Simply Done: Little Boy Elfa & Tough Lessons Learned

Mar 26

So…I’m not perfect.

Iiiiiiiii know, that confession came as a surprise to you, huh? Psh! News flash – no one is perfect. And I sometimes surprise myself with just how exaggerated the “not perfect” is in that statement about me. Yes, even us professionals are still learning on the job, running head first into new conundrums week after week. Truthfully, I love it when it happens because I never want to stop learning, always want to be on my toes, pay attention to every last detail and further delve into this profession with loads of hands-on experience – both good and bad!

While you’re going to see a great before and after closet makeover today…you’re also going to see some of the not-so-great that came along with this job.

This sweet client of mine was very patient during this long, drawn out process. These issues occasionally happen in an older homes, this one having been built in 1950. Her 1 year old son was moving into this room to clear out the nursery for baby #2 (due any day!). The closet previously was packed. Jam packed. With things like her clothing, re-gift items, office supplies, shoes and more.

I measured the closet for a new elfa system and she spent the following days on her own clearing out the contents. Was super proud of her hard work! With the closet empty, and The Container Store scheduled for installation, we got to work and couldn’t wait to have a new system up and running in a few hours…

Here comes the whomp whomp

Issue #1?
There was a hidden alarm box I had no idea existed in the back of the closet. Remember when I took the measurements? The closet was packed with contents therefore it was hidden from my view. Lesson #1 learned…always ask clients if there are any utility boxes hidden away behind the contents. We would have removed the clothing for an accurate measurement, but the room itself was packed with boxes and furniture, as it used to be a home office.
The alarm box cords were threaded through the above shelf (we scratched our heads too) that used to be here…totally bizarre and didn’t blame The Container Store for not wanting to cut around the cords. I simply asked them to cut off this square and my client later called the alarm company to have the box moved…

But regardless, we were pretty much screwed because the vertical standard wouldn’t fit on the right side of the box. It had to be relocated, no matter what.

Issue #2?

Who would’ve thought the back wall of the closet was in fact plywood…and not drywall?…

Again, something no one could anticipate in the back of a closet. We couldn’t find a wall stud for the life of us. If you know elfa, you know the system hangs off of one horizontal bar. That bar must be secured into a wall stud or the like. We couldn’t find one. And a stud finder wasn’t working because we were scanning over wood.

After a good try, we gave up and called in a handyman to help us locate the studs. This caused a major delay in the job being finished in my time frame – generally 1-2 weeks. The Container Store install team left, a handyman came out a few days later, we worked some math magic to find the wall studs, and then I returned several days after that to install the rest of the closet myself.

It’s a sad day when I leave someone’s home like this…

However, in the end, it all worked out perfectly because it gave us time to have the alarm box relocated and her painter was able to clean up the closet interior with patch and paint…which makes for a really nice backdrop for a beautiful closet system!

Took just 90 minutes to create this easy to install closet system for a sweet little boy!…




What an amazing after!…

I love fascia…it gives standard ventilated shelves an incredible, finished appearance…


While I was at it, I helped her assemble a new crib and changing table…which will make her son’s transition to a new baby brother/sister much easier. On everyone! Because we all need kiddos that sleep at night!…

Tough lessons learned on this install, but as I said…I’m not growing as a business owner unless I’m learning. Trust me, with each and every job there are lessons learned!…


Have a great day everyone!


comments +

  1. Lora says:

    That closet looks just like one in our first house (also built in 1950). Only ours wasn't backed with plywood…it was somewhere between plywood and cardboard. I don't know what it was but it was crazy flexible and weird. What were they thinking!

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