Master Closet Wardrobe System

Category: Built-ins

While we are trying to stay as true to the period of our 1914 bungalow as we can, we're taking a more modern look at things where practical. Our master bedroom closet is one of these places--try as we might, we are never going to be able to stuff two people's wardrobes into the tiny closet originally designed for the room.

So, our plans for the second floor include expanding the closet. That's given us more available space closet space. However, the closet's dimensions are still going to require us to be creative--which is where Ikea comes into the picture...

Ikea specializes in low cost but well designed furnishings. They're also great at ingenious solutions for tight quarters. It probably stems from their focus on the urban apartment dweller on a budget and it is a perfect fit for the "not so big" design principles of bungalows like ours, as well. We've got our eye on Ikea's Pax Olso series (pictured above).

On the practical side, the Pax series comes in two different heights and widths--critical since our roofline gives us a 7 1/2" closet ceiling. There are also several choices in shelving, including specialized racks for things like ties, skirts, shoes and pants.

On the aesthetic side, the series offers different styles of doors that allow you to customize the look of the cabinets. I'm partial to the frosted glass myself.

While not technically "built-ins" Ikea's wardrobes follow the same principles: storage tailored to the space they are in and the purpose they serve. Someday, we might have the money and time to build our own "built-in's" there. Today, we have to go with the best low cost solution.

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I LOVE Ikea. Their good stuff is really great.
That said, particle-board is simply not a good material, and Ikea's PB furniture is no exception. It's just too flaky to take a connector or joint solidly, and laminate facings are inherently problematic. They peel, scratch, chip and delaminate~ and when they do so, they immediately look like crap, unlike wood or other materials. Therefore, this kind of furniture tends to dissintigrate even under a few years of normal use, and can't stand up to any abuse. Nor can it be refinished or repaired in any way once damaged. If you're looking for a cheap temporary fix while your checkbook heals up, I say go for it, but if I were you I couldn't bear to put all my beautiful hard work get watered down by any permanent addition.
You've done fantastic things in your house, and by now you know that getting great results takes endurance above all other qualities~ stay strong.

Why spend money on cheap ikea stuff that you WILL have to replace in a few years, when you could do the same thing for about the ikea's cost in wood? Copy their design ideas, and then build something similar yourself out of better materials.

(Seriously, all it takes to build a nice built-in is some veneered plywood, a saw, and a nail gun. My dad and I have been doing it in various houses they've owned for years and years. There isn't any complex cabinetry required, and you don't even need to use really nice wood if you're painting it.)

I like Karl's idea and have done it myself several times. What's really cool is that you can use Ikea pieces. For instance, some of the cabinet doors are solid wood and/or glass and aluminum. They're nice quality and very reasonably priced. That's also the hardest part to build (unless you're doing drawers), so build the "boxes" youself, and put Ikea doors on. They even let you buy a lot of their hardware seperately, though I can't recomend all of it.
If you get pressboard, you WILL have to replace it.

Interesting. At this point just thinking about adding another build-it-yourself project to the second floor before we can move in makes me tired, but I agree that we're trying to think as long-term as possible....

Well, this is exactly what the 'idea guide' section of the website is for--to share ideas and to get other people's feedback before we make final decisions.



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Started years ago as a scrapbook, this collection of photos serves as inspiration as we restore our own bungalow. We hope you find it either useful or entertaining as well.

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