Introduction

Knee Wall Storage
Photos: Geoffrey Gross
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You can convert hidden, unused spaces into valuable storage areas. Here, you'll recess a chest of drawers into the knee wall of an upstairs bedroom. You'll gain a full-size, eight-drawer chest without sacrificing a single square inch of floor space.

Knee walls are the short interior walls built beneath the roof rafters. Not every home has knee walls; they're most often found in finished attics and top-floor living spaces. These low walls help define the living space by creating vertical surfaces between the sloping rafters and the finished floor. They're typically framed with 2x4s and built 4-feet-high so they can easily be covered with full sheets of drywall. In most cases a knee wall is not a load-bearing partition. If you're not sure if a knee wall is load-bearing, you should consult a licensed contractor or structural engineer. If it is, you can still build in a chest of drawers, but you'll first have to install a double-2x6 header and pair of trimmer studs to support the rafters over the opening.
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    Tools List

    • drill
      Drill/driver
    • hammer
      Hammer
    • hand saw
      Handsaw
    • 100-foot tape measure
      Tape measure
    • two-foot level
      Level
    • drywall saw
      Drywall saw
    • circular saw
      Circular saw

    Shopping List

    1) Chest of drawers

    2) 2- and 3-inch drywall screws

    3) Paint, stain or varnish
    used to seal bare wood

    4) Paintbrush

    5) Drop cloth

    6) 1/8-inch hardboard
    used to cover opening cut into rear of chest

    7) 3/4-inch wire nails
    used to secure hardboard

    8) Doorstop molding
    used to trim around installed chest

    9) 1 1/2-inch finishing nails
    for attaching doorstop molding