Long Term Home Remodel Project

Phase VIII - The Master Bedroom & Walk-in Closet


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The long-term plan

We have not started this project yet. Maybe in the near future. There is a plan, however. We will remove all the sheetrock so the walls and ceiling can be properly insulated. The ceiling will be raised 6 or 8 inches for a simple pan. Well, that may prove to be impractical. Either way, the attic needs much better insulation. It is 60 year old blown in and has compressed to very little. In those days, they weren't too interested in insulation anyway. The carpet will be replaced, probably with laminate flooring. The electrical wiring will be upgraded to current code with all grounded outlets. Finally, we will remove the two existing closets to expand the overall room and open the wall into the walk-in closet that will take 10 feet off the existing den or back room. The bedroom extends about 8 feet beyond the back wall of the new closet and den. We hope to add a new patio door there, opening onto the back yard.

The actual progress

I'm pretty sure the long-term plan has changed. First, the raised ceiling is probably not practical and almost surely not worth the cost and effort. I think that will become just crown moulding instead. The wiring upgrade is still desirable but, again, the work to remove and replace the necessary wallboard may not be justifiable. Besides, not only the walls but at least some of the ceiling would have to be removed to get access to the wiring. Except, of course, that would also make it possible to insulate the walls, a secondary goal. In any event, the ceiling has to be better insulated but it can be blown in through the gable vent.

Bedroom Wall We started in the walk-in closet because that had to be done before we could finish the den. The north wall was already done as it is the back side of the Piano Alcove in the living room. The subfloor was also done as the first step in the den.

The first step was to remove all the clothes and other stuff from the existing bedroom closet where the access to the walk-in will be. That wall has two double sliding door closets as shown here. The new doorway will be behind the one on the right. Eventually, the existing closet doors and walls will be removed to widen the room by almost three feet. After the closet was emptied, I could barely get my head through a temporary hole in its ceiling to inspect the ceiling joists. The reason was to determine whether they were one piece to extend across the entire width of the room or were two pieces with intermediate support at the closet wall. Fortunately, they were one piece which makes later removal of that wall much easier. These photos below are of the stuff that came out of the closet and are temporarily stacked or piled wherever we could find space. I suspect we will be purging old clothes somewhat before moving into the new closet.


Clothes Removed Shelf Stuff

Closet Door Closet Wall The next step was to cut a doorway through the wall between the closet and the bedroom. This required temporarily supporting the roof. That was originally an outside wall with an eave over it and covered by the flat porch roof. It now supports a valley between it and the new sloped den roof just about right over the new opening. I originally planned a five foot opening as I have four very nice 15 inch louvered bi-fold doors to use. Well, that plan changed too. You can see in the photo below that it would not leave room on the south (right in the photo) wall for any kind of cabinet or shelves. I then decided to just use three of the doors for a 45 inch opening. That plan would not allow the north door to open flat against the bedroom wall so it was changed to just two doors for a 30 inch opening, the standard size for interior doors anyway. That way they would not have to be bi-fold, a much cleaner arrangement. It also simplified the temporary roof support as only one rafter would be involved. These two photos show the opening roughed in on the left and with the sheetrock applied on the right. The temporary hole barely visible in the soffit in the left photo is for access to support the rafters. That is the soffit mentioned in Phase VI. At the far end of the left wall you see an opening that will be a floor-to-ceiling (soffit actually) cabinet. You'll just have to excuse the clutter as this is still a construction zone. You can see I still have a little compound patching to do on the south wall. These photos were taken from just on the den side of where the dividing wall will be.

Flooring About that time we made another trip to the Habitat for Humanity outlet looking for something that I don't remember now. While there though, we found another batch of really nice laminate flooring and, being close to ready to floor the closet, we decided to buy it now. Further thought brought on the realization that we certainly would want the same floor in the bedroom and probably in the entire bedroom wing. Fortunately, they had exactly enough of that pattern to do the job, 50 cartons or 765 square feet. I retrieved my little trailer and loaded it up with about 1500 pounds of flooring and another 300 in the back of the Explorer. After a long, slow trip home, I had to unload it all into the house where most of it is still temporarily stacked around the living room walls, more or less out of the way. The master bedroom and closet will use about 20 of those cartons in the near future but the rest of the wing will not be ready soon so another storage solution will likely be necessary.

I finally removed the remaining clutter from the closet "construction zone" and built the dividing wall. With the sheetrock taped and primed, it was time to paint the walls before installing the flooring and trim. I found an almost full gallon of wall paint in a light gray that looked satisfactory. The paint was from Montgomery Ward which closed probably forty years ago but it was still good. It was probably left over from the first time we painted the interior many years ago. With the walls painted, we started laying the flooring. This was my first attempt with laminate flooring and it did not seem as easy as the YouTube videos might lead one to expect. After a few choice words and a couple of rows were down, it did tend to behave a little better and two hours or so later it was done. This is how it looks. It has a little texture and saw marks, like it was hand hewn. I would estimate it looks like hickory, probably. I am pleased. Im not sure whether the slight haze if the photo is dust or just the way the light is hitting it.

West Wall My original plan was to change all the painted wood trim in the bedroom wing to a natural stain finish like the living room and kitchen but that was 20 years ago when I was, of course, 20 years younger and still had an income. A more practical plan, considering those life changes, seemed to be paint instead but in a consistent color throughout the wing and contrasting with the wall color or colors. The den, being all new wood, will stay true to the original plan and be stained, natural. We settled on an antique white (Old English White or OEW as it is known in the automobile hobby). I pre-painted the trim before installing. The biggest problem when installing the trim was my air finish nailer. I had to dismantle and overhaul it twice before it would work reliably. The photo shows it in finished form along with a new closet organizer installed and ready to be loaded with stuff.

Well, the gallon was just enough to cover one coat and, of course, I did manage to leave a few "light" spots. Actually, it was about that time that I realized that I had not finished the wall treatment around the window. You can see how it looked in one of the photos above with the sheetrock not finished. That left no choice but to at least touch up the wall around the window and one more reason that I needed more paint. After searching around a bit, we found a color swatch that looked really close and had a sample jar of it mixed. I painted a sheetrock scrap with it and held it up against the wall and it just disappeared. I got a gallon of it and repainted the walls. Now there are no more light spots.

Louvered doors Next was those louvered doors mentioned above. They came from my parents' house many years ago and I had used them before. The original factory paint didn't fit our plan so I repainted them. Unfortunately, it looks like I was in a hurry and tried to change color in one coat of latex paint which was a mistake. The paint on all the louvers sagged just enough to leave slight almost drips along the bottom edge of each. It took several hours and a lot of sand paper to remove that much latex. Also, the doors turned out to be not quite square and, being former bi-fold, their edges were tapered to fit easily but the tapers were in the wrong direction. All that had to be fixed. Here they are though, painted and installed. The efforts was worth it. I should mention that the case around the doors seems to be "unobtanium" (another car hobby term). Modern case is similar but a little wider and a slightly flatter profile. This was very carefully salvaged from the inside of the original closet doors. Remember that whole wall will be coming down eventually.

Clothes Removed With the wire organizer Judy had, we partially moved in the new closet. I moved all three chests from the bedroom temporarily to make room in the bedroom for my exercise bicycle so I could move it from the den to make room to finish in there. She moved most of my excess clothes from her sewing room (see above) and yes, I still need to thin out at least those that I no longer fit. Also, you can see the large lowboy still has some of the shelf stuff stacked on it (also see above).

That's where I am currently. The next thing is to make and install doors on that tall built-in cabinet and some more shelves and drawers to make it a real closet. Looking at the clutter on the shelf above the north wall, I am also considering some sliding doors to cover it. Much of what is there now will eventually move to the shed or den but it will probably always be cluttered. But, I have to stop here for a while and get back to Finishing the Den to get it done.