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Closet Progress and Olympic Dreams

Are you watching the winter Olympics?

I have a confession to make and it’s really embarrassing. Every time I watch the Olympics, I get this unrealistic confident feeling that I could totally be there, competing, if I just tried at any of these sports. Like, I’d probably need about two weeks of good, hard practice, and then I’d have a pretty decent shot at winning gold! The only difference between me and those athletes is a couple weeks of trying!
That assumption is based entirely on delusion and a complete disconnect with reality. I am uncoordinated, I hate cold weather, and one time I tried out for cheerleading and didn’t make it.

(I still kind of think I could be good at curling though. Because, what skills are even required there? Obviously I know nothing.)

Actually, on this day four years ago, I was watching the winter Olympics from a hotel bed, wondering if the contractions I was feeling were real, and if the Valentines date night Andy and I had planned would end in childbirth instead. (It did.)

Yes, I can totally look at that photo without tearing up… totally…

Weston’s birthday is tomorrow and I can’t believe that kid is already FOUR. Like, WHAT?!

I know you’re waiting for me to get to the point of this post, but I’m stalling because I was hoping to show you photos of my closet already painted, but it’s not. It’s REALLY CLOSE. Today I am painting.

So here’s where my closet started:

And in this post I showed you my layout plans:

And here’s what’s happened since. Andy built the shelves out of MDF. (He prefers MDF over plywood when the finish will be painted in the end. It’s easier to work with and less expensive than plywood).
Building built-in closet shelves
That’s the right side of the closet, and that big hole will be where we put my lil mirror and fancy jewelry station.

The MDF shelves are pretty skinny and unimpressive, so he added 1×2 poplar boards across the fronts to give ’em a heftier, chunkier feel. I just can’t stop loving some chunky moldings. See how much better that looks?
False fronts on shelves
That’s the same treatment we gave to our office built-in shelves. It’s just a way to cheat and look like your shelves are chunky and expensive when they’re not.
Bookshelves lit
Then I filled the nail holes and caulked everything yesterday. So here it is today, totally ready to be painted and decked out!
Right side:
How to build closet shelves
And left side:
After your suggestions in the planning post, I made a change from the original plan and moved the closet rod where the dresses will hang a little higher. I totally forgot about maxi dresses! Must make room for those! It should be better now.

Let’s talk about wallpaper!

Remember when I was all “oh you guys! I can’t decide if I should splurge on this Anthropologie wallpaper?”

You were all “YES! You should splurge!” And I was all “Oh I don’t know.” And then Andy was all, secretly reading those comments when I wasn’t looking, and seeing that a couple of you suggested buying the wallpaper on ebay, and then secretly going to ebay and buying it for me so I wouldn’t feel conflicted anymore and I would just get what I really wanted. (!)

Yeah. Guys, I think he likes me.
(But he might just be in it for the gold medals I’m going to win someday.)

So I am going with the wallpaper I loved the most, and it was only $89, which is a little more than half the original price, so it was a perfect compromise: got what I loved, for less, and I didn’t even have to agonize over the purchase. Win!

I can’t wait to hang it!

Things we still need to do:

  • Paint (Today.)
  • Install wallpaper
  • DIY a chandelier
  • Add drawers, hooks, hardware, rods, etc

I’m having a party, in my closet, when it’s done. You’re invited.

Are you watching the olympics? Got big plans for valentines day?

Let's connect


  1. so glad you ended up with the wallpaper you really wanted!!! and happy birthday to your kiddo :). Our romantic Valentine’s Day plans are to creepily take pictures behind our carpenter while he repairs the sill of our house so I can write about it… the couple that creeps together, stays together :).

  2. I have the feeling that this will be an epic closet makeover. Now I want to get started too. Happy VDay!

  3. I bet you are excited!! I’m excited and it’s not even my closet or wallpaper! Happy Valentine’s Day! FYI- I used to get the same feeling watching Michael Jordan play for the Bulls…like I’m tall I can play basketball. Yeah…I was just ok…just because you are tall doesn’t mean you can ball. In my dreams I had the song “I Believe I Can Fly” as my soundtrack…yep. Happy Valentine’s Day! xo Kristin

  4. Your closet is going to be amazing and your guy is soooooo sweet to get that wallpaper for you. I have never built a built in just done an IKEA hack but I am planning to do my closet this year. Does MDF hold up like plywood for the long haul? I will be painting mine as well.

    • If you have too much weight on it, maybe over the long haul, MDF might droop a little bit, but it would take a lot of weight, and a long time. But MDF is more likely to be straight, and less likely to be warped than plywood, so it’s easier to get nice, straight shelves.

  5. Your guy is a keeper for sure! You’ll so love your closet with that wallpaper.

    I could totally win gold in ice skating (which I haven’t done in 30 years). 🙂

    • I took one ice skating class when i was about 5, and one time I almost skated backwards, so I feel pretty confident that I could compete there too.

  6. I love that wallpaper. I think it will be just perfect. I am blown away by those shelves that he built. That looks so good! I Love the addition of the 1×2. Looks so fantastic.

    I don’t really watch sports, but I did have to quickly watch the Russians take home gold and silver in ice skating. They were impressive 🙂

  7. Two things:

    1. I always feel like I can run a marathon when I go watch friends do it. I cannot. Ever.
    2. Did you guys use a router to notch out where the shelf and support meet? Or just plain old magic? Either way is cool. Just curious.

    • Yes, some combination of a router and magic. On the vertical pieces, he routed out a notch for each shelf, then inserted the shelf in like a puzzle piece. And because he did it and not me, it actually fit like it was supposed to. I am the same way about marathons! I’d rather actually die than try one though.

  8. See?! Didn’t I tell ya?! Sometimes you just need to go for it. It’s amazing how it all worked out with the wallpaper. Love this post and the way your closet is shaping up.

  9. Sneaky wallpaper purchaser – well done, Sir! So sweet 🙂 Can’t wait to see it all painted and pretty-fied!

    Happy Birthday to your little man! And I’m certain two weeks of good trying could at grab a bronze medal.

  10. Three cheers for the wallpaper! It’s going to look awesome and I’ll secretly (well, I guess not now) harbor jealously towards your closet. And about the Olympics, I haven’t watched even a minute. I forget that it’s on, and by the time I can sit down and actually watch it I’m too caught up other things, like sleeping. But, I totally think you could pick up Olympic level curling in 2 weeks! At least the sweeping part, right? Because we sweep almost daily anyways. We’re practically professionals already.

  11. This looks amazing!! I cannot wait to see more! We started pricing out our closet at IKEA because I am not sure if we are cool enough to build from scratch, but is how much progress we made. Oh wait, I cleaned it out LOL.

    • I spent hours in ikea last weekend wondering why we didn’t just go that route! 🙂 So much easier! And then you can use all their fun closet accessories!

  12. Am I watching the Olympics? Um, yes. I get almost as worked up watching the Olympics as I do watching college football; I almost cried last night when Plushenko withdrew from figure skating.

    Our Valentine’s Day plans are safe from the snow, so I have been assured by my husband. And since he’s currently digging his car out, I’d say it’s a safe bet 🙂

  13. um… I ALWAYS think I can compete at an Olympic level. I never knew how delusional it was until I told my wife I thought I could be a ski jumper… She laughed… I cried.

    Anyway… Super love the closet and the method/materials you chose to build. A closet makeover is on our list, so I’m definitely taking notes on the process!

  14. awww I love that Andy bought the wallpaper for you. 🙂 And happy almost birthday to your little man! The closet looks great already!

  15. Aww, happy birthday to Weston! And happy painting to you!! 😉

  16. oh wow! the closet is looking sooo good! if closet organization was an olympic sport, the gold would be yours, baby.
    and happy bday to weston! tell him i will owe him a cassie special pb and j next time i am there!

  17. Aww! So sweet of Andy to buy it for you! I had no idea you could find it on Ebay! *runs off to Ebay*

  18. Andy is a keeper — he obviously gives great Valentine’s Day gifts! First a beautiful son and now wallpaper! Happy Birthday & Happy Valentine’s Day!

    Love the closet plan I know you will enjoy that!

    I can’t even watch the Olympics without getting out of breath. kelly

  19. Love it! This post was hilarious. I have often had similar illusions of grandeur (which may or may not have involved sock skating on hardwood floors–and not just in my childhood.) Andy is a keeper for sure–love that he found the wallpaper on ebay and saved a wad of cash.

  20. I totally feel the same way about the Olympics. I always feel like I have to start doing stretches on the living room floor while I’m watching. Embarrassing but true!

  21. Yay wallpaper! I’m excited about the party :). Sometimes I remember about the Olympics and think we should watch them some, but then I forget again. I don’t even have a good excuse like being busy having a baby.

  22. Yay, Andy!!!!!

  23. YAY for the wallpaper! Yay for Andy! Yay for Ebay! Yay for the Olympics! I’m full of happiness today. 🙂 I can’t wait for my invitation to the closet party, it’s looking great so far. I’m sure it’ll be standing room only. I hope your gold medal is prominently displayed. 😉 Happy Valentine’s Day and bday tomorrow to your little guy!

  24. I figure skated for many years and it’s been fun to watch some of the people I used to skate with competing at the olympics – so exciting. We love watching the olympics around here. 🙂
    Love how your closet is coming together and that wallpaper is a wonderful gift. It will be so beautiful!
    Happy Valentine’s Day!

  25. i love me that chunky molding too. and yes don’t forget room for those maxi’s i can not wait to see it all finished. I bet it will be BEAUTIFULLLL

  26. What a wonderful and thoughtful man you have. Love hearing stories like that. Loving the progress on the closet as well. It’s going to be absolutely fabulous! There is a bit of a system in ours but it needs tweaking to get it to work better for my liking. Another thing on the endless list. Speaking of the endless list and now totally off subject of this post, but I have to thank you. Your post about paying off your mortgage lit the fire under my butt I needed to get back on track. Our house is perfectly fine, but we want to redo the kitchen, I (maybe not the hubby, ha) want to replace perfectly good tile floors because they are dated, I’d like to close in the back porch and make it a bigger laundry room/mud room/storage area, etc. Anyway, my point is that your post hit home. I had a home before we married and we rent it out. I moved in to his home after we married and then we bought another home a few years back and rent that last one out. My former home has a balance, but his/our former home had a 15-year mortgage and it has a year or two left on that. We would love to sell both and put it into our current home to pay it off, but with the housing crash the properties are still not worth what we paid 🙁 so we have to hold onto them longer. Because of your post, it reminded me of what’s more important. So now my goal is to really focus on my former home’s mortgage. I was already paying extra on it but now I’m going to really intensify that. Those big home projects can wait. There’s plenty of little ones that can keep me happy along the way. Awesome. Happy Valentine’s Day!

  27. Wow, Kelly! You are moving quickly on your closet. It’s looking fabulous! I have total closet envy already, and you aren’t even done! SO happy to hear that your wonderful hubby ordered your dream wallpaper for you. Yeah, I think he likes you 🙂 Can’t wait to see it all done! That wallpaper is GORGEOUS.

  28. It is looking so pretty!!! I love the wallpaper choice and cannot wait to see it all finished!!!

    I am loving the Olympics, especially the slope style course. Although I think people have to be crazy to go down a hill willingly at 70 miles an hour wearing spandex!!!

  29. Our 27th wedding anniversary is today! The years have flown by as the kids have grown and life has been full of ups and downs. I wouldn’t change a day, and I wouldn’t even make them easier because it’s the tough road that has forged our marriage and faith.

    Have a wonderful Valentine’s day! Let me know if you ever want to chat about “stuff!”

  30. What a seriously amazing hubby! Wallpaper for you! Best kind of flowers. A few years ago, Ryan put down the hex tiles with little black hex flowers. And I loved it more than any flowers.

  31. Yay for sweet husbands! Yeah, I think he likes you. 😉

    Our Valentine’s plans involve watching the Olympics! 😀 The men’s figure skating finals are tonight. I’m a figure skating nerd. And my hubby actually enjoys watching it too. I love that guy. He indulges all my quirks. We’ll get some kind of nice takeout for dinner (we never go out on Valentine’s, too crazy and besides we have two kids and whoever is single and available to babysit on Valentine’s Day really WANTS to babysit and be reminded that they’re NOT out on a date? so in we stay – besides, our youngest is sick and needs his mommy!) and after the kids go to bed we’ll snuggle on the couch and watch the Olympics and probably surf the internet for homes. There is a good chance the short sale we were going for isn’t going to go through, so we’re beginning to explore other options.

    Our Valentine’s date is going to be on Sunday – we got half-price tickets for this fine food and wine festival at a hotel downtown. 😀 Um chocolate and wine and food and some sample spa treatments? YES PLEASE.

  32. Wow, it’s looking awesome!! And I can’t wait to see that beautiful wallpaper up on the wall, you are so lucky to have such a thoughtful husband 🙂 I hope you’ll do a tutorial on how to make the built-in shelves so I can convince my husband to transform our closet – it looks pretty similar to yours!

  33. Susan Takeda says:

    What a great husband and a happy Valentine’s day to you! And just so you know, curling IS harder than it looks. My son played ice hockey all though his school years (he’s 21 now) and had an opportunity to try curling in Canada with his teammates while they were at a tournament. Those skilled, athletic hockey boys made quite the comical picture attempting to maneuver that stone down the ice. Good memories.

  34. Ahh! I’m so excited to see this done! That wallpaper is going to look amazing!

  35. Speaking as one who was on the curling team in high school….it’s really not that hard. If you’re good at bowling and you can walk on ice without falling over, you could be good at curling.

  36. Hi Kelly,

    I wonder if I can ask your lovely hubby for a little tutorial about those shelves? I have a really old, really quirky house and would love some built in shelves/cupboards just like the ones he has built for you. I’d really appreciate a few pointers e.g. What do you start with? Do you create a unit and then fix it to the wall? If so, how do you fix it to the wall?

    Anyway, it looks lovely, as does everything that you do and I thoroughly enjoy reading (and being envious about) all your household adventures!

  37. That’s crazy- I just watched curling yesterday and was like “…. and?” Seriously. We could be the next team

  38. HA HA HA HA HA!! The minute I opened this that is exactly what I did, I started laughing the minute I saw you skiing! Sooo funny I love it! I think you’d be excellent in the Olympics, and as for the cheer-leading, they were just jealous I’m sure! Can’t wait to see the closet done!! It’s going to be beautiful I just know it! Oh, and that picture of Andy holding the wee one, there’s something about a Dad holding their child and the look of love on their faces that just melts my heart!

  39. What an awesome compromise and a sweet husband! And with a little practice, I could totally figure skate! (Actually we live too far away from civilization to get the basic channels and we don’t have cable/satellite so I can only see little clips of this years’ Olympics. It’s one of this rare times I’d want to be paying for “real tv.”

  40. Way to go Andy! Love how the closet is shaping up!

  41. Way to go Andy! I think you just one about a million gold medals with that move. lol 😉 It’s going to look beautiful Kelly!!!

    • I literally do the same thing as you. I was watching the biathlon, and was completely convinced that I could train hard enough to be in the next winter olympics. I had a whole plan. I told it to Aaron, and he was so unsupportive! Can you believe that 😉 haha! Men.

  42. Hubby snoops on blog and buys perfect wallpaper – on sale! LOVE IT! Totally sweet, and the perfect solution. Here’s to hubbies who are so much sweeter to us than we could ever have dreamed!

  43. Awww…Andy gets a gold medal for his wallpaper buying 🙂

  44. It’s coming along so nicely! I’m so happy you got the wallpaper, what a good hubby!

  45. Looks great! What about the overhead lightening? Excited to see what you choose!

    • Weeeeeell, I had what I thought was a great plan for that, but it doesn’t look like it’ll work. I think I might have a new plan now? Still not positive if it’ll work, but I’ll be posting about it soon!

  46. I could totally see you as an Olympian. Curling is just the same as sweeping the floor, right? So really you’ve been practicing for years. 😉 And Happy Birthday to Mr. Weston! How in the world to they get to be so big so fast?!
    Your closet is looking FABULOUS already! I’m having total closet envy over here. And major bonus points to Andy for buying the wallpaper! That is awesome!! Can’t wait to see the end result! Have a great week, Kelly!

    ~Abby =)

  47. He DOES love you! 🙂 That is so, so, so super sweet! I am so excited for you! Now I want to go look on ebay!! Even a little square of it would be gorgeous to frame or something 🙂

  48. I can completely relate to thinking you can win the gold. These athletes make it look so easy that I can’t imagine not being awesome if I had a bit of training! My friend and I talked the whole way home about how we would quit our jobs (in finance) to take dance and vocal lessons and pursue a new career in off broadway productions after seeing Dirty Dancing the musical… breakfast the next morning practicality took over and we decided to go back to the office on Monday 🙂

    The wallpaper is going to look amazing in your closet! Great surprise!

    • HAHAHA! I love that, because I *totally* do the same thing. Forget the fact that I can’t carry a tune to save my life, I still harbor secret dreams of being on broadway. So glad to hear it’s not just me! We should form a theater company. That’s all there is to it.

  49. That’s the sign of a good husband right there 😉 I think he’s the REASON you could win the gold. 🙂

  50. YESSSSS. That’s a good man. You should keep him.

  51. OH. MY. WORD. That pic of your hubby with lil bitty baby boy makes me want baby #3! Don’t tell my husband…I don’t think he’s there yet 😉 Pics of the closet are amazing also. And also…you are hilarious! I find myself laughing out loud at so many of your posts – if not ski jumping or figure skating, you could win a gold for cracking people up with your blog posts!

  52. Hello there! I love this closet! Congrats and a great project 🙂 I am not sure if you still get messages here but I am trying to build my own closet just like wthis one with minor modifications since i dont have access to a router! I did want to know how you went about joining the MDF to the wall I see that there are no furrings on the back part and I really like that clean look! If you could get back to me with that info I would really appreciate it!


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