Saturday, November 16, 2013

Project Playroom: The Narnia Closet

We spent every weeknight and all our free time during the October weekends (during naps and after Lis went to bed) building the Narnia closet door. Here’s the closet:

My initial thought when we decided to do something fun with the playroom closet was to just put in a hidden bookshelf door. Vor began browsing pictures of hidden doors in playrooms, and kept coming across a ubiquitous one of a straight up Narnia style wardrobe, leading to a secret room. It was a really impressive wardrobe, complete with false back wall that would swing open. For about two seconds we toyed with the idea that we would put one in, but put it onto the playroom door, basically making the playroom a secret. We tossed that out because the playroom is the only place in the basement with a window, and we want the light. It’s also pointless to create a secret room if you’re going to cut out half the wall, like we are considering.

It turns out that, for a pretty penny, you can just buy a bookcase/door. It also turns out that it is more of a pain in the ass to build a bookcase/door than I realized. Lucky for me, I married an engineer (turned lawyer) who also used to build furniture with his dad.
Vor decided that the best way to combine the Narnia idea and the bookshelf (hello storage, since we are losing closet storage) was use the cube bookshelves you can build yourself from Target, plus a cabinet with door from the same brand, reinforce the closet door, and attach it all to the already hinged closet door. Holes are cut in order to create a passage way through the cabinet doors, and we will install a fake wall door on the back side of the closet.

I’m not sure this is making sense, so let’s go to the pictures.
The build it yourself cabinet, with the bookshelf cubes on top perfectly covers the door and the door opening--forgot to take pictures, so here they are at Target.

So we bought a plank that pretty much matches the door (we have a smaller one to cover the top bit), and we are cutting holes in both where we want the “secret passage” as well as a few holes where some of the cubes are, so that we can reach in and turn on the light for here (these will be hidden by the bins that go in the cubes). Once the cutting was done, we attached the plank to the door (the door has a hollow core, but there is a 1X2 frame that runs along all the edges, so that’s where we attached the reinforcing plank). Since the door had a hollow core, we had a hole problem that we fixed with insulation foam. Then we attached the cabinet and the cubes to the reinforced door, and the door went back up on the hinges:

Then we hid the open cube spaces (with fabric bins) and the door knob (with a random pillow, who knows what will end up there):

And we turned Lis loose on the door:

When she opened the door, there was this loud, delighted gasp that I desperately wish I could caught on video. She LOVES it.

Lis will only be two in January, so we are just putting a curtain on the inside of the closet for the false wall until she gets the hang of going through the closet passage way. We were worried that at first, if there was a false wall, she either would not go through or would go in and get stuck in the closet. We will put the false wall on later.

We are still debating the best way to cover the insulation foam. We have tossed around white duct tape, paint, the vinyl “tile” you see in older kitchens, carpet or heavy canvas fabric, and so on.

1 comment:

alissaC said...

Wow that is pretty awesome! I think you win some best parents awards for sure!