Dumpster Diaries: Turning the upstairs kitchen into a closet room/sewing room

My house is 103 years old. Originally, it was built by a German wagon maker as a single family dwelling. In 1929, with the Great Depression looming, the owners turned it into 2 flats. It spent almost 80 years as apartments.

Instead of having a closet off the master bedroom upstairs, I have an extra kitchen that I don’t need.

My oldest son, S, asked if he could move back home a couple of weeks ago. He’d been living in Chicago for many years (he left home 6 years ago). I was suddenly faced with the dilemma of having a boomerang child who needed his own private space (he works from home) IMMEDIATELY. My red room/office is filling in for his work area now, but that isn’t private enough for his needs.

Luckily, the house has 7 bedrooms (actual and potential). I was planning to use the former servant’s room off the kitchen for a guest room/play room for Maisie, but it would better suit S right now. I’d been using that back room as a hoarder’s paradise clothing room for us.

The back room has it’s pros and cons. It features a built in cedar closet with loads of storage and drawer space, probably circa 1930s-40s. However, the back wall and ceiling have suffered water damage from a previous flood in the upstairs kitchen/bathroom. We will need to drywall over the damaged plaster with thin sheetrock and paint the entire thing. I did the same thing in Maisie’s room upstairs and it turned out great.

In order to turn the small upstairs kitchen QUICKLY into a walk-in closet, I will need to remove all the furniture that’s being stored in there currently AND get rid of the stove/fridge. I don’t plan on any major painting of this room, just clothing storage. After it’s emptied and cleaned, I will be purchasing Rubbermaid Configurations Closet systems in Titanium. Amazon is having a GREAT sale on them right now.

Offhand, I'd say I need at least 2 of these

Offhand, I’d say I need at least 2 of these

We will probably also buy one of these 10 tier shoe organizers.

I am hoping I can pare down to under 50 pairs of shoes. I haven't had less than a 100 pairs of shoes in decades. Wish me luck.

I am hoping I can pare down to under 50 pairs of shoes. I haven’t had less than a 100 pairs of shoes in decades. Wish me luck.

I will add a large metal desk ‘island’ in the middle- if it fits- for my sewing machine(s) and sewing notions. R’s parents are giving him the desk and it’s the right size to store my machines and things underneath. This island thing also takes a page from my aunt, who has a fancy island in her clothing room. She uses it for folding, etc (her washer and dryer are also in her room… I want to do this eventually, too).

I don’t plan on PRETTY for that giant glorified closet, just organized and serviceable- we still have that back room downstairs to redo. Besides, not many people will actually need to go into that closet once my clothes are in there. Eventually, when we have the time and funds, we’ll do something fancier… until then, I just want to get this done.

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