Sunday, January 27, 2013

IKEA PAX Wardrobe Hack

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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.  That sounded bad.  Like we live in a huge mansion or something and use hundred dollar bills as toilet paper.  Trust me, it was not like that.  More like rooms with 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.  Seriously nothing to be jealous of here. 

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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. 

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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.

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Ikea Pax Hack 2
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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.

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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.

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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.

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


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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.

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56 comments:

  1. These look awesome. Thanks for sharing. Found you in a google search for ikea built in closets. Love the hamper drawer. Was disappointed to find out I can't buy that.

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  3. Oh my I am IN LOVE with how beautiful this turned out! Great job! Def pinning this for when we have a home someday!
    ~ Beth @ BandBBuildalife.com

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  4. I am currently putting my PAX together and I wish Ikea would have a drawer for my laundry, that's an amazing idea.

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  5. What is the source for that awesome automatic lighting system? Is that Ikea too?

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    1. Thanks for reading Amy! It is a lighting kit we got from Home Depot. I can't remember the brand but it looks like that doorbell that, when the door is opened, is released and turns on the puck lights overhead. Hope that helps!

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  6. What an ingenious idea! It looks great. Would it have worked for you to use the 75" wardrobe, and to raise them up several inches using a base platform? I'm just wondering why you decided to go with the taller cabinets and cut them down versus raise up the shorter cabinet. Also, do you have any pictures of the frame that you brother-in-law built?

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    1. Great idea. For us we we went with the larger unit and cut it down because we wanted to maximzie storage and combat height issues. I'm 5' tall so I have a tough time reaching rods that are too high and my husband is 6'1" so he needed to have 2 rods spaced far enough apart so that his pants weren't hitting the floor. I wish I had pictures of the frame. I think the only one I have of just the frame is about 1/2 through the post :(

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  7. Can you share how you made the doors (and their approximate costs?!) Any sources or dimensions for the materials would help too!

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    1. Ask and you shall receive...I've started a brief tutorial here: http://megandmartinmen.blogspot.com/2013/10/week-5-part-2-of-one-room-challenge.html Hope that helps!

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  8. Did you run into any issues cutting down the height? Did you have to redrill holes to attach the top? I'm thinking of doing the same thing.

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  9. Terrific project. How large is your bedroom?

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  11. This looks totally amazing! I have been in the market for a built-in option that doesn't break the bank and you have totally inspired me to think beyond building from scratch ourselves.

    Stopping by from Young House Love.

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  12. The organization is awesome! This might be random but how do you get your floors to shine like that? Is is poly or are you using some amazing cleaning product?

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    1. Thanks! Ha, cleaning? What's that? Kidding. It may just be a camera trick :) They are pretty shiney but we really don't use any special product and to be honest, outside of Roomba's work we don't really clean them all that often!

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  13. I commented over at YHL, but I just had to pop in and say how absolutely perfect these closets are! They're exactly what I've been trying to visualize and couldn't quite come up with. Thanks for the inspiration!!

    xo,
    Lisa @ doubledoorranch.blogspot.com

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  14. These are super awesome!! I have a walk in closet in need of organization and would love to add these sans the doors. I love in your description how you talk of your house as the money pit. I feel like mine is too. LOL We actually just rewatched that movie with Tom Hanks and Shelley (Long or Winter?? Can't keep them straight). I kept telling my hubby it was like our house. LOL Except without the stair case collapsing. (really it isn't, but all the time and money we have dumped, it feels like it! LOL)

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  15. Uh-mazing! Fantastic job you guys! Just gorgeous, love it.

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  16. I saw this on YHL, and I just have to say that I am in love! What great ideas! I especially love hiding the laundry baskets...Brilliant!

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  17. I had the Ikea PAX closets in 4 bedrooms in my house in Germany & we used them every day for 5.5 years. I am really sad I didn't bring them with me back to the US & I will be purchasing them again in the near future!

    Your built ins look great!

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  18. Beautiful! I almost love the open closet (no door look) as much as I love the closed doors. It's very high end clothing store looking.

    Nicely done!

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  19. Visiting from YHL, too. Beautiful projects - but this closet is brilliant. Brilliant.

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  20. This is amazing Meg! It definitely gives me some ideas for a wall in our master bedroom.

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  21. Love what you did! Really beautiful!!! I'm actually trying to figure out how to update our pantry in our kitchen, and I think this is exactly the solution we've been looking for!! Add a few kitchen-specific organizational items, and we're there! Even the measurements on Ikea's website are 99% there. Thanks for the beautiful inspiration!!!!

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  23. Can you possibly also share how you made the doors on this built-in? We are looking to do something similar but have no clue where to begin.

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    1. Ask and you shall receive...I've started a brief tutorial here: http://megandmartinmen.blogspot.com/2013/10/week-5-part-2-of-one-room-challenge.html Hope that helps!

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  24. What did you do to the floors? Did you have them done or re-do them? Looks great!

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  25. Ditto regarding how you went about making and fitting the custom doors.
    Thanks

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    1. Ask and you shall receive...I've started a brief tutorial here: http://megandmartinmen.blogspot.com/2013/10/week-5-part-2-of-one-room-challenge.html Hope that helps!

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  26. I LOVE THIS! Awesome closet! I am totally in AWE!

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  27. I love what they've done with this. It's a really great idea if you have the space, I'm going to have to go down to IKEA and try to find what they used. Actually my dad builds stuff like this so he might be able to do something crafty like this for me. http://www.westglass.com.au/wardrobes.html

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  28. Did you buy all the internal organization from Ikea? Laundry hamper drawer, scarf holder?

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  29. Hi - the laundry drawer is DIY but all of the interior accessories (rods, shoe organization, scarf holder, etc. is all Ikea). Hope that helps!

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  30. Found your blog from googling for wall to wall storage. I am considering doing something like that in our bedroom, instead of buying traditional furniture. May I ask your costs? May I ask the size of the room?

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    1. Sure. I think we spent ~ $900 in Ikea parts and accessories and maybe another $900 in wood and material. The length of that wall is 14'.

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  31. Meg doing something similar because of your build. How did you fix the frame? Thanks

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  32. Hi Meg. Love the way your closet turned out! We purchased Pax units months ago with the intent of installing them in our bedroom but we mistakenly thought we had 8 foot ceilings to work with and just discovered today that we have about 4 less inches to work with. Since we bought the birch color which is now discontinued, returning them is probably not an option, so looks like we will have to retrofit them as you did. I'm curious though if you cut yours down from the top or from the bottom and how did it affect the assembly?

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    1. Thanks Chris! It was really simple. We cut the extra inches off the top (though it probably doesn't matter if you do the bottom), drilled new holes and assembled. We were nervous about the gamble but it ended up being really easy. Hope that helps and good luck!

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  33. I love what you did here! I would love a closet like this. I feel like my stuff isn't as organized as I wish it was and this would be so nice to have.

    http://www.westglass.com.au/wardrobes.html

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  34. We're getting a built in wardrobe. I would definitely be interested in trying out something like this with an IKEA wardrobe. It's probably going to fix our space problems. Thiago | http://www.westglass.com.au/wardrobes.html

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  36. Wow, the finished product looks stunning! My husband and I just moved into a tiny apartment so we definitely understand the problem of having no space. Our apartment has hardly any storage area and only one little closet in our room. We ended up figuring out how to install a wardrobe into our room also. I just can't wait until I have a house and all the space I want!
    Shelly Slader | http://www.versarobes.com.au/wardrobe-gallery.html

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  37. This looks fantastic! Can you comment on why you chose to build your own doors rather than purchasing doors at IKEA? It looks like they have hinged doors that are quite similar to yours (Hemnes in white), so I'm curious to know why you decided to go the DIY route for that piece. Cost? Quality? Please let me know! Thanks!

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    1. Thanks Emily! We had to build our own doors because we cut the Pax units down to size to fit our short ceilings which meant we couldn't use the standard height doors and had to build custom doors. They probably ended up being more expensive but since we added the wood hamper drawer this way we were able to paint everything out the same color. Hope that answers your question!

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  39. Thanks for sharing your wardrobe hack! Looks beautiful! I am looking at doing a wall-to-wall Pax wardrobe also. Like you, our ceilings are a little too low for the tall units. Would you be able to share the method you used for cutting the tall units down to size? I guess you shortened the back and sides? Did you have any problems drilling new holes, making fasteners work, etc? And why did you decide to build custom doors, rather than also cutting Pax doors down to size? I'd like to get an idea if the hack is within my skill set, before I plunk out the money for the wardrobes and shipping! Thanks so much, if you can help!

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    1. Hi - the units themselves were a breeze to cut down. We literally just used a circular saw to chop down the sides and backs to the size we needed, drilled holes and assembled per the instructions. The doors had to be custom built because they're paneled doors and if we cut those down we'd end up with a partial panel. Building custom doors can probably be as easy or as hard as you want to make it (we never do anything the easy way so it was pretty tough!). That said you could always custom order doors from a cabinet maker. Hope that helps!

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  40. Hi, amazing project, I am impressed!

    I am considering something similar and I am interested in the hardwood frame that you mention - could you tell me how it was made? Was it attached to the wardrobe or is it attached to the walls/floor/ceiling and the wardrobe just sit behind it? Are the vertical (white) parts of the frame the exact width of the two (wood effect) wardrobe walls or is there a slight lip (if that makes sense). Does the wardrobe sit directly on the wooden floor or did you build a plinth? The whole thing looks pretty solid, so I guess you couldn't easily take the wardrobes out for any reason?
    Many thanks
    Kevin

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  41. Beautiful work. Not everyone has the imagination to create things like this. Custom work is amazing. You can always pay someone to do something like this for you. But that costs a lot more money.

    http://www.mrdoormanmia.com/index.php?categoryid=3

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  42. I showed you our bathroom reno and the hardwood floors installation last ... cabinetstall.blogspot.com

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  43. We've finally finished installing our built-in wardrobe. It took a little longer than we expected, but it wasn't too hard. My parents were so impressed they're thinking about getting some for their house. They're lucky enough to have a few installers to choose from. Thiago | http://www.thomoshomeimprovement.com.au/wardrobes1

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