Office Closet Remodel

If you happened to follow the rävenfoto blog when it existed, you may recall a post about remodeling one of the bedrooms in my house into an office. It was a fairly big job; we repainted the walls from a weird green to a dark gray, repainted the ceiling and trim from off-white to bright white, pulled up the carpet and refinished the red oak flooring underneath, added several outlets and four network jacks, and replaced the lighting fixture with track lighting that runs all the way around the room.

When all of the above was completed, the remodel was probably 90% complete, and I began using the room as my office... at which point nearly all progress on the remodel ceased. A few things got done afterward - we replaced the folding wooden shutter doors on the odd over-the-stairs closet with an aesthetically clean white piece of wood; I finally installed shades on the windows - but one task loitered in the corner, looming over me, leering at me. It was a gaping hole (two, actually) in the otherwise-quite-nice-looking room. It was: THE CLOSET.

Unlike the odd over-the-stairs closet or the former walk-in closet doorway that is now a bookshelf, this is just an ordinary bedroom closet. 8 feet wide, a few feet deep, with a rack to hang clothes on and some shelves on either end, and a nice big hole in the drywall 19" high and 26" wide... you know, just a normal closet. (As near as we can tell, there was previously a hole on the other side of the wall as well, and maybe a previous owner had a TV situated in the wall so as to view it from the living room. If there is one thing our house does not lack, it is features.)

In the process of refinishing the oak floor, I removed the folding doors which had previously spanned the now-gaping maw of the formidable closet. I decided that an open-front closet would make the room feel a bit bigger, and that having the interior painted bright white would bring a little more light into a room with dark gray walls. Sounds pretty great, right? *pats self on back* The only problem is that I then proceeded to use the closet, in its dreadful state, to hold stuff.

Gentle reader, I will let you in on something. Stuff does not like to move. In fact, Newton's first law of motion confirms to us that once you put stuff somewhere, said stuff will stay right there unless somebody¹ does something about it. So you see, the stuff was not taunting me, nor tormenting, nor purposefully blocking my progress on the closet project. It was instead dutifully following the laws of the universe, just waiting for some action on my part to overcome my default state of inaction, to move that stuff out of the way and to keep the project rolling.

I found it much easier to just blame the stuff.

I did make some baby steps² - by last year sometime, I managed to get some nice 3/4" oak plywood to use for long shelves in the closet (I even cut it to size and stained it), and had removed the ugly/boring wire rack from the closet. Other than that, though, not much changed. Eventually, however, I did make a little progress by getting that stuff out of the closet. As a result, some of that stuff ended up in the main area of my office, where it was (is) in the way all the time. I knocked out the old shelves, and in order to get that stuff back in the closet where it would be out of my way and where I could access it easily, I have to get some shelves back in place.

I ran four more network cables, for reasons.³ I finally got that stupid hole patched up. I finally have some new baseboard to go across the back of the closet. I finally got some cleats attached to the wall to help support the new shelves. It finally feels like this thing might get finished soon, after all.

A day or two ago, I sat in the closet doing some work but lamenting how long it was all taking - it seemed like as I got closer to the end there were more and more things to do to get it done right. It seemed like I wasn't making progress but there I was, sitting in the closet, doing work. My perspective at that moment was one of defeat, of frustration at the "one more thing" that needed to be done. Instead, I should have realized that showing up to do the work is a win in itself. It's like I forgot for a moment that I have this blog to help me do things by way of sharing them with the internet.

So here I am, and here it is - progress:

The white cleats previously held shelves that went the short way across the closet. All that's really left is to put a bit more trim at the baseboard, paint everything (except the floor - note the [plastic] dropcloth!), and then install the shelves (which still need to be trimmed down by about a half inch, because apparently I can't measure). I guess at that point I'll still need to install the faceplate for the network jacks and swap out the receptacle for a newer style one to match the rest of the office. Okay, so that list got a little longer than I expected, but still - progress! Real progress too, not the kind where you think you're getting stuff done but really you're just staying busy for the sake of busyness.

ANYWAY, thanks as always for joining me as I attempt to do stuff and then share it with the internet. I really appreciate your company.

 - Peter

¹ I'm using the term "somebody" fairly liberally here, perhaps more accurately rendered "some body" because really all it takes is an unbalanced force to move the stuff, which could come in the form of a celestial body straying too close to Earth and drawing the stuff in by its gravity (though at that point we've got bigger fish to fry), or by a body of water forming in my office and causing the stuff to float away (though again, bigger fish), or by shifting tectonic plates causing an earthquake that dislodges the stuff from its happy nook (at which point the closet would remodel itself as well, though perhaps not in the fashion desired). The point is, the stuff is unlikely to move unless a person moves it, and I'm the only one who's likely to do that, especially now that Caitlin is pregnant and is not supposed to move stuff. Doctor's orders, you know.

² The term "Baby Steps" is kind of a misnomer unto itself - I mean, what baby can actually take steps? I guess you could classify crawling as step-taking, though that's really a stretch. By the time a baby takes said steps, it is well into the territory of "toddling" at which point the child is by definition a toddler. Get with it, idiom!

I did just consider the fact that the "baby" in "baby steps" could itself be a metaphor, referring to the diminutive size of the proverbial steps. On behalf of grumpy linguists everywhere I would like to formally apologize to both the idiom and its mother.

³ Reasons! First of all I just enjoy running network cable to places where it may be needed. In this case I ran four of them because I planned to use two for my wireless access point/router (one coming in from the modem and one heading back down to my 16-port switch), and one for my networked printer. "But wait!" cries the astute reader, "Two plus one equals three! This is a different number from four!" If the astute reader is you, you are correct. It just seemed better to put in four because it's a lot easier to find a four-port keystone plate, and because I've got a 24-port patch panel so why not? It was after wiring up these four ports that I sheepishly realized that my networked printer contains only a wireless adapter, having no ethernet port. Ah, well... reasons. I'm sure I'll find a use for the extra ports sometime.