It’s More Than a Closet. It’s a Sanctuary.

What do you do when you’re somehow amazingly able to find an affordable house with three bedrooms and you really only need two? Well, duh! You turn that superfluous room into a dream closet, of course! A dressing room. How many people actually get to have their own dressing room? Celebrities. Rich people. And me!

I’m very proud of this room because everything you see in here was done by me and no one else. I painted and papered the walls, hung the shelving, built the drawers, hardwired the chandelier, put up the crown molding, installed the trim, sewed the curtains… everything! It didn’t happen overnight. I took my time – especially with the projects I was unfamiliar with. I had never built drawers before or installed crown molding, but my patience was rewarded. At the risk of sounding conceited, this room is freaking awesome. Sometimes I come in here just to get away from the rest of my crappy house. So, let’s start at the beginning. This is how the room looked before I started.

It’s a pretty small room – only about 9ft square. Really small for a bedroom, but it’s the perfect size for a dressing room. The first thing I did was pick out a wallpaper. I didn’t know what colors I was going to use, but I knew I wanted a damask pattern. I shopped around online and found some beautiful papers, but they cost so much I would have had to sell my crappy house just to afford them (I’m sure you see the flaw there), so I went to Lowe’s and looked through their books and found this:

The wallpaper is a berry color. For paint, I went with its complementary color, which is a yellowish green. I wanted the room to be dramatic. This is a room that will mostly be seen just by me (and the bazillions of you!), so I felt free to go a little crazy. I chose Newt, by Benjamin Moore. You can see I also considered purple, but I wasn’t feeling it.

I bought this bench at TJ Maxx after I had already installed the wallpaper. The background color in the fabric matches it perfectly. Score!

The next step was to install the closet shelves. I had a closet system in my old apartment and I took it with me when I moved, so that was a nice head start here.

You’ll notice I had hung the chandelier at this point. I made that chandelier. You can read all about it here. Now I just needed to fill the rest of the room.

At the time I was working on this, I was very lucky to work in a place that had its own wood shop and a computerized router called a CNC machine. I designed the rest of the closet, measured the parts I already had, and made a program for the CNC to cut the new pieces to match. It worked out perfectly and I only had to pay for the cost of the materials.

I built drawer boxes and ordered the faces and slides from a local company. The handles are from Home Depot. I’m not gonna lie. This part was difficult. In order to get the drawers to line up perfectly, there’s a lot involved. Measurements need to be spot on so the drawer faces overlap the top and bottom shelves and they’re properly spaced.

The slides and boxes are installed first, then the drawer faces have to be attached while the drawer boxes are in place using clamps and spacers. I had pre-drilled the handle holes in the faces, so I just needed to drill through those same holes into the boxes to attach the handles. You’re probably impressed right now. And, honestly, you should be. I kicked ass on these drawers!

It was around this time that I decided to paint the ceiling in here a very soft blue. I can’t explain why. I just felt it needed to be blue. Sometimes I feel things. I chose Ice Blue, by Benjamin Moore. I also installed the door trim. I went a bit nail gun happy. I won’t do that again. Every freaking hole you make is a hole you have to freaking fill. You can also see my seams aren’t the best, but I fixed that with some patience and a bit of wood filler. I put off installing the crown molding for a while because I had never done it before and I didn’t want to mess it up. Then, one night, at about 7pm, I decided to just go for it. This room has some odd angles by the door, so that made it even more challenging, but I think it came out great. By 4am, I was feeling pretty damn good about myself.

Click on any image to expand the gallery.

Finishing touches included painting the doors, crown and trim black, shortening the curtains and adding weighted trim to keep them in place (that window is one of Egor’s favorite spots), and adding a zebra rug. Here’s how it all turned out.

So, there you have it. My dressing room. Don’t be jealous. You are more than welcome to live vicariously through me. In fact, you should subscribe below so you remember to come back often! If you liked this post, please share it with a friend.

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28 Responses to It’s More Than a Closet. It’s a Sanctuary.

  1. I love your dressing room! So elegant and so looks like one a celeb would have

  2. Peek a boo Egor! Love this room! So does Gia, she thinks you are cool!

  3. Bill says:

    Sure that’s not 90ft square?

    • My Crappy House says:

      That would be one BIG ASS ROOM! 9ft square means 9ft x 9ft. You’re thinking 9 square feet, which is only 3ft square – really teeny tiny. This room is 81 sq ft.

  4. Marilyn says:

    This is such a magnificent room! I can’t believe you did this with no outside carpenters! Do you realize the money you have saved!! You are one strong young lady!!

  5. Missy says:

    My favorite room so far…LOVE the Egor picture.

    • My Crappy House says:

      Thank you! This is one of my favorite pics of Egor, even though it makes him look a little girly…

  6. Denise in Sunny Las Vegas says:

    Great job! Gutsy color choice. It looks amazing.

  7. Lisa says:

    I want to move it to your closet. I’ll sleep on the bench, no worries.

  8. Lisa says:

    Move IN to your closet. IN. Argh.

  9. Tania says:

    Wow! You are so awesome, I have two left thumbs and I’m not very handy so haven’t attempted anything close to this. It came out beautifully and it’s the perfect size for a walk-in dressing room.

  10. Ferris says:

    I love this. This gives me great ideas for my closet. I’m in the process of designing it. I don’t make drawers or hang shelves or any of that kind of thing. Impressed that you do, though.

    • My Crappy House says:

      Thank you! Yeah, building drawers is not easy, but you might consider adding a piece of furniture into your design and building around it. This way you get the drawers without the hassle of making them from scratch. Good luck!

  11. Beth pitcoff says:

    I remember back in Elementary or Jr. High, I envied how incredibly artistic you were… You are very talented. This is just beautiful…and you did it all by yourself.

  12. Scribbler says:

    I found you through VEB, one of my favorites. You did the most fabulous job on this dressing room — a girl after my own heart. I am going to subscribe to your your blog. Come see me sometime!

    • My Crappy House says:

      Hi Scribbler! I’m not sure what (or who?) VEB is, but I’m glad you found me! I took a quick look at your blog. Your front entry decorations look great. I will be back later when I have more time to peruse

    • My Crappy House says:

      lol I just decoded VEB… In case anyone is reading these comments, that’s A very funny woman who blogs about restoring her old Victorian house…

  13. Dee says:

    I like your blog but it takes forever to load… no idea why, the background maybe? the pics don’t want to load…. makes me sad I have to wait so long for every post I want to read. beautiful job though, I have a spare room I plan on turning into my dressing room so this is an awesome inspiration!! (coming over from AT)

    • My Crappy House says:

      Hi! Yes, unfortunately (or fortunately for me), the post on Apartment Therapy has brought HUGE amounts of traffic to my little site and it’s buckling under the weight. I would love for you to read my blog – I bet if you come back late tonight, or wait a few days, it will be normal again. It usually loads fast. Thanks for visiting!

  14. Stephanie says:

    I’m so glad to have found your blog. I needed some “relative” inspiration. I’m a single lady who just bought a crappy, work in progress home too that’s about the same age as yours…AND I am ballin on a budget. Pics of luxurious (or normal for some), “I paid $20K to have my bathroom remodeled” homes doesn’t always inspire me. Everyone thought I was crazy and still look at me sideways (for buying THIS house), but I wanted the creative challange and saw its “potential”. So thank you for letting me know that I’m not alone (we’re kindred spirits, I think). Also, thanks in advance because I plan to steal shamelessly from your creative repertoire. #alreadysubscribed!!!

    • My Crappy House says:

      I love hearing from kindred spirits! You’re not alone! Not everyone “gets” it. Some people just think I’m crazy. Others think women shouldn’t buy crappy houses by themselves. I didn’t realize there were still so many chauvinists around. Some of them relatives. (Lucky me!) But whatever. The beauty of buying a crappy house is, while it may take a lot longer to finish, it will be exactly what we want it to be when it is. Thanks for subscribing!