In the present day we’re speaking concerning the inventory market! Simply kidding. Precisely because the title suggests, we’re going to indicate you the way we earned some actually helpful further 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.
For those who watched our drawer-by-drawer kitchen group video, you already bought a peek at what now we have happening in there, however at present we’re sharing all of the angles, and explaining how we had been in a position to take this closet from “principally water heater” to “a lot all the pieces else.”
The Utility Closet Earlier than
We don’t have a whole lot of “earlier than” pictures of this closet as a result of it was completely nothing to write down dwelling 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 under was taken proper after we moved in. The HVAC system is to the fitting 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 an especially random pile of stuff we saved in there on that random patch of ground house between the water heater and the HVAC system in our first few days of dwelling right here. I believe it was principally bins of Christmas stuff and miscellaneous objects 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 bed room. Our home’s group had nowhere to go however up from the day we took this picture.
I already talked about probably the most irritating factor about this set-up, which is that the water heater was blocking A LOT of potential space for storing below the steps, rendering it completely inaccessible and unusable. And particularly in a smaller home, it’s painful to know that there’s an enormous empty cavity of completely practical space for storing 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 known as the MVP of this challenge, we had that cumbersome electrical water heater changed with a extra energy-efficient tankless mannequin. We used tankless water heaters in our pink seashore home and our duplex (see under), so we knew it will take up loads much less house and provides us higher entry to the again of the closet if the change might be made.
And – to our nice shock! – we discovered that tankless water heaters are usually put in on the OUTSIDE of houses 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 person can actually see it (it’s additionally the place our pool tools, fuel meter, and generator reside – all hidden behind a tall gate).
So not solely had we earned a way more environment friendly water heater, we instantly gained entry to TONS of additional space for storing that runs all the way in which below the steps. Which, if you downsize, is principally your love language.
We did our greatest to benefit from the brand new house, but it surely was sort of a slapdash method for some time as a result of we weren’t fairly certain what would work finest. We hung some wire cabinets to wrangle instruments and miscellaneous provides & threw some bigger objects we needed to retailer in that newly accessible space below the steps, but it surely was clearly a chaotic vibe (and never one of the best ways to retailer that stuff, we fairly shortly realized), therefore having zero pictures 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 go away on a visit as a result of Shavonda says so. Notice: the speculation is in case you’ve lately recorded each nook & cranny of your own home, you will have that to reference if one thing occurs when you’re gone, and you may present your insurance coverage provider to ensure they reimburse you for all of the objects you misplaced (which you gained’t overlook, as a result of you will have all of it on tape).
We lived with issues like that for some time, realizing it wasn’t working flawlessly, but in addition making an attempt to not rush into another concept that additionally wouldn’t work nicely, and over time because the remainder of the kitchen renovation began to come back collectively, we had extra readability on how we needed to make use of this bonus house. And let’s simply say it didn’t contain shallow wire shelving.
However earlier than we might usher in some better-looking storage, we had a couple of issues in our manner. 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 needed them. So we paid round $280 to get two execs to come back 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 fitting aspect as doable (so that they not arc out so broadly into the closet). Notice: by no means compromise your system by altering issues with a handyman or DIY in case you’re undecided how that system works. We all the time use a very good HVAC man once we’re making HVAC modifications as a result of a snug home temp is essential 😉
Later that very same day we had our favourite plumber out to re-route the water traces that run out to our tankless water heater, so these water traces are not obstructing the again wall in any respect. We hid them behind the doorway so you possibly can’t even see it from the kitchen anymore! See the blue and pink water traces 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 under):
So with all the pieces out of the way in which, we had been lastly in a position to 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 fundamental dice shelf organizer – and we made it look a bit less-than-basic by including 5″ brass furnishings legs and topping it with a bit of butcher block counter that we minimize to dimension and sealed with 2 coats of chopping board oil (it all the time dries a bit lighter as soon as it’s soaked in).
Since you possibly can see 4 of the 8 cubes when the closet door is open, we used matching taupe material 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 might maintain our pet food anyway).
We left the opposite 4 cubes bin-less and open, and people additionally maintain a smorgasbord of stuff like further bathroom paper, overflow drinks, emergency provides, and even our Berkey water filter. A number of folks have requested what occurred to it because it’s not out on our counter anymore, and the reply is that throughout 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 sizzling water for tea so it has principally modified our lives. If this had been Cribs on MTV I might welcome you in and discuss 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 once we needed a drink. However we love our Berkey so we’re protecting it in case we ever want a really superb water filter (it will probably actually make pond water potable!), like a hurricane or different emergency. We have now one dice devoted to hurricane provides the place it sits, which additionally holds a crank radio, a solar-powered charger, some flashlights, and many others.
There’s further house past the storage shelf for some random larger stuff to sit down on the ground. And sure, that’s a dehumidifier that you just see operating as a result of, nicely, 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… huge distinction.
Step 4: Add A Floating Shelf
Actually, the dice organizer turned out to be more-than-enough storage for us in the meanwhile, however we had some further butcher block after we made the counter and we thought it will be good so as to add a shelf for much more vertical storage.
We created a easy shelf with the assistance of those metallic shelf brackets that we spray-painted Rust-Oleum’s Sunlit Brass to match the ft that we added to the dice storage shelf under. We truly used the identical paint on the metallic legs on the dice shelf after realizing they had been extra of an orange brass, and now all the pieces matches.
The shelf and the countertop do retailer some practical 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 youngsters to make use of. However Sherry threw some ornamental issues in there too as a result of, nicely, we now have room for that. This closet actually went from feeling like a wasted underutilized house 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 reside in a closet too. Dwell your finest life.
Step 5: Cowl The Ugly
We nonetheless had that extraordinarily utilitarian-looking HVAC unit proper subsequent to the realm we had simply spruced up… however I had an thought.
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 shade (SW Pure White).
The entire thing hangs from some eye hooks that we screwed right into a fundamental wood closet rod that we added close to the ceiling.
This implies we are able to simply take away the panel each time the HVAC unit must be serviced.
And, because the consumption is on the underside of the unit, it doesn’t block an inch of airflow, and we are able to 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 objects: a dustpan, some cleansing wands, a fly swatter… you already know, the actually attractive stuff.
We additionally hung this 24″ under-cabinet gentle vertically alongside the door molding to offer us some further gentle in there. It simply plugs into a standard outlet (we had that added once we eliminated the water heater since energy had been run to that spot for the water heater) and it provides two brightness settings. Toggle the change a technique for 50% brightness, and toggle it the opposite manner for 100%. That is simply 50% under, so it’s PLENTY vibrant.
In order that’s the story of how we took this unassuming utility closet that actually solely had this a lot accessible ground house…
… and gave it fairly the glow up.
As a P.S. – I do know it seems extremely shallow in there, however we are able to each simply stand totally throughout the closet, stroll all the way in which to the again nook to get the storage objects that now we have again there, and many others.
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 possibly can see that I’m standing totally within 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 because the ceiling dips down, however that’s par for the course for a closet below the steps.
One final notice about that black upright vacuum, since I do know somebody will ask. We broke our beloved Shark Navigator that you just’ve heard us discuss roughly 42 instances (it was our fault, not the vacuums’) and it was not offered at that second we broke it, so we caved and bought a Shark ION P50 – however don’t fall for it. The Shark Navigator is without end and all the time our favourite cordless vac (so glad it’s again and accessible once more! Sherry needs we had waited). I’ll admit that we hardly ever use a “actual vacuum” now that Eufy has come into our lives, besides primarily for doing the steps (which we typically do with our handheld vacuum as a result of we’re cool like that).
To learn all about our kitchen renovation, this publish has you lined (together with the price). And in case you’d prefer to see how our total kitchen is organized, we throw open all of the doorways & drawers proper right here on this publish.
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