Master Closet Renovation: Our First Project of the Year

Meet our first victim of the year: our master closet. Technically, our master closet is not actually a closet but a back staircase from the kitchen to the upstairs, which we think may have been the servants’ entrance back in the day when the house was built and people said things like back in the day. Since we are not posh enough for servants, however, the back staircase basically now serves as a private entrance to our bedroom. (Of course, if we shared the house with anyone else, like a servant, for example, this whole “private” thing would be significantly more exciting.)

Want to see some never-before-seen-on-the-blog footage of what our closet/staircase currently looks like, pre-renovation? If you enthusiastically said “YES, I’ve been waiting all my life or at least the last 26 seconds to see Erin and Rick’s closet,” continue reading. If you said “Why would I want to look at Erin and Rick’s closet?” scroll to the end of this post to see someone else’s closet that will never, ever resemble ours.

So, for those brave enough to stick around: the tour. The only thing we’ve done until this point is remove the blue carpet from everything but the stairs, which was the same carpet that was in the kitchen. Here’s the view coming from our bedroom and going downstairs.



This is the staircase to the attic, complete with a bunch of straw filling from an old ottoman that Zoe decided to fling about.


Stairs going to the kitchen:


See the fridge?


A Special Feature of the staircase is the sawed-off wall (seen above) and a giant hole going underneath the attic steps.


The hole is obviously ideal for thoughtfully reading This Old House magazine. Perhaps the servants once enjoyed the same luxury in between cooking and laundry?


And here’s the view coming from the kitchen and going upstairs:



You can see in the following picture how the closet connects to our master bedroom (complete with a new chair from World Market; it finally went on sale!).


So. We have a lengthy list of items to tackle for this project, some of which are already completed, which I’ll be sharing over the next couple weeks. Among the many to-dos is building shelving for the closet that we can then put doors in front of. We don’t want our clothes on display, especially since the space doubles as a staircase and it’s just of weird to walk up the stairs and be all like oh hello khaki pants and sundresses. Besides, open shelving is just not for us. Our closet would never, ever look like this next picture…and not just because this person has approximately 83 more pairs of shoes than I do and enough purses to set up a stand on some NYC street:

closetFound here

I mean, come on, you saw the before pictures. I need closed doors. Nobody wants to see my mess.

What’s on your list for the first project of the year? Whose closet does yours resemble, the one in the above picture or ours? Is open shelving your friend? Spill. :)


***And speaking of reading This Old House magazine, don’t forget to go here for a chance to win a one-year subscription! The winner will be selected on Thursday!***


  1. What a neat space! I can't wait to see what you guys do with it. I love the odd things you find in old houses. Makes it so much more fun ;)

  2. Old houses are so much cooler and more awesome than lame middle-aged ones. I love this space, and as a kid that hole where Rick was thoughtfully reading a magazine would've been SOLID GOLD.

  3. Yay for closet renovations! You have a really neat space, I love old houses :).

  4. While I do have a walk-in closet of my very OWN, it is a mess and totally not functional for me. One day I have dreams of taking myself to IKEA to buy some proper (nice-looking) shelving and storage units. Until then, my hubs is working on clearing some of our mess of a backyard so we can a teensy view of the marsh preserve behind our house.


  5. Before you closed up the "GIANT HOLE" you should have made it into a time capsule of sorts and left an item of interest inside. Perhaps a current newspaper, or some plastic Kool-aid bottle tops from Brendan's shelves, or a Branson photo of Roy Clark, or - OH, I'VE GOT IT: that dead bird you found a few months back!

  6. I love stairs that lead from the kitchen to the bedroom. I really wanted to add a second staircase like this in our house but since the stairs are in the middle it just didn't make sense.
    I'm not sure what my next victim is. I'm in a little bit of a DIY slump that I am going to enjoy for a few more days and then go crazy with some decorating.

  7. You are seriously so funny!!!! I love it! Can't wait to see what you do with your closet - maybe another IKEA trip for you guys?

  8. That's some serious storage space!!! :)

  9. You make me laugh! Love this blog. I think your closet area is actually pretty sweet, but I suppose I can appreciate wanting doors. Excited to see how it turns out!

  10. Woah! That is a crazy space! Good luck with everything! Can't wait to see what you do with it!

  11. Your inspiration photo is gorgeous! Can't wait to see how it turns out!
    Love, Olga

  12. Wow, what a project!! But what a grand "after" you'll have, right? :)

  13. Anonymous1/03/2012

    I am really interested in seeing what you will do with the space! This blog makes me smile AND do more DIY projects!


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