Master Bathroom Remodel: elfa Walk-In Closet

ELFA custom white closet

As part of our master bathroom remodel (almost done, but we’re waiting on a cabinet that needed to be re-done to come in before we can officially call it done), I worked into our budget a customized elfa closet from the Container Store (this is not a sponsored post, though that would be awesome). After elfa-ing our laundry room last year, I was sold on the efficiency that is the elfa system. My good friend works for the Container Store, and she was over one day while I was talking to her about our bathroom plans. I took her upstairs to see our closet in person – sometimes the dimensions of a room only tell you so much. She took a look at how we used our closet. I had a long hanging rod that had almost nothing on it since I fold almost all of my clothing. I had a small freestanding elfa drawer to hold my jeans and workout clothes, but it wasn’t a sufficient amount of storage and everything spilled over. B had double hanging space that was stuffed into a tiny area because our closet door opens to hide half of his side of the closet. B also has a (self-proclaimed) hat and jersey hording problem. He has jerseys and hats that he collected as a kid that he understandably doesn’t want to part with. But because he doesn’t wear them, they just took up valuable real estate in our closet before. And our lack of a system for containing that collection just looked sloppy.  Our shoe shelves were front and center when you walked into the closet, but weren’t laid out very well for our needs. So basically, we had a big closet with an awkward angled wall and no function.  In fact, before this closet re-do, I was adamant that walk-in closets were a waste of square footage.  I’m still not sure they’re not a bit of a waste of square footage, but now that our closet is functional I have a brand new appreciation for it.

So, together with my friend, we came up with a solution for our closet. Lots of drawers for me with a little bit of short hang and a small section of long hang (Colorado girls don’t need much long hang – we’re not a formal bunch!), a bit more hanging space for B but also some drawers. And lots of shelves behind the door to store things that we don’t access very often, but want to have on hand.

Here’s what we were working with before (mostly cleared out for our bathroom remodel and with a pint sized blonde running around, but you can still see the layout):


See all of B’s hats and jersey’s up there on that top shelf?


And here was our closet before anything was moved back in. We decided to install the closet ourselves and it took us about a day. 1/2 a day to take down the old stuff, patch and paint the whole closet bright white (what a difference truly white makes is a closet compared to the yellow-y white builders use!), and 1/2 a day to hang the new stuff.


The great thing about elfa is that it’s changeable. So if when Quattro starts school in 5.5 years, I decide to go back to an office job (or maybe get a job at the Container Store to subsidize my elfa habit…) and my wardrobe requirements become a bit more formal, I can switch out some drawers for more hanging space. Or if we decide B needs more drawers, we can move his pant hanging space to behind the door and add another set of drawers next to his existing drawers.

custom ELFA closet with drawers

These drawers are my favorite things and probably the number one reason in my mind to go with elfa over many other closet systems. When we were interviewing bathroom contractors, one guy said “I’ll redo your closet, too. Build you some nice wood shelves.” And I said, “I’m good, I’ll wait for the elfa sale, I need drawers”. I fold the majority of my clothes (as evidenced from my tiny hanging space allotted in the photo two down), and these drawers keep everything in the closet so that I can get dressed in one spot. These have eliminated our need for a dresser in our bedroom altogether. Drawers are also the most expensive way to store your clothes, so there’s that. But in my mind, it’s worth every penny. I did tell B the other day, “If we ever DO move [NOT our plan, just talking hypothetically], we should totally take the drawers out before we list the house, replace them with hanging rods and move them with us since they’re the most expensive part of the whole system.” B politely smiled and said, “Or we could just not worry about that right now.” Probably wise, that down-to-earth husband of mine. It’s why we make a good team: his living in our current reality, and my not-so-much.

custom elfa closet with drawers and hanging space

Here’s my half of the closet. I love that it’s customized to how I keep my clothing now. And that I’m not pigeon holed into keeping this setup forever if my needs change.

ELFA closet shelves and hanging space

My friend and closet expert talked me through a couple trouble zones. Instead of giving valuable drawer space to my swim suits, for example, I bought some canvas bins to hold all of the things that we don’t access on a daily basis, but need to have nearby. The beauty of this is that it makes things easy to switch around for the seasons. I have started folding my sweaters, but there’s very little sense in devoting a whole drawer to my sweaters May – September in Colorado, so I’ll probably swap my sweaters into the bin and replace my swim suits and cover-ups in the drawer for the summer months. I have a bin for swim suits, a bin for tights, a bin for bags I’m not using at the moment. And lots of shelf space for more bins as the need arises.

organized walk-in closet with ELFA

Those same canvas bins hold B’s everyday hats, his sentimental hats and jerseys, and his logo shirts for work events (that he has to wear about once or twice a year for when he’s representing the company at an event, so didn’t need to be taking up room hanging or in a drawer he accesses daily).

closet redone

For our shoes, we decided to install elfa’s gliding shoe racks. B and I are clearly not shoe people as this is as full as they are at the moment. The shoe racks are awesome, and definitely more convenient than standard shelves that we always tended to just pile extra stuff on. I keep my heels (which I wear only for special occasions) in clear shoe boxes above my long-hang. Above the gliding shoe racks are more shelves. Here’s where I keep my bin for extra handbags and snow gear, and also where we will most likely keep out of season clothing (neatly stacked in bins of course :)) as needed. Right now we keep our entire wardrobes in the closet year round, but this system allows us to move to a more seasonal closet if we want to.

So, that’s our closet today. We installed this system a little over a month ago and I can say with complete honesty that it has stayed this organized since the day we put everything back. I didn’t move a single thing when I took these photos (which is why my orange striped sweatshirt hanging above is out of color coordinated order!) That, in my mind, is a closet organization success.

Once again, this is in no way shape or form a sponsored post, but the elfa closet sale (30% off) is going on right now if you are in the market for an organized closet yourself. I’m trying to justify the cost of elfa-ing Thomas’s closet since he and Peter are going to share that room in a few months. But after the major spending that our bathroom and closet remodel entailed, I think I’ll just save up for next year’s sale :). Let’s just be real about the cost: Our closet wasn’t cheap. Even with the sale it comes in at a pretty penny. To be honest I haven’t priced out other closet systems, so I have no idea how they compare.  But, even B, who I’m pretty sure just went along with this because I was so passionate about it told me that it’s been life changing. He’s also asked me if he’s allowed to actually use the shelves or if they’re just supposed to stay empty. Jury’s still out on that one.

Master Bedroom: New Bedding and Curtains

How’s that for a creative post title? Killing it. We’re coming up on our 1 year anniversary of living in this house, and so I’m trying to get progress photos taken in every room…so get ready for small updates on the house  and a house tour of sorts over the next few weeks.

When we moved into our house last June, the master bedroom had yellowed-by-the-sun faux wood blinds, white frilly sheers and plastic hardware including curtain tiebacks. Works for some styles, but not mine. We took the curtains down immediately and eventually removed the hardware before we had the room painted last November. The blinds are still up there while I decide what I want in their place (I’m leaning towards bamboo for the texture).


For my birthday, I asked for new sheets for our bed and new shams. I loved the shams, and was getting tired of the quilt (still love it, but like the option to change it up), so when the duvet cover that matched the shams went on sale, I waited for a free shipping day and ordered it. I also bought long navy blue curtain panels (at IKEA) and new hardware and B hung those a few weeks ago…and our master bedroom changed dramatically with those two changes. I also bought some new, graphic lampshades for our existing lamps and moved the white drum shades to my green living room lamps that were in need of new shades. Just little, pretty inexpensive overall, tweaks. I have an evolving vision for this room – eventually I’d like to go away from our matching dresser and bedside tables. They were some of the first things we purchased for our last home before we really had a keen sense of what our style is – and it turns out our style is a little more eclectic than matched furniture sets – I’ve always called our style “Urban Cottage” and I think that’s still on the money. And that boxspring needs a tailored bedskirt on it as opposed to a cheap sheet, but we’ll get there.



So that’s where we are for now. I’m still hunting for a navy accent pillow to anchor the bed and the bedskirt, and the furniture is absolutely fine so if we find something more our style, great, if not, oh well. It will continue to evolve, but that’s where our bedroom stands almost one year in. Here’s a peak at it on move-in day.

Master Bedroom: New Bedding

When we moved into our first house, we were engaged and our room was the first room we painted. With kids who we wanted to get settled, our room in this house was one of the last ones we painted (well, the kids needing to be settled was one excuse, the fact that the ceilings are ridiculously high was another). So, with paint on the walls, our room had become my focus. I still love the quilt I bought 3 years ago for our bed, but I was over the matchiness of the shams with it and ready for a little pattern mixing. So, for my birthday (technically the first day of January, which meant B had to do his shopping in December…no way would I do no spending January if it meant no presents, let’s be real), I asked for new shams for our bed and new sheets. I think you officially become a grown-up when you ask for sheets for your birthday.

Mixed Pattern Bedding

I photoshopped up a couple different ideas, and finally decided on these gray and white sheets from West Elm, and these blue Ikat shams to pull some of the blues out of our quilt. Can I say? I have never loved sheets so much. For the last 10 years, I’ve only had solid sheets – following the whole make your master bedroom like a hotel rule. And you know what I discovered? Even with solid white sheets, my bed did not magically get made every morning, there were no fresh towels waiting for me upon returning to the room at the end of the day, and my toilet paper has never folded itself into a triangle. What gives, white sheets? I thought you were magical. So with the hotel luxury thing not happening, I decided to throw caution to the wind and look into patterned options. The gray and white stripes spoke to me and I love that the horizontal stripes help me remember which direction a King sized sheet should go (am I the only one with that problem?).

mixed pattern bedding 2

You know what’s pretty interesting? Now that I want to see my sheets, the bed does magically get made every morning. The toilet paper’s still not folding itself, but baby steps. I’m on the hunt for the perfect solid navy pillow to hang out in front of the Ikat shams. Next on my list for this room are window treatments and new lampshades. And hanging the stuff we’ve had leaning against the walls in here since June.

So that’s the latest change in our master bedroom. I love my new sheets – I’m a patterned sheet convert. And I find them even more wonderful when my little buddy climbs under the covers while I’m taking pictures and requests that I climb in and snuggle with him. Irresistible.

mixed patern bedding

Live More With Less: Master Bedroom Organization

When B and I were first married, making our bedroom a pretty place was a priority. We ordered new bedside tables and a dresser as our wedding gift to each other and we bought a king sized mattress as our first married Christmas gift, and I made the nail head trim burlap headboard after that. The bedroom has evolved over the years – see that evolution here.

But our master bedroom has become kind of a mess. It’s easy to just put laundry baskets full of clothes on the floor rather than folding and putting laundry away daily (terrible habit!). I rarely have time to make the bed in the morning before one of the kids needs attention, and then I forget about it until late in the day. Chairs pile up with things and because our room is pretty much the biggest in the house, it tends to inherit things we don’t have other places for. So this room was probably the biggest project facing me for this challenge. I had hoped to have time to add some new, fun decorative elements along with purging, but I had my hands full just getting rid of things this week. Keeping it real, here’s the disaster of a before:

Master Bedroom Mess

A hot mess. I started by tackling the bins on the floor of our closet. The first to get the wrath of Emily handed to it was my box of maternity clothes. I hate maternity clothes and wear my regular clothes as long as possible when I’m pregnant, so I really don’t need much in terms of maternity wear. B and I think we’d like a third child at some point should that be God’s plan for our family, but we’re not there, yet. So, it’s not time to get rid of maternity clothes completely, but it’s also not time to keep things just for the sake of keeping them. I got rid of about half of my maternity clothes – most of the white t-shirts were dingy, there was a pair of Gap maternity jeans that were never long enough on me, etc. I’m taking the good quality stuff to a resale store and threw out the stained and hole ridden stuff. And that bin went into storage in the crawl space.

Maternity Clothes


Next up, summer clothes. We have enough space in our closet to hang all seasons of clothes, but when I do, I never wear half of my wardrobe. So B and I both have one laundry basket of summer clothes on the floor of the closet, and we transfer our winter clothes to that basket when it’s time to hang up the warm weather wardrobes. I went through the baskets and got rid of everything I didn’t love – there were a lot of old tank tops that no longer meet my standards of length, sundresses that are far too short for a mother of two to wear…you get the picture. All of those went to Goodwill.

Onto  drawers. I got rid of old yoga pants, tank tops, pretty much all the dingy stuff I shouldn’t being wearing because I’ve worn it to death. I pared down my pajamas, re-organized my underwear drawer, and got rid of about 50% of the clothing I store in the dresser. Here’s a picture of the bags I have to donate:


Finally, every surface in our room needed to be cleaned off. Things just pile up in here. I scooped everything off the dresser and got rid of most of it and found the appropriate homes for the rest of it. I put together an entire bag of books that need to be returned to their original owners (my mom and sister, mostly), a pile to donate to our library, and a small and manageable pile to read within the next few months.

And the after: Nothing too drastic in terms of decorative changes, but at least there’s less stuff.


Cleared Surfaces

I still have a few decorative changes I’d like to make to the room, but that will have to wait for after Easter – this week I’m tackling the backyard! Cutting back shrubs, planting our spring greens, and getting the patio and grill area in order. How’d you do this week? Link up if you made progress!

Evolution of the Master Bedroom

My mom was over on Tuesday to watch Thomas while I had a doctor’s appointment (Baby McKevitt’s pretty happy where he or she is at the moment, it appears), and after I got home she stuck around for an hour to help me organize my medicine cabinet and fold laundry. While she was folding and I was ironing the throw pillow covers for the living room, I tossed an ironed pillow cover on my bed and noticed that the green rugby stripes worked perfectly with my bright and graphic floral quilt on our bed. I said to Caroline, “Do you know what I love? Slowly but surely, my house has become mix and matchable – I could use these pillows in here if I wanted. Remember when the upstairs was all brown and white and the downstairs was all green and black?” Caroline commented that her house is the same way and it is – my mom loves blue and white with a little bit of yellow, while I opt for white and green and black for the most part.  So anyway, a look back at the evolution of our master bedroom – from hand-me-down kids to slowly but surely realizing our own style:

Here was our bedroom shortly after we moved in, hand-me-down bed and side tables.

A year after we moved in, we bought nightstands, mirrors and a dresser (not shown), and switched the bedding out for something lighter.

Eventually we hung a capiz chandelier and switched the bedding back to a richer color:

A year and a half after we moved in, Mr. B and I bought our grown-up bed (hooray for no longer sleeping on the double mattress that saw me through college…). I was obviously still feeling like the master bedroom needed to be brown and white:

My sister-in-law and I wasted no time making the now famous nailhead trim and burlap headboard that I still adore to this day:

That summer I made a white duvet with brown grosgrain trim and switched between the two frequently:

Until finally, I stumbled across this quilt in February 2011 – and haven’t felt the urge to change bedding once since I put it on the bed. There was something about putting that quilt on the bed that just made everything we currently had in the room work for me – I was allowing my personality to walk up the stairs (Mr. B was not in love with the idea of having a floral quilt on our bed originally, but I keep my house full of men pretty gender neutral so argued for a touch of pretty somewhere, and he did concede that he didn’t hate it, so it stayed, and now I’d say he’s neutral on it). That’s a record over here at imperfect, considering that the other bedding got switched 5 times in 3 years – and was rotated in and out frequently depending on my mood. 

Shortly after buying the new quilt, I updated the lighting for more modern (and more me – since at this point I was beginning to figure out who “me” was decor-wise) tear drop lamps with drum shades and took down the frames of Mr. B and me from college. Yep, that trio of frames hung in my room senior year of college. Not like we don’t have gorgeous wedding pictures we could frame or something.

That’s our master bedroom all grown-up.  Or at least the wall that hosts the bed portion of our bedroom – the rest of it’s still a hot mess. Don’t believe me? Here, let me prove it:

The eventual plan is to replace the low white chair with something more substantial – what, who knows? And maybe someday hang a wedding picture over our dresser. Novel idea.

I’ll figure out what I want to do with it one of these days. I’m beginning to think that I might actually need to check myself into Can’t Commit to Wall Decor Anonymous. Come on Emily, it’s been 5 years, let’s hang something on these walls.  Do you have a room that’s changed more times than the number of years you’ve lived in your house? 

PS – You can see a just-moved-in to how it sits now post on the living room here

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Lighting the Master Bedroom

I have another lamp update.  It involved many fruitless trips to HomeGoods, Marshall’s and culminated in 5 Target trips: One to search for an area rug to complement the soon-to-be banquette seating that became a lamp base buying adventure – my 15 month old niece thought I was insane in and out of the lamp aisle with indecision.  Three trips to various Targets to look for shades to work with the lamp bases.  One to buy diapers and return the lamp bases since I couldn’t find shades that would work when I stumbled across the perfect drum shades.

I was looking for a shape similar to my green glass lamps – but not green or glass.  Since, you know, I have those.  And I suppose a girl could overdo the lemongrass green. 

So, let’s look at the poorly scaled before (the IKEA Astrid lamps are living a bright and promising life in our guest room).

And the white ceramic teardrop after:

Mr. B’s nightstand.  I feel like Jack Welch should sue Charlie Sheen for stealing his book title as a personal phrase.  No clue who Jack Welch is.  Or what Winning is about.  I should pay more attention to my husband’s MBA.

And my nightstand.  I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that you only need to read the first 50 pages of any Malcolm Gladwell book.  Unless you really like reading the same sentences and examples every 50 pages.
I woke up yesterday and rolled over to turn on my light and was confused as to who’s room I was in.  But early morning confusion aside, I love the update.  It appeals to my “Something’s Gotta Give-urban” style*. 
*Do you guys watch Secrets of a Stylist? I like Emily’s designs (in general) and fresh approach for American HGTV (I’ve tried unsuccessfuly to subscribe to/stream Canadian HGTV), but B can’t stand her made up design styles.  At first he refused to be in the same room with me when the show was on, but now we laugh our butts off and make up design styles for each other with completely opposite and non-sensical adjectives. B’s totally Conservative Hippie Mad Men Walmart Luxury.  It’s a fun game.  What would you be?

Lamp Update

Sorry for the lack of posting, everyone.  I had a jam packed week last week and blogging feel to the backburner.  So here’s an update on the bedroom:

The quilt is staying.  Love it.  I’m on the hunt for new lamps for the room – but I’m out of house budget and have to wait until I can make that purchase.  So, in the meantime, I moved my favorite living room lamps upstairs just to make sure I liked the scale.

Which means the small lamps are in the living room and look ridiculous.  So new lamps for sure (B loves the green lamps in the bedroom).  And once the room was feeling a little bit more settled (I’m still leaning towards the moose head for above the bed, though I’m considering some of the other awesome suggestions!), Thomas and I tackled some laundry:

He was super helpful.  More regular posting coming soon.

Bedroom Talk

Our bedroom needed a little spice.  Minds, gutters, please.  The decor was lacking. Brown and white solids are lovely, but I was getting bored with them.  I blame Sarah Richardson.

Here’s our brown and white bedroom:

Not terrible, just not va-va-voom.  I still like this velvet duvet.  But I’ve been timidly looking for something a little more fun.

I was at HomeGoods earlier this week looking for a fruit basket for my countertops.  The things we make trips across town for, but I’d had an emotional weekend and thought that after refraining from writing snarky tweets and/or emails about it I deserved a long drive to buy a container for fruit.  And the fruit basket quest was unsuccessful, but as I was wandering the aisles, I couldn’t stop looking at a King sized quilt.  It was just speaking to me.  It was the kind of thing I’d normally say was too loud or colorful.  Definitely too feminine for my house full of McKevitt men.  But I loved it. 

I’m in love – ties in the silver sage of our bedroom with the chartreuse all over the main floor.  Adds life.  Adds spice.  And I like that it’s a quilt – something a little different for our room.  B says he fine with it, but I can tell it’s not his favorite.  I try so hard to keep things streamlined and masculine around here for the Electrical Engineer I married.  But every now and then, a girl needs some pretty.  So the verdict’s still out on whether it will stay…I always say B has full veto power, but this time I’m wishing I hadn’t made that declaration.

I love that the quilt is backed in a geometric green.

It’s like it belongs with my slipcovered ottoman in the living room, coordinating but not matchy-matchy.  Just how I like my life.

So, whether or not the quilt stays, I need a little more bedroom help.  The kind I can’t find in Cosmo.  What do I put above the bed?  The frames are a placeholder and I know I don’t want to do more frames – I want dimension.  Rectangular headboard, rectangular mirrors. I need curves.

A sunburst mirror is not an option, I just don’t love them enough.  I’ve considered a cardboard moose head because I live in Coloardo and think it would be awesome, but is that done?  Or too much?

A fabulous monogram a la Kim?

Other ideas (aside from the oft-suggested sunburst mirror)? I need your help!  Thoughts on the bedding?  Loving it like me or liking the subdued brown and white masculinity that Mr. B is comfortable with?  Sound off!

The Bedroom Television Question

Last week’s dresser post reminded me of the age old Television in the bedroom debate. But it’s not a debate in our imperfect household. And here’s why.

I totally get the argument that bedrooms are for romance. That having a TV can ruin the mood. And I can see how that could be a problem for some couples. I get that. Maybe I’m okay with it because we really don’t do a lot of bed TV watching – we don’t fall asleep to the TV, we don’t watch it every night – not even once a week.

But sometimes, I think there’s nothing more romantic than just snuggling. Curling up in bed and laughing together at a late show, or deciding that you can’t turn the baseball game off when you’re team’s in extra innings but you also can’t keep your eyes open on the couch one minute longer. Being tucked into bed when you’re sick with saltines, seven-up and your sick movie. Mine is You’ve Got Mail. And I cannot wait for the day when our huge brood of McKiddles are all cuddled up in our bed watching a movie on a cold, snowy night.

And so, I’m okay with the bedroom TV – in moderation.  I prefer it to a “man room” where Mr. B would disappear to for days at a time.  But what about you?  What’s your reasoning for hating a bedroom TV?  Loving it? 

Game Time

Wanna play a game?  I like to call it “Help Emily decide which sconces (if any) to put on her Christmas and Birthday lists”.  The space over our dresser is bare.  I have plans for it.  But I’m not sure which plans I like.

Plan A: Frame our favorite wedding photo.  Put two sconces on either side. Please note that I would try to make the frame bigger than the sconces.  My photoshop skills and patience limit my to-scaleness.
Option 1 – Black sconces:

Option 2: Mirrored Sconces:
Plan B: This is Mr. B’s choice.  Flat panel mounted above the dresser (we do watch TV in bed occasionally, but not often).  Then take the no-man’s land corner where the old TV is and turn it into a comfy sitting area.  
Option 3: TV

So, what would you do?  Plan B is the only real option for a sitting area.  Plan A would require a little TV innovation in the other corner (not yet seen b/c it’s just that ugly) to take it from dorm room drab to newlywed fab.  So which option do you prefer over the dresser?  And a little note to Mr. B – a TV is not on my Christmas or Birthday list.  But a chaise could be.