Thursday, June 13, 2013

My Closet: I'm not high maintenance, but my shoes are.

When Matt and I lived in our darling little rental house in MiMo (that's midtown Mobile for you non-residents), we put up with a lot of not so great things.  Our kitchen was tiny (picture evidence is below), we had two tiny bathrooms (something you expect in mid-century architecture), countless solicitors (you can't live in the middle of town and not expect that), and unexpected city maintenance (which meant you may or may not have a drive way when you get home from work).

I told you the kitchen was small.  It was just wide enough to open the oven door, and the dishwasher...but not at the same time. 
A happy surprise from Mobile Area Water and Sewer. (That gaping hole used to be the end of our drive-way.)

Don't get me wrong, I LOVED that house, with its HUGE picture window, statuesque oak trees, and awesome built-ins around the fireplace.  If it had been on a few acres, on the bayou, I might could have convinced Matt to buy it.  Needless to say, it wasn't so, we didn't.

Our back yard during a spring rain storm.  We had some of the most beautiful oak trees you've ever seen.
But my FAVORITE thing about our MiMo house was my closet.  The answer to your question is this: Yes, the house had tiny closets, because, as stated previously, it was built in the 1940s.  But when you're two people with no children, living in a three bedroom house, and one of you is named Sarah Flynt, one of those bedrooms is automatically designated a closet. (Matt had a brew room; we were both equally happy with our space.)  It all fell into place so beautifully!  And I only have the ONE picture below.  But trust me when I say how amazing it truly was.  See, between our master bedroom and my closet, was the master bath, so in essence, it was like having a dressing room right off of the master bed and bath.  I loved this set up!  

In the mirror, you can see the clothing rack, that stretched the entire length of the back wall.  On the perpendicular wall, was my dresser and the wall opposite that, a small linen closet and the entrance to the master bath. The lamp in this picture (and its twin) , as well as the gilded mirror, belonged to my grandparents (same ones with the excellent taste in living room furniture). And the dressing table was a gift from my super-fabulous mother-in-law. You may think you're MIL is great, but that's because you don't know mine!
So, when we moved into our new house, I was a little upset about leaving behind my closet.  It truly was a once in a lifetime kind of thing.  The new house is wonderful, but the set up is just not ideal for making one of the bedrooms a closet.  The guest room has its own bathroom, and I suppose I could use that room as my dressing area, but then our guests would have to use the unfinished bathroom or the master bathroom (with the shower that Matt will tell you, is the reason he bought the house).  And we might eventually have children, so we might just need a bedroom to act as a bedroom, and a guest bedroom is a necessity because I LOVE having company! So, what to do about my closet situation?  

The master bedroom closet is big, but not big enough for both my clothes and Matt's.  I tell ya, for someone who spends most of his time on a boat in coveralls, or in a kayak in shorts, the man has an insane amount of clothing.  There is a beautiful built-in chest of drawers, but again, not big enough for both of us.  If I told you how many t-shirts, pairs of socks, and boxer shorts this man has, you wouldn't believe me.  And he keeps asking for more t-shirts, socks, and underwear for Christmas.  Please, if my husband is on your Christmas list, do not buy him t-shirts, socks, or underwear.  That's just an easy thing for him to answer when you ask what he wants.  He is notorious for not knowing what he wants, but then buying himself something cool a week before or after any gift-giving holiday.  Do us a favor: liquor.  Buy him liquor. (Or if you feel the need to buy him what he asks for, more t-shirts, socks, and underwear, then buy me the liquor so I can deal with the mountains of t-shirts, socks, and underwear.)

There was one option that could be my closet's saving grace.  In our master bedroom was a nook.  A four foot by two foot nook.  Not quite big enough for my cedar chest, not quite big enough for my grandfather's antique study desk, but just big enough to be a small closet.  There was even an outlet on the top of the wall, that would allow me to hang a tiny, yet super fancy, chandelier!  The only problem?  Both Matt and my dad, Bobby, were out of town.  My two go-to, fix-it or install-it guys were completely and utterly unavailable. 

So, what did I do?  First, I read a million reviews about closet inserts, how to install them, which one to buy, and what "extras" to purchase with them.  Second, I stood in the closet isle at Lowe's for a hundred years staring at the actual closet inserts trying to maintain my excitement for the project I was about to undertake, and not freak out, drive home and give-up.  Third, I hauled the closet insert home, took a shot of whiskey (liquid courage!), and started installing. 

I purchased the Rubbermaid 3'-6' Custom Closet Kit and Toggler 50-pack Self-Drilling Drywall Anchors.  The drywall anchors were highly recommended by several of the reviews I read, and its a good thing I listened.  The drywall anchors that came with the kit were awkward, to say the least. 

I read the "destrutions," and although they weren't very helpful, the pictures were.  I used a plethora of tools, including the little level that my girly tool kit came with!  And in about 3 hours...we had ourselves another closet! 

Voila!  I can't believe I actually got the thing installed, correctly, by myself. 
Now to address problem number 2.  The "nook" had no doors.  And as much as I love my clothes, shoes and accessories, I didn't want to look at them all the time.  Hanging doors was out of the question, because as I stated before, Matt and Dad were ido (that's "gone" in Spanish), and although I might be brave enough to take on a closet kit, there's no way I was going to tackle doors.  Did you see the chair rail and crown molding that would have to be dealt with?  I don't think so! So, I opted for a solution that was not only simple, but also interesting to look at.  I decided to hang a curtain.  A really chic curtain. 

The only problem there?  Have you priced curtains lately?  Floor to ceiling, 50+ inch wide by 90 inch long curtains are expensive.  And I have a rule:  Money is better spent on things you eat, smell, or wear, than on anything else.  I had already spent over $100 on the closet insert, and for me, that's a lot.  I have a hard time spending $100 on a pair of shoes, and I love shoes.  There was no way I was spending another $50 on a curtain.  So, I opted for the Pinterest solution: make a curtain out of a sheet.  

I read a lot of blogs about DIY home decor, for two reasons: DIY is most often cheap and fun. And several of those blogs featured posts about making custom curtains from flat sheets. Brilliant!  I ordered a queen sized flat sheet from eBay (for $7.80 plus $4 shipping). A standard queen-sized flat sheet is 102" by 90", I measured the exact distance I needed from the bottom of my crown molding to the floor, then hemmed the sheet accordingly.  (I used a no-sew hem, using stitch witchery and an iron, since both of my sewing machines are broken at the moment.) I hung the curtain with a shower curtain tension rod that I already had and I love the results!  I think it looks just boho chic enough.  

I'm loving my eBay sheet/curtain!

How many eBay purchases can you find in one picture? 

This is a bad picture, but it was the only "panoramic" view that turned out at all.  I am a terrible photographer. 

So my new closet isn't quite big enough to store all of my clothes and shoes, but it is also forcing me to live by a new rule.  I have decided that nothing was going to go in that closet until I actually wore it, so then after a year, I would know what I really do wear and what needs to be donated/sold on eBay.  You can see, after a week, there are a few things already in the closet and I still have a good bit of room to spare.  Of course, there are some things that are only worn on special occasions, and those things (Mardi Gras gowns, feathery Titanic theme-party hats, adult tutus) will be kept in the cedar closet in the newly designated home-office, until that room might be needed for something else, besides, having a home office is a tax write-off ya know.   And now that I've mentioned those things, I can't leave you hanging without a picture or two of my favorite DIY projects from the past!  That would be rude.  

My Halloween tutu, made from a TON of tulle and a black velvet ribbon, and accessorized with an Alexander McQueen scarf and my super chic witch hat. 
The hat I made for Vintage Vivant's Titanic party on my 30th birthday. It was huge, and I think I probably put a few eyes out that night, but it looked fabulous!

Thoughts?  Comment below, pretty please.


  1. Oh my gosh, you are so funny! I told you earlier that you got some bad genes from me, but you got some good ones, too....well maybe not from me but from Grandmama. She never met a project she couldn't or wouldn't tackle and conquer! She'd be soooooooo proud! I know I am! Keep up the good work!

    1. Thanks, Dot-dash! I would like to think Grandmama was cheering me on (and laughing a little bit, too)! :)

  2. Entertaining article on the closet.