Bonus Room Closets with Window Bench

We had a customer email us a picture of a bonus room with slanted ceilings where two closets and a window bench had been added to the room.  The customer wanted to know if we could reproduce this setup in their bonus room.

We started by opening up the existing walls on both sides of the room and adding bracing to attach the stud walls to and then replacing the insulation.

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The walls were built for the two closets.  There were electrical outlets in the areas where the new closets were so we moved the wiring for the outlets to the walls outside of the new closets.  Because of the sloping ceilings, the area available for the two doors of the closets was limited.  The customer wanted the doors to be as large as possible to make getting items in and out of the closets as easy as possible.  It was decided that we would go with 24″ closet doors and we would cut them down to fit into the space.  To keep as much height as possible to the doors, we decided that taking an angle off one side of each of the doors would allow us to keep about an inch height on each door.  The doors were cut down about 2.5 inches.

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Before beginning the drywall process, we added additional bracing on the window side of the walls to support the window bench that would be built in.  Drywall was then hung, verifying the doors would still fit and then the drywall mudding began.

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In between the different coats of drywall finishing and sanding, we began working on building the bench back in the workshop.

We began with cutting the sides, back and top out of 3/4″ maple plywood.  The front kick was cut from plywood and fitted.  Then the bottom was cut and fitted.  The cabinet was put together with just pocket screws, instead of glue and screws) so that it could be disassembled for installation.

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The customer wanted to have one large drawer that could be pulled out to store blankets in the cabinet, however, she wanted it to look like it was two drawers (to match the inspiration picture).  We made the drawer from 1/2″ plywood and used dovetails to join the pieces together.  The drawer frame and fronts were made of maple.

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We used clear shellac to protect the entire cabinet and then primed the parts of the bench that would be visible on the outside. Eighteen inch Blum soft close drawer slides were used to provide a smooth glide for the drawer.

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When we took the bench over to install, we discovered there was about an 1/8″ difference between the front and back of the space between the closets, due to the corner bead used for the drywall, so we could not get the bench to slide into place.  We brought the bench back to the shop and decided the easiest way to reduce the size of the cabinet was too side the two side pieces down.  We also had to cut a little off of the drawer frame.and the top seat. We were truly grateful we had made the decision earlier to not glue the bench together.

Now all we have to do is wait for the rain to stop so that we can take the bench back over to install, and hope we have cut the size down enough for it to slide in.  Our goal is to try to avoid using liquid trim (caulk) as much as possible.

In addition to installing the bench, we still have the closet doors to hang and the shelving to cut to size and install.

The challenge for the shelving and closet rods is that each closet has an angled wall so we needed to build up each wall.  We worked with the customer to try to maximize the space in each closet.  For the closet on the right side, it was decided to hang the rod a little lower and have two shelves the full length of the closet.  On the left, we raised the rod to allow for longer garments with a shelf above the rod.  Then we built shelves to go the width of the closet.

To get a flat edge on the angled wall, we made 45 degree blocks out of plywood.  The closet on the left needed to be wide enough to handle the closet rod.  We then added a cleat to hold the shelf.  Cleats were added to all three sides to hold up the shelves.

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The hardware was added to the closets and the bench. The electrical outlets that were rerouted from the inside of the closets to the outside, were hooked up.

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The completed closets and bench.

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