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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.

Award Winning Old World Charm In A Walk In Closet

Top Shelf Award Winner - Old World CharmSometimes architects and homeowners have different views on how much closet space is really needed, and this project was a great example of that. The originally proposed closet space was about half the size of what we ended up with.  The client wanted separate His/Her areas, so plans had to be adjusted. 

What we did was extend the closet space into a loft area for “Her” closet space and converted some additional space in the master suite into “His” closet.

The new space for her was now much bigger, but it was narrow. She wanted to create a dramatic, elegant environment in harmony with the “old world” style of the home,  which included existing crown molding at the ceiling and Brazilian cherry flooring.

She also wanted the entire closet space to have doors and drawers, so that nothing was visible except the beautiful structure of the closet. But remember, the closet space was very narrow, so we advised against enclosing everything because it would be very difficult to access.

In our design plans, we wanted to visually “widen” the space so it didn't feel so narrow, so we utilized a mirror and columns with strategic placement.

Old World Charm - Summer Flame Melamine with Rubbed Bronze Accents

As you can see in the photos, we located the mirror on the back wall and flanked it by two columns. This served the important function that full length mirrors fulfill (allowing you to see yourself and your entire outfit – head-to-toe) and it gave us the illusion of more space.

Another strategic design decision we made was to lower the system height so you could still see the crown molding located at the ceiling.

We met her other storage needs by incorporating hampers and jewelry drawers. We also created separate wardrobe areas. One for casual items she wears frequently near the front of the closet and one for seasonal and formal items in the back areas of the closet.

And what materials did we use to create this beautiful space? A melamine called Summer Flame (along with thicker, 3mm edgebanding), glazed, raised-panel fronts and oil rubbed bronze accessories.  The client added her own black marble top and chandeliers to really put the fashionable finishing touches on her space.

This closet was so well designed and came out so beautifully that it actually won a Top Shelf Design Award, which we're very proud of. Carey Eckstrom designed this beauty and we're quite proud of her as well.

2012 Top Shelf Design Winners!!!!

Closet Organizing Systems (COS) was selected for two Top Shelf Design Awards to be announced at the 2012 Closet and Home Organizing Expo at the Austin Convention Center on February 15th in Austin, TX.  COS was selected for a melamine office system design and solid/wood veneer closet system. This is the 9th time that COS has been awarded a Top Shelf Design award by Closet Magazine over the last 7 years since its inception.

In the home office category Carey Ekstrom received a Top Shelf Award for her unique office solutions for a sitting/sun room adjacent to the client’s kitchen and living room. The client worked from home and required a functional, yet attractive workspace that blends with the family entertainment activities and compliments the visibility from both the kitchen and living room areas. Transforming a dated, non-functional area into an attractive, warm and inviting multi-purpose area in the home in which the family now looks forward to spending time together.  

In the Wood Veneer category Bill Curran received a Top Shelf Award a cherry stained master closet system simulated leather inserts in the door panels, thicker vertical side panels, full backing, and matching top and bottom moulding throughout the room. The closet was designed with a peninsula island cabinet with his/hers hampers, jewelry drawers, viewing mirror, and granite countertop which doubled for folding and packing clothes. The space also included a window seat bench with drawer storage and an upper lighting valance which is flanked by more hanging storage.

Awards were presented by TV personality Amanda LeBlanc of The Style Networks show “The Amada’s” at the 2012 Top Shelf Design Awards in Austin Texas.

Contemporary Design Elements

Contemporary Design Elements

 A custom closet can take on any look and feel a client wants.  It depends   not only on the budget and space available, but the personal style preferences of the homeowner and the style of the home itself.

Many basic closet systems fall into a somewhat contemporary feel because of the simple lines. And lines are the most obvious characteristic of contemporary design.  But here are some additional aspects to think about if you’re considering creating something contemporary:

-As much as we might overuse the term in the Chicago area, less really is more when it comes to contemporary design. It’s not about having lots of detail or décor elements.  It’s about editing so that there are only a few, key elements that really stand out.  Sometimes even just one element that stands out.  So think less about “stuff” and more about “statement”.

-Subtle sophistication is a true component of this style.  This is often interpreted through a neutral color base that is punched up with a shot of color in one or two places.

-Existing architectural elements can really serve contemporary design execution if they include things like exposed brick, which provides a natural texture, or high ceilings, which are a common component of contemporary design style.

-Geometry also comes in to play in contemporary design.  The shapes that show up in homes that are contemporary are typically angular or straight, versus the curves often associated with more traditional design.

If these elements appeal to your style sensibilities, you’re likely a fan of contemporary design.

Custom Closet Designs That Involve Obstacles

In the world of work, there are typically two kinds of days.

One that is routine- you have a good handle on the tasks that need to be completed and go about getting those things accomplished.

The other is often referred to as “one of those days” – where things don’t go as planned are often filled with putting out one fire after another or coming up with ingenious solutions to complicated problems.

And closet design days can be that way too.

Sometimes it’s a straightforward Walk In Closet that needs hanging, drawers and shelves.

And sometimes it’s a closet that’s filled with all kinds of obstacles (like steam mechanicals, security panels, return vents and electronic panels for stereo systems and computer technology).

So when most people are presented with complicated work challenges – they put on their thinking caps. Closet designers do that too, along with pulling out their tape measure, angle finder, camera and video recorder and get to measuring and calculating right there on the spot.

This closet project was like building a box inside a box.

What that means is that the client wanted the system inside this Reach In Closet to go wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling and be the full depth of the space.

custom closet obstacle design

And they wanted all the obstacles to be accommodated – so we had to work both in the shop and in the field to make this function properly and look beautiful.

The material used on this project is a custom-stained cherry wood, which makes things a bit more delicate to work with.

Trim around the obstacles had to be cut and added from the field once the panels were put in place and we knew accessibility was accurate.

And, as you can see from these photos, we created beautiful custom storage solutions that accommodated the needs of the client.

custom closet design Chicago


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