Part 2 of our Master Bedroom Before and After in our 1890s home
In Part 1 of this post, we tore up the old brown carpet and replaced it with engineered hardwood, whitewashed the wooden ceiling and painted the walls. In part 2, we covered up the large closet opening, replaced and painted the window and baseboard trim, installed blinds, and dealt with the spotlights, thermostat and plugs.
Figure out what to do with the 96” wide closet opening
Old houses weren’t typically built with closets. Our four bedroom century home had three homemade – somewhat disfunctional closets. One bedroom had no closet, two bedrooms had oddly built afterthought small closets. This master bedroom had a large closet with a long closet rail and a 96 inch opening. It had curtains as a door – which is a pretty creative solution – but at this time in my life, I thought – I deserve to hang up all my clothes and have a proper door!!
We couldn’t put in double opening closet doors, as they would open out to far into the room, and we didn’t want sliding mirrored doors or bi-fold doors, but we thought barn doors might work. We Googled endlessly and eventually found a company that distributes the barn door hardware and custom makes the barn doors. Vibahardware.com We ordered two 48″ doors, and were impressed by the company’s delivery time and customer service. The warehouse was located in Mississauga Ontario, so we took a roadtrip and picked the doors and hardware up ourselves. We felt like pros!
Initially I thought – why don’t we make the doors ourselves from plywood and trim them up to look like barn doors – and just buy the hardware? (I always try to think of the DIY, crafty way first) – but I learned that the doors would likely warp if they weren’t properly built……. That would be bad! Also, the custom-made doors look great – and the holes for the hardware were all pre-drilled at all the right places. I just know that would have been a problem. Custom-made 48″ doors were the right choice for us.
We wanted to stain the doors ourselves, and were given good advice – make sure you have enough stain to do the whole door at the same time. Two 48 inch doors – both sides – is a lot of stain and varathane. You don’t want to stop halfway through to buy more supplies and then have an overlap line where you finish and re-start later.
We used Varathane Gel Woodstain in Dark Walnut. We brushed on with a paint brush – doing a section at a time – and then wiped off with some of our vast collection of unmatched socks. We used a full 946ml can and finished with a Satin (not gloss) Varathane Water Based Clear finish – this dries faster than oil based and smell less.
The dining room table was filled with the two doors in progress for a few days – we needed to apply stain – let it dry – apply varathane – let it dry – 2 coats! – and do the other side, for 2 doors. There were no dinner parties during that week.
When it was time to install the barn doors, we watched many Youtube videos to get ready, studied the directions and called and emailed VibaHardware several times. They answered every question that we had in detail we just asked a lot of questions.
We had trouble with things like levelling the main rail – because our house is not level, just managing the size of the two doors, and figuring out how to get the soft closes mechanism to work. At first we didn’t do things correctly and the doors would roll open and shut on their own – which is kind of entertaining, but tiresome after a bit. We got lots of good advice from Viba – and after some minor drama – the doors are in and beautiful.
After all that hard work, I hung up every piece of clothing that I owned in the “new” closet. Late that night, we heard the sound of “pop, pop, pop – CRASH”. The overloaded closet bar crashed down to the floor. There was some discussion of my decision-making in this disaster, but the next day, my husband headed off to Home Depot and bought a new stronger closet rod and reinforcements. It’s all fixed now!! He chose not to ask me to purge any clothes – we’ve been married happily for 30 years or so.
The Overhead Spotlights
Initially, we took down the brown 1970s spotlights while the ceiling was painted and the closet doors were installed. We couldn’t move the lights without dealing with three four inch square holes in the ceiling, and so decided to stick with the same spotlights. I took the lights out to the yard, and spray-painted them white, and we put them back up again!
Replace the window and floor trim.
We removed the small cedar trim around the windows and doors, and replaced it with trim that is similar to the rest of the house. We also painted the trim inside the window frame white (many coats). The upstairs rooms had smaller 5″ baseboards (downstairs were much larger), so we didn’t worry about this too much, and bought some baseboards that were easy to cut with our miter saw (we were getting tired).
Install Cellular Blinds
To be consistent with the other windows in the house, we installed cordless cellular blinds on the windows.
Replace outlets, light switch, thermostat
To finish this room, we replaced the electric outlets and light switches ourselves – they were all up to code, just yellowed badly. We had an electrician come in to look at a mysterious thermostat in this room. He discovered it had NO purpose, and removed it!
Our room is now fresh and up to date – and no longer the junk room. The engineered flooring, whitewashed ceiling and barn doors had the greatest effect on the room – and were all DIY, with just a little drama, sore backs, long hours and a happy ending.
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