DIY

Our Closet Reveal: From Thin Air to Dressing Room (The Ultimate IKEA PAX Hack!)

July 16, 2020  —  Written by Julia Marcum 

We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 

Portfolio

Projects

Design

We're Chris + Julia

read more

What we're                   right now

Loving

browse the shop

Befores, afters, mood boards, plans, failures, wins. We’ve done a lot of projects, and they’re all here. 

We have a long-standing relationship with DIY, and love rolling our sleeves up and making it happen. 

Even when you don’t want to rip down a wall, you can make that space in your home better. Right now.

browse all

browse all

browse all

02

01

03

Popular Posts

1.

2.

3.

Top Categories

Pinch me. This is our closet now.




And although this is a before photo, below, it’s not really THE before photo, because this room didn’t exist before! We added a ceiling/floor to a two story space and made it our closet. (Below is the music room for reference). The idea came in as we were framing the space in on stories as a bonus room and a few followers recommended making it our closet. At first I thought it was crazy because it was almost the size of our bedroom! But, by the end of the day, we were completely sold on the idea–WHY NOT MAKE IT OUR CLOSET?! And we have never turned back. 

The base of our closet is the Ikea PAX system. Yes, this is another Ikea Pax Hack (!!) and our 3rd time using their wardrobes. (You can see our last closet here where we kept them relatively out of the box, with the exception of some crown molding and filler pieces.) Our closet now, we decided to go all out, trimming them out, painting, adding drawer fronts and hardware and a few other fun details.

Here it is now!

 

We have been diligently chronicling the process every step of the way, so if you’ve missed a how-to part of the closet coming together, check out these posts (all of the sources are listed at the bottom!)

A Before (and current) Closet Tour Where We Talk Through Our Ideas
Our Master Closet Inspiration: Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue…
How to Use the IKEA PAX Wardrobe Planner + Our Master Closet Moodboard
Full Length Mirrors Aren’t Just For The Closet + Designing ours and a Roundup of Favorites
Master Closet Update: Building up the Wardrobes, and a Photoshop Rendering
Master Closet Update: Filling Holes, Adding Trim, and Nixing the Ceiling Beams
Closet Update: How to DIY Closet Shelves (for shoes etc.)
Master Closet Update: It’s All Painted!
Adding Custom Fronts to the IKEA PAX Closet System Drawers
Installing Pocket Doors in the Closet

We also put together a short video of the closet coming together from the very beginning (adding the ceiling to the music room!). It’s surreal to watch. It’s been a pretty lengthy project, but so so worth it.

Back to the closet though– I tried to group before and after photos together so you can see how the space evolved. I also put ALL of our clothes in there (although I think it would have looked better in photos to take out some of my more colorful tops, I really wanted it to be a true representation of how it looks and functions for us.

Chris and I each designed our sides of the closet. He went for mostly drawers and I went for optimal hanging space, including a whole space dedicated to a “denim bar”so I can see the character of my jeans while they are still hung. Fun fact: I usually choose what jeans I’m going to wear before my shirt!

 

 

The curtains were the last touch in the room and they truly complete it. I sent fabric (linked at the bottom) to Martha & Ash to have them made and I want them for every room in the house now. This is the most ideal spot to sit and do make-up with all the natural light! But I’ve also already finished a few blogs posts quietly from this desk–turns out, this closet is a very peaceful, beautiful place to perch.

We floated the mirror about 18″ in front of the shoe shelves (the mirror can rotate a full 360 degrees) so there’s room to easily grab any shoes from behind. But, shhh! The mirror also helps hide our less glamorous shoes. Okay, we mostly have tennis shoes.

It turned out differently than I originally imagined in my head in a good way. It’s really our dream closet and my favorite part is that it was wasted space previously. We added square footage without bumping out any walls and we gained an entire closet…or does this qualify as a dressing room!?

 

CLOSET SOURCES

Paint Color: Lamp Room Gray by Farrow & Ball (You can see more on painting the closet here!)
Floors: Ingrid by Stuga Studio
Window
Chandelier
Ottoman
Rug: The Vintage Rug Shop
Curtains: Custom from Martha & Ash
Fabric
Vanity
Marble Knobs
Chair
Hand Jewelry Holder: Similar
Vanity Mirror
Art
Triple Swivel Hook
Pocket Doors
DIY Shoe Shelves
Shelf Lighting
Mirror: Custom from Handmade Industries
IKEA PAX: (See more on building the wardrobes here! You can also see how to use the IKEA PAX wardrobe planner here!)
Custom Fronts
Cabinet Knobs

 

What do you think?

  1. Nick says:

    Are your ceilings 9 foot? Working on plans now and drawing most of our inspirations from your design – but we have 10 ft ceiling – so I’m thinking I may need to add another shelf to the top.

  2. Tiffany says:

    Any chance you remember the curtain rod and clips source for your closet?! ????

  3. Jen says:

    I literally ran across your IG today and Hubby and I have been reading your blogs all day! And we subscribed! We love your closet. Quick question though, how did you hide the holes on the inside of the PAX closet walls? Is it just paint? Did you fill them in, sand then paint? Thank you so much!

  4. Zina Segev says:

    Hi Julia!
    I am copin your entire closet setup!
    What a well thought out space and decor!!!!
    How did you paint the Ikea cabinets? I have tried in the past and the paint cracks off…..
    help pls :)

  5. Erin says:

    I love Lamp Room Grey! But I can’t afford Farrow and Ball:( Did you have any luck with Sherwin Williams color matching Lamp Room Grey?

  6. Nicolette says:

    Gah this is so good and serious goals! I’m planning a remodel now and crossing my fingers and toes I will have enough room to hang my pants denim bar style. These are the little luxuries I live for

  7. Kelly says:

    Oh I love, love this! I notice the swivel hook you linked is different than the one you used. I like yours better! Is it still available, and if so do you have a link? Thank you!!

  8. PJ says:

    Truly inspirational as we’re starting to build our house! I LOVE that you showed it with ALL your clothes in it. I’ve been having to switch out clothes seasonally since the old house we’re in has VERY limited closet space, Thanks for the awesome ideas!

  9. Liz says:

    Such a lovely space- it looks so soft and warm and rich. That light fixture is so great. A very handsome dressing room, and such a great improvement on an oddly proportioned dining room. I appreciated seeing how you use the space- when a closet is just shown with a few white shirts and a dress hanging, I always imagine the room as an overcrowded disaster when they actually live in it.

  10. Shanda Ackermann says:

    Phenomenal. Could you give us an idea of what the drapes in total cost?

  11. Kenna says:

    My fave view is from the closet to the bedroom with the end of the bed and fireplace in it. So magical and cozy looking!! Congrats!

  12. Loralei says:

    Your closet/dressing room is absolutely gorgeous! I especially love your curtains. I found ready made curtains (cause I liked the fabric and the price) but I am going to give them to my friend that is a seamstress to redo them for me. What instructions did you give for your curtains, and where did you get the hardware? Thank you for letting me dream while following you!

  13. Debraj76 says:

    This space is just magical. You all have outdone yourselves again!

    I wish I had ordered that light fixture when you first posted this. It’s showing ship date end of October, but I might purchase it anyway (updating a rental property). I’d love to pair it with similar checkerboard floors (like your dining room) in the kitchen. That area has eight foot ceilings, so I’m afraid this fixture (with the 24 inch pole) would hang too low. It looks like you did a semi-flush mount. Do you have any ideas for hanging this beautiful fixture from an 8 foot ceiling in a kitchen dining area?

    Love it all!!!

  14. George Costakis says:

    This closet looks so good it’s almost a shame it’s a closet! ;-)

  15. BeckyH says:

    Absolutely love this and have loved watching the entire process along the way! Can I ask where you put your hamper? Is there one kept in your closet or in your master bath?

  16. Sarah says:

    Amazing! I looked through the posts trying to find details of the hang bars…did you go with an IKEA option or use another type of bar?

  17. Alison says:

    A dressing room for sure! A closet dreams are made of. Wow

  18. I still can’t pick a favorite space in your house, but this is at the top of the list! It’s so gorgeous and dreamy. Amazing work!

  19. Jennifer says:

    Gorgeous! You are my design soul sister. We have the exact same taste and I also use farrow & ball paint.

  20. JL says:

    Can I just get a slow hand clap for Chris Marcom? Such meticulous work. The love and attention is evident. I don’t even want to call it a closet. It’s a place of quiet repose. Timeless. I feel like there should be at least one bespoke man’s suit in this room. Maybe even a woman’s cloak. If only there was room for a chaise! Where’s the cognac? It’s soooo good.

  21. Andrea says:

    Gorgeous! Another amazing result. Since I love organization, I think a beautiful and perfectly organized closet especially speaks to me. Two questions: 1) the jeans for Chris – have you considered using a pants hanger? Check out the Chrome Metal Pant Hangers Pkg/3 in the Container Store. I use these and the ease of use makes me love the product. Small change from a normal hanger but worth it. 2) I know you don’t talk about organization/decluttering much or at all, but I have a question about the shoe shelves. Are those really all of your shoes? Did they just happen to fit or did you have to purge? I have a similar set up and have to do a ‘one in, one out’ method to keep overflow at bay.

  22. It’s simply breathtaking. So so good.

  23. Amber says:

    I can’t believe how emotionally invested I (a stranger on the internet) have been in this closet journey. I remember tearing up when you swapped out the knobs on your vanity/desk drawers ????. The entire space is just perfect!

  24. Melody Correia says:

    Good gracious! This looks AMAAAAAZING! I can’t believe this is IKEA, it looks so high end. I’m super impressed. And the light is the gorgeous cherry on top.

  25. Jane says:

    How did you attach your cabinets to the bases you built? Did you toe nail them? And what type/grade wood did you use to “extend” the tops of the cabinets in order to apply crown? Thanks!

  26. Danielle says:

    Stunning!! And I totally want to be your sister and sneak in and borrow your clothes! LOL

  27. Ceci says:

    It is so incredibly gorgeous. Great job.

  28. Julie S says:

    I was thinking “inner sanctum” when I read about you writing posts at the desk in the room within a room… as a solitary-natured stay at home mom/homeschooler, that was verrrrry appealing lol. It turned out great- your eye for details is killing it! I thought the room seemed ridiculously large to be a closet for a long time, but it seems more reasonable after the cabinetry took up so much space and the desk is there too… and I considered the overall size of the house :) Love you guys! Great project.

  29. Ally says:

    I’m not trying to be dramatic but I don’t have words for how amazing this project is. Not just the labor you put into it, but there’s SO many elements I never would’ve picked, or paired together, and it all just WORKS. SO. STUNNINGLY. You are so good at this!!! I am so jealous. I would pay rent to live in here. I don’t comment much but wow. Wow. Wow. I am so glad to be along for this ride.

  30. Nerida says:

    It’s definitely a dressing room, and a super glam one at that – serious dressing room goals here! And that Jean bar… so satisfying!!

  31. Lina H says:

    Jaw dropping!! Loved seeing the entire process. You guys are a power team <3

  32. Kristen says:

    I’m stunned and amazed, although I shouldn’t be…everything you two touch turns to gold! Warm, inviting, timeless but modern and so, so gorgeous. Quick question…I spied your drawers in the master and tried to find them linked in your master bedroom post. I can’t find them anywhere…could you direct me that way? It looks like perfection and I’m having THE HARDEST time finding something I like.

  33. Jamie says:

    This may be my favorite room you have ever done! Wow. Just wow. Plus, those curtains really just finish it off perfectly.

  34. Elyse says:

    It’s so so good. I can’t believe y’all were thinking about making that a playroom now that this is here! I’m SO glad you went this way! Brava!

  35. It totally qualifies as a dressing room!!! It’s incredible… your whole vision is just so perfect it belongs in Architectural Digest!!!

  36. Joanna says:

    The video is so great! I love the creative direction you took. The ending is perfect.
    I also loved seeing how your thought process evolve. The repositioning of the shoe wall for example. It really shows that great spaces take LOTS of time and thinking to come together.

  37. Prima Hayter says:

    Simply amazing! I am drooling over every detail. I am wondering if you can share the dimensions of your closet? It might help those of us who are dreaming of taking over our kids’ bedrooms for new closet luxuriousness.

  38. Stephanie says:

    THIS IS THE BEST THING THAT’S HAPPENED TO ME IN 2020 AND IT’S NOT EVEN IN MY HOUSE.

  39. Haley says:

    Have you found yourself actually doing your makeup at the vanity? Wondering you are considering adding a larger mirror for that.

    • Julia says:

      We’re moving out of our bathroom now to get ready for that renovation so I’m going to start! I actually use a wall mounted mirror to put on makeup in the bathroom so I’m hopeful!

  40. Sherry says:

    Your closet is beautiful! But one question, do you hang your sweaters? Isn’t it bad for the shoulder line of your sweaters?
    Really enjoy your blog!

  41. Sara says:

    Stunning, practical, a fantastic use of space and resources, and a reflection of how you and we all want to live our lives in our homes today (as opposed to the lack of such spaces many years ago!).

  42. Courtney says:

    Its definitely a dressing room!
    Now we need links to all of your cute clothes (kidding!)
    What a transformation! I loved the video, especially how it ends. Kuddos to the editor.

  43. Maggie says:

    This is the closet dreams are made of! ???? The end result is so sophisticated and welcoming. I’m so thankful to have found you as a source of inspiration. This is truly phenomenal work!

  44. Olivia says:

    I’m totally loving your dressing room. So I know you’re tall but how do you comfortably reach to pull out a hanger from the top rod? Do you have a special pole or something?

  45. Olivia says:

    So dreamy! Like walking into a small boutique. So serene. What’s the door to the left of your fab jean bar? Where does that lead to?

  46. Ahhh! I have closet envy!!! It looks so elegant and beautiful — like it was meant to be there the whole time. <3

  47. Sara says:

    If that’s not a dressing room, I don’t know what is! Gorgeous, closet/dressing room of dreams. I love my 1928 home, but closets were not their strong suit back then, that’s for sure. We make it work though! Definitely jealous, however ;)

  48. Laura says:

    This is beautiful! What great taste you and Chris have. The bench is perfect. I have enjoyed your renovations, especially these past few months as I have played the role of the “elderly shut-in”. Thank you for sharing.

    And by the way- I love the pool on the tennis court! You crack me up.

  49. Marissa says:

    This closet is an absolute dream !! And can I just say that the curtains are definitely the thing that makes the room feel complete :) great choice on the fabric. Your rooms are always amazing and I can’t wait to see what’s next !

  50. Lindsey says:

    Ok but when can I move in and live in there??!?

  51. Venita says:

    This is my second comment bc I just went through and watched video again, maybe 3 times, but I would love a tour of what is stored where. We are redoing our closet/bathroom, not quite on this scale, but still its helpful to see how the drawers are utilized. I loved the tour you did of your last bedroom closet. Please :)

  52. Emily says:

    What a phenomenally beautiful room. After seeing your last closet, I’m surprised you have this many clothes.
    Will you be breaking down the cost of physically creating this space? I lot of homes in our area have double story great rooms and I always wondered if it financially made sense to turn them into one story rooms and create another upstairs space. I’d love to see more about that.

    • Chris says:

      We tried to break it down but it wasn’t separated in our invoices so we’re not sure how much the framing itself was. It was lumped in with a lot of other work being done.

  53. venita says:

    Truly beautiful!

  54. Kristin says:

    Truly beautiful. You really have a talent for designing a neutral room that is complex, layered, and feels warm and inviting. I think that is super hard to do. Really well done.

  55. Danna F says:

    This is dreamy! Love everything. I would sit for hours in here too! I think the mirror is my favorite of all the goodness! Enjoy!

  56. Erin says:

    It turned out beautifully! You should be so proud!!

  57. Melissa says:

    Looks like the most amazing boutique!!!! Love everything.

  58. Kelly says:

    Love this. I cannot believe this is IKEA. you Guys worked your magic!! Question: where do you keep your long dresses? I have so many in my closet and I hate that they bunch together on the bottom.

  59. Whitney says:

    Gorgeous! And the colors are so rich and inviting! I love that you showed it in its true form with no filters as it’s even more stunning than imagined. Thank you for sharing your journey in its creation and hope we see your silliness shine in there! :)

  60. Liz says:

    Stunning! I am wondering, do you find yourself using that ottoman or is it just for aesthetics?

  61. Jess says:

    Fantastic! Even though it’s quite a grand room size for a closet/dressing room, it make so much more sense than a bonus room when you take into account how it freed up space in your bathroom. Long term, the pay off between the larger closet/bathroom will be more than the bonus room I think. There are so many other areas around the house to spread out. The desk corner with those curtains and the pretty chair is just so darling.

  62. mm says:

    so gorgeous. love that the closet works for a man and woman. i love that mirror, never seen one like that before

  63. Patti says:

    OMG! Put a bar fridge in and I could live in that closet!

  64. Alexa Kogut says:

    Wow it turned out absolutely stunning, Julia. Amazing job!!! ❤️ With each room that gets finished I fall more and more in love with ya’lls house ????

  65. steph says:

    So pretty! I have a tiny closet and a LOT of clothes/shoes. So a little jealous too! :)

  66. Turned out amazing great work guys and thanks for choosing me to build your mirror I love the way it turned out.

  67. Shay says:

    It looks amazing!!! ???? Where did you get all your hangers? I have miss-matched plastic ones and I love when I see matching closet hangers. I need to upgrade. ????

    • Julia says:

      Container store!!

    • Angel says:

      I have almost identical ones (in my much less fabulous closet lol) from Target. The metal part is black which I really like, and I think they are a little less expensive than the container store ones.

  68. Nikki Lehman says:

    This closet is dreamy!

  69. Angela says:

    This is amazing, and may be my favourite project of yours! My only dilemma would be- do I close the pocket doors or keep them open. Cause they are gorgeous too!

  70. Jess says:

    Amazing!! Question, how do you have light switches on a pocket door wall?

  71. Patricia says:

    It looks like you have your own boutique! What luxury! I loved your last house and all the work you did on it but this is on a whole new level.

  72. Gem says:

    I was so excited for this reveal to drop! The whole thing is just absolutely beautiful. You’d never imagine that this is a DIY room; it’s so high-end. Love the cosy but clean aesthetic. The chandelier is the best part – I voted for #3 but this is the perfect choice. The window dressings too! Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous. P.S. Definitely a dressing room!

  73. Sarah says:

    Its soooo good. I really enjoyed watching this project! Can’t wait to see how the bathroom comes together!

  74. Rae says:

    Wow! You guys are super talented. Love it

  75. Laura says:

    I always wonder if the previous owners of this home follow you, I can’t imagine how that would feel to see the ‘air’ you lived with become this! You are really so talented <3

  76. Brenda says:

    Love everything about the space!!!

  77. IT’S PERFECT!!!!!!!!!!! So incredibly impressed by this renovation you guys kill it through and through!!!

  78. Claire says:

    The lights just MAKE it! So amazingly beautiful – nice job as always!

  79. Wendy says:

    Oh.my.word!!! That is so amazing! I have serious closet envy! You guys are so creative and awesome!

  80. Rachel says:

    This turned out INCREDIBLE. So exciting to watch it come to life literally out of thin air. Bravo CLJ!

  81. Hannah says:

    WOW… Well done to all of you! What a stunningly inspirational space. Very, very impressive! Thank you all for sharing the process with us!

  82. Mara says:

    Amazing!!!!!! I didn’t comment when you painted it because I hated the color. I kept my mouth shut because I knew you would pull off a reveal that is FABULOUS. Wow. Wow. Wow. Possibly my favorite room reveal in your current house thus far.

    • Marie says:

      CLJ does is again! So chic! I love the moody light and the storage. Enjoy your new space! You’ve earned it. ????????

  83. Beth says:

    I have truely LOVED watching this from the beginning. Just a dream, thank you for sharing every step.
    And it’s definitely a dressing room!!

  84. Anne says:

    This is perfect – a really beautiful and functional space.

  85. Monica says:

    Beautiful!!! The lamp and the mirror specially

  86. Cheryl says:

    What an amazing space!

    There doesn’t appear to be anywhere to hang long dresses. Is that something you never anticipate having in your wardrobe?

  87. Jacqui Bennetts says:

    Not really a closet but more a dressing room and a beautiful one at that.

  88. Natasha Laws says:

    Off the scale stunning. Well done to you all, the whole team. The builders, C&J, to your content team – you’ve done this empty, none existent space, so much justice. Truly amazing.

all the latest

We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 

HI! We're Chris + Julia

read more

Load More

Reader Faves

SHop all

What We're                     Right Now

What We're                 Right Now

Looking for our favorite things? A place to shop our home room by room, or just catch up on what Julia's wearing / loving right now? Browse the CLJ shop. 

Loving

looking for inspiration? 

Yesterday was the launch of our new Polly rug collection with Loloi! The support has been overwhelming and we’re so excited to finally share this labor of love with you all. The collection was inspired from a need in the market–something to mix and match with vintage rugs, or vintage-inspired rugs like our first collections […]

Can We Send You Our Love Letter?

Another way for us to stay in touch! Joining our weekly newsletter gives you access to exclusive content, never-before-seen photos, your questions answered, and our favorite DIYs. Sign up below!

Follow Along on Instagram

Welcome to our online community where we've posted home, DIY, style, renovations, and family since '09. Renovating our #cljmoderncottage in Idaho and headed for new adventures in Raleigh, NC. #cljfam #cljtransformations

@chrislovesjulia