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Closets From a New Angle

Closets From A New AngleLots of home remodeling projects are inspired by the need for more storage and better functioning space. Many involve “an addition”. If that’s true for you, you’re likely planning to “blow out a wall” or takeover some attic space and make it more usable.

Often this can be for a master bedroom suite or that much needed storage.

The challenge with going into attic spaces is often the angled walls. Most people aren’t sure what to do with them and frequently think they can get much better function from them than is realistic.

Since we’ve worked on lots of projects with angles, we’ve got some “tried and true” approaches to making the most of any wall that’s challenging your design.

Expert top tips:

1. Custom-fitting cabinetry into angled, back wall space requires a significant financial investment. Angles have to be measured and taken into account for accessibility. This often requires creating templates so the cabinetry fits. That adds to the cost of the project as well. So don’t overplan and don’t over expect. Keep in mind that it’s likely you have larger storage bins that can be slid into those spaces, a much more effective option.

2. If you’re working with a solid substrate (like wood or melamine), those materials need to be able to be attached to walls and/or floors. Yes, we do work with “Hanging systems” where the panels are shorter. However, we’re able to attach those to the wall and secure them into studs. In situations where we’re working with angles, we have to use walls and floors for structural rigidity.

Custom Fitting Cabinetry Into Angled Space

3. Keep in mind what you’re trying to store in the space and make sure it will fit. For short hanging garments, the rod should be approximately 40 - 42” from the floor and at least 11” from the back wall. This allows enough space for the garments themselves to fit.

4. If you’re thinking about shelving as a solution - don’t go super deep. You’re just adding structure to the same problem you currently have. And shelves should have backing (or be built as cabinets) so items don’t fall behind the open shelves.

5. Less structure often nets the best solutions. If you need hanging space, add rods and leave the back area open. Slide your bins and big boxes there.

And if you think you need help getting the most from your space, give us a call. We can help get the most function from it and would be delighted to work with you on your project.





Geometry Puzzle

Angles of any sort present multiple challenges in a closet deign. Depending upon where the angles are and how “angled” they are impacts storage capacity. What looks like reasonable storage space on empty walls suddenly either becomes excessively deep storage or barely any storage capacity at all.

And building to accommodate the angles and still make sure everything is beautiful quickly becomes complicated.

So this project was a very large new construction space with lots of angled ceiling space. The client wanted to use the ceiling height for both efficiency and visual appeal.

So from a design perspective, we took the height of the center of the room and created a full height island that was 108”.

We also wanted to balance doors on upper storage cabinets with the overall look for a more consistent eye appeal without compromising any storage.

angled closet space Geometry Puzzle Closet

Most of the lower storage areas were open for hanging garments and we didn't want all upper cabinets with doors to overpower the lower, open areas.

We also needed to incorporate a large number of ties that needed to be easily seen and accessible as well as a high shoe count.

The client was also insistent on having drawers below hanging (which is something we recommend against because hanging over shadows any items below and makes them difficult to access).

Once we got the design elements worked out and approved, we had to figure out the engineering and installation. And engineering every panel to the pitch of the varied ceiling heights was a definite skill on its' own.

This closet was built with glazed ivory melamine, extra large, glazed crown and base moldings with raised panel fronts. It included oil rubbed bronze rods and accessories and Venetian Bronze hardware.

Closets With Angled Walls and Ceilings

Angled walls and ceilings present unique design challenges in closet space.

White Attic closet with hardwood floorWhat initially looks like great little “cubbie” space or “nooks” because of a curved wall or angled ceiling often ends up expensive to build out.

And it isn't always highly functional.
And here's why -
We all have specific items that need to be stored inside our closets. And these items “occupy” or “take up” defined amounts of space. For example, a pair of blouse that is 22” from shoulder to shoulder won't fit very well in a space that is only 18” deep.

In other words, just because you put a rod up in a location does not always mean that the hanging garments will fit within that space. If the rod is too close to the wall or a return wall isn't deep enough, the clothing may stick out in to a walkway or the hanger might not fit within the space.

So creating storage solutions in spaces that have angles can be tricky and require planning if you want to maximize function and have it look great.

Here are a couple of tips:

Dress shirts in attic closet-The industry standard rod height for short hanging garments is approximately 42” from the floor. Shirts and jackets require about 24” in depth in order to fit in to a space. Placement of rods should accommodate these parameters.

-If you are using panel material (like melamine or wood), the system needs to attach to the structure of the house for stability. So while a large number of closet systems are installed using what is known as a “hanging system”, this approach can't typically be utilized in situations with angled ceilings because you can't adhere the system to a flat, vertical back wall. That often means that a “floor-based” system is best because the panels go all the way to the floor and can be secured there so the system doesn't fall down.

attic master closet-Shelving units will typically need to have backing so items don't fall behind the unit and into any “dead space”.

-Low shelving doesn't always make sense. Attaching shelving to the walls within the space that has a straight, vertical wall is often difficult to access because it's low and you have to really bend down to get to it. The forward angle, or  pitch of the ceiling prevents easy access. If you go with this option, you should consider it for long term storage and larger items that you don't need to access on a regular basis.

-Less structure often equals more effective storage when it comes to angled and unusual spaces. We often have people who want to organize the space underneath stairs. They have seen some gorgeous pictures on sites like Houzz or Pinterest and want to re-create the look. While this is a need we can meet, it requires a serious budget. Custom designing and building something to fit so beautifully and specifically requires not only math and good machinery, but on site trimming and cutting as well as fillers and possibly even the making of templates in advance.

Attic closet storage nooks Attic closet organization

The more economical option is to plan to store larger items that you don't use on a daily basis (like holiday decorations) in this space. Put in some simple shelving that will allow for that.