Sometimes I think back on the days when I was single and lived alone and maintained a spotless organized apartment and I laugh at what my past self would have thought when visiting our house now.   Oh… my… gosh… the dirt, dog hair, and clutter that come with a family and pets in the house. Keeping our house clean and tidy is a constant battle now that I usually feel I’m losing, so I’m always looking for ways to more efficiently use our space and make things more organized and easy to clean.

As I mentioned in our house tour, our master bedroom has a sitting room that was originally a 4th bedroom before previous owners knocked out part of the wall. I toyed with the idea of using it as a full size dressing room, but decided that probably wasn’t best for resale. In the meantime I’ve been using our small-ish walk-in closet for our clothes, and the sitting room closet for our shoes.  I get lots of “you have a whole closet for shoes!” comments from friends who are sweet enough to overlook what a disaster our walk-in is 95% of the time. Part of the problem with our walk-in is that it’s relatively squarish and has too many corners with overlapping wire shelves. Corners as such a pain when designing closets to be fully efficient. Also, our wire shelves didn’t have a separate clothing bar that you could slide clothes on, so putting clean clothes away was always a battle with trying to find an open little square.

We also had lots of open wall space, but not enough shelves for Montana who doesn’t have as many hanging clothes as folded. Usually this meant his “folded” clothes would end up in a haphazard heap on some old closetmaid drawers we brought with us from the condo. I’m ashamed to admit that other than the 5% of the time RIGHT AFTER I organized, our closet looked something like this…



For a long time I’ve struggled with wanting to put built-ins in the closet, but wanting to wait until we refinished or replaced the very worn hardwood floors in the bedroom. Also, I wasn’t positive that  when we eventually remodel the bathroom that I wouldn’t want to tear into some of the closet walls and move things around. So, our mess continued to wreck havoc.

There’s some great closet systems out there but they can get very pricey, very fast. I’m a big fan of the PAX System from IKEA because it can look really beautiful with a little added molding and lighting, but I’ve seen it in people’s homes where it started sagging almost immediately.  For our size closet, with the rough design I wanted, it came out to $1040. That’s a lot of money for something made out of particle board in my opinion. On the plus side, its ready made and I’m sure could be put together in a day or two tops. Also, IKEA has a very convenient planner tool, so as long as you know the measurements of your space its VERY easy to play around and design exactly what you want.


The week after Christmas I got an email from Ikea mentioning that their ALGOT system was going to be on sale 25% off until the end of January.  The ALGOT system is much cheaper than the PAX system even at full price and is very similar to the Container Store’s ELFA line (that is about $2,500 for a walk in closet).  I don’t particularly love the look of it, but I thought that we could do it for pretty cheap and it would go up super fast.  Here’s a sample design. algot-wall-upright-shelves-rod


After browsing through some of their pre-designed sections and I found the prices to be very reasonable I convinced Montana that we should get an ALGOT system to harness our clutter for at least a few years until we decided what to do with the master bath and the floor.  Then we could always take it out and use it in the laundry area or sell it on craigslist.  Designing the ALGOT system is pretty time consuming because a.) there’s no planner and b.) you can’t just take the length of the shelves or drawers and add them up if you’re making an exact plan since the rails fastened onto the wall add a certain length on the inside and a different length on the outside… UGH… Unfortunately, after hours of drawing up different plans to get the maximum efficiency out of the wall space the plan I came up with was almost $400…enter the deadpan from Montana.

Back to the drawing board, literally… I stayed up until 4am New Years Eve drawing multiple versions of plans for built-ins that we could make ourselves and that would use every inch, while still letting us easily access stuff in the corners.

Based on what we currently hang in the closet, I thought we probably needed mostly half-wall height hanging space for shirts/skirts/pants, and only a small section for full size hanging my  dresses. Montana needed more shelves and drawers. To make the closet as symmetrical as practical I decided to put the double closet rail across the entire back wall of the closet. Then Montana and I would each get a 2 foot wide tower with a combination of drawers and shelves which would go in the middle of the side walls. Right inside the door I would have a full size hanging section that mirrored a 1 foot wide tower with shelves on his side.



I used plans from two of my favorite bloggers for the towers and drawers: Ana White and Sandra over at Sawdust Girl.  Ana White great plans for building almost anything with very basic tools, nothing fancy needed.  Most things you see on the pottery barn website, you can find on her blog in a build-it-yourself version. Sandra tends to have slightly more advanced plans, or plans that require a few more tools. She has some literally awe inspiring build projects on her blog that you must check out.

Here are links to the specific plans we used or modified to fit our space:

Another thing that I wanted to change about the closet was the lighting. This is a bad picture, but the only light was just a bulb screwed into the wall above the door. It definitely did not scream sleek or pretty, but it was technically functional.


I thought about putting in track lighting or rope lighting in each tower before I finally chose Utilitech White Swivel Recessed Lights to install in the ceiling around our attic access that could point in different directions. Montana has become quite the master electrician in the last few months and was excited to get to tear apart the ceiling. I chose the swivel type so that we could point each bulb directly at the section of the closet we wanted to illuminate.

Lastly, we decided to add some cedar to our closet. Cedar is popular because it keeps bugs from eating little holes in your favorite sweater, but it also smells nice and fresh and is especially great for masking smelly boy shoes. Home Depot sells a brand of cedar planks called CedarSafe which are meant for lining closet walls but we decided to use the planks instead for the floor.

Cedar Safe Closet Liner Planks

I was a little afraid to try the CedarSafe brand on the floor because it had very mixed reviews with many people saying their boards were warped or cracked, but it was cheap, and I figured if it didn’t work, then in a few years when we refinish the floors we could easily replace them then. My parents used cedar closet lining for all of their closet floors about 20 years ago and they’ve held up fine.

Next up, building!



As I mentioned in my previous post, our niece Tiffany recently moved to Virginia to live with us. I may or may not have been pinning ideas to a Pinterest Board titled “Teen Bedroom” non-stop day and night from the moment I found out because I was so excited to get to decorate a “fun” room. Her only requests were that it include animal print and bright colors.  After looking through dozens of inspiration pictures and taking a trip down the paint aisle at Lowes, she decided on bright pink (Valspar “First Kiss”), green (Valspar “Parakeet Green”), lavender (Valspar “Berries Galore”) and teal for her color scheme.

Paint Samples from Lowes

Montana thought she should have the bedroom with the sun roof (sky light) which luckily we had already painted the same Behr Sateen Gray as we have in the master bedroom. I haven’t shown you that room yet though since we hadn’t done anything else other than paint it.  If you recall, the room was painted with beautiful green sponge paint when we first moved in.

Bedroom Before

Gorgeous, right?

Here’s the finished room now.

IMG_0073 bed dresser curtains bedroom desk curtains bedroom

The last few months we’ve been busy collecting items from craigslist, yard sales and the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and making them shine.  This is going to be a long post so you’ve been warned!

The headboard we scored for a cool $15 at the ReStore and it just needed a coat of paint and a 1.5 yards of Nu-Suede fabric.  We didn’t realize until we had the headboard home that it was sized for a queen and not a full so we had to do a little improv on the legs and attached a 12 inch section of 1 x 12 pine.


Montana and I built the storage platform portion of her bed based on Pottery Barn’s Stratton Bed frame from plans on Ana White’s Blog for roughly $100 worth of lumber. The pottery barn bed is $999 for a full size. Yikes!  If you haven’t checked out Ana’s Blog she has plans for pretty much anything you want to build. Most of it patterned after Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, etc. I wanted to make sure Tiff had plenty of room for storage, mainly so it would be easier for her to keep her room clean, but especially since she’s a huge book hoarder! The chevron storage bins are from Lowes.


The bedding was really the only place we “splurged” mostly because we already had a free queen sized comforter we’d gotten from a friend, so only needed a duvet, not a traditional “bed in a bag” comforter set. Also I really wanted something that was going to be easily washable and hold up.  After looking through a bazillion pins on pinterest Tiff chose the PB Teen “Big Dot Matelasse Duvet” in pool. The sheets are the PB Teen “Dottie Sheet Set” in black and when I’m too tired to get to the laundry… she has the Xhilaration Zebra Sheet Set. Surprisingly enough we looked around online for the black polka dot sheets and couldn’t find them anywhere. I thought polka dots were supposed to be big this year!? What’s with that? The monogrammed sham is also PB Teen and coordinates with the duvet.  The throw pillows are Xhilaration Sequin Decorative Pillow – Zebra and a Threshold pillow from Target.

bedroom pillows

The desk was another ReStore steal we found for $40…and its Drexel Heritage so its super sturdy. (My apologies if you are offended by painting over quality furniture. My mom said she heard the desk crying while it was being painted.  I think it’s just happy to be saved and loved.)  The desk chair is from Walmart.


Desk and bulletin BoardThe dresser was a $25 yard sale find and we reused the handles that came on it.


The nightstand is a $19 craigslist find that was a little banged up but just needed a fresh coat of white to cover up its bruises.  (Yes… there’s literally nothing I won’t paint.)  The shelves and brackets are all from IKEA (Ekby Osten ShelvesEkby Mans Bracket, Ekby Stodis Pink Brackets). I just love the bubble brackets. They’re so fun!  Lamps are both from Target. (Xhilaration Zebra Print Lamp) and the mirror is from Marshalls. (She said it reminded her of the TV show Once Upon a Time.)

I made the curtains with material from The grommets were super easy to use and seem nice and sturdy.


Trying to make the pink sign I TOTALLY FAILED the first time. Oh, it was badddd. Apparently painting words free hand is not a strength of mine. Luckily my older sister is a former school teacher and super crafty and she bailed me out by sending me a link to a blog post from The House that Built Us on Subway Art. All you need to do is:

  1. Paint your canvas and let it dry.
  2. Print your words on a LASER printer and figure out where you want to put them.
  3. Paint modge podge all over your canvas and on your words and rub your words onto the canvas so they are nice and stuck.
  4. Wait and wait while it dries, overnight is best.
  5. Then spritz your canvas and words with water and rub the paper GENTLY with a sponge, towel or your finger.

I underestimated the amount of spritzing and rubbing I’d have to do. Lets just say this took a few hours and I was wishing I would have just made an image in photoshop and had it printed on a canvas. 🙂 It looks pretty cool now though.


All the other printed artwork are things that I found on pinterest and tweaked a little in photoshop to make it match the color scheme of the room. The chore chart was also a little fun photoshop project.

teen bedroom artwork

Finally the doors are painted with Valspar chalkboard paint.


Whew. Time to relax!!!!!!!