Sunday, January 27, 2013

IKEA PAX Wardrobe Hack

We had 2 very ugly, very dated, almost uninhabitable rooms in the back of the house.  One was pink, one was purple and the windows were rotted and leaked into our family room and kitchen below.  I wish I had before pictures of them but to be honest we really forgot about them for a few years and thought of them more as storage.  Crazy low ceilings, a sauna in the summer, a freezer in the winter and stunk b/c our dog peed in there when we were away from home too long.   


Then after we added baby boys to our family faster than a {insert any ‘yo mamma’ joke here}, we were out of space and decided to renovate these 2 rooms to become our master suite.  I showed you our bathroom reno and the hardwood floors installation last spring but our bedroom has been a work in progress. 

One such work in progress area was our dilemma of having no closets in this room.  Because we combined 2 rooms into one and the once connecting walls were the walls that held the individual rooms’ closets it meant that the new combined bigger space had no closets.  What we lacked in closets we made up for in random doors.  We removed 7 in the process including a door connecting the master bedroom into our 4 year old's bedroom. 


We dry walled over that door and were left with a blank wall that we decided to use for closets.  We hemmed and hawed for a while on this one.  What to do, what to do… 
I love me some IKEA.  Remember this?  We really liked the PAX wardrobe system and wanted something similar but also knew we wanted something to stand the test of time. 
          pax--wardrobe-frames__0106338_PE254376_S4     pax-wardrobe-with--doors__0096110_PE235587_S4

Enter our latest Ikea hack.  We started with 2 wide units and 2 narrow units.  Our ceilings are not even 80” but our height options at IKEA were 96” or 75.”  We rolled the dice, bought 96” units, cut them down to size and assembled.  6 units aren’t cheap so it was a gamble but it worked out just fine. 
We added in the accessories that went with the unit and then our super talented brother-in-law built a custom hardwood frame around the units and a custom hamper drawer and display shelving to break up the run of doors.  This way we had the closet guts with a high quality frame and doors that will hold up to wear without spending a fortune. 

We lived with closets like this (no doors) for about 6 months but it gives you a good idea of the organization options.  I somehow got my paint cans swapped while working on 2 different projects at the same time and accidentally pained this entire unit in exterior white instead of the Benjamin Moore Decorators White in Semi-Gloss like I intended.  Nothing like wasting a day painting something that will only need to be repainted.  I guess the upside is that my closet will now withstand zero degree temperatures and snow if it ever needs to.

Ikea Pax Hack 3
Ikea Pax Hack 2
                Ikea Hack 7     Ikea Pax Hack 4
Ikea Pax Hack 6


This is hands down my favorite part.  A drawer hiding our hampers.  Nothing looks worse than spending a ton of time and money on a room to make it look good only to have dirty laundry sitting in the corner.  And just to keep it real my hamper is never empty…I actually dumped the laundry on the floor just outside of this shot.  The next step in this process is to build drawer fronts to put on the face of the drawer to match the doors.

                Ikea Hack 8     Ikea Hack 10

Then my electrical engineer husband added lighting into the closet that automatically turns on and off when the door opens.  A Villanova engineering degree at work.

Ikea Hack 9

Last but definitely not least we built tongue and groove shaker style doors.  The flu tore through our house over the holidays and we were going stir crazy being quarantined in the house so we built them one day at a time while at the same time giving doses of Tylenol, Vicks and doing insane amounts of laundry.  Merry Christmas.

*Update: By popular demand I've given a brief "How To" on building doors like these here.

We added crown molding to the top to give it a custom look. 

                   Ikea Hack 11      Ikea Hack 18

We’ve been using the closets for close to a year now and the Ikea interior units have held up perfectly so I’m really happy we went this route.  Like everything we do it is 95% complete and will stay that way for a  while.  It was a. lot. of. work but we ended up with exactly what we wanted and are super happy with the result.