How We Upgraded A Utility Closet By Including Tons Of Useful Storage
At the moment we’re speaking in regards to the inventory market! Simply kidding. Precisely because the title suggests, we’re going to indicate you ways we earned some actually helpful additional storage in our new kitchen by upgrading a previously VERY PACKED utility closet. It used to principally simply have a water heater and an HVAC system in it with out a lot room for anything, and now there’s, say it with me… a lot room for actions. Okay, not for like cartwheels, however considerably extra room to retailer stuff than earlier than. Like perhaps 500% extra. Actually.
Should you watched our drawer-by-drawer kitchen organization video, you already acquired a peek at what we’ve got occurring in there, however immediately we’re sharing all of the angles, and explaining how we have been capable of take this closet from “largely water heater” to “a lot all the things else.”
The Utility Closet Earlier than
We don’t have a variety of “earlier than” photographs of this closet as a result of it was completely nothing to put in writing house about. In a smaller home like ours, you want a spot for the ugly stuff just like the HVAC system and the water heater and this closet was it. The picture beneath was taken proper after we moved in. The HVAC system is to the correct of that doorframe (the black tubes result in it) and though this closet is fairly deep (it goes all the way in which below the steps), the water heater fully blocked greater than half of the closet that continues to the left of the doorframe.
That is an instance of a particularly random pile of stuff we saved in there on that random patch of flooring area between the water heater and the HVAC system in our first few days of dwelling right here. I believe it was largely bins of Christmas stuff and miscellaneous gadgets we hadn’t discovered a spot for but. Don’t thoughts the (not actual) chihuahua skeleton. Our Halloween stuff now lives in a cloth bin in the laundry closet with the easter eggs and our pumpkin carving instruments. And all of our Christmas stuff is in certainly one of the wardrobes in our bedroom. Our home’s group had nowhere to go however up from the day we took this picture.
I already talked about essentially the most irritating factor about this set-up, which is that the water heater was blocking A LOT of potential cupboard space below the steps, rendering it completely inaccessible and unusable. And particularly in a smaller home, it’s painful to know that there’s a giant empty cavity of completely purposeful cupboard space THAT YOU CAN’T GET TO.
In order that leads us to step one in our mini makeover…
Step 1: Replace (& Relocate) The Water Heater
In a transfer that may solely be referred to as the MVP of this undertaking, we had that cumbersome electrical water heater changed with a extra energy-efficient tankless mannequin. We used tankless water heaters in our pink beach house and our duplex (see beneath), so we knew it might take up quite a bit much less area and provides us higher entry to the again of the closet if the change might be made.
And – to our nice shock! – we realized that tankless water heaters are sometimes put in on the OUTSIDE of properties round right here (name us Florida novices). Thar she blows, mounted to the siding proper outdoors of that closet on the again of our home the place we put all of the ugly stuff as a result of no one can actually see it (it’s additionally the place our pool tools, gasoline meter, and generator stay – all hidden behind a tall gate).
So not solely had we earned a way more environment friendly water heater, we out of the blue gained entry to TONS of additional cupboard space that runs all the way in which below the steps. Which, while you downsize, is principally your love language.
We did our greatest to reap the benefits of the brand new area, nevertheless it was sort of a slapdash method for some time as a result of we weren’t fairly certain what would work greatest. We hung some wire shelves to wrangle instruments and miscellaneous provides & threw some bigger gadgets we wished to retailer in that newly accessible space below the steps, nevertheless it was clearly a chaotic vibe (and never one of the best ways to retailer that stuff, we fairly rapidly realized), therefore having zero photographs of it. That is truly an outdated video screenshot from a fast spin round the home that Sherry does for insurance coverage functions each time we depart on a visit as a result of Shavonda says so. Observe: the idea is if you happen to’ve lately recorded each nook & cranny of your own home, you might have that to reference if one thing occurs when you’re gone, and you’ll present your insurance coverage service to verify they reimburse you for all of the gadgets you misplaced (which you gained’t neglect, as a result of you might have all of it on tape).
We lived with issues like that for some time, figuring out it wasn’t working flawlessly, but in addition making an attempt to not rush into another concept that additionally wouldn’t work effectively, and over time because the rest of the kitchen renovation began to return collectively, we had extra readability on how we wished to make use of this bonus area. And let’s simply say it didn’t contain shallow wire shelving.
However earlier than we may herald some better-looking storage, we had just a few issues in our method. Fairly actually.
Step 2: Reroute The Pipes & Wires
The closet nonetheless had varied wires, tubes, and pipes that prevented us from placing issues the place we wished them. So we paid round $280 to get two execs to return out and transfer them for us. First our favourite HVAC guys rerouted the thick black tubing and white pipe for the HVAC system as far to the correct facet as doable (so that they not arc out so broadly into the closet). Observe: by no means compromise your system by altering issues with a handyman or DIY if you happen to’re unsure how that system works. We at all times use a very good HVAC man after we’re making HVAC adjustments as a result of a snug home temp is vital 😉
Later that very same day we had our favourite plumber out to re-route the water strains that run out to our tankless water heater, so these water strains are not obstructing the again wall in any respect. We hid them behind the doorway so you’ll be able to’t even see it from the kitchen anymore! See the blue and purple water strains that run above the baseboards within the picture above? Now they sneakily snake behind the doorway (they’re these clear tubes you see on this picture beneath):
So with all the things out of the way in which, we have been lastly capable of get to the enjoyable half…
Step 3: Customise A Dice Storage Shelf
Maintain onto your butts, as a result of that is the place it begins to get much more thrilling.
We upgraded from that shallow wire wall storage to a primary cube shelf organizer – and we made it look slightly less-than-basic by including 5″ brass furniture legs and topping it with a chunk of butcher block counter that we minimize to dimension and sealed with 2 coats of cutting board oil (it at all times dries slightly lighter as soon as it’s soaked in).
Since you’ll be able to see 4 of the 8 cubes when the closet door is open, we used matching taupe fabric bins to make the issues look tidier than they are surely. These bins maintain SO MUCH STUFF. Completely thrilling.
We use certainly one of them to retailer pet food & treats, one other one has our steamer & vacuum attachments, one has random issues like spray paint & caulk & our a caulk gun. Let’s simply say it’s about 5X extra pleasurable than making an attempt to steadiness that stuff in shallow wire cabinets (which by no means may maintain our pet food anyway).
We left the opposite 4 cubes bin-less and open, and people additionally maintain a smorgasbord of stuff like additional bathroom paper, overflow drinks, emergency provides, and even our Berkey water filter. A couple of individuals have requested what occurred to it because it’s not out on our counter anymore, and the reply is that through the closing stage of our kitchen reno, we lastly ran a waterline to our fridge (which created filtered always-cold water on demand – plus ICE!). After over two years with out one, having a chilly water & ice dispenser has been superior. The fridge additionally dispenses scorching water for tea so it has principally modified our lives. If this have been Cribs on MTV I might welcome you in and speak about my fridge for ten minutes.
Anyway, again to the Berkey. We had it assembled on the counter within the utility closet for some time, however all of us tended to simply use the fridge after we wished a drink. However we love our Berkey so we’re holding it in case we ever want a very wonderful water filter (it may possibly actually make pond water potable!), like a hurricane or different emergency. We’ve got one dice devoted to hurricane provides the place it sits, which additionally holds a crank radio, a solar-powered charger, some flashlights, and so forth.
There’s further area past the storage shelf for some random greater stuff to sit down on the ground. And sure, that’s a dehumidifier that you just see working as a result of, effectively, Florida. Because it sits between the consumption vent and our HVAC unit, it truly helps dehumidify the entire home.
And as a reminder, this was once the view from this angle. So yeah… massive distinction.
Step 4: Add A Floating Shelf
Truthfully, the dice organizer turned out to be more-than-enough storage for us in the mean time, however we had some additional butcher block after we made the counter and we thought it might be good so as to add a shelf for much more vertical storage.
We created a easy shelf with the assistance of those metal shelf brackets that we spray-painted Rust-Oleum’s Sunlit Brass to match the ft that we added to the dice storage shelf beneath. We truly used the identical paint on the steel legs on the dice shelf after realizing they have been extra of an orange brass, and now all the things matches.
The shelf and the countertop do retailer some purposeful issues, like mugs and further cups, a pitcher Sherry makes use of to water her 438 crops, and a handheld vacuum that’s straightforward for the children to make use of. However Sherry threw some ornamental issues in there too as a result of, effectively, we now have room for that. This closet actually went from feeling like a wasted underutilized area to giving off an almost-pantry or bonus-bar vibe that we recognize a lot.
So yeah, framed illustrations of your canine and fairly vases can stay in a closet too. Reside your greatest life.
Step 5: Cowl The Ugly
We nonetheless had that extraordinarily utilitarian-looking HVAC unit proper subsequent to the world we had simply spruced up… however I had an concept.
We constructed a easy cowl panel from a sheet of skinny plywood that we trimmed across the edges with 1 x 2″ boards and painted the wall colour (SW Pure White).
The entire thing hangs from some eye hooks that we screwed right into a primary wood closet rod that we added close to the ceiling.
This implies we will simply take away the panel every time the HVAC unit must be serviced.
And, for the reason that consumption is on the underside of the unit, it doesn’t block an inch of airflow, and we will simply change the filter with out having to take it down.
The general impact of including that panel is surprisingly useful. It feels MUCH much less like a utility closet in right here, however nonetheless has all of the perform.
Step 6: Take Benefit of Hidden Partitions
Final however not least, we utilized the within wall (reverse the dice shelf, to the left of the doorway) to wrangle some final remaining gadgets: a dustpan, some cleansing wands, a fly swatter… you realize, the actually horny stuff.
We additionally hung this 24″ under-cabinet light vertically alongside the door molding to present us some additional mild in there. It simply plugs into a traditional outlet (we had that added after we eliminated the water heater since energy had been run to that spot for the water heater) and it presents two brightness settings. Toggle the change a method for 50% brightness, and toggle it the opposite method for 100%. That is simply 50% beneath, so it’s PLENTY vivid.
In order that’s the story of how we took this unassuming utility closet that actually solely had this a lot accessible flooring area…
… and gave it fairly the glow up.
As a P.S. – I do know it seems to be extremely shallow in there, however we will each simply stand totally throughout the closet, stroll all the way in which to the again nook to get the storage gadgets that we’ve got again there, and so forth.
If it helps, right here is Sherry standing inside:
Since that probably didn’t assist as a result of she’s 5’2″, I’ll repeat this image for you, as a result of you’ll be able to see that I’m standing totally inside the closet (see the doorframe in entrance of me) to take away that HVAC panel. Thrilling, proper? I can totally stand in that spot with out hitting my head, and each of us must duck to get to the again of the closet for the reason that ceiling dips down, however that’s par for the course for a closet below the steps.
One final observe about that black upright vacuum, since I do know somebody will ask. We broke our beloved Shark Navigator that you just’ve heard us speak about roughly 42 occasions (it was our fault, not the vacuums’) and it was not offered at that second we broke it, so we caved and acquired a Shark ION P50 – however don’t fall for it. The Shark Navigator is eternally and at all times our favourite cordless vac (so glad it’s again and accessible once more! Sherry needs we had waited). I’ll admit that we not often use a “actual vacuum” now that Eufy has come into our lives, besides primarily for doing the steps (which we generally do with our handheld vacuum as a result of we’re cool like that).
To learn all about our kitchen renovation, this post has you lined (together with the price). And if you happen to’d prefer to see how our total kitchen is organized, we throw open all of the doorways & drawers right here in this post.
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