Introduction: Bathroom Linen & Broom Closet From Wasted Space

About: Technical Editor for two magazines. Software tester for the computer controlled electronic brakes of Locomotives.

During a complete gut and re-do of our Bathroom, I got the idea to use the wasted space in the wall, to the right of the Bathtub to construct a built-in Linen Closet and attached Broom Closet. The Tub is set back about 11" from the wall to allow access to the plumbing and over by the door is a heat run to the second floor. In the past we had just run the wall from the tub end to the door, ending up with a bunch of wasted space behind the false wall. Since the Bathroom is small, I decided to make use of this space for storage.

Step 1: Complete Gut

This is the wall with everything removed. Note the lack of modern studs. What you see is standard practice for 1860. Also note that this wall is an inside wall, so no insulation is needed.

Step 2: Adding the Closet Back Wall

To preserve as much space as possible in the closet, I chose Masonite Hardboard as the back wall at only 0.115" thick. It was attached with 16ga Paslode nails. This provides a very thin smooth finish for the closet.

Step 3: Re-installing the Heat Run

The heat run was re-installed and framed around it and the another piece of Masonite Hardboard was glued to the side and face of the metal heat run using Loctite PowerGrab.

Step 4: Priming and Painting

Stix Bonding Primer was used on the Masonite Hardboard because the Hardboard is so smooth. The top coat is Benjamin Moore Aura “Bath and Spa” matte finish paint #532, PM-2 in White, same as the ceiling.

Step 5: The Linen Closet Side Door

The larger Linen Closet door was constructed from 3/8" Beadboard plywood from HD and stiffened with 1x4 trim boards glued and 18ga Paslode Brad nails from the back side. The hinges were installed before the trim was installed.

Step 6: The Door Is Hung!

Note how the Closet side door swings against the tub. The left interior wall is removable to access the plumbing if necessary in the future.

Step 7: Trimmed and Finished (on the Linen Side)

As you can plainly see, we are going with a 50's Blue on Blue on Blue that complements the 1957 American Standard cast iron tub (and shelfback sink and toilet)!

Step 8: The Broom Closet Door Is Hung.

Because the Broom Closet door is smaller, the door is simply a sheet of the 3/8" Beadboard plywood. Period ceramic pulls are used with vintage Double Roller Catch with Spear latches from HD, 2 per door.

Step 9: Finished and Ready for Shelving

All that is left here is the Broom Closet floor. The floor supports are simply a left over piece of 2x4 cut lengthwise and nailed to the floor.

Step 10: Shelving!

Now remember that I only have about 10+ inches of depth, so shelving can't be purchased from a big box store. I turned to and their FreedomRail 9" system. Each custom cut shelf locks into its two supports, allowing easy, one-piece height changes.

Step 11: Load It Up!

I started loading the left side up and I may need to purchase additional shelves! The right side shelves are ClosetMaid from HD. I needed just 6" depth because of the heat run in the back of the closet so I found a deeper shelf that had a wire support located at 6", so I cut the shelf down to width and depth with a hacksaw and used two low profile shelf side supports and wire clips in the back, with very short 3/16" #6 screws because of the thickness of the Masonite Hardboard. Note that the clips have attached drywall anchors. These need to be hacksawed off if installing as we did in wood.

So, all that wasted area behind a false wall is now truly useful. Total cost was about $400, with half of that just for the FreedomRail 9" hardware. That stuff is heavy, costing $40 just for shipping!

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