HOUSE: Newburgh + Scavenging

The closet-to-be is now a closet!

Aside from installing a ceiling light fixture and cramming it full of stuff, the closet-to-be is now officially a CLOSET. What was once a filthy, unused, and unfinished space behind a door used solely for attic access is now a much-needed 18-square-foot storage space, and it’s pretty cute, too!

Once the plaster walls had been repaired, the electric work was done, and the ceiling was in place (THANK YOU, CLOSET FAIRY!!), I got to work on cleaning up the considerable mess that was the floor. As I mentioned, the existing floor was old linoleum, which I’d planned to leave in place and cover with FLOR tiles. However, I was pleased and surprised to discover that not only was the linoleum laid in a single sheet, but it was not attached to the floor in any way! No creepy glue, no scary asbestos paper. I was able to simply lift it and remove it in one piece. Excellent!

Underneath the lino was a plank subfloor (just like in my office). This subfloor runs through the entire house, of course, but with the exception of this closet and the office, it’s covered with finished, face-nailed strip flooring everywhere else. (If you’re curious about the finished floors, here’s a post about them!) The subfloor in the closet, of course, was never finished in any way, and was splintery, stained, and soft.

In other words, the floor was ripe for painting! Out came the sandpaper, the primer, and the floor paint, and I got to work.

Because we’re going to be storing some heavy stuff in here, we need to have a covering on the floor. I had ordered the aforementioned FLOR tiles before discovering that the lino could be easily removed, but when it arrived, I realized I’m not really a huge fan of the stuff. It’s a little too perfect for my taste. Happily, I remembered this rug, purchased last year on eBay for $3. I’d never found the right spot for it before, but it fits perfectly into the closet!

I apologize for the quality of the photos. It’s very tricky to get a decent shot in there . . .

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  • Reply Allison Bailey July 2, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    I love! I’m in the process of remodeling a room in my house… pretty sure I’m going to paint the floors after reading your posts about it. The painted floors have so much character.

  • Reply tamstyles July 2, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    love that rug for $3…what a steal. And love the dark toes…

  • Reply Ludmila July 2, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    the rug is adorable and what an adorable price! great find! love the closet. happy 4th!

  • Reply Danielle July 2, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    I LOVE painted wood floors!! Makes the space look complete.

  • Reply CapreeK July 2, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Lookin’ good! Will you come do my space next? Pretty please? ;)

  • Reply Adam July 2, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    It looks excellent Anna!

  • Reply Cat's Meow July 2, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    The closet is perfect and that rug is just so nice, perks up the white, and won’t show dirt!

  • Reply amy goodhouse July 2, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    looks awesome! i know that closet must have been something you put off forever and ever, while it gnawed away at your brain, am i correct?

    It must be such a huge relief to have it done. I have a couple of crazy closets in my house that i dream about fixing up at some point.

  • Reply dew i July 2, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    It’s nice you say this out loud about FLOR.
    I hate them!
    However, I find there are rare exceptions they are nice to use, like a hidden bottom of a closet FLOR tiles are the perfect solution.
    The cute little rug is adorable will but It bunch up when you use the closet .

  • Reply Josh July 2, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Soooo nice that the linoleum wasn’t glued to the floor. That would’ve been a pain in the butt!

    This is seriously a very cute closet :D

  • Reply Anna at D16 July 2, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    @amy goodhouse: Actually, this is one space that we didn’t leave for too long! It never even occurred to us that it could become a closet until our contractor (who installed the pull-down attic stairs in the hallway) suggested it. It only took us a year to do it, which isn’t bad for us. ;)

    @dew i: There’s a very grippy rug pad under the cute little rug. No bunching. I’ve tried. :)

  • Reply Lori July 2, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    Looks great!! :)

  • Reply LiveLikeYou July 2, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    A cool $3 carpet and a nice white painted closet. How nice! I once turned my closet in NY in to a mini office, it has all kinds of possibilities.

  • Reply Christina Diaz July 2, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    Looks great. I love the painted floors. I am going to be painting some floors in our house soon and I remember at some point you mentioned that you had some step by steps as to how you did them. I will soon be searching your blog to find that post for tips!

  • Reply Anna at D16 July 2, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    @Christina: That post is linked above! ;)

  • Reply flutterbymama July 3, 2010 at 6:46 am

    I just love small spaces! We painted our dressing room and my sons bedroom floorboards white. Love them! They are now a little grubby and it’s not helped that we aren’t a household who remove our shoes…maybe that will happen once we finish and re-carpet the stairs and landing? Still undecided as to whether I prefer filled gaps or non-filled? Had to fill the little ones room as there may well have been a few items posted out of reach! Unfortunately kiddies love gaps! Enjoy the storage space we have just received our new shed and are currently filling it to the brim! : D

  • Reply juli July 3, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    I can’t believe this space sat empty and unused! I think anyone in an old house knows lack of storage issues, so it’s a great find and the bright white will keep things nice and visible.

    You keep making me nervous mentioning asbestos paper, which we totally yanked up under the 1940s linoleum…renovations are scary!

  • Reply jenn July 3, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    I wish my hall closet that is a closet looked this nice. I makeover it to shelves. Love what you did!!


  • Reply denise July 3, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    Anna, this is a beautiful closet–congratulations! We have a similar situation in our small 100 year-old Victorian (no closets on the main level and one in each bedroom. I read your earlier post about the build process and I noticed you did some plaster repair. We’ve done tons and had success with Big Wally’s (discovered via this old house). It’s a little easier to smooth out than screws you have to leave in an cover up. You can find them at (–and I’m not a paid spokesperson for the company ;). Again, beautiful work, as always.

  • Reply Amy July 4, 2010 at 9:33 am

    I need a closet fairy! The painted floors look great. It wouldn’t work in my house so I need to live vicariously through yours.

  • Reply Becky July 4, 2010 at 10:10 am

    Wow, how lucky! I love the look of white floors, though I also love the look of just regular hardwood. Your closet is now so pretty! I always tend to ignore closets when I move into a new place, but you’ve inspired me to take care of the closets and make them beautiful too!

  • Reply .amanda. July 5, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    isn’t it great how perfectly something works out when you are remodeling sometimes? [i.e. almost never! good for you!!]

  • Reply sandra July 5, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    it looks great anna, a perfect place to hide ;)

  • Reply Cajeta July 5, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    i’m suprised you didn’t paint the floor black!

  • Reply Melanie July 6, 2010 at 12:24 am

    Hooray! That rug is excellent. I know what you mean about “too perfect”—every room needs a little bit of texture. And too-perfect rugs seem very dentist office-y.

  • Reply Dan July 6, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    It looks great Anna! Am I the only one wondering if “smoke weed every day” made it? I have a very, very strong feeling it bit the dust with a few coats of moonlight white… :-)

  • Reply Ayleen pools July 13, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Nice cute little closet! I used to have a bunch of dusty over-cluttered closets like this, but I noticed once you bring them in order, clean them thoroughly or paint fresh – you are more inclined to keep things in order there.

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