Bedroom Closet / Dressing Room The Victorian House

Getting the Closet Back in Order

Tiny DIY Assistant

Here’s the work that has been done in the closet since I last shared my ‘to do’ list.

  • Rewire (sconce, ceiling fixture, two switches, two outlets)

  • Patch holes and damage from rewiring

  • Paint prep (mostly cleaning all of the plaster dust everywhere)

  • Prime (walls and ceiling)

  • Paint (walls and ceiling)

  • Rewire antique lights or choose replacements

  • Rehang lights

  • New mirror above the sink

  • Install new closet fittings

And what’s left?

  • Add storage near the sink

  • Put everything away (paring down in the process)

  • Zhush it all up a little

I also need to hang shelves; I forgot to include that in my original list. I’ve ordered a cabinet organizer that will hopefully work for the “storage near the sink” and I’ve started putting things away and zhushing, though I still have more to do.

The Closet, Empty but Almost Ready

I replaced the sconce above the sink with a similar fixture. I wanted something that felt appropriate for the house — nothing to modern, though I do love a lot of modern sconces. It’s polished, unlacquered brass with a milk glass half-dome shade and all of the wires in the fixture and the wall are from this century. Exciting!

Brass and Milk Glass Sconce

I also hung one of the lights from downstairs. The scale of it is all wrong and it makes the closet glow pink, but it will buy me some time until I find the perfect replacement. I hadn’t planned on ordering a new light, but when I had to go with a medallion to cover an access plate from the electricians’ rewiring, the antique flushmount I had planned on reusing no longer fit. (You can see the new and old sconces below too. Very similar.)

Brass and Glass, Old and New

Antique Victorian Lighting with Pink Cranberry Glass Shades

Once I have a new light, I’ll secure the ceiling medallion a little better. The fixture now is hanging from an antique cross bar that I repurposed from elsewhere in the house, and it’s slightly off center. I didn’t want to sink the screws, caulk, and paint the medallion now, only to have a replacement fixture end up looking askew after hanging it with different hardware. Everything I like though seems to have long lead times (6 weeks, on average), so this will do for a while.

I ordered hooks two weeks ago, but they haven’t shipped yet. My shelf brackets haven’t come yet either. I did install the closet system though (c/o Ballard Designs), anchoring it to the wall and getting the front nice and even. It involved removing the closet’s base shoe molding with a pry bar, a lot of pushing and pulling to align the units, finding studs and drilling and what-not, and the artful use of shims. Lots and lots of shims.

Installing the Closet System

In related news, I need perhaps something besides a giant contractor grade drill? Why did I choose this thing? It’s powerful, but overkill for most projects.


I also anchored my garment rack to the wall. This is the one I already had — the one that broke. I was able to fix it but the pipe is bent and wobbly, so what I lose in mobility by anchoring it, I gain in safety. I can’t chance it falling over on one of the kids.

Garment Rack and Shoe Storage

Anchoring a Garment Rack

I used parts from a mirror hanging kit and screwed one of its D-rings to a wall stud. I started out by going perpendicular from the rack, but it was visible and kind of ugly, so I redid it, going at an angle that would be hidden by the hangers. I trimmed the wire, of course.

I’m waiting on the hooks and brackets to arrive, and a few other finishing pieces. Almost there! Eleanor was watching me load the closet up. She asked what I was doing, and I told her I was getting the closet back in order so I can get the bedroom back together too. “I like making it look nice,” I told her. Her response: “You mean you like making it LOVELY.”

Sources & Paint ColorsNeed design help? Let's work together.

You Might Also Like...

  • Susie
    January 19, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    It’s going to look great when it’s all done. And I love that light. Leave it!

  • Elisa
    January 19, 2016 at 8:05 pm

    Hi, looks great! Where is the sconce from?

  • Shirley K
    January 19, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    It’s looking great! I’ve been enjoying the closet remodel!

  • Andrea Jane
    January 19, 2016 at 10:34 pm

    Omigod that baby. I can’t even.

    I would love to know if this room was always a closet or if it had some other purpose when originally built. It’s so unusual. I love that you are honoring that
    space and not retrofitting it with California Closet-esque fittings.

  • Pikaeva
    January 20, 2016 at 4:02 am

    Great post, Nicole. This is beginning to feel exciting.

  • Amy
    January 20, 2016 at 11:18 am

    1. Well if that wouldn’t be a perfect promo for your blog I don’t know what would be. “You like making it lovely”…
    2. Apparently seeing things crossed off a to do list is still very satisfying to me even if it isn’t my own to do list.
    3. Looks great!

  • judy
    January 20, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    Nicole, in a completely different vein and not meant to sound stalker-ish if I lived near you I think I would abscond with that darling Boy. One of your best and loveliest productions so far. What an interesting house to live in-not like everybody’s newer home. In the new homes all closets look exactly alike. I would love to live in such an interesting house and I imagine the neighbors are diverse and interesting also. Closet looks grand and more than adequate, something not found in many older houses.

  • Heather
    January 20, 2016 at 5:24 pm

    Eleanor’s observation is priceless! I love it when kids say things like that, which show how closely they’re paying attention. And the closet is looking so good!

  • erin @ thh
    January 21, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    Love seeing the closet coming together, love that picture of Calvin (SO CUTE) and love Eleanor’s most excellent observation! Can’t wait to see the zhushing!

  • raeleneb
    January 22, 2016 at 10:12 pm

    Eleanor! What a gem! And the closet is looking grrrreat. Can’t wait to see it in all its finery.

  • Talking Rugs and Lighting (Aren’t I Always?) | Making it Lovely
    January 28, 2016 at 11:59 am

    […] so the light. I put up one of the fixtures from downstairs because why not? I’ll tell you why not: it’s way to low and I bump into it constantly. […]

  • The Closet is Finished! – Making it Lovely
    February 17, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    […] medallion as a solution and while I wouldn’t have put one here otherwise, I do like it a lot. I hung a fixture that had come from elsewhere in the house before swapping out for a bell jar lantern that’s a much better fit for the […]