Closet Conversion – Antique Icebox Style

My wife and I use our third bedroom as a home office. The closet had become a repository for disorganized piles of junk. It had one shelf, but that was it. I wanted to make the space more usable and more consistent with our use of the room as an office. Plus I wanted it to look nice.

I used antique iceboxes as my design inspiration. It helped that we have an actual example that my father-in-law had given us. It came in handy for some of the construction and design details.

The three upper doors open onto one large compartment with a shelf. The middle three doors hide drawers which are on full extension slides. The lower two drawers are for hanging files and are also on full extension slides.

The drawer slides were a challenge to find. The closet is deeper than typical cabinetry, but I wanted long slides to maximize drawer depth and space utilization. I found 28” slides at Grizzly that could handle the loads. As an added bonus they are soft close.

I also looked for file hangers to use in the file drawers, but had trouble finding much. The hardware I did find was the wrong size and expensive. I shouldn’t say wrong size. It was intended for a normal file cabinet, not the huge drawers I built. I improvised with 1/8” x 1” aluminum stock from the hardware store and just cut it to length. I think it works better anyway.

I included one ‘before’ picture where I was doing the usual prep work of fixing the old drywall and repainting. I wish I had taken an earlier picture to show the old sliding closet doors, but those had already gone.

The new structure behind the face frame is melamine faced particle board. The drawer boxes are Baltic birch plywood. The face frame and door frames are oak. The door flat panels are oak plywood. Hardware is reproduction from Kennedy Hardware, except for the two drawer pulls on the lower drawers. Those are from Lowes.

The finish is polyurethane with a little antique oak stain used as a toner after the first coat of poly.

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