The Cloffice: Office in a Closet Nook
I’ve wanted a closet-nook office since I first saw them on Pinterest. (I have an entire board dedicated to offices.) Something about the coziness of it, and the fact that you can draw a curtain or close door and the whole thing disappears really appeals to me. Here are some of my favorite inspiration pieces*:
*Sidenote: It is very difficult for me to look through my Pinterest board of things I’d like to do someday without getting really distracted. Finding these links took me much longer than anticipated…and my to-do list just grew. 🙂
But I never had a reason to make a closet office nook until we lost our front room, which had housed our desk and computer, to Virginia, to make room for the new baby taking over the nursery. Oh woe is me. 🙂 For a while we jammed the desk and computer in our bedroom, and it. looked. terrible. And was completely non-functional. Desperate, we decided to turn a little nook in our closet into the office, better known as The Cloffice.
(For anyone who knew us when we lived in our first apartment together, you may remember the original Cloffice there. We took a hint from ourselves and kept the trend alive.)
Although we were skeptical at first, one thing we really loved about the idea is that there are not one, but two, doors we can close between the office and the rest of the house. For the most part, our house is really open and sound travels a lot, so this was actually pretty appealing. And another bonus: The Hubster needed an office fast, so with him helping and eager for the space to be ready, it was easy to find time to work on this. (A buddy always helps!)
So this closet nook is within our walk-in closet. Bad blogger that I am, I only have this before picture, after we had removed all of our shoes and shelves that had been in there. Imagine a ton of horizontal shelving and lots of shoes:
I did a little research and decided we could use one piece of sturdy plywood—one with 7 layers at least—as the desk surface, supported by 1×4’s screwed to studs on all sides. Here’s a link to a website that lays out some information about plywood pretty nicely. Additionally, I secured a 1×4 to the bottom of the plywood and pre-drilled some pocket holes to screw those to the 1x4s on the wall, too. Plenty of support. To secure the bottom 1×4, I used “cabinet screws”—just self-drilling 1-inch screws.
So we yanked out the supports that were in the closet and put in a fresh coat of paint. It wasn’t really necessary, but I wanted to at least cover up all the yuckiness on the wall, smooth out the holes, etc. I painted it with a brush instead of a roller and can I just say—how did people ever paint houses before rollers? It was brutal! We left the support above the safe; it turned out to be just the right height to store printer paper beneath the desk.
Next up was putting in the support for the desk surface. Here’s pitfall number 1. If you look carefully at the photo above, you can see how the previous holes seemingly line up as if they are in studs. Our stud finder found studs. Our magnetic screw finder found screws in drywall in studs. Seems to me that there are studs in there, in logical, predictable places. Absolutely BEATS ME where they are. We used our self-drilling 2.5 inch deck screws to go through the 1×4, drywall, and into the stud, and no matter where I screwed those darn things, they never bit into a stud. It’s sort of embarrassing how many are in the support (Dad, look away!). We managed to have a few clearly bite in near the corners, but we’re pretty much risking it with these supports. We’re less worried about the side wall supports, though, because the screws found studs in the corners and they are much shorter. We are figuring it has something to do with this being the outside wall of a dormer. Something funny must happen with the framing in there. I’ll never know.
See the little electrical outlet there? We luckily had an outlet on the other side of that wall, in our bedroom. We had the electricians come and install that there… otherwise this whole plan would not have worked!
Next it was time for a dry fit. It was a *womp womp* moment. I had to take it back downstairs and cut a little notch out of it to go over the inside casing on the right. Not the prettiest notch—I did it with my sawzall, afterall—but it solved the problem. After that, successful dry fit! And hey! The computers fit, too! *Wipes sweat from brow*
We could see where the holes for computer cords needed to go now, and I brought in Muscle Man to drill the holes using the hole saw bits. For some reason, this really intimidates me, and also, we only get one chance to mess this desk up, so I figured if it’s his desk and he messes it up, it won’t be as bad. 😉
So we cleaned up the hole-saw mess and fit the desk surface back on all the supports. Since we had been really careful about the sizing of the plywood, the fit is pretty tight, so we didn’t bother to secure it down. I did, however, use kreg screws in the support attached to the bottom of the desk surface to screw the surface to the side supports. I had some help for this part:
Next, I had purchased and stained a nice piece of maple to attach to the front to make the desk surface look thicker… and not like plywood. The Hubster would have a fashionable Cloffice, darnit! What kind of a blogger would I be? He thought it would be cool if the screws showed, so I went to town with my self-tapping cabinet screws. Since I was pretty sure I had outsmarted the entire world (pilot holes are for suckers! just use self-tapping screws!), I did not drill pilot holes. Look at this terrible split! It’s really not bad from far away, but I had to share in the spirit of learning from my mistakes. Lesson: Drill pilot holes. 🙂
At the same time that all of this work was happening on the Cloffice itself, there was a giant pile of shoes and other items that had been in the nook previously. Part of what I loved about this project was that it forced us to clean out and organize. You know, get rid of the shoes we still had from high school that we haven’t worn in 10 years. Yeah those. For the shoes that needed a home, I screwed molding to the wall along the top of the closet on the opposite side. The view you’re seeing now is what anyone on a video chat with me would see if I was sitting working at the desk. The shoes are up kind of high, so it’s a bit impractical, but they’re not everyday shoes, so it’s not a big deal.
We got the computers in and hooked up and added a little organization:
Time for the big reveal! Here’s the final walk through. First, a picture from our bedroom looking into the closet. Looks normal. looks like a closet so far:
…but then WHAM! You look behind the door and you see this:
All in all, the project took us about a week’s worth of naps and evening slots over the course of about a month. It wasn’t the cheapest thing ever (I found some really cheap tables we could have bought, but none would have fit in our closet space), but we really love the results. Working in here doesn’t feel like you’re crammed in a closet at all. It’s nice and quiet and cozy.
That’s the latest from this home on Turkey Hill! Let me know what you think!