FUNC­TION MEETS FASH­ION

Turn an un­der­per­form­ing closet into a bou­tique-style space

RSWLiving - - Department­s - BY BETH LUBERECKI

When Mercedes Cour­land gut­ted her Naples home, she gave her mas­ter bed­room closet just as much at­ten­tion as any other space in the house. She knew the impact a stylish, highly func­tional stor­age zone could have on her daily rou­tine. “It was ab­so­lutely worth the in­vest­ment,” says Cour­land, an in­te­rior de­signer who has worked from New York to South Florida. “It adds a lot to my life. Some­times I just walk in there and think, ‘I love my closet.’”

That’s not a feel­ing all home­own­ers have. Af­ter all, there’s not much to love about your closet if it’s jammed with cloth­ing hang­ing from builder-grade white wire shelv­ing.

“Clos­ets tend to be the spa­ces ar­chi­tects have left over,” says Stephen Car­reiro, owner of Clos­ets by De­sign of Fort My­ers, who worked with Cour­land on her closet. “That’s why they come in such funky shapes.”

Even the most bor­ing or barely func­tional clos­ets can be trans­formed from basic to bou­tique. And if you’ve got as many shoes as Car­rie Brad­shaw or a jew­elry col­lec­tion fit for Duchess Kate, you’ll have more fun with a so­lu­tion that both stores and shows them off.

“Think of the per­sonal plea­sure you’d get in that space ev­ery day,” says Car­reiro. “Peo­ple de­cide they want a cus­tom closet be­cause it will make them feel bet­ter, and who doesn’t want to feel bet­ter ev­ery day?”

To give your closet that bou­tique feel, start at the be­gin­ning and re­think things like hang­ing rods and shelv­ing. Odds are, you need more than what you’ve cur­rently got. “Even a basic closet sys­tem is a night-and­day dif­fer­ence from the stan­dard,” says H.L.

Burkley, owner of Cus­tom Clos­ets & More in Bonita Springs. “You can es­sen­tially dou­ble some­one’s closet space just by sim­ply in­stalling a sys­tem like ours.”

Cus­tom closet so­lu­tions can in­cor­po­rate every­thing from draw­ers to pull-out ham­pers. Ad­di­tional rows of closet rods can in­crease hang­ing space, es­pe­cially if your closet has high ceil­ings.

“Some­times peo­ple want to do three rows all the way up to the ceil­ing,” says Car­reiro.

“So we can do a pull-down rod that piv­ots, which is a nice ac­ces­sory for peo­ple who want to do more be­cause they’ve got the height.”

Stor­age so­lu­tions take shape around what you’re putting in your closet, whether that’s a se­lec­tion of suits or col­or­ful ten­nis ap­parel. For shoes, op­tions in­clude cub­bies and flat or slanted shelves that can be left open or put be­hind glass doors. If you’ve got a big­ger space and bud­get, you can add some­thing show-stop­ping like a shoe carousel.

“It’s not for ev­ery­one,” says Burkley. “It costs about $5,000 to get one put in, but you can get quite a few shoes in it. You’ve got to have a re­ally big closet though, be­cause it’s deep, and you need power.”

Cour­land made use of wasted space when she had Car­reiro in­stall 12-inch-deep, floor-to-ceil­ing cab­i­nets for her shoes along a hall­way be­tween her mas­ter closet and bath­room. “It’s beau­ti­ful to walk by with all the beau­ti­ful shoes in them,” she says.

Her purses are lined up around the top of her closet. “I can see every­thing at a glance, in­stead of al­ways hav­ing to dig for things,” she says. “That ac­ces­si­bil­ity is re­ally im­por­tant.”

For other clients, Car­reiro’s com­pany has stored purses in closet is­lands or deep draw­ers, hung them from a closet rod, and even dis­played them on an ar­range­ment of hooks on a wall that can’t be used for shelv­ing or hang­ing rods.

“We de­sign for each cus­tomer specif­i­cally,” he says. “We take a look at their space, talk about what they want to do and look at ideas from Pin­ter­est, on­line and our ad­ver­tis­ing.”

For show­cas­ing jew­elry, vel­vet-lined draw­ers are pop­u­lar, es­pe­cially ones with inserts for dif­fer­ent kinds of pieces. Us­ing mul­ti­ple pull­outs that stack on top of each other can max­i­mize space in each drawer.

“We also do acrylic inserts,” says Burkley. “But I like the black vel­vet–lined ones. When you see all the jew­elry in there it’s re­ally bright against that black back­ground.”

Fin­ish­ing touches help to give a closet that bou­tique vibe. That could mean an is­land if your closet has space for one or a stor­age bench you can sit on while putting on shoes. Fold­out mir­rors can be mounted to closet or cabi­net doors to pro­vide a three-way, dress­ing room–style mir­ror.

Good light­ing is also key. Con­sider func­tional op­tions like LED light­ing to help il­lu­mi­nate the space and all you’ve got in it. Then add in some­thing fun like a chan­de­lier or pen­dant lights.

Trick­ing out a closet isn’t just for the ladies. For male clients, Burkley has in­stalled every­thing from cab­i­nets for watches to cus­tom draw­ers for belts and buck­les. “And if we can’t strum their heart­strings in the closet,” he says, “we’ve also got a full line of garage cab­i­nets.”

If you’ve got as many shoes as Car­rie Brad­shaw or a jew­elry col­lec­tion fit for Duchess Kate, you’ll have more fun with a so­lu­tion that both stores and shows them off.

Draw­ers, shelv­ing and mul­ti­ple rows of hang­ing rods al­low for max­i­miz­ing one’s closet space.

El­e­ments like is­lands and in­ter­est­ing light­ing can el­e­vate a closet from basic to bou­tique.

A cus­tom closet so­lu­tion helps home­own­ers store and dis­play what’s im­por­tant to them, whether that’s a killer shoe col­lec­tion or an ar­ray of col­or­ful scarves.

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