Closet Conversion – Antique Icebox Style

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Project by Kevin_S posted 02-15-2016 05:23 AM 2669 views 7 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

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.

8 comments so far

View BurlyBob's profile


9511 posts in 3598 days

#1 posted 02-15-2016 05:26 AM

That is really clever and nice way to remodel that space. It looks really great.

View recycle1943's profile (online now)


6177 posts in 2955 days

#2 posted 02-15-2016 11:52 AM

a great looking build as well as an investment in your home

-- Dick, Malvern Ohio - my biggest fear is that when I die, my wife sells my toys for what I told her I paid for them

View PaulDB's profile


48 posts in 2885 days

#3 posted 02-15-2016 02:19 PM

Great project to better utilize that space. I love the icebox look

-- Paul, "Measure once, cut twic"

View david38's profile


3518 posts in 3676 days

#4 posted 02-15-2016 07:15 PM

looks great

View gsimon's profile


1332 posts in 3446 days

#5 posted 02-15-2016 11:57 PM

looks amazing – I really like the rugged concept made refined
nice use of space too

-- Greg Simon

View paratrooper34's profile


916 posts in 4285 days

#6 posted 02-16-2016 12:02 AM

Very nice! A work of art to be proud of for sure.

-- Mike

View MC's profile


234 posts in 3680 days

#7 posted 02-16-2016 02:41 AM

Very nice design and we’ll executed.

View Ivan's profile


17135 posts in 4200 days

#8 posted 02-16-2016 07:07 AM

Beautiful closet. Those metal parts realy brig it to higher level.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

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