Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ugly Closet Re-Do

Every house has one: the Ugly Closet. You know the one--where the water heater lurks. Where the heater roars. Where you hide the vacuum cleaner and that really crummy card table with the bent leg.

Our Ugly Closet is in our laundry room, and recently, the U.C. had a makeover. This is what it looks like now:

Ta-Daaaa! Beautiful, isn't it?

Seriously, there isn't much you can do to glam up this utilitarian area. But in its makeover, our Ugly Closet gained some serious new storage space. And who doesn't appreciate more storage space?

This space windfall happened during the overhaul of our heating and air conditioning systems. We bought two new heaters and relocated one of them to the attic in another part of the house. (Good move; it put the heater much closer to the part of the house it's responsible for warming.) That left a big space in the center third of our U.C. for more storage.

So we had a carpenter build us, essentially, a big box and fit it with adjustable shelves and a clothes rod across the top. He made it out of glossy white MDF because anything fancier would be a waste of money in such a hidden-away place. To make sure it wouldn't skitter around in our famous Southern California earthquakes, he anchored the storage unit to the base on which it sits.

Then I grabbed my Bed, Bath, and Beyond coupons and got three of these:

Cute, inexpensive canvas storage bins. I took out the paper label that the manufacturer inserted...

...flipped it over, and used my label-maker to create some new placards:

Then I loaded each bin with non-laundry stuff that was crowding the laundry-room shelves: plant food and fertilizers, seldom-used kitchen items, and stuff I need to take out of the house on errands:

The storage unit is soooo deep, I can push the bins way back and still have room in front of them for other stuff:

And if I turn them the other way, I get more space still:

In the end, I turned the bins label-side out and designated the area in front of each one to storing clean, folded, non-hanging laundry for each of the three of us still living in the house full time:

When The Boy goes off to college (in less than a year--yikes!), I will remove the top shelf and use the clothes rod to hang all the clean laundry that's on hangers. (Right now stuff on hangers loiters in the laundry room doorway and on the leg of a folded-up ironing board: very awkward!).

Here's Mr. Rod, waiting for next September:

Our Ugly Closet hides behind louvered doors. The handles on the doors always drove me crazy because they were hard to grab and ugly, to boot. So I found these vintage-looking handles at Restoration Hardware for just $15 each and had the carpenter swap out the old ones for these:

I like how they echo the look of the legitimately old glass knob on the laundry room door:

With piles of clean clothes and non-laundry items tucked into the U.C., I have room to fold clothes on the counter again. And with no mess to distract me, I can enjoy how the northern light spills into this quiet place:

My next step? Tackling all the annoying little projects stuffed inside this bin!


  1. Some great ideas! I'm putting BB&B on my to-do shopping list! ....and then will put a BB&B cloth basket in MY laundry room with an "Errands to do" label like yours. I don't have the space you do, but it will sit nicely on top of my dryer for now (and look much neater than the ugly piles of assorted things that end up on the dryer...and the dining room table, and the phone table, etc.!)

  2. Hi Juli, you did an awesome re-do project seriously. The after makeover look of the closet looks indeed so elegant and impressive. I like the design and color of your canvas storage bins so much. Looks very very beautiful. Thanks for sharing such innovative remodeling project. Also would like to share about huge bins for rent if some home lovers are in need.



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