Built-in's-The First Steps...

It is no secret, if you know me, that I sort of have an obsession with built-in's. I have done several closet makeover's with them.

They look good, they keep me organized, they make me happy. What's not to love?!

Built-in's-The first steps, MyLove2Create

The first steps to creating built-in's.

This is a quick tutorial of the first steps you need to start your built-in's.

Step 1: Make a plan.

When it comes to projects, adding built-in's is defiantly a time when you don't want to shoot from the hip.  A good plan brings peace of mind, saves you money (you make more mistakes when you haven't created a plan, and thought through everything, trust me), and it generally makes your project go smoothly.  Of course, there are always things that could go wrong, but with a plan it is minimized for sure.

For this closet I used the same tower plan that I used in my Master Closet Makeover, and I share a great tutorial on How to design a DIY closet that you should totally read if you want to do this.
plan for closet tower, MyLove2Create
It is simple but tells me exactly what I want to happen.

Step 2: Remove carpet where built-in's will be placed.

Most built-in's can be built on top of existing flooring, but I recommend you remove the carpet if that is where you want to put your built-in's.  I didn't do this in my master closet, and it worked out ok, but I wish I would have.  Use your best judgment here.  I removed the carpet for these built-in's.

Step 3: Build a Frame and or Base and attach to the wall.

base for built-in closet tower, MyLove2Create
If you are installing any type of cabinets, towers, shelving that will be on the floor I recommend placing it on a base.  Why? You need to add trim somewhere for starters, this is what your built-in will sit on.  

I built my base out of 2x4's to the size I needed, making sure it was square.  I secured it to the wall into the studs with 3 1/2'' screws.  Then, because my carpet would add about half an inch, I needed my 3 1/2'' trim to fit right once it is added on top of the carpet. So I added some strips of scrap 1/2'' MDF to the top of my base.  Now my tower can be installed on top and sit at the correct height.
Adding frame to niche for built-in's, MyLove2Create
Moving out of the closet for a minute...  This is my niche, that I felt was wasted space, so I am installing built-in's here, with drawers. My plan for this involved making sure the drawers could be built and not be too wide. I also had to consider if I wanted it trimmed out as well, which I did.  So for theses built-in's I built two frames to the width and height I needed and placed them in the space.  Then I added 2x4's on the bottom and top to connect the two frames together.
Attaching built-in frame to the wall studs, MyLove2Create
Once the frame was all connected, I attached it to the wall on the top and bottom into the studs with 3 1/2'' screws. It is important to make sure it is very secure to the wall.
Frame for built-in's in a wall niche, MyLove2Create
Here is my frame all ready to go. I want to note that because not all walls are square, you may have to add shims between the wall and your frame, which I had to do here. If necessary, you may need longer screws for this.  If you look close on the top right you can see a shim sticking out a bit where I attached it to the wall. I will work more on this later, for today that's a wrap on this built-in.

Step 4: Add your tower, or cabinets to your base, and attach to the wall.Adding closet tower to base, MyLove2Create

Of course before you add your tower or base, you have to build it according to your plan. :) Once you have done that then you can add it to your base.  It did this very not very gracefully, as you can see.
Attaching tower to wall and base in closet, MyLove2Create
Once you have placed your tower or cabinets on your base, check for square.  Yep, the walls are tricky, remember.  You may have to add shims to the back to make sure it is square to the front.  Then you can attach your tower, or cabinets to the base and the walls (into the studs).  You will need shims here as well, so keep them handy.  You can see in the top right of this photo I am marking where to cut my shim.  Unlike the shim in the niche built-in, this one will be seen if I don't cut it, so keep that in mind.

Step 5: Add your extras to your built-in's, shelves, closet rods, etc...Paint all built in boards before you build, MyLove2Create

Let's take a quick pause here before we add the extras, shall we? You may have noticed that all my boards are already painted, including my tower.  This is an extra bonus tip that, trust me, you will want to mimic.  When you have all your boards cut, paint them, both sides, with two coats of paint, before you build. It saves so much time!  Unless you like painting in all the nooks and crannies.  I DON'T! Painting flat boards is a cinch with a paint roller.

What if they get scuffed, you say?  When they are installed, you will have to caulk, and then paint over that, so you can do any touch up painting at this time.  This is a game changer, just sayin'.
Adding shelves to closet built-in's, MyLove2Create
When installing shelves, always make sure to check for level when attaching your shelf supports and boards.  I like to check for level, quickly nail the board into the wall studs with my nail gun, then I screw it into the studs.  I also used a clamp to help hold my board level and in place when I screwed the shelf board into the tower with pocket holes and screws, worked like a charm!
add shelf pin holes before installing and building, MyLove2Create

Another great tip, if you are adding adjustable shelves, is to drill your holes into all boards before you build or install them in the closet, again it is much easier to do this on a flat surface than once it is built and you can also measure and make sure they are lined up perfectly on the opposite board.  I love my Kreg Shelf Pin Jig!
Adding board for adjustable shelves to the wall, MyLove2Create
I added my board with the shelf pin holes to the wall with nails into the studs, then my top shelf board.
Adding bottom shelf fixed board, MyLove2Create
Next, I added my fixed shelf bottom board.  See me using a mallet to make sure it is perfectly level?  My Kreg clamps again for the win in helping hold my board up for me.
Closet with tower and fixed shelves, MyLove2Create
This is how it looks with the tower and the fixed shelves installed.

Next, I added my closet rods, put in some shelf pins for the adjustable shelves, and we are good to go!
Built-in's first steps, MyLove2Create
Look pretty good so far, don't you think?!  This is a very simple closet, so of course depending on your design, you may have more steps.  However, these first steps in creating your Built-in's are going to pay off in the end!
Built-in's for closet and wall niche, MyLove2Create
I am getting giddy!!  Next week your mind will be blown...hopefully!

Until then, check out all the other One Room Challenge Participants and their progress for Week 4!
One Room Challenge Week 4 MyLove2Create
Built-in's the first steps, MyLove2Create
I will see you next week!



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