September 11, 2014

Designing My Closet

There are a whole lot of exciting things about this renovation, one of which is getting to design my first closet for myself.  In no other home have I had a space done just for me and I’m hoping this puts an end to the piles of clothes I leave heaped everywhere.  So does Andrew.

While Andrew is keeping his clothes in the gorgeous mirrored built ins in the master suite entry hall, I get this small walk in to myself- it’s about 5′ x 7’5″ so there isn’t a ton of space, but the ceiling is quite high. I got to work with California Closets’ designer Betsey Geddis on laying this baby out and wanted to share not only the space and plan with you but a little interview with Betsey regarding her tips on designing a closet.  I honestly thought California Closets was only for giant, fancy closets but I was proven wrong.  They can work withing many budgets and sizes- with smaller closets sometime it’s even MORE important to have a good design!

So first, the raw space:

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In order for this to work we needed to smartly use every square inch and really go through what I had.  Luckily, we have a guest room closet big enough to allow to to finally store off-season clothes elsewhere and keep only in-season garments and shoes in this space. That alone with help me conquer the clutter!

So here’s what we came up with- one side has hanging for tops/ blazer, shorter skirts and pants (I have very few pairs of dress pants and skirts actually) with shelves for jeans (TONS), sweaters (DITTO) and small accessories like clutches. The other has a long section for dresses and long skirts and shelving for shoes and boots.  Above each side is space up top for handbags and anything else I need to store that I don’t use every single day.  Under the window is a pull out hamper.  Out in the bedroom I have a six drawer dresser for t-shirts, underthings, workout clothes and jewelry.

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Because I have a pocket door, there isn’t a spot for a long mirror, but they have this genius slide out full length mirror thing that saves the day!

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The materials I chose were this amazing linen wrap looking texture for the shelving and panels, brass for the rods and hardware and white lacquer for the front of the hamper (with a cool brass pull I have yet to source).  I was planning on painting the walls white and keeping it super simple, but now all of the sudden I’m thinking a dark color like navy or darker “greige” would be awesome….

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On the window I’m doing a sheer in my favorite Martyn Lawrence Bullard Mamounia Petite print. LOVE. This also is the fabric for the bathroom sheer.

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I talked with Betsey about her tips and tricks for the process of designing a closet:

1)    What are the keys to planning and designing a functional closet?

a. Inventory – inventory your items and design the space to store what you really own. If you’re somebody with a lot of long dresses, and you create a closet with a lot of hanging space for shorter items – it’s not going to help you. The same goes for tall boots. You need to take stock of what you have and design it to match.

b. Beforehand, think about your wardrobe – what do I really wear? What do I really want to keep? You don’t want  to waste space on things you don’t really love.

c. Think about how you like to get ready- what are the things that you reach for everyday and how can we make them more accessible to you?

i.     Ex) Belts – do you like to hang them on a slide out belt rack or roll them in a drawer with dividers?

ii.     Ex) Pants – Do you like to fold your pants over hangers, or hang them the long way?


2)    What are some of your favorite tricks, products, designs and ideas for closets today?

a.  If possible have the hamper close to the door; you don’t want to have to walk all the way to the back to throw something in the laundry! If space allows, add in hampers for lights, darks, and linens. California Closets hidden hampers are HUGE! People always have those ugly plastic hampers in their closets and they’re always in the way.

b. Do you have a full length mirror in your space? If not, we can add a pull out full length mirror to your closet system that only takes up very little space.

c. Right now, I’m loving our linen textured material. It is such a high-end look – you get so much bang for your buck. Order some linen wrapped furniture and you will know exactly what I’m talking about.

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3)    How should people approach closet design? Any advice on getting started or preparing for your consultation?

a. Consider ALL of your clothing    Ex) If you’re stealing space from your kid’s closet for your long dresses, don’t forget to mention that! That way we can accommodate them into the design. Ex) Seasonal items. Do you prefer to make the seasonal switch (Ahem, New England residents!), or would you prefer to keep all of your clothes together?

b. I like to design room for extra items that you haven’t purchased yet. Let’s face it you will go shopping and you will need space for new items – so let’s plan for that now!

c. Don’t feel guilty about how much crap you have! Don’t be embarrassed because the reality is that we’re all guilty! You have so many occasions that you have to be prepared for and that is why you have so many items!


   4) What are some of the biggest mistakes people make when doing their closets?

a. Builders often build shelves that aren’t adjustable and they’re often too deep (depth meaning front to back). Deep shelves are NOT helpful in closets because items tend to get lost in the back.  Of course there are exceptions to every rule. When I use deep shelves, I usually design them to pull out so that it’s easier to reach items in the back.Corner shelves seem like a good idea, but are often just plain awkward to use.

b. Over-designing. Making the space so tight that you can’t really use it well.

So yes, they do closets really, really well….

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But did you know they do other rooms too (because I didn’t and I’m in the industry…).  Craft rooms, pantries, playrooms, libraries, media rooms….just about everything!




They even do built ins with wall beds for spaces that need to function in multiple ways (genius for a guest room/ office!)


My closet gets installed September 30th and I’ll be posting again once it’s complete and filled! If you are local and in the market for a little organizational help when it comes to your home and closets contact Betsey for a consult at!

Images courtesy of ©2014 California Closet Company, Inc. All rights reserved. Franchises independently owned and operated.

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