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One of the things we have been looking forward to most with the bedroom renovation is having a closet – for the first time! We haven’t had proper clothes organization since we moved in two and half years ago; remember when we ripped out the second floor kitchen? We picked up a couple of garment racks, one for each of us, and we lined them up along the plumbing wall to, quite simply, hide the exposed plumbing work:


Our bedroom plans called for a complete rearrangement of, well, everything, and with the chimney removal, we could see the light! As it stands, we had our contractor build out a rough opening for our soon-to-be closet. Although we wished the closet could remain on the wall where we had those garment racks, the minimum 24″ depth we needed wasn’t there, and it would have seriously cramped the door. And so, here’s what we have right now:


To know exactly what opening we’d need to have our guys construct, we also needed to know what we were doing for our closet, right? For years, Scott and I have had our eyes on an IKEA PAX wardrobe. Although we could have easily added a rod and thrown in some adjustable shelves, we really wanted to go all in and make it just right. After more than two years of swearing every time we choose our (dusty) clothes in the morning, we were ready to allow ourselves the luxury of a little AM pick me up! We have friends that love their PAX, we’ve devoured countless reviews, and really, IKEA knocks it out of the park with the customization it allows.

IKEA generously offered to help us on this project – from design to build – and when I say we are thrilled, I actually mean, is this real life? In other words, we’ll be partnering with them on this project, and we’re looking forward to sharing our experience with you! At the same time, it was important for us to dive into the whole experience first hand, and so we politely declined their build service (did you know they do that?!), mostly because there is an odd satisfaction in piecing together those flat packed items. We got started by allotting ourselves a full afternoon in the megastore, knowing that we’d want to take our time touching the product, seeing the options in person and narrowing down every last detail in their PAX planner. The process was so, so simple (and the IKEA team was so, so helpful – thank you, Meredith and Delra!), that from start to finish, we had our plans hashed out in under an hour. Yes!


Our hope was to build a wardrobe that would eliminate the need for additional dressers, and although our wall space was somewhat limited, we were determined to make that work. We discussed which items would live in which drawers, and we were sure to include space for shoes, purses and ties. Dreamy! In the end, we pieced together a 40″ wide unit for each of us (so, 80″ total), with a height of not quite 8′. I was a little worried that the width wasn’t quite the massive amount of space that I pictured in my mind, but those PAX drawers are deep. Our current dresser can fit one neatly folded stack of tees front to back, but we’ll easily be able to double that in the new wardrobe.


On a whim, we decided on the white stained oak for the entire interior (above), nixing the idea of all white and surprising even ourselves! In person, the color is warm and beautiful, and we topped it off with soft close hinges, LED lighting and four sleek white doors. Our plan is to trim the doors with simple molding, paint them bright white to match the rest of our home’s trim (Behr’s Ultra Pure White) and add these large 18″ pulls. So brassy.


We had 42 boxes, bags and bits delivered to our front door, and for now? Well, CC’s holding down that fort.


As I type, I’m looking over the calendar, and our optimistic self-imposed goal is to build our PAX wardrobe this month – but, we also hope to finish tiling the bathroom, install the plumbing fixtures and choose a bedroom paint color. So many exciting things to come!

Bonus: The entire PAX system is 15% off with IKEA FAMILY member pricing through January 26th. IKEA FAMILY is a free loyalty rewards program, and different items are discounted each month. Learn more about the program and sign up right here to start saving! A huge thank you to IKEA for partnering with us on our bedroom renovation!

  • Danielle - January 7, 2016 - 7:01 AM

    Hi K & S –

    Long time lurker here. Love your site! The Pax system is great! It’s been years since I’ve had one, but here are a couple things I remember. Leg adjustment. Critical in old houses with wonky floors to get the wardrobe perfectly level so it doesn’t warp over time. Pax comes with adjustable legs/screw feet make sure to take your time and use a leveler before attaching doors and double check after attaching doors. Attachment to wall/security. Pax comes with screws to secure wardrobe at top in back corners to the wall. I suggest you replace those screws with really long drywall screws for extra security. Cheap and easy switch out that gives you peace of mind. This may not be applicable to you sin spas is going into a closer let build out space not the more usual free standing space but I thought it would help to know that. I know you and the hubby are all about the DIY but I’ve used the Ikea building service and it is GENIUS! As you say there may be something satisfying about putting flat pack stuff together but there is something WAY more satisfying about going for a run and coffee and coming back to EVERYTHING being done. Those Ikea builders are really efficient and fast! They even broke down the boxes and stacked them outside before I got home. I was even allowed time to customize the pieces before they put it together and they helped me quick back another one! Awesome!! Considering your to do list you might want to reconsider…just a thought! Looking forward to seeing the finished rooms!! Best of luck!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 7, 2016 - 9:12 AM

      Hi Danielle, thank you so much for your advice! SO good to know about the adjustable legs. We will definitely have some work to do in that arena, as NONE of the floors in this home are perfectly level (old house woes!), so we’re actually not looking forward to that part… but it sounds like the legs will come in handy (rather than shimming everything like we thought we’d have to do). What a relief!

      Also, we had no idea they had IKEA builders, what a great idea, right?! Maybe we just like to torture ourselves, but there really is an odd satisfaction – I say now before we begin, haha. Because they’re getting snugged up in an enclosure, we thought it would be better to DIY the build and handle all the shimmying, but we’ll follow up with a progress report for sure. :)ReplyCancel

  • Anne @ Planting Sequoias Blog - January 7, 2016 - 7:34 AM

    We just put in a huge PAX closet in our house and LOVE it! It’s incredible just HOW MUCH you can fit in those deep units.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 7, 2016 - 9:09 AM

      We were amazed at how roomy they were when we saw them in the store!ReplyCancel

  • Stefani - January 7, 2016 - 8:40 AM

    We had a Pax in our last (teeny tiny, closetless) apartment in NYC, and it was truly great. The only thing I’d advise against is the wire baskets. If you fill the with clothes, they get too heavy and fall off their tracks. It was the most frustrating thing ever! Once we upgraded to real drawers, it was a dream.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 7, 2016 - 9:09 AM

      Oh, good to know! We have ONE wire basket that we added for Scott’s side. It won’t be to hold much – just some odds and ends that he typically leaves out on the dresser, so this will hopefully keep it tidy. Thanks for the input!ReplyCancel

  • Brooke - January 7, 2016 - 9:14 AM

    I hope you don’t have the same issues we had with fitting the pax wardrobes into the closet area. Unbeknownst to us the concrete floors in our condo weren’t level and it meant the boxes ended up not square after they were fit into the closet area. The sliding doors were almost impossible to hang and when we finally got them they wouldn’t fully open due to the wonky floor.

    They system itself was great and I loved the idea of all the drawers etc but I couldn’t open half of the drawers because the doors wouldn’t slide open all the way. It was the most frustrating thing I’ve ever built from Ikea (and I’ve done something from every department in Ikea)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 7, 2016 - 9:19 AM

      We had the contractors build the opening a little larger than we needed (not much, but fingers crossed it’s okay!), and we’ll be trimming the outside as well to hide any unsightly areas… but we are nervous about the un-evenness of our floors with EVERY project we do! With that in mind, we specifically opted for swinging doors rather than sliding doors. Thank you for chiming in though, so other people can keep this in mind! Walls and floors are rarely perfectly square.ReplyCancel

      • Brooke - January 7, 2016 - 9:31 AM

        You were at least smart to stick with the swinging doors! I didn’t even thinking about what the floors or wonky walls would do to the cabinet. We should have just switched to those when we couldn’t get the doors to slide properly. lol it would have saved us a ton of frustration. We sold the condo shortly after the closet debacle so I’m not sure if the new owner ever switched out the doors or not :)ReplyCancel

      • Helen - January 7, 2016 - 8:08 PM

        So one way we solved that issue when we built two huge Pax systems was by having our contractor build a platform to put the pax wardrobes on. Our old house is so uneven that it basically looked like a giant wedge, but it worked! Our doors only needed minor adjustments and it allowed us to add some beefy baseboard to match the rest of our space, making them look truly built it.ReplyCancel

        • Kim - January 7, 2016 - 8:48 PM

          We considered putting ours on a platform to allow for baseboards, too! In the end, we nixed that idea so we could get a taller unit – and that little 5’3″ me could reach the hangers on the rod. ;)ReplyCancel

          • Kim - January 7, 2016 - 8:48 PM

            I meant to add – I bet yours are beautiful!ReplyCancel

            • Helen - January 7, 2016 - 9:17 PM

              It’s not a solution for everybody but it worked! That’s the best thing about the pax system – it’s so versatile. We ditched our dressers too, and it makes our space so much bigger! We had customer doors made too (OMG SO MUCH $$$) but I love them, and the way they function in our daily lives.ReplyCancel

              • Kim - January 8, 2016 - 9:48 AM

                There are some things worth the splurge, that’s for sure! So happy you’re loving the system + custom doors. We are SO excited that we get to ditch the dressers, too! Space for days!ReplyCancel

        • Brooke - January 8, 2016 - 9:20 AM

          That might not have been a bad idea if we’d had higher ceilings :) Something to think about in our new house where the closest need some work. Thanks for the tip!ReplyCancel

  • angela - January 7, 2016 - 10:45 AM

    I’m SUPER excited to read about this! We have a closet area currently with about 95″ width to work with and up to 30″ or so depth to work with. I was looking at PAX and it was so overwhelming to try and figure it out (probably better to go in person and talk to someone, eh?) I was also looking at elfa systems online (and love their planning site), but it seems like you can fit so much more in the PAX.

    Hopefully this isn’t super rude to ask, but would you be willing to do a cost breakdown of your PAX system? If we decide to go with PAX, I’ll need to start budgeting and I have no idea how much to budget for it right now!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 7, 2016 - 11:43 AM

      Hi Angela!

      Thanks for asking (and you’re absolutely not rude at all)! If you’re near an IKEA, going in to the store was HUGE for us. You can also plan online, but we were able to make fast decisions because we could touch the doors, feel the way the drawers slide, play with the hinges and look at how the LED lighting works.

      The pricing can change based on drawers vs. baskets vs. shoe glides vs. tie racks, etc, etc, etc! There’s a lot you can play with. Our unit for two 40″ closets at almost 8′ tall came to about $1200, and that includes all the drawers, soft close hinges, some organizational components and nice white doors. That said, I would guess that if you go with a PAX wardrobe, you should estimate about $1500 for the width you have to work with. It seems like you could add one more system to your overall width than we were able to add, and you could do so much with it! Maybe it could be all shoes, or all your accessories, or whatever you wish!ReplyCancel

  • julie - January 7, 2016 - 12:12 PM

    Gotta say Chunk looks a bit doubtful but I am sure even with all the work planned the PAX will be up and in, not to mention fabulous to boot.ReplyCancel

  • Dani @ Danielle and Co. - January 7, 2016 - 2:10 PM

    I’m so jealous of your beautiful, plain, clean slate of a spot for a closet! Our bedroom has an entire side of the wall turned into a closet… but for some reason they made only 1/4 of it an opening where you can reach it? Most of the space is impossible to get to without taking out everything then crawling back into it! The inside is slanted because it’s a Cape Cod-style home. At a minimum, we want to widen the doorway of it by a LOT and put in some better doors. Fingers crossed we have that opportunity this year!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 7, 2016 - 2:17 PM

      But can I be jealous of your Cape Cod style home?! ;)ReplyCancel

  • Emily - January 7, 2016 - 3:35 PM

    Oh man, THANK YOU for the 15% IKEA Family heads up. I got my pax six months ago but still haven’t pulled the trigger to buy the sliding doors($$$) It might finally be time :D

    Also – super random, but when I was trying to assemble the pax there was one step that I didn’t quite get(hammering in the screw receiver for the adjustable legs)and I ended up on youtube looking for tutorials. It worm-holed me to this surprisingly helpful/isthisreal? gem:

    Can’t wait to see how your closet turns out!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 7, 2016 - 4:19 PM

      Emily, that video is hilarious! AWESOME. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Michelle - January 7, 2016 - 5:11 PM

    I’m so curious to see how it comes out. We have a typical wall closet and I had thought about using the Pax system but wasn’t sure it would work on an existing closet (I thought they were freestanding)? I have a lot of shoes and even more purses, I wonder if they have a solution for that. Can’t wait to see how yours goes!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 7, 2016 - 5:29 PM

      They are freestanding, but we wanted to create more of a built-in look. :)

      And yes, they have trays and all sorts of things to corral every last item for a closet!ReplyCancel

  • Steph M. - January 8, 2016 - 9:06 AM

    I’m so excited for this!! I’m an organization fanatic. Give me all the drawers and hooks! 😊ReplyCancel

  • Shavonda@SGStyle - January 17, 2016 - 11:19 AM

    Yaaay. So exciting! We dont have a “legit closet” in our bedroom either so when we moved in we created one along a wall with the PAX system and we LOVE it. I know youre going to love yours too. Cant wait to see it installed.ReplyCancel


Hello, 2016! How have you been? What have we missed? Can we talk about Making a Murderer? (We devoured 10 hours in just a handful of days, yowza.) Even so, we kicked it into high gear these last couple of weeks – a little bit here, a lot bit there – but first, let’s wrap up the demolition talk! Week 4 made all the difference, with the most drastic change taking place in the bedroom. Let’s step inside:


When we first laid out our bedroom plans, we were confident in our decision to remove the poorly placed chimney. Eliminating this stack of bricks would give us room for a closet and a larger bed, but we quickly found out that the chimney was still being used to vent our first floor furnace and water heaters. Ouch. (It was an unexpected twist, but we have to say, we’re a bit shocked that was our only surprise!)


We panicked (my specialty), and we debated keeping it right where it was. We talked about somehow shuffling the entire room around, adding shelves to the left, moving the closet to our (now) window wall, and generally just trying to make it work. Every scenario made us unhappy, and so bit the bullet, re-routed the vents and purchased new water heaters. Although none of that makes for a satisfying Before & After story, it was the best decision for our house – especially after realizing that our old water heaters were way past their due date. Our HVAC contractor corrected a few other kinks along the way, and our home is much healthier for it! So, three cheers for proper venting and energy efficient water heaters! Hip, hip!

With the chimney issues resolved, our GC was able to take down the chimney once and for all. It took one day to remove the bricks (and plaster and peeling wallpaper!) and an additional two days to patch in the drywall and hardwood floor. Worth it. From now-you-see-it to now-you-don’t:

bed-bath-laundry-demo-35 bed-bath-laundry-demo-36 bed-bath-laundry-demo-37

The bricks from the chimney were in poor shape, but we asked our GC if he could salvage as much as he could. They’re piled in the backyard for now, so we’ll see if they stand up through the winter. If we notice any deterioration, we’ll haul them into the garage, but – oh please, oh please – let’s hope it doesn’t come to that!


And although we’ve already shared the new view our windows bring in, they look so much prettier with the drywall repaired! They’re still in line for hunky trim, and we’ve yet to remove the teensy bits of remaining baseboards, but it’s already a hundred times better. No, a million. Below, where we started, to where we stand:

bed-bath-laundry-demo-38 bed-bath-laundry-demo-39

The drywall work in all three rooms has been patched, sanded and primed, so from here on out, it’s up to us to complete the look! To start, we’ll be shifting back and forth between the bath and bedroom, with an emphasis on getting the second floor bathroom to a functional point. At the same time, we’re itching to get working on the closet (more on that very soon!) and anxious to move out of the guest room. But we’ve also been hard at work on tiling the bathroom, and we’re crossing all our fingers that the wall tile will get here this week!

(Okay, but seriously, who wants to talk about MAM?)

  • emily @ go haus go - January 5, 2016 - 8:20 AM

    Looks fantabulous! I love that you went beyond the aesthetics and got into the guts and structure of the place to make it the best it can be. Your house is so lucky to have you!

    Also… MAM… I am CONVINCED Teresa’s ex-boyfriend did it. Someone on Reddit posted a screen grab of his hands during the search footage… Covered in bloody scratches! He just seems like such a creep, he hacked into her voicemail, he deleted a bunch of voicemails (??) and was the only citizen allowed on the Avery property to aid in the search. So STRANGE! And c’mon… isn’t it always the boyfriend??


    • Kim - January 5, 2016 - 9:25 AM

      We thought it was strange that they didn’t even consider other options of people close to her – the boyfriend, the brother that seemed a little camera happy, etc. Even still, we’re not totally convinced that Avery DIDN’T do it, but the police HAD to have planted evidence, right? Right?! And no joke about those voicemails. It’s like, oh yeah, the mysterious voicemails, calls and deletions… moving on!ReplyCancel

      • Allie - January 6, 2016 - 2:51 PM

        I NEED to find that screen grab. The ex, brother and also that roommate who didn’t say anything about her being missing not for four days? Why only give a camera to the two people that are going to search Avery Auto Salvage? How do you guess that someone’s password is their sisters’ birthdays AND know those birthdays? To me everyone just seems so guilty besides the Avery’s. Everytime we heard anything from Sgt Colborn all I could think of was Slugworth from Willy Wonka. Barb’s husband also irked me especially that he was trying to get Brendan to take a plea deal. That poor kid.ReplyCancel

        • Kim - January 7, 2016 - 9:15 AM

          COLBURN!! I know, right?!ReplyCancel

  • Steph M. - January 5, 2016 - 8:50 AM

    This looks so good! The kitties are going to love all those windows! Are you going to install your extra wide windowsills? We’ve just started our house search, and I keep reminding Chuck that we will be adding those!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 5, 2016 - 9:26 AM

      You know it! Extra wide, extra deep. I’m even looking into a little step stool so the girls can hop on/off the bed and on/off the window easier, oh, dear.ReplyCancel

  • Emily - January 5, 2016 - 9:17 AM

    My mom did something similar, removing an old chimney that wasn’t being used from her kitchen. It was such an amazing change, opening up the formerly narrow kitchen.
    Your room looks so bright and fresh, can’t wait to see the rest of it come along.ReplyCancel

  • Jon - January 5, 2016 - 12:21 PM

    Is the transition from (original) plaster to (new) drywall noticeable at all? Or is it pretty seamless? We have plaster in our 1940’s ranch and wonder if drywall repairs would be noticeable. I’m guessing you went with drywall because plaster would have been super expensive.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 5, 2016 - 1:07 PM

      At some point, the entire house was transitioned over to drywall, so the only plaster left are crumbles behind the wall and lath OR plaster behind items that are original to the house (i.e., the chimney). Unfortunately, I can’t give you any firsthand input on how seamless it would look.ReplyCancel

  • Liz - January 5, 2016 - 12:36 PM

    Wow, what a difference a removed chimney makes! And did it go all the way up to the roof? I am just curious if you only had to remove the section just in the bedroom or if you had to take the whole thing out for structural reasons?

    We have one that runs through all 4 floors of our house (from basement to walk up attic). We don’t use it to vent anything at all either anymore, and I would love to eventually remove it in the attic when we go to finish it for a master, but I worry I will be told I have to remove it from EVERY floor, disrupting living spaces I don’t want to touch (at least for now…)

    Looks great though! Cant wait to see what paint color you guys choose!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 5, 2016 - 1:09 PM

      For now, we only removed it from this room to keep the cost manageable, but we WILL have to remove it through the attic and roof later this year. In the meantime, they reinforced the ceiling to support the weight, but we still want to remove it and patch up the roof when all is said and done!ReplyCancel

    • Ryan - January 5, 2016 - 2:46 PM

      Liz- You can remove just the section above the roof and in the attic if you like, leaving the chimney column in the lower rooms if you like. If you’re not using the chimney it’s really just a roof leak waiting to happen and a way that conditioned air can escape your house. Removing a chimney can be very messy so I understand why you’d want to avoid disrupting your finished rooms.ReplyCancel

  • Ashley - January 5, 2016 - 2:14 PM

    This looks SO nice! I can’t imagine how much work and money went into all of this, but it is looking amazing. And those bricks?! They get me every time.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 6, 2016 - 9:43 AM

      Hopefully they’ll pass the winter test and we can use them outside for future yard plans… time will tell!ReplyCancel

  • Melanie - January 5, 2016 - 9:05 PM

    Everybody is talking about MAM. I think I need to watch it.
    Its such an amazing feeling when you make big progress, can’t wait to see how these rooms unfold.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 6, 2016 - 9:43 AM

      You gotta! And thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Sage @ Plaster & Disaster - January 5, 2016 - 9:42 PM

    So totally obsessed with MAM right now, and 100% convinced that the police framed him. The hole in the blood sample, the key that appeared on the 7th search, the detective calling in the vehicle when supposedly it was missing, the unconscionable questioning of his nephew who clearly had no idea what was happening. It’s horrendous.

    Also about to take on a big renovation, I wonder what our version of the chimney surprise will be :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 6, 2016 - 9:42 AM

      YES. Calling in the vehicle when it was still missing! That one still gets to me.

      Good luck on your renovation!ReplyCancel

  • Ilse - January 6, 2016 - 6:14 AM

    Looking good! I am so excited every time there is a new post about these rooms. Can’t wait to see what you make of it, but I’m sure it will be good!ReplyCancel

  • Melissa - January 6, 2016 - 1:25 PM

    It’s all starting to come together! Can’t wait to see what the final product looks like!ReplyCancel



Even as we wind down our year, we still have a tall order ahead of us. On our ambitious agenda? Starting the bathroom tile (and nailing down every last detail on how many bullnose pieces we’ll need for the walls), mapping out our plan of attack for the PAX, and choosing a bedroom paint color. We’ll be falling down the internet rabbit hole as we search for a vintage rug (or two!), and we’ll be doing this in-between marathon stretches of downtime with family, friends and season three of Six Feet Under (we’re only, what, 10 years behind?).

Or we might just nix all the to-dos, putting them off until the new year. Crazy, right?

We also want to thank you. Thank you for stopping by our corner when you can, suggesting ideas that have us digging deeper into our original plans. The time you take to leave a comment, send an email and leave all the heart emojis on every last #chocolatechunk and #jackattack photo makes us so happy. We wish you the warmest and happiest of holidays, and we’ll be back in the new year with more stories to tell, no doubt, up to our ears in mortar, grout and cans of paint. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

PS… In the meantime you can follow any progress on our Instagram (@yellowbrickhome), and here’s a look back at some of our favorite posts from 2015. Click on any thumbnail to take you to the original post!

  • Ashley - December 23, 2015 - 8:25 AM

    Happy holidays!!! I hope you have a lovely week. Those photos of your pets are killing me- so much personality! I have been also taking it easier- I figure this is the one time a year when it’s totally acceptable/necessary for gearing up for 2016. Cheers!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - December 23, 2015 - 10:57 AM

      Have a great week too, Ashley! Soak up every relaxing moment.ReplyCancel

  • Bonnie - December 23, 2015 - 12:13 PM

    Wow! Amazing what you’ve been able to do in just a year! Enjoy the holidays-I’m sure with lots of snuggles to the pups and kitties! (As it should be, of course!)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - December 25, 2015 - 7:25 PM

      Lots and lots of snuggles!ReplyCancel

  • Josh | The Kentucky Gent - December 23, 2015 - 2:03 PM

    Enjoy the rest of the year, y’all definitely deserve it!

    Josh | The Kentucky Gent