Getting started on the sleeping porch project: building a closet

I don’t have a long step-by-step story about this one yet, because I’m going to break my own blogging rules and publish photos of a half-finished project and let the cat out of the bag before I’m done. Here’s the progress on the closet I spent the weekend building in the sleeping porch upstairs, which connects to our master bedroom.

I got it all framed on Saturday — even with a 4-hour break in the middle of the day thrown in hanging outside in the great weather with friends whose spouses/girlfriends were at Rachel’s baby shower — and then drywalled the outside and half of the inside with the leftover panel and a half  I found in the basement from a recent project.

Sleeping porch south wall before closetCloset framing finishedCloset framed and drywalled

I bought all the sticks a few weeks ago when I was last at Home Depot with a truck and had everything ready to go Friday so I could get going Saturday morning bright and early. I still need to drywall half of the inside, install and shim the trim for the inside finished frame, hang the bi-fold doors, put a plywood top on the thing, and case the door frame with trim. I’m also going to put a piece of trim across the top edge to hide the rough drywall edge and the plywood. I think I’ll be able to get to all of that this weekend and be ready for paint by next Monday.

This will finally give Rachel proper closets after using cheap Ikea wardrobes for the last year and a half that didn’t make the best use of the space We’ll also get some additional storage for other things — there’s only one non-bedroom closet upstairs and just one in our bedroom — as well as space for her sewing projects. We’re going to set up our desk in here, as well as her sewing table and dressing table.

Which all means that this terrific but under-utilized space in our house will soon become much more useful. This is the last big project I’m hoping to finish before the baby gets here in June. Here’s the quick list of what I need to do in this porch area over the next 8 weeks or less. (Yikes! 8 weeks? Is that all????)

  • Build closet on the south wall. Halfway done here! I should have this finished by next weekend.
  • Build second closet on the north wall. This closet won’t be as deep and likely not for hanging clothes; more of a general storage closet. It also can’t run the full depth of the porch because of the windows on the porch at that end.
  • Pull out the existing electrical on the ceiling. That won’t take long. It’s one bulb, hastily mounted to the ceiling joist. TIP: It’s always good to put some things on your checklist that take 10 minutes or less.
  • Insulate the ceiling with spray-foam insulation. On the recommendation of some spray-foam pros I called, I’m about to buy a kit I can use at home to do the whole thing myself. I found out that it’s really not worth the cost to bring in pros for such a small space. After this, the room will not only be bearable during the summer, but actually as cool as the rest of the house.
  • Install new electrical with upgraded lighting. There’s only one little dinky lightbulb right now that the wall switch doesn’t even control. And only two sockets in the entire space. When I finished the sleeping porch downstairs, I ran a spare hot wire up that we can use to add a socket on the north end of the porch. We’re going to have at least three overhead fixtures to light things up nice and bright.
  • Build insulated interior hatch for attic access. The previous owner had the roof access covered up entirely. I’m planning an interior hatch that will lock into place (for security) and be covered with insulation to fill this space and cut down on air flow — you can see slices of daylight around the edges of the covering hatch on the roof.
  • Put down carpet on the floor. This will be a pretty temporary covering here, not a professional carpet install. The floor isn’t level and needs to be completely replaced with new floor sheathing and shimmed level at some point. I’d have liked to do this before building the closets but there just isn’t time and it’s not that crucial. It’ll likely happen when/if we get to realize our dream of a master bathroom at the south end of the sleeping porch. Until then, we’ll make do with some inexpensive carpet in here over the crap linoleum. Might be squares, might be proper carpet, we’ll see. (Cue Rachel saying, “oh yes, it will be proper carpet”)

Will we make the deadline? Time will tell. Let’s hope this baby doesn’t come three weeks early.

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