Custom Closet Design Trends
Demand for custom closet design has grown exponentially, it seems, in the past decade. Builders of custom homes today include areas once large enough for kitchens or family rooms designated for master closets and include shelves, racks, islands, and more to increase their functionality.
According to Steve Case of Advantage Closets, “In 1983, most of our custom closet customers had one family income and viewed the custom closet as a luxury item. Today most of our customers have two incomes and have a need for organization in their lives because of the demands of two jobs with the same home responsibilities as before.”
Sandra Sokol of Closets by Design says, “Custom closets can mean nothing more than being able to get the ‘exact’ organizational unit for your needs and space. Custom closets are needed by everyone today because of our need for the organization to give us more time for family and friends. Everyone is so busy they need to utilize each minute of their day. An organization creates more valuable time.”
Large and small spaces are receiving custom closet solutions, according to Cynthia Crego of More Space Place. “Our clients want to be better organized and to use their space more effectively,” she says. “They also want to increase the value of their home and pamper themselves a little. Most of our clients tell us how much they love to walk into a beautiful, well-organized closet. Besides improving storage, a custom closet is a time saver. You no longer have to spend 5 to 10 minutes every day searching for items in a messy closet.”
“I think everyone is so very busy,” says Barbara French of French’s Cabinet Gallery. “Being organized helps us save time. It is a waste of time to constantly be looking for misplaced items. The need to be organized transcends home size. Your home can be huge and still be disorganized! When our homes are organized and the clutter is cleared, it clears our minds for more important priorities.”
And the time savings is for real, according to the National Association of Professional Organizers, which, in a 2008 consumer study, found that more than half of respondents would save 16 minutes to an hour a day if they were more organized. That translates into anywhere from two to 15 days a year being wasted.
Michael Vogt of California Closets, says, “The idea of a ‘custom built’ closet wasn’t as prevalent in 2002 as it is today. For people building a custom home or renovating a home in 2009, it seems as though custom closets are now more of an expectation. Custom-designed closets and storage areas allow the potential of a space to be maximized to suit the owners’ individual needs.”
The trend toward custom closets is leading to a more custom/built-in look, according to Frank Floyd of The Closet Company. He says, “More trim and attention to detail and either a furniture look or built-in ‘fine’ painted cabinetry is the look many of our clients want to see in their closets. They want less laminate and modular looks. They want less adjustability and they don’t want to see ‘all the holes.’ We’re also seeing a trend toward better design and more details to meet the owners’ personal needs, driven by a design for quality and custom features.” The high end features Floyd notes include crown molding, columns, raised panels, furniture feet, and high-end countertops including granite.
Fashioning closets peppered with exotic woods and fine hardware is the specialty for Nanci Lewis’ company, Premiere Design Closet & Storage Systems. Known for its one-of-a-kind designs ranging from classic to European to contemporary, the company “re-invents the wheel with each project,” says Lewis. We “push ourselves to give clients something unique.”
One aspect of Lewis’ design service that clients like, she says, is receiving a compilation of their project drawings and specifications bound in book format. The specified materials are indexed.
In large walk-in closets, Case says “we are now furnishing islands that can dramatically increase the storage, and hanging space that is currently available. In closets with 120-in. ceilings or more we are now adding a third row of hanging space with pull-down bars for seasonal clothes. Closets are now offering more organization and utility with the additional accessories such as safes, ironing centers, hampers (with multiple clothes bags), countertops for folding and packing, shoe shelves capable of displaying 40 pairs of shoes in 24-in., and drawer systems.”
The case adds, “We’re finding an increasing number of closet systems built to 22-in. deep and floor-mounted with doors and cedar backs to control both dust and moths. In older homes where more closet space is needed we are building free-standing shelving and hanging doors and drawers on a wall in the bedroom in lieu of a walk-in closet.”
Offering cabinetry and shelving for master closets in high-end subdivisions is Mark Casserly of Franklin, according to Lisa Casserly. “Almost all of the closets we install feature islands, which is a nice organizational feature and a great use of space. Most of our clients are requesting full depth cabinets with glass doors to minimize dust collection on their clothes. Rolling ladders to reach upper shelves in closets with high ceilings is a current trend.”
Don White of Closet Tailors suggests that people reluctant to move are making improvements to their closets to make better use of their space. “Closets are usually the first priority with shelves and drawers. And while white has been very popular we are receiving increasing interest in our chocolate systems, which are a dark walnut color.”
Classic Blinds and Closets puts the emphasis on master closets, according to Tom Quarantello. “For most people, a custom closet allows them to organize their belongings in a way to exactly meet their needs and bring a sense of style to space,” he says.
Closets & More, a fully trained and authorized ORG dealer, provides design services, organizing advice, and professional installation of systems that range from 17 laminate finishes to eight wood finishes. The company’s new showroom offers a glimpse of the solutions available for organizing closets, pantries, garages, basements, laundry rooms, and home offices or extra bedrooms. “Transform a ho-hum closet or spare room into your personal style headquarters,” says Betty Anne Mills, owner, and designer, and an allied member of ASID. “Your closet should be a place where you can have it all and still see it all to make crack-of-dawn wardrobe decisions.”
Closet experts say it’s not unusual for homeowners to take a spare bedroom and turn it into a closet. Those individuals, in particular, are most likely to want closet fittings with a “furniture” look and feel, according to Vogt. “Other customers want to stretch their budget as far as it can go and often choose a simple finish with basic design ideas. We strive to understand each customer’s needs and design the system that will accommodate their individual preferences.”
Crego reports that “Shoe storage is huge. People want shoes off the floor and accessible, and they want space for flats, heels, and boots. And ample hanging space tops the list of requirements. Our clients also want drawers, shelves, and baskets to store all their folded clothes. Many people want to eliminate dressers and armoires in the bedroom. Hampers and accessories such as belt racks, tie racks, valets, mirrors, jewelry drawers, and ironing boards are in demand.”
Offering colors ranging from white and off-white to numerous woodgrain finishes, Sokol reports that Closets by Design’s customers want simple, basic designs that have versatility and can be changed to meet their changing needs.
French says she sees a “huge trend to dark wood stains, just as with our kitchen cabinetry. Also, the trend toward ‘green’ is strong. Our closets are often part of our sleeping areas where we spend such a large portion of our time and customers want materials and finishes that do not ‘outgas’ unhealthy chemicals for them to breathe while they are sleeping. Our closets and cabinetry fill this requirement.”
Case reports that while white melamine has been the backbone of the closet business for many years, the demand for dark woodgrain melamine has grown by over 21 percent in the past year, and the company also offers real wood closet systems.
Ed Bradley at Closet Factory, says, “We’ve always looked at building a storage system as if we were building a fine piece of furniture. Every piece is custom-made from materials ranging from basic white melamine to dramatic wood grains, with a full array of decorative edges including solid wood. Other options include decorative crown and base molding, trim moldings, fluting, and custom-designed columns, as well as decorative raised panel faces. Systems can feature precision-drilled holes so the unit can change as needs change, or for a more custom look, systems can be created with no holes at all.”
While some custom closet providers offer organizational counseling or consulting, others do not. Some offer to connect a client with a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers. Some offer free in-home consultation and can create a computer plan on a laptop while visiting the home. Vogt says, “Every one of our designers is a ‘space planner.’ They are taught the principles of effective utilization of space and can help with the planning of where to store your belongings. It is not uncommon for our designers to visit a customer after installation to make sure they are getting maximum use of their new space.”
Lewis, a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), says, “The first thing we do before we even begin to draw a design, takes inventory of what a client has and what will go into the finished space. We design spaces efficiently, so they maximize every square inch of storage possible.” For some clients, Premiere Design only provides its organizing services.
Custom closet providers also agree that the trend for an organization has grown from the master closet to closets throughout the house, to the kitchen pantry, laundry area, garage, and entertainment center.
There are a number of closet resources in the Greater Nashville area including:
Advantage Shutters & Closets
Classic Blinds & Closets
Closets by Design
The Closet Company
Closets & More
Designing Spaces Direct
French’s Cabinet Gallery LLC
Mark Casserly of Franklin
More Space Place
Premiere Design Closets
615/ 385-1641 or 615/ 292-3181