Today we’re speaking concerning the inventory market! Just kidding. Exactly because the title suggests, we’re going to point out you ways we earned some actually helpful additional storage in our new kitchen by upgrading a previously VERY PACKED utility closet. It used to mainly simply have a water heater and an HVAC system in it with out a lot room for the rest, and now there’s, say it with me… a lot room for actions. Ok, not for like cartwheels, however considerably extra room to retailer stuff than earlier than. Like possibly 500% extra. Really.
If you watched our drawer-by-drawer kitchen organization video, you already acquired a peek at what we’ve happening in there, however right now we’re sharing all of the angles, and explaining how we had been capable of take this closet from “mostly water heater” to “so much everything else.”
The Utility Closet Before
We don’t have a variety of “before” images of this closet as a result of it was completely nothing to write down house 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 photograph under was taken proper after we moved in. The HVAC system is to the suitable of that doorframe (the black tubes result in it) and though this closet is fairly deep (it goes all the way in which underneath the steps), the water heater fully blocked greater than half of the closet that continues to the left of the doorframe.
This is an instance of an especially random pile of stuff we saved in there on that random patch of flooring house between the water heater and the HVAC system in our first few days of dwelling right here. I feel it was largely bins of Christmas stuff and miscellaneous gadgets we hadn’t discovered a spot for but. Don’t thoughts the (not actual) chihuahua skeleton. Our Halloween stuff now lives in a material bin in the laundry closet with the easter eggs and our pumpkin carving instruments. And all of our Christmas stuff is in one among the wardrobes in our bedroom. Our home’s group had nowhere to go however up from the day we took this photograph.
I already talked about essentially the most irritating factor about this set-up, which is that the water heater was blocking A LOT of potential cupboard space underneath 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 purposeful cupboard space THAT YOU CAN’T GET TO.
So that leads us to step one in our mini makeover…
Step 1: Update (& Relocate) The Water Heater
In a transfer that may solely be known as the MVP of this venture, we had that cumbersome electrical water heater changed with a extra energy-efficient tankless mannequin. We used tankless water heaters in our pink beach house and our duplex (see under), so we knew it will take up rather a lot much less house and provides us higher entry to the again of the closet if the swap might be made.
And – to our nice shock! – we discovered that tankless water heaters are usually put in on the OUTSIDE of properties round right here (name us Florida novices). Thar she blows, mounted to the siding proper exterior 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, gasoline meter, and generator reside – all hidden behind a tall gate).
So not solely had we earned a way more environment friendly water heater, we abruptly gained entry to TONS of additional cupboard space that runs all the way in which underneath the steps. Which, once you downsize, is mainly your love language.
We did our greatest to reap the benefits of the brand new house, however it was sort of a slapdash strategy for some time as a result of we weren’t fairly positive what would work finest. We hung some wire shelves to wrangle instruments and miscellaneous provides & threw some bigger gadgets we wished to retailer in that newly accessible space underneath the steps, however it was clearly a chaotic vibe (and never the easiest way to retailer that stuff, we fairly shortly realized), therefore having zero images of it. This is definitely an previous 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. Note: the speculation is in case you’ve lately recorded each nook & cranny of your home, you’ve got that to reference if one thing occurs whilst you’re gone, and you may present your insurance coverage service to verify they reimburse you for all of the gadgets you misplaced (which you received’t overlook, as a result of you’ve got all of it on tape).
We lived with issues like that for some time, figuring out it wasn’t working flawlessly, but additionally attempting to not rush into another concept that additionally wouldn’t work properly, and over time because the rest of the kitchen renovation began to return collectively, we had extra readability on how we wished to make use of this bonus house. And let’s simply say it didn’t contain shallow wire shelving.
But earlier than we might herald some better-looking storage, we had a number of issues in our approach. Quite actually.
Step 2: Reroute The Pipes & Wires
The closet nonetheless had numerous wires, tubes, and pipes that prevented us from placing issues the place we wished them. So we paid round $280 to get two professionals to return 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 suitable aspect as doable (in order that they now not arc out so extensively into the closet). Note: by no means compromise your system by altering issues with a handyman or DIY in case you’re unsure how that system works. We at all times use a very good HVAC man after we’re making HVAC modifications as a result of a snug home temp is vital 😉
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 now not obstructing the again wall in any respect. We hid them behind the doorway so you’ll be able to’t even see it from the kitchen anymore! See the blue and pink water traces that run above the baseboards within the photograph above? Now they sneakily snake behind the doorway (they’re these clear tubes you see on this photograph under):
So with every thing out of the way in which, we had been lastly capable of get to the enjoyable half…
Step 3: Customize A Cube Storage Shelf
Hold 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 primary cube shelf organizer – and we made it look a bit less-than-basic by including 5″ brass furniture legs and topping it with a chunk of butcher block counter that we reduce to dimension and sealed with 2 coats of cutting board oil (it at all times dries a bit lighter as soon as it’s soaked in).
Since you’ll be able to see Four of the eight cubes when the closet door is open, we used matching taupe fabric bins to make the issues look tidier than they are surely. Those bins maintain SO MUCH STUFF. Absolutely thrilling.
We use one among 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 attempting to stability that stuff in shallow wire cabinets (which by no means might maintain our pet food anyway).
We left the opposite Four cubes bin-less and open, and people additionally maintain a smorgasbord of stuff like additional rest room paper, overflow drinks, emergency provides, and even our Berkey water filter. A few individuals have requested what occurred to it because it’s not out on our counter anymore, and the reply is that in the course of the remaining 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 mainly modified our lives. If this had been Cribs on MTV I’d 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 after we wished a drink. But we love our Berkey so we’re maintaining it in case we ever want a very wonderful water filter (it may well actually make pond water potable!), like a hurricane or different emergency. We have one dice devoted to hurricane provides the place it sits, which additionally holds a crank radio, a solar-powered charger, some flashlights, and so forth.
There’s extra house past the storage shelf for some random larger stuff to take a seat on the ground. And sure, that’s a dehumidifier that you simply see working as a result of, properly, Florida. Since it sits between the consumption vent and our HVAC unit, it really helps dehumidify the entire home.
And as a reminder, this was the view from this angle. So yeah… large distinction.
Step 4: Add A Floating Shelf
Honestly, the dice organizer turned out to be more-than-enough storage for us in the meanwhile, however we had some additional 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 metal 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 really used the identical paint on the steel legs on the dice shelf after realizing they had been extra of an orange brass, and now every thing matches.
The shelf and the countertop do retailer some purposeful issues, like mugs and further cups, a pitcher Sherry makes use of to water her 438 crops, and a handheld vacuum that’s simple for the youngsters to make use of. But Sherry threw some ornamental issues in there too as a result of, properly, 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 admire a lot.
So yeah, framed illustrations of your canine and fairly vases can reside in a closet too. Live your finest life.
Step 5: Cover The Ugly
We nonetheless had that extraordinarily utilitarian-looking HVAC unit proper subsequent to the world 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 coloration (SW Pure White).
The entire factor hangs from some eye hooks that we screwed right into a primary picket closet rod that we added close to the ceiling.
This means we are able to simply take away the panel each time the HVAC unit must be serviced.
And, for the reason that 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 total 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 operate.
Step 6: Take Advantage of Hidden Walls
Last however not least, we utilized the within wall (reverse the dice shelf, to the left of the doorway) to wrangle some final remaining gadgets: a dustpan, some cleansing wands, a fly swatter… you realize, the actually attractive stuff.
We additionally hung this 24″ under-cabinet light vertically alongside the door molding to offer us some additional mild in there. It simply plugs into a standard outlet (we had that added after we eliminated the water heater since energy had been run to that spot for the water heater) and it gives two brightness settings. Toggle the swap a technique for 50% brightness, and toggle it the opposite approach for 100%. This is simply 50% under, so it’s PLENTY vibrant.
So that’s the story of how we took this unassuming utility closet that actually solely had this a lot accessible flooring 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 absolutely throughout the closet, stroll all the way in which to the again nook to get the storage gadgets that we’ve again there, and so forth.
If it helps, right here is Sherry standing inside:
Since that doubtless didn’t assist as a result of she’s 5’2″, I’ll repeat this image for you, as a result of you’ll be able to see that I’m standing absolutely within the closet (see the doorframe in entrance of me) to take away that HVAC panel. Thrilling, proper? I can absolutely stand in that spot with out hitting my head, and each of us must duck to get to the again of the closet for the reason that ceiling dips down, however that’s par for the course for a closet underneath the steps.
One final word about that black upright vacuum, since I do know somebody will ask. We broke our beloved Shark Navigator that you simply’ve heard us discuss roughly 42 occasions (it was our fault, not the vacuums’) and it was now not bought at that second we broke it, so we caved and acquired a Shark ION P50 – however don’t fall for it. The Shark Navigator is endlessly and at all times our favourite cordless vac (so glad it’s again and out there once more! Sherry needs we had waited). I’ll admit that we hardly ever use a “real 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 post has you lined (together with the fee). And in case you’d prefer to see how our whole kitchen is organized, we throw open all of the doorways & drawers right here in this post.
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