Step into my Closet

(I’m still working on updates to my bathroom, but in the meantime I wanted to share pictures from a closet project that Nick and I tackled before this blog was created.)

I’ve mentioned it before that our 1920s home seriously lacks closet space. In fact, we don’t have a single closet on the main level of our house (we installed coat hooks near the front door for guests, but Nick’s and my coats hang in a closet on our upper level).

When we first moved into our house, the master bedroom was especially lacking in closet space. It had only one closet, a tiny 3-foot wide space situated above the hall stairwell. You might recognize this closet from another post, when we moved the closet rod further from the bi-fold door to make it more functional. Today, we use this closet for hanging longer items (dresses and pants)…but back then it was not suitable for two people with an appreciation for clothing. 


All of my hanging clothes ended up in the bedroom next door (what’s now my craft room/office), but that closet is incredibly narrow – so narrow that it can’t accommodate a standard-sized hanger, so we had to temporarily remove the doors and replace them with a curtain. Since that closet is useless for hanging clothes, we eventually installed shelves and turned it into shoe and purse storage, which I’ve also shown a few times before. 

Luckily, our master bedroom had an attached under the eaves closet space. Because of its odd dimensions, we’d planned to use it for storage and not much else.

The photo below is very old (from before we moved into the house), but it shows where this space is from outside…it’s literally over our front porch!


Here’s where the closet is located inside our master bedroom (obviously, this photo is old too and from before we moved in).


While the space is decent sized (at 5 ft deep x 13 ft long) it has a steep angled ceiling that measures only about 5’5″ at the tallest point.


I can stand in the entry of the closet, but Nick’s only option is to duck down when he steps inside. While this was far from an ideal closet space, it seemed like our only option.

The first thing we did was carpet the unfinished wood floor. Then we started planning out the closet for hanging space. We knew one long closet rod across the entire 13′ span wouldn’t work since the weight would surely bend the rod over time, so we researched dozens of options, such as movable garment racks, angled ceiling closet rod brackets and wood shelving systems.

We  eventually decided that the best way to divide the space was with a small dresser in the middle for support and then attaching rods to each side wall. But we needed a dresser in the perfect dimensions. 

I spent hours and hours searching online and eventually realized the perfect height dresser didn’t exist. A few weeks later, I came across an article about building shelving units out of galvanized plumbing pipe and realized it was the perfect solution for us…


We found a dresser that was closest to our desired width aka very shallow (for the curious, it’s the Hemnes Chest from the children’s department at Ikea, which we bought for $100 and is no longer available). 

modern-kids-dressersWe then purchased a 12′ length of galvanized pipe at Home Depot and had it cut it to size and re-threaded. The pipe and all the fittings cost less than $25. From there it was easy to secure the pipe fittings into the side wall with heavy screws and onto the top of the dresser to give us the extra height we needed so our clothes wouldn’t drag and wrinkle (the fittings were spray painted to match the dresser color, but I didn’t paint the entire bar because I thought the hangers would eventually scrape it off).

We also added some shelving units at each end of the closet for folded clothes, and hung peg board for Nick’s ties and my jewelry and scarves. (Sorry for the poor quality photos, it’s a tight space to photograph, and even harder with that bright overhead light).



Even after three years, this setup continues to work well for us, and the galvanized steel pipes are holding up and not at all bowing.

So, it’s a tight space and by no means anyone’s dream closet, but it’s fully functional, only cost us a few hundred dollars, and makes a huge difference in our daily routine.

Here’s what the closet looks like from outside the door…


And a view from across the room…


So what do you think of our closet solution; can you think of any other way to have made it work?

P.S. Industrial pipe has recently become an urban trend (check out these West Elm curtain rods), and I like to think Nick and I were ahead of it. 🙂