Closet Tranformation: Converted to Usable Space

Closet Tranformation: Converted to Usable Space

This is probably the most embarrassing post I’ve written, just because we let the closet under the stairs get in such bad shape. We had water come in the basement about seven years ago, and we had ripped the paneling off in the closet, just to see if it was leaking in there.  The leak turned out not to be there, but we never did fix the paneling.

Fast forward to now.  I decided I wanted to turn the closet into usable space, but keep the portion that was actually under the stairs for storage. I had multiple ideas, including a really expensive one of putting Air Stone rock strips up to hide the concrete wall.  Ultimately, I decided to save some money and use drop cloth to hide everything.

This is what we started with.  A good sized room, with a concrete wall and floor, paneling, and one light fixture.  We had been using it for our exercise area and storage. Originally there were two doors that closed, but we had taken them down when we started this project.  We did save those, just in case we wanted to use them again in the future.Original storage room

Double D removed the rest of the broken paneling, and we started replacing it with new that we bought.  It didn’t match, nor did we take time to line the lines up.  We knew we would be covering it.  Why did we take the time to put paneling up if we were just going to cover it?  Well, I thought it might save some time in the future if we had it done. Since this is the only paneling in the house, I would want to fill in the lines and paint everything anyway.Adding panelingPaneling up on wall

Once the paneling was up, I started with the curtain.  Since we wanted it to cover in a U shape, we measured the two sides, and back.  I purchased two drop clothes, one a 12’x9′, and another 6’x9′, and washed and dried them since they tend to shrink. I sewed the 6’x9′ to the 12’x9 to make one big curtain at 18’x9′. I then laid it out on the floor and pinned a pocket for the top. Since I wanted to go all the way to the ceiling with these, I was happy to have a bit to play with on the top.Drop cloth curtain

While I was working on the curtain, Double D started laying the carpet squares that we got for this project. These in no way match the carpet we have down there, but since we want to replace that, I can live with mismatched carpet for a bit. These were very easy to install, and actually looks pretty good with the original carpet. Carpet sqares

Next, it was time to assemble the curtain rod.  We made a custom one out of 1″ PVC pipe, in the shape of a U. PVC curtain rod

From there we could think about hanging the curtain.  We went extremely low tech here, but the curtain has stayed up for several months now, so it must be okay.  What we did was drill screws halfway into the pipe, one on each elbow, two more in the long piece and then one on each end. Then we screwed hooks into the ceiling about where the screw heads would be.

Before we got started hanging it, I cut little holes in the back pocket loop to let the screw heads through. Then I wrapped thin wire around the screw heads with enough left to wrap it around the hooks, which Double D did. This brought the PVC up close to the ceiling and covered that gap. In addition, I hope it will be easy to take down and put back up when washing the fabric.hooks to hang curtain rod

Here is the finished room. I did need to steam the drop cloth to get the wrinkles out, but it looks great and it covered the paneling, concrete wall, and the additional storage. Cover for downstairs closetDrop cloth curtain

The last bit was adding lights to the room, which we did by buying a two fixture light kit from Ikea.  I moved one of the china hutches downstairs and filled it with some dishes. The room is now able to be part of the house, and be functional.  We estimate we spent about $150, but that is much less expensive than the rock wall would have been.  Still would have been awesome though!Lights hung

Thanks for looking!


Linking up with Between Naps on the Porch, A Stroll Thru Life, Tip Junkie and Domestically Speaking:



3 responses »

  1. Very nicely done, Sarah. We bought an older home years ago that was two stories. When the house was plumbed for a bathroom in the 1930s, it was put under the stair (it was L-shaped. In the late 40’s an addition was added on to the back of the house for a new kitchen, bathroom, linen closet and a room that lead to another back door and steps down into the basement. The basement was new, too but a really tall person couldn’t stand up straight in it. The new bathroom had a hole in a bottom cabinet to throw the dirty clothes down into the basement where I had my washer and dryer. There was another back door off the new kitchen.
    The old kitchen became a bedroom and the old bathroom under the stairs became a walk in closet. Kent built shelves in the closet for my shoes and handbags. We left the old wallpaper on the walls in the closet and bedroom. We took off all the old layers of wall paper everywhere else in the house, including the upstairs hall and three bedrooms. When we did this downstairs we discovered the dining room had a pass through in the wall that led to the old kitchen! Upstairs we discovered that a little bedroom had actually been two rooms. Later found out that in the 30s and 40s, the upstairs was rented out to single school teachers, but the room that had been two rooms was rented to the local druggist and his wife. I guess one room was their sitting room and the other was their bedroom. I assume they used the “outhouse” until the bathroom was added under the stairs! Anyway, it was fun discovering all the changes that took place in that house. I know you and Daniel are having fun with your talent.

  2. How very clever! Was passing through the list on BNOTP and yours caught my eye. This is really a job well done and extremely well thought out. Looks great, so kudos to you. MMR

  3. Awesome job, S and D!! I will have to go down and look at it. Can’t believe I didn’t the other day. Now, no more worries about your dishes. Love your creative ideas. The lights were a brilliant idea. I am proud of you both!!

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