Reclaiming the Linen Closet

Some people, when the realize they are coming down with a cold, relax on the sofa and watch movies.  Other people decide that they absolutely cannot stand their contractor-white hallway one more minute and paint it a beautiful grey-brown.  I am one of the latter.

I just hated EVERYTHING!

This is how I redecorate.

It began simply enough: I had a stinky linen closet.  It wasn’t my fault.  It wasn’t DH’s fault, or the dog’s fault, even though they are both pretty stinky individuals.  No, my linen closet reeked of cigarettes.  I stored bathroom cleaning supplies in there, and toilet paper.  I held my breath whenever I had to open the door.  If I breathed in too much, I’d start a coughing fit.

In a total departure from logic, I figured this was the fault of the previous tenants.  Not sure why I thought this, since nothing else in the house smelled of cigarettes.  I threw in an open container of some sort of odor-neutralizing thingamajig from the organic grocery store.  A month later, the closet smelled of cigarettes and odor-neutralizing thingamajig.  I found a mousehole from long-gone mice (confirmed by the exterminator) and plugged it with Cu wire and expanding foam.

I tried Lysol.  An open container of activated charcoal from the aquarium supply store.  Odor-neutralizing everything!  Nothing worked.  So, for a year, I didn’t use my closet.  A few weeks ago,  I had finally had enough.  Our house is too small to waste a ready-made storage area.  I was tired of keeping sets of bed linens in a pile on the floor of my art studio, covered by another clean sheet.

I finally figured out the source of the undead cigarette smoke.  While it is not my choice, I firmly believe in the right of the individual to choose cigarettes. However… when my adjoining-wall neighbor’s cigarette smoke is coming so thickly through the closet walls that I can’t open the linen closet without holding my breath, then later having a coughing fit from the smoke in the hallway, it’s time to don a respirator, grab an impact drill and take the {redacted} closet shelving out.  I readied my battle cry, “I AM RECLAIMING MY LINEN CLOSET. IT’S KILZ TIME, MONKEY FUNNERS!

So.  I removed the shelving. I didn’t think it was possible for epoxy-coated wire shelving to reek of cigarettes, but it did.  I removed that to outside.  I will try cleaning them later and see if that works, so I can re-use them.  Otherwise, I’m going to take advantage of the 30% off elfa sale at the Container Store.  I ❤ elfa so, so, so much.

It smells like a bar. Just needs a little stale urine odor.

After removing the shelving.

Clean up, spackle, sand and prime.

I painted two coats of Kilz Clean Start Zero-VOC primer.  Then I painted two coats of Sherwin Williams Harmony, flat, color-matched to Benjamin Moore AC-31, Hot Spring Stones.

Hallway is now 20% cooler.

Benjamin Moore AC-31, Hot Spring Stones

The existing trim paint is a standard semi-gloss bright white.  It’s a bit dirty and scuffed, even after cleaning with Scrubbing Bubbles.  It really needs to be sanded and painted again… but for right now, I cannot be arsed to do it.  So, working with the existing trim = yes.

Here’s the before and after shots:

Taped and ready to roll.

Ready to paint. Just add dance music.

So fresh. So clean clean. So pretty grey-brown.


I can’t wait to install my awesome light fixtures.  They’re zebra-print.  Are you ready for that?

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