FUNCTION MEETS FASHION
Turn an underperforming closet into a boutique-style space
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.