Tuesday, January 12, 2021

New Build! Kids' Closet Overhaul With Built-In Reading Nook

A couple months back John redid a closet for a local reader, Nicole - or more specifically for her daughter Friday. He did a fully customized design that includes a cozy little reading nook, so I thought you'd like to see!

Here's the Before:

This is a pretty typical bedroom closet, with just one high shelf and a hanging bar. As you can see there's all KINDS of potential space in there, though, especially since Friday doesn't have many clothes to hang.

After we visited to take detailed measurements and get a wish list from Nicole, John drew up this blueprint:

You can see the closet space extends beyond the wall opening on either side, so there's quite a bit of hidden storage, especially on the right side beyond the hamper. (You have to remove the hamper to access it, so those three shelves are for slightly more long-term storage.

John built and painted everything at home, and was so dang fast this is the only process shot I got:

He made everything from MDF, which he then painted white.

Next John rented a truck to get it all to Nicole's, where the install only took a few hours. First he removed the old shelf and bar:

Then he slid all his pre-made pieces into place, screwed it all together, and anchored it to the walls:


That solid section on the bottom is the side of Friday's new book shelf for her book nook:

Ready for the final reveal? (This is my favorite part!)

Here's the Before again:

Aaaaand After!

Ahhhh. Don't you feel more relaxed just looking at this?

The plan was to add a curtain over the reading nook with a tension rod, so that's probably installed by now. Just adds a little more privacy and coziness for Friday.

 John installed all this when Friday wasn't there, btw, so later her mom sent some pictures - and she said I could share with you bots, yay!

How awesome is this?

Nicole told us Friday's reaction was to immediately crawl into the reading nook and not come out again for the rest of the evening. Can't ask for better than that!

Here you can see the interior bookshelf, which Friday had already decorated, awww:

This makes me so happy.

This build was really all John; from Nicole's very first e-mail he was just so excited to take this on. My only contributions were a few suggestions in the design phase, and then I got to sit back and watch John turn into a happy productive blur. Once he gets going on a build project he likes, there's really no pause button, ha.

I hope this gave you a smile, and maybe some inspiration for your own closets. And thank you, Nicole & Friday, for trusting us with your space!


If you're in the Orlando area and need help with home-related things: interior painting, repairs, organizing, design, etc., then please e-mail us. It doesn't have to be a big project, we like little jobs, too! Especially if they're for someone who can't afford to pay a pro right now, so feel free to nominate a friend or family member who's having a hard time. (We work for free, and only accept payment for material costs.) We are insured professionals who can replace or fix most things, love to organize, love to paint interiors, and REALLY love a good geeky design challenge. So hit us up!


Or if we're your kind of peeps and you'd like to help support me and John, then you've got lots of options: share my posts, browse my favorite products on Amazon, leave encouraging comments, buy a t-shirt, or even donate to us directly through Paypal!

(I've heard your cries, btw, and I'm having John upload this design with an orange Epbot, too. Should be up tonight! Like all our shirt designs, you can choose from different colors and fits.)

Just your being here is helping, so please never feel pressured to do or give more than you can or want to. I love you lurkers out there! Thanks for sticking around.

P.S. It's up!

Y'all were right; the orange is better. :) I also had John tweak the blue stripe so it's a little more blue.


  1. This is a great idea! It looks awesome, useful and Friday looks like she loves it! You guys are awesome too!

  2. This was a great way to utilize space. ^_^ I hope John is as proud of his work as you are!
    I'm also the type of person who doesn't hang many clothes so all the closets in my house have been repurposed except the tiny hall closet. Its amazing how much space you can add to a room when you turn the closets into something useful for you.

  3. Another great project! I'm jealous of your and John's design and organizational talents.����

  4. If you guys ever want to travel to Virginia we have a meeeeillion little projects....we can put you up...bring the cats! (And we even have tools. Just no experienced based skills)
    So many spaces with potential....

  5. I've never been keen on 'bots as the collective noun for us, and I also never intended to tell you this.

    But! And! This build is so full of child-reader-encouraging, book-loving, organisational neat-o-ness, I yield.

    'bot me!

    1. Over on FOE they've used "bots" for ages, but I only started using it recently as a replacement for the word "guys," since I'm trying to ween myself off that word. It's hard changing language habits, at least for me, and "guys" was always my go-to plural.

      I like that "bots" is custom to this community and gender-neutral, but I am COMPLETELY open to suggestions for more options! My other go-tos are "gang" and "y'all" - although that's pretty folksy.

  6. Oh my, what a beautiful transformation! I love how there's a bookshelf integrated into the book nook so Friday doesn't even have to move if she wants to switch out books. (Also, can we talk about how awesome her donut coat is?) You and John are geniuses!

  7. love Friday's name. looks AWESOME! i could just see me in there curled up on a beanbag... you guys are the best. x

  8. When I was a kid I'd sit in the hall closet with a flashlight -- on the vacuum cleaner -- to read, so I would have loved a set-up like this! You and John are so awesome to put this together!

  9. Closets can be so much more useful than they typically are, Right? Beautiful job, John.
    We're working on a 'snug' in an extra bedroom (kids moved out :-) ). We started by taking the closet opening (walls) right back to the backset area. Involved a bit of floor-fixing at the front. One of our daughters found a free countertop on Kijiji, which we cut to narrow and used some leftover faux granite paint to finish in a slate look. Installed our computer there with side shelf supports built from leftover plywood. Next task is to make a pullout table/ keyboard tray we can also use when we're watching netflix, to hold netsnax.
    And then build a fireplace surround for the tiny pretty electric fireplace. The subwoofer will be cunningly hidden behind this. So the whole nook will be like a fireplace with a slate top, on which our monitors sit.
    THEN repaint the rest of the room and move our pullout couch in there to replace the single bed currently sitting under the window. It's a tiny room, but opening up the closet has made it look larger... and still *Snug*! -Carol S-B

  10. Awesome! I really wish you guys would come up to Gainesville. My neighbor could use help like what you guys offer. I love the idea of giving to those who need it. May 2021 be a much better year for us all.

  11. I love all of your posts, but the build posts that can give me ideas are my favorite! I recently converted my sewing room/office closet to have my desk with lots of extra shelves and I love it! Once I see you and John tackle something, I know I can do it too, so thanks!

  12. Side question that came up for me as I read through this: how do y'all organize your garage? Is there some magical fancy trick you have to keep all of your tools, supplies, random pieces/scraps arranged in a usable fashion?

    1. Oh man, organizing our garage has been a 20 year journey that STILL isn't finished, ha. I'll put it on the list for possible future videos, though, to show you how we've gotten it to work for us so far. (The short answer is labeled bins and lots of shelving, but of course there's lots more to it when you only have a one-car garage!)

    2. Yes!! Looking forward to that eventual video. :) I'm always so curious to see how other people maintain their project spaces.


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