A DIY Pipe Closet At Our Cary Fixer-Upper



We flip houses for a living and, more often than not, our own homes are fixer-uppers. Therefore, home and DIY projects are just a part of our lives. We bought our current house in 2015, knowing it didn’t meet our usual buying parameters… but considering it was 2 miles from the girls’ school, we jumped on the opportunity. Living with my dad and being pregnant with our 3rd kid may have played into this decision.

via GIPHY

… maybe. More on that later …

This fixer-upper has been through many changes.

before after current fixer upper lots diy projects

… and has come a long way. When we bought the house, budgetary restrictions caused us to prioritize location over square footage, which also meant there were compromises: namely, closet space. This colonial has three bedrooms, two and a half baths with a walk up “playroom”. A playroom which became a bedroom upon the arrival of our 4th little rascal, initiating a cascade of events leading to this post. 

Guess what was NOT in the playroom? That’s right! A closet. 

DIY Pipe Closet for Angled Ceilings

The girls’ room has angled ceilings, adding a bit of a challenge for a project like this. 

At the start, we knew we wanted a few things:

  • A shelf on top
  • Maximize Vertical Storage – two rows for hanging clothes
  • The ability to hang long dresses
  • Stable installation
  • To avoid pipe touching the carpet

* It’s a good idea to know exactly what is important to you before starting and designing your closet: steps to planning this type of project are listed below.

FYI *This post should be applicable in most angled ceiling scenarios, just alter the width for your specific space.

There were about 40” inches width to play with and the intersection of the angled wall and vertical wall was 5’10” off the floor. In order to gain the height needed for two separate hanging racks and also allow for an upper shelf, we needed the first bar to be higher than that intersection, and come away from the angled wall. That height was about 80”

DIY Pipe Closet Design House Flippers Home angled ceiling

This led to a concern about the length of pipe which terminated at the top onto flange on the angled wall. Originally, we purchased a 12” pipe, but after a “dry fit” realized we needed a shorter pipe there, bringing the whole system closer to the exterior wall and flush with the banister. A 6” pipe was the final choice.

The original the plan was to have a wood platform at the bottom, with casters so the closet would be mobile. BUT….we decided it was surely a safety hazard to have a mobile closet next to a staircase, and opted for a more permanent solution.

 

With a piece of plywood serving as stabilization, we secured three strips of wood to it, then sanded the entire piece. The main support flanges are secured here.

You can see here how the plywood is stabilizing the strips, though it will not be seen, because the weight will sink it into the carpet.

And here, where we had to notch out around the platform in order to help it fit in the space like a glove.

At the final install, we made sure to install at least one anchor point into a stud. 

diy pipe closet cary fixer upper

The Finished Project!

Tools and Materials Needed for This DIY Pipe Closet:

For this project, you will need the following tools: a chop saw, drill, and palm sander.

Tools Pipe Closet DIY House Flippers

The Materials are:

materials diy pipe closet by house flippers cary

 … plus wood for the base.

cary fixer upper diy closet reclaimed wood

Pipe Materials (3/4″ Galvanized):

  • 2 – 6″ Pipes
  • 4 – 4″ Pipes
  • 3 End Caps
  • 5 Nipple Connectors
  • 5T Connectors
  • 1 Cross Connector
  • 2 – 45 degree Connector
  • 4 Flanges
  • 3 – 6ft pipe cut in half and threaded
  • Wooden Base (ours measured 42.5″ wide x 23″ deep

DIY Pipe Instructions

Step 1: Design

The first step in planning a pipe closet is design. Keep in mind function, the existing space, and stability.

  • Function: What do you need it to do? How many racks of clothing do you need it to have?
  • Existing Space: How deep, tall, and wide can you make this?
  • Stability: How will you secure it? Will it go into Studs? Or just drywall? Use drywall anchors and if you can, make your design around studs.
    * be flexible – allow your plan to have a little wiggle room in your spacing because of the fittings

Step 2: Type of Pipe

There are mainly two types of pipe used for these types of projects: Black and Galvanized

  • Black Pipe: Standardly used in gas line applications.
  • Galvanized: Used in water line applications.
    *I chose galvanized because it can be more easily cleaned and is less likely to rust and stain clothes.

Size: ¾ and ½ in pipe had the most choices for fittings.
*We chose ¾ inch pipe because we wanted it to stand out a bit more.

Step 3: Measure your Space and Configure the Pieces Needed

  • Assume an inch or two less when measuring your ideal spacing to account for threads of connecting pieces (nipple connectors, elbows, etc.)
  • Also, assume you will not get it right the first time and will take a second… or third trip to Home Depot.

Step 4: Assemble and Install

  • Do a dry fit of the closet first to ensure your measurements and spacing are correct.
  • We suggest cleaning the pipe prior to final assembly. We used rubbing alcohol, but another blog we read suggested GoJo.
  • Additionally, try to get at least one of the anchor points into a stud, making your closet extra secure. Our design is fairly stable as it is, because the bottom mounts to the wood on the bottom, but you can never be too sure. 

There are several other great tutorials out there for pipe closets, check them out here:

Centsational Girl

One Thrifty Chick

My Sweet Savannah

…. and that is how you turn lemons into lemonades, guys. Have you ever had to make some compromises when buying a home? What sort of projects have you done to make your home more functional? Leave a comment below!

About Katelynn

I am a raleigh real estate investor, house flipper & lover of inspiring design. My husband, Uriah, is an experienced real estate broker who specializes in project management and acquisitions. Together, we run and operate an exciting and busy company that buys & renovates houses... bringing them back to life. We buy houses (and pay cash) in Wake County and some surrounding counties around Raleigh, NC.

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