IKEA PAX closet with REINSVOLL doors built-in under sloped ceiling.
For storing all kinds of stuff that every family has, but not use every day, I wanted to make a storage closet on the 2nd floor of our house.
And so thus began the preparations for this built-in closet project, which in my case was a little more complicated than the example that I had, because of a sloped ceiling.
During the construction of our house some two years ago, I started experimenting with the free 3D drawing program from Google, called Sketchup.
At the time, I drew the entire house and most of the rooms in Sketchup, as well as the garden to see how certain choices that we made would turn out in 3D. The knowledge of Sketchup became very useful when preparing the making of the closet.
I took the measurements of the space available and looked at the dimensions of the PAX elements. (All the dimensions information can of course all be found online).
With this information I started drawing in Sketchup. It turned out that 6 PAX elements would fit into the space, five pieces of 50 cm wide and one of 100 cm wide.
The advantage of drawing the whole thing here was that I was able to see (with high accuracy) which elements elements (high or lower model) and doors would be needed due to the slope roof. This obviously saves on purchase costs.
I did some further research online, also here on IKEAhackers.net and based on that I was able to create a list with all materials required and tools needed.
I have the following basic elements used in my setup:
- A wooden structure as foundation for the PAX elements to stand on;
- The same wooden structure around the PAX elements to fixate the drywall;
- Drywalls that are then screwed onto the wooden structure to get a smooth wall.
Preparations in Sketchup – on 1st with the wooden structure, on 2nd with drywall.
I purchased the following materials:
- 1 x PAX element white 100x58x236
- 2 x PAX element white 50x58x236
- 3 x PAX element white 50x58x201
- 4 x REINSVOLL door and hinge 50×229
- 3 x REINSVOLL door and hinge 50×195
- 5 x KOMPLEMENT shelf 100×58 for PAX
- 2 x KOMPLEMENT shelf 50×58 for PAX
- 10 x Wooden bar 50×50 (44×44) Height 420 cm
- 3 x Drywall plates AK 300×60 cm
- 1 x Drywall Rasp
- 1 x Filler for drywall
- 200 x drywall screw
- 20 x Bracket 40×40 (for beams corner joint)
- 200 x Woodies wood screws 4,5x60mm
- 1 x plaster knife
- 50m Fiberglass Tape drywall
- 1 x Bevel square
- 1 x Circular saw blade vzv . 60 teeth
- 8 x Flat leather handle cognac with black screw (Handlesandmore.nl)
- 20 x Shim plates various thicknesses
What I already had:
- Acrylic sealant + sealant gun for sealing the edges
- White matte wall paint
- Circular saw vzv . saw blade with fine teeth (borrowed)
- Miter saw (for shortening wooden beams)
- Guide for circular saw (borrowed)
- Tape measure
- (Laser) spirit level
- Cordless drill
- Bevel square for measuring angles
- Plaster knife for smoothing corners
Sloped ceiling closet: Construction phase
Step 1: Floor foundation
I wanted to put the PAX elements off the floor in order to:
a. Let the drywall go around the elements completely (‘floating effect’);
b. To be able to level everything properly;
First, made two long bars for the front and back of the PAX elements. On those I then sketched out where the cross beams should be, so that the sides of the elements would rest exactly on them.
In this way the elements are supported on all sides. You must think carefully about how far the front bar should be from the back (wall). In my case, I wanted to make it fit exactly with the front of the PAX elements.
Later, the drywall will be placed ‘on top’ of this, and the doors will be placed on top of the PAX elements. Since the doors (16 mm) are slightly thicker than the plasterboard (12.5 mm), the doors will protrude slightly from the wall.
I also considered that the wall next to the elements on the left would be as wide as the wall on the right and the height at the floor would be the same as the sloping part along the hood.
I then attached the cross bars to the main bar in front and the bar in the back with wood screws.
Then I filled the entire framework with shims until it was nice and level.
(From the two sockets you see, the left one is hidden in the back of the closet and the right one moved to the wall next to the closet, but I will not go into detail in this how-to).
Step 2: Expand wooden structure
Next thing I did was expand the wooden structure on the right side and top of the elements. I made sure the structure was solid and I had enough material to mount the drywall plates onto. When making the connections I used steel 40×40 corner pieces in various places for strength and to make sure the corners were 90 degrees.
Step 3: Build and place PAX elements (from right to left)
Before starting to make the wooden framework on the left, I decided to build and install the closet elements first. This way I could access it better and I was sure that I could then build up the rest of the frame nice and tight against the elements later on.
I first did the 3 easy elements, where I didn’t have to shorten anything.
First 3 PAX closet elements mounted under sloped ceiling frame
Then I adapted and built up the next elements one after another from right to left. By doing this piece by piece you make measuring of the available height easy because you always know exactly where the next side of the element that you have to shorten will be.
The two sides and the back wall of these elements had to be shortened. I did the sides first and then built the elements up. After this you can easily see and measure how much the back of the element needs to be shortened.
Making clean cuts
I shortened the sides with a circular saw that also had a guide rail. I had never worked with a circular saw before, but watching some Youtube video’s and making some experimental pieces offered a solution.
It is especially important that you use a saw blade with fine teeth to avoid splintering the wood too much and that you work calmly. I sawed the first few in miter to make it fit nicely with the sloping hood, but that turned out not to be necessary afterwards because you will not see anything of it later on once the drywall is in front of it.
All elements are there 😊
After assembling the elements, I also mounted the doors of the three first elements. First of all to determine where I could put the drywall and what space the doors would need, and also a bit because I wanted to see how it would look 😊.
All elements are there – including three doors
Step 4: Finishing wooden framework and drywall
Now that the PAX elements had been placed, it was time for the next step: make the last wooden bars on the left side of the cupboard and some pieces of beam on the left above the elements on the roof to be able to screw the plasterboards on this too.
Framework above the closet
Support beams for drywall on sloping roof
Making the drywall
After this was done, I could begin to tailor make the drywall pieces to get a strip of drywall against the lath screw, and of course as tightly as possible against the PAX elements. You can easily cut the plasterboard to size with a utility knife and then break it. Also here: watch some videos on Youtube and you will get there. I have always chosen to place the rough fracture side towards the floor / wall / ceiling side and the neat side towards the doors.
Drywall in place
Drywall in place
After all drywall pieces had been placed it needs to be finished:
- Plate transitions with fiberglass tape;
- Smearing and sanding holes (2x)
- Grease and sand plate transitions (3x)
When this is done, you can prime the wall. I have done this 3x. New drywall are real suckers.
After priming I sealed the edges between the elements and the plasterboard with acrylic sealant. This gives you a nice connection between the drywall and the element and this ensures that the cupboard is installed super tight.
After the sealant I painted the wall 3 times with white matte wall paint. Despite the priming, this was really necessary 3 times.
Step 4: Shortening the doors
Perhaps the most difficult and exciting is measuring and sawing off the REINSVOLL doors.
You don’t want to make a mistake here, because this costs you a door. You also want it to be super tight in order to look nice. I measured each door 3x to be sure of the correct sizes. I have kept 5mm clearance for top and bottom. Looking back I should have used 8 on the bottom side as it’s really tight there.
These cut’s I made with the circular saw and the guide rail. To prevent the veneer layer on the door from splintering, I took several measures:
- Fine saw blade must be used with a minimum of 60 teeth;
- Mask the saw cut on the door all around the door with masking tape, this will prevent splintering;
- Set the saw shallow and first saw the cut 5 mm deep;
- Thereafter put the saw ‘deeper’ and cut through – and – through.
The result of this is that the doors have a really clean cut, without any splintering.
After this I hung the doors. With the sawn doors, I noticed that the door turned against the drywall on the hinge side and top. I solved this by scraping the doors at the top point and inside a little more (approx. 5 mm). You don’t see any of this on the outside.
Dry fitting 1st tailor made door for the sloped ceiling closet.
All doors ready.
Step 5: Finishing
After the doors have been sawn and hung, you can adjust them with the hinges.
Then I mounted the leather handles. To align everything nicely, I projected a line on the doors with a laser spirit level. Marking the drill positions is then very easy and mounting is done in no time. Because the rightmost closet element has double doors, the second door from the right is the only one that opens to the other side from all other doors.
To make the handles all look the same, I have chosen to deliberately mount the handle on the wrong side for this door. This handle is therefore on the hinge side and has no function. To open the door you must first open the other door. A little more work and a little less practical but it looks nicer and calmer.
Built-in PAX sloped ceiling closet
Then I painted the top of the chamfered doors with matte wood lacquer. This is for the aesthetic effect and to (somewhat) prevent moisture from penetrating the doors, causing them to expand. I got color cards from the Gamma (dutch building material store) and had the smallest amount of paint mixed. I applied this with a small toy brush. In terms of color, this looks exactly like the original color of the doors. The color number is GN 062-05 Suit from Gamma (NL).
Finally, I mounted a plinth against the bottomside, so that the plinth runs smoothly against the other walls.
After that, all that’s left is to tidy up the cupboards… and enjoy it every time I walk up the attic stairs 😊 .
Costs and time required
Cost IKEA: EUR 1128.00
Cost Materials: EUR 244.84
Costs blade: EUR 45.00
Costs handles: EUR 55.00
Total costs: EUR 1,472.84
The result is very nice , but it was quite a time-consuming job. All in all, I spent about 8 full days with all the preparations, research and implementation. This of course spread over several weeks. However, if you don’t have a sloped ceiling, the job of the built-in closet is much easier. And it can probably be done in 60% of this time.
I hope someone can make use of this for their own project – and maybe post their result as well to inspire others.
~ by Hugo
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