Closet Designs And Office Nicchia Shelves

To do some custom shelving and doors, Kevin has brought Johnny on to the project team. He’s from England, now living nearby.

Primarily, we wanted him to execute the wooden shelves for the built-in wall niches in the office and in the bathrooms and to handle the two closets, downstairs coat closet and upstairs linen closet, by supplying doors and shelving.

We had sent along some ideas for the niches a number of months ago, but hadn’t really addressed the closets until today.


We received a draft layout for the linen closet.

Linen Closet Proposed Layout
Linen Closet Proposed Layout
Click image to enlarge

Our only surprise was that there was shelving shown above the closet, built into the wall. We had assumed this would just be flat wall. This we needed to think about, as having the shelves extend all the way to the ceiling beams, at nearly 9ft, seemed like it might look a little strange.

Kevin’s main questions to us focused on the shelves inside the closet: how many and with what spacing.

I played around with some options, wanting to leave enough space at the bottom to store one or two portable air conditioning units, and to have useable spaces above for bedding and towels.

Eventually, I started to wonder if we wouldn’t be better off using adjustable shelves sitting on shelf pegs. I wasn’t sure if this was done it Italy, but it seemed to be the best solution.

Ultimately, we decided on just one shelf, or two openings, above the door, maybe for decorative items, and movable shelves inside.

Doors? Johnny recommended using some old doors in a style similar to the rest of the interior doors. That seemed right. The only open question is the finish for the doors.

Office Nicchia

Here, our real decision is two shelves, meaning three levels for books, or three shelves, meaning four openings.

This one is a little maddening. Given the overall height of the nicchia, if we have four openings, they will be 22.7cm high. Guess what? A typical book is 23cm tall. If we’d just built the overall opening a few, maybe 10cm (4in) bigger, we would have been all set for four levels.

office nicchia layout
Possible Shelf Positions
Click image to enlarge

Since we can only do three levels, rather than make each 32cm high, we elected to make the bottom level taller, which gives us space for bigger books below and regular books above.

An Update

Luckily, Johnny and Kevin came back to us with a revised layout. When we said just one shelf/two openings above the linen closet door, we expected the area above to be flat wall. They were a bit unclear, and thought it made more sense to have a tall, open space above, so they asked what we wanted. We clarified our desire to close off the top space and make a flat wall.

Linen Closet Layout Options
Linen Closet Layout Options
Click image to enlarge

We’re all set on the simple layout for the downstairs coat closet.

For the doors, Johnny has found some old oak doors, now painted ivory. He recommended that we strip them, leaving a few flecks of paint in place to give a bit of a weathered look. That’s sounds good, so we’re now set on closets.

All images: Copyright © Our Big Italian Adventure

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