There is nothing normal when it comes to our coat closet.  The location is odd and it tends to change roles and evolve as our family grows, yet it has never been easy to keep visually appealing or clutter free.  So, I thought I would take one more stab at it this past weekend.

You may have spotted the coat closet in a few of the past IHeart Kitchen Reno posts.  It is located directly above our staircase, meaning we basically have half of a closet to work with.

Because we use a credenza style piece to hold our boy's backpacks and boots, and a slim shoe cabinet for our family footwear, the coat closet is exactly that; a place to store coats.  We also use it to hold some additional outerwear items, extra cleaning rags, water bottles, sunscreen, etc...  The last time we worked on it, we used a lot of materials we already had on hand to do a free update.  For a no cost makeover, I thought I did a pretty good job!

But then we used it and seasons changed and what I didn't do well at was putting away my spring jackets when I pulled out my winter options.  And then we removed the door to pull trim and flooring for the kitchen renovation.  Funny what no door paired with a construction zone will do.  Suddenly the closet was holding more clothing than jackets, our winter jackets were instead being hung on the backs of folding chairs or tossed in our bedrooms.  And other random things that didn't have a home were being stuffed in the open alcove.  Below is a quick shot I took with my cell phone before heading out to look for new organizing options.

The baskets on the left side were clutter catchers and the shelf was beginning to bow from the lack of center support.  With the kitchen makeover, we also wanted to update this closet, hopefully once and for all.  That includes new storage and ultimately ditching the bi-fold door (those things drive me crazy anyway).

Here was the initial plan for the closet:

I love drawers because they make it easy to organize and conceal everyday clutter.  I also figured they would work much better than the flexible shoe pockets which were always overly stuffed with items.  We set off to IKEA to look for drawer options which would of course include soft close hinges.  We found an IKEA Family sale on the KOMPLEMENT system (designed to fit their PAX wardrobes).  For $17 each, we picked up six drawers, which included pre-finished white drawers and all of the drawer hardware.

IKEA also sells frames that support the drawers, however, we needed something that would custom fit our closet, so their option was completely over priced given our needs.  We headed to Home Depot and purchased two plain 8' x 16" white melamine boards.

Once we returned home, we ripped everything out of the closet, patched things up and I painted the closet with two coats of Sherwin William's Deep Sea Dive.  Don't you love cozy Saturday nights at home?

(cell phone night shot - all I had to work with)

The following evening, once the two coats of paint were dry, it came time to cut the melamine boards down to size and to fit the new IKEA drawers.

We wanted the frames for the drawers to be about the same depth, so we cut down the melamine to 14" deep.  We always recommend using painter's tape when cutting any finished material.

We had a total of 6 drawers to work with (one for each family member and another for our furry pups) and each drawer is 6 1/4" tall (6 3/4" with attached gliding brackets).  To allow a small bit of space between for opening, we spaced each drawer 7" apart.

The bottom of each rail was installed in 7" intervals, measuring and pre-drilling before attaching each rail with the provided drawer hardware.

The holes were also measure to ensure the face of each drawer would remain flush with the edges of the frame boards.

Once the rails were attached, we placed the boards inside of the closet to determine installation placement.  We both decided that keeping the unit centered seemed to really chop up the hanging area, and keeping it aligned right flush with the wall made for better use of the space.

To be sure everything was nice and secure, we screwed the side board of the drawers into wall studs.  We then added the drawers and affixed the top shelf by screwing down into the center of the vertical boards.  Oh!  And we installed a bit of our new kitchen flooring (sneak peek alert!) as well as some new white trim.

No more sagging top shelf!  And I loved the drama of the deep sea blue paired with the pretty white trim and new closet system!  In fact, I have been itching to bring in a bit of deep hued drama to play with all of the white and light happening in the rest of the space.

Although I didn't want to compltely split the closet with the drawer unit, I was a little nervous about accessibly of the drawers being installed so far to the right of the closet.  However, when pulled out as far as the rails allow, everything really worked out beautifully.  Once the new closet door is installed, because we are not doing bi-folds again, we still should have no issue getting at the contents of the drawers.

Next step was to add back the hangers and label each drawer.  I also swapped out the baskets with our pretty white laced options (truly one of my most favorite basket purchases ever).

This time, I decided to only add the same number of hangers as jackets we want to store within the closet; one hanger for each family member.  We have never used the closet for hanging guest jackets as they are typically hung on hooks near our front door or in a spare closet in our guest bedroom for larger gatherings.  This truly is all the hanging space we should need. 

The label holders are the adhesive Martha Stewart bookplates from Staples.  I am on my last bunch of previously stashed purchases and the tears are flowing because they have since been discontinued.  Staples and Martha, if you are listening, "For the love of all things pretty and organized, please bring back the bookplates!!"

The drawers are labeled by family member in order of our height to make sure everything is as easy to get at as possible.  Pets on the top and our youngest son's items at the bottom.  And just like the kitchen cabinets and drawers, these are soft closing, making them even more of a win in the name of the storage game.

Delightful before and after?  Why of course!

This is about the 26th makeover the closet has received, so if this doesn't work out, I may have to go into hiding...  And I still have to organize the drawers, but I have a pretty little plan up my sleeves for those, so stay tuned!