HVAC closet. This meant we could not have a normal door on the game closet since it creates a vacuum in the closet.   No fun until a room implodes, I suppose?  NOT!    So, we needed to remove the door.

Lame HVAC vent!

 I did price louvered interior doors which would have allowed a door to be used, but I could not find one that I could justify buying.   And, that option would not fix the poor use of the space.

I always start my projects with old school graph paper.   I designed a few options and decided to fix the eyesore the closet had become!

I always start my projects with old school graph paper.

Project Details

In my design, there are 3 vertical panels. One on each side of the back wall and one on the left side of the left wall.  There will be adjustable L-shaped shelves.  The L-shaped shelves will be joined with a “fixed joint”.
Starting with the back wall, I cut out the baseboard.

I wanted a kick plate under the bottom shelf, so I notched out the vertical sections.   I chose 3″ high and about 3″ deep for the kick plate.  I should have used my jigsaw for this cut, but the multi-tool worked fine.
A perfect fit for the cut baseboard!
 My initial design was to use 16″ deep shelves on both the left wall and the back wall.  But, when I put the front vertical panel in place (the left side of the left wall),  it looked so wrong.  When you looked into the closet, your eye went straight to the side panel. So, design change on the fly…..
In the next photo, you see the updated depth of the left wall panel at 12″. I left the bottom shelf in place for this photo so you can see the difference.  16″ was just too deep for the left wall.

To trim that vertical panel, I ripped the panel down to 12″. I LOVE the laser on the Ryobi saw! It made the job so easy!
To trim the vertical panel, I ripped the panel down to 12″.
I LOVE the laser on the Ryobi saw! It made the job so easy!

In the next photo, you can see the gap at the ceiling.  I wanted to put crown molding at the top and wanted to have the “ceiling” of the built-in at the bottom of the crown molding.

Much better! Left panel is now 12″ deep. Back panel is 16″ deep.

Fixed Joints

To join the fixed joints, I used the Kreg Jig Jr.   If you are not familiar with the Kreg Jig Jr,  it’s VERY easy to use and eliminates the need to use (and see) cleats!
The instructions included with the Kreg Jig Jr are very detailed.  If you are using the Kreg Jig Jr for the first time, do a dry run using scrap wood first and you should be good to go!
The only issue I had with the Kreg Jig Jr was when I tried to use the peg hole fillers.  The screws and the jig kit are great!  The problem I had was the peg hole fillers don’t fit the drilled hole and were ….well. a pain.  I ended up chiseling them out and filling the holes with wood filler. It was easier and resulted in a cleaner look than the pegs.

Fixed joints using the Kreg Jig Jr.

What do with that Door Frame!

Since I couldn’t have a solid door on the closet, I wanted some flexibility in the future in case I ever did want to install an interior louvered door.  In the meantime, I didn’t want to see the old hardware. So, off with the hardware!
I covered  the gaps with new trim and filled the remaining gaps with paintable caulk.  The trim is removable if I change my mind later. 

New trim covering the gaps caused by the missing hardware

A little caulk covers the remaining gaps!

Adjustable Shelving

I designed this closet to have L-shaped shelves.  I didn’t want to use a solid sheet of plywood for the shelves since it  would produce too much waste after cutting. So, i cut the shelves for the back and for the side and joined them at an L using the Kreg Jig Jr as I did above.
I love flexibility in closets!  To make the shelves adjustable, I used the Kreg Shelf Pin Jig.  This was my first project using the Kreg Shelf Pin Jig.  Once I got a rhythm going, I found it easy to use.

Final Reveal!

I finished the top off with crown molding and added 1×3 trim to the end panel to “dress it up”.




After filtering out what to keep-toss-donate, I loaded it back up.   I was also able to filter through my son and step-daughters closets and add more to this Game Room Closet!


I painted the HVAC vent to help it “disappear”.   I may add art work to the side wall, but other than that, it’s DONE!  FINALLY!
This project added so much square footage to the closet!  And I LOVE how the crown molding and side panel trim and the kick-plate add a polished look to the closet!  It’s no longer a sad eyesore!

Thanks for joining me on my journey!

I’m working on the design for my next project, so stay tuned!

Enjoy More!

Like the idea? I would be honored for you to link back to this post!

This was not a sponsored post. I just want to mention that I did receive the Kreg Jig Jr as a “take-away” from the Haven Conference (an awesome bloggers conference held in Atlanta) in 2012.   I also received the Kreg Shelf Pin Jig from the Haven Conference in 2013.  They are great products and I recommend them ….well, except for the peg holes that can be used with the Kreg Jig Jr. Those could be designed better, in my opinion.

* This post first appeared my now defunct blog Sawdust and Hoops. Hope you enjoyed the recap! 


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