I design a lot of storage spaces. The truth is most of us need more accessible storage than our houses provide. It is not just a problem for people who have too much stuff. Even when you are excellent at getting rid of excess items regularly, you can be short on places to keep your daily items at hand. One of the great challenges of design is providing usable storage that looks good and functions seamlessly. The secret is OBSERVE, MEASURE, AND LOCATE.
OBSERVE: Figure out what items are used each day. What items are used weekly? What items are used annually? A woman who never wears scarves shouldn’t have her scarves on the middle shelf of her closet. That is prime real estate! For this closet, which I designed for my all time favorite client—my husband—I needed to make sure all the items he uses for work are in sight and located within easy reach. No searching through drawers or opening a bin with a lid. It has to be seen and grabbed quickly, so he can get out the door.
MEASURE: I am a big believer in measuring again, again, and again. In this project, we measured every suitcase, every suit coat for length, and how much space full length items to up closet rod space. Only then did I begin to draw the cabinetry for production.
LOCATION: Those items that are used daily: work out clothes, uniforms, etc. should be handy and have a place for ALL the pieces together. Several other tricks we employed to make this 8×7’ closet be a real powerhouse:
1. LET THERE BE LIGHT! We chose a ceiling mount with 4 bulbs.
2. REFLECT. Notice the ceiling is in a high gloss, as is all the trim.
3. REFLECT AGAIN. The cabinetry is custom built, using SW Macadamia, again in a high gloss enamel to give lots of sheen and bounce around our light.
4. REFLECT ONCE MORE. Notice the wallpaper, a silver foil by Thibaut Anna French called Songbirds. It acts as a mirror over every drywall surface, and helps brighten the room even more.
5. KEEP REFLECTING. The drawer pulls are 18” Tower Bridge by Top Knobs, an AFI favorite. They come in several finishes, but here we used polished nickel to keep the shine going strong. Note the Art Deco design, which incorporates geometric patterns found on the Tower Bridge in London.
6. REFLECT ON YOUR TOES. Last of all, take a glance at the rich wall to wall carpet Athena by Stanton. Made of wool (for durability) and viscose (for sheen), it glows like a fine silk rug, one you can sink your toes into.
7. HANG IT ALL! We used 7 double hooks in this closet! Let’s face it, we all get lazy and just want to hang our stuff on a hook, instead of digging for a hanger. Give yourself a break, and make sure you have a quick spot for your jeans, instead of trampling them on the closet floor.
8. SPEAKING OF HANGERS…It may be old school and cheesy, but I prefer white plastic hangers. NO WIRE HANGERS!!! (Please tell me some of you catch the Mommie Dearest reference…) Seriously, plastic hangers slide easily on the rod and clothes don’t catch on them when you pull (like the velvet coated hangers that are so popular). I am sure you have your own favorite, which is fine. But definitely consider your hanger choice before you choose the rod, so they work together. Some hangers don’t fit over oval rods, which are becoming more popular.
9. MAKE IT CLEAR. My 12 year old daughter kindly labeled all our bins with illustrated tags. No more guessing which bin holds what. Another time saver as we race out the door each day.
That’s a lot of info about closets. Stay tuned for storage we’ve designed for other clients, including laundry rooms, a kitchen computer desk for a busy mom, a wine closet for a connoisseur, a guitar cabinet for a local musician, and a Jacksonville house filled with custom spaces for multiple uses. Summer is a perfect time to get organized.
Call us to schedule an appointment to design your dream closet!
Until next time,