Monday, March 15, 2010

Up Where We Belong - How I made my design wall and fabric storage shelves

I would like to share with you the details on how we constructed my design wall and fabric storage system.

The shelving was constructed first.
We used prefinished 3/4 inch white boards that were about 11 inches wide. This is the perfect width for 45 inch fabric folded in fourths.

We started with the uprights, spaced 4 feet apart. They were secured at the ceiling, the floor and the wall.

Next we added supports for the shelves. Originally the shelves were spaced 12 inches apart. In some of the sections we added a vertical divider to help keep them from sagging, and also to accommodate different sizes of fabrics.

After living with this for about 5 years I saw someone who had spacing of only about 6 inches between her shelves. This made so much sense to me. The fabric could be folded and placed on the shelves vertically instead of in piles. I could grab the piece I wanted without messing up a large pile.

We cut supports and just placed the extra shelves on them without securing to anything. We also placed supports in the middle of some shelves - again to prevent sagging.

This has worked out so much better and I would recommend starting with a shorter distance between shelves for anyone who is just starting out with a similar system.

This configuration also allows me to periodically go through my fabrics and decide which ones I no longer need in a short amount of time. I have donated some of those fabrics to different causes, givens some to friends and also even sold some.

My design wall is made up of 4 sections. Each section is 8 feet high and 7 feet wide.

Each section is made from two 4 x 8 sheets of luan mahogany plywood cut to total 7 feet wide.

On top of that we built a frame of 2 x 2's. The edge of the frame butts up with the edge of the 2 sections of plywood which are butted together. It also has a piece that goes across it half way between the top and the bottom. We attached the luan plywood to the frame with screws.

Next we cut 2" grayboard to fill in the two openings in each door of the design wall. (Gray board is a dense insulating board that they use on the outside of homes. It you were to look for it today you would probably only find it in pink or blue) We attached this to the plywood with an adhesive that was safe to use on the grayboard.

I purchased 4 flat queen size white flannel sheets. I laid a sheet on the floor, placed the face of the door down on the sheet. We brought the sheet around the door to the back and stapled it in place. There was some excess flannel which we trimmed.
(The luan side will be the inside of the door and the foam will be the outside which allows you to pin into it.)

At this point the doors were done and all we have to do was hang them.

To do this we purchased several sections of closet door track that totaled the entire length of the design wall. We attached this to the header at the top of the wall with very long screws, butting the sections together. If you have to cut a section of the closet track be sure and place the cut section at one end.

Leave 2 -4 inches of clearance between the front of your shelves and the back of the doors.

It is very important the sections of closet track are perfectly aligned. If not you will have problems when you want to open and close the doors.

We addded a piece of moulding and inch in front of the closet track to hide it.

Attach three of the closet door hangers to the back of each section.

Hang two doors in the front track and two doors in the back track.

You will be able to open one half of the wall at a time.

This can be adapted to any size you need by changing my measurements. You can make 2, 3, or 4 doors.

I am sorry I don't have construction photos to share but at the time we did this I had no idea how many people would be interested in learning how we did this.

If you have questions after reading this you can ask in the comment section at the bottom of the post. I will answer them in the comment section, or possibly even revise the post to make it clearer if several people have the same question.


LynnDel said...

Love it - thank you! I am assuming the luan side is the back side. How heavy are these?

Mary Stori said...

Tx's Kay for the very detailed explanation....I hope to live long enough to have a system just like yours!

Janice Paine-Dawes said...

Thanks for this tour. I love the fabrics standing up with no more piles!

Barb said...

I'm in the process of installing a very similar system (on a wall much shorter than your 28' one). I was happy to see your shelving - I wouldn't have thought to put the shelves that close together, but I'm going to try it on half of mine to see how it works out. Thanks!

Can you talk a little about the kind of lighting your have? You have a whole wall of natural light. I have virtually none. Any ideas/suggestions for what would be appropriate in that situation?


Gisela Towner said...

Thank you for sharing the details Kay! It's a very nice system.

Gloria said...

How generous of you to share how you made all of this. I'm going to show this to my DH...wish me luck.

Karen Newman Fridy said...

I'm experiencing some serious shelf envy! :)

What a great system you have! I have adjustible shelves in mine, spaced about 12-14" apart...this makes me want to go add in a few more rows and reorg how my piles are stored.