Thursday, 9 November 2017
A Different Kind of Make: My Armoire!
When we bought our house a few months ago, I knew I would need to come up with a solution for more closet space. I try to keep a reasonable amount of clothing, but since our house was built in the 1940s, there's just not much space. Even though right now we could use the closets in the extra 2 rooms for our clothing, that's only a short-term solution. What I needed was a wardrobe that I could use to store both hanging and folded clothing.
I looked around at Ikea and Canadian Tire to see if they had what I wanted. Some were pretty close, but either too flimsy, too small, too big (our ceilings are only about 7ft) or too expensive. Luckily, on the list of attendees for my house warming party was Dave, from Dovetail Design, an amazing carpenter. When I was giving the tour of my house, I mentioned my vision for this armoire, and he said that sounds like a really fun project and he would be willing to work with me to make it. Here is the pin on Pinterest that was my original inspiration. As you can see, the one I created ended up quite different, but it was a good starting point and got the conversation going.
We started with a design session at my house. We measured the height of the lowest part of my ceiling (it has an attic-style slope out at the edges) and the width where I wanted to put in. Knowing that I wanted some hooks at the end, we made it a couple inches narrower than the space, and I ended up with a wardrobe approximately 6 feet tall and 5'6" wide. Dave has built closets before, so he already knew the depth should be about 22 inches to accommodate hangers, and I wanted the shelves to be wide enough for 2 stacks of clothing. We ended up with 36" wide shelves, which is 2 stacks of sweaters but 3 stacks of t-shirts, which is perfect.
I learned a lot building this with Dave. I got to use a chop saw and a table saw, I learned about different things you need to think about like when to sand and clean things up and how to keep in mind what is going to be visible. We opted for a pre-finished black back because it provides a great contrast, and a white closet rod. I wanted 5 hooks - one on each side on the inside for necklaces and my favourite belt, and 3 on the end for bras and belts. We used half inch pine plywood so that it would be sturdy but not too heavy, and I love the look. The facings give it all a nice look.
I've had this armoire now for a few weeks, and I love it. I discovered that wine boxes fit perfectly along the bottom for socks and underwear and other things that don't fold well (we got a lot for moving, they're not because we're alcoholics, we hide that better). It fits all of my clothing with room for more, which is good, considering my sewing habit. The 2 sides come apart, so it's pretty easy to move it, and I anticipate using it forever, regardless of where I live (although if my next house has a walk-in closet I might face a conundrum).
I have some left over plywood that we're planning to use to make some shelves for my sewing room, and I can't wait to learn more.