Enlarging a Hall Closet – Part One

We live in a small house that has a lot of storage for a home its age but more storage would be an improvement.  Every square inch of this house had been put to use except a few feet of wall space in the middle of the house between an existing closet and the pantry.  A couple years ago I decided to do something with that area.

At first I thought an inset chest of drawers beneath the thermostat would look neat and be very useful.  One of my grandmothers had a similar set up so I knew how practical it could be.  A quick peek in the attic reminded me that the reason this space hadn’t been converted earlier was an old unused furnace chimney.  No worries.  I knew that meant potentially a lot of very physical labor, as I’d removed chimneys before, but it made me rethink the design.

If I was going to remove an entire chimney then why not reclaim the entire space leaving only a sliver of the wall for the thermostat?  I would be able to effectively double the size of the hall closet without much additional work.

Since this area of the house was not critical to daily life I had the luxury of doing the tear out first and then finalizing the design.  That way if I ran into any hidden surprises I could adapt the design as necessary.

Unfortunately I no longer have a picture of the closet before I started the demolition work but it is pretty easy to imagine.  As you look at the pictures below notice the tile floor in the corner of the hall.  The furnace sat on this pad.  When central A/C was installed, the furnace was removed, the chimney was capped and the corner was enclosed with a small wall and a louvered bi-fold door to create the closet.

The first thing I did was remove the bi-fold door and its molding, all of the shelves, some unused plumbing and the plaster covering the chimney.  The pictures below show the closet with progress up to that point.

Coming soon, I’ll show you the steps I took to finish the transformation which includes new shelves, custom made drawers and a set of double doors.


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