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Another Good Year for Closet Organizing Systems at the 2014 Top Shelf Awards

Closet Top Shelf Awards LogoBill Curran, was the winner with his project "High Gloss Garage" in the Garage over 600 square feet category and Tom Mayfield, received Honorable Mention for “Home Office for Active Consulting Business” in the Home Office under 150 square feet category.

We are pleased to be adding our latest 2014 Top Shelf Award wins to our previous awards since entering the contest a few years back. To date, this gives Closet Organizing Systems a grand total of 10 wins and 5 honorable mentions. Design winners were celebrated at the 2014 Cabinets & Closets Gala Awards reception in Somerset, NJ, during the Cabinets & Closets Conference & Expo. Awards are given to honor designers for their creative organizational solutions and woodworkers for their outstanding design, craftsmanship and execution. Each category is intended to highlight functionality and originality, as well as design.View our Top Shelf Design Awards wins from previous years.

High Gloss Garage Design Top Shelf Award 2014Custom Garage TV Cabinet with LED back lightingIn the Garage over 600 square feet category, Bill Curran took the win with his project "High Gloss Garage”.  This sleek custom garage cabinetry system includes high gloss red, black, and wire bronze finishes to achieve a modern high-end car connoisseur look. The countertops were finished with a Mayan dyed copper metal laminate and all drawer boxes were lined with black and red speckled vulcanized high-impact rubber matting. Some added features include integrated seating bench, personal beverage center, concealed hot/cold water retractable hose reel, and a wet/dry shop vacuum system.

The TV was also equipped with its own high gloss surround cabinet with tiered picture frame to further accent the garage colors. The TV cabinet has LED back lighting to make the TV appear as though it is floating in space. Red and Black mouldings were added to the upper soffit area to conceal a multi-color LED lighting for added ambiance. To finish things off two car lifts were installed for more good boy toys. View full article


Tom Mayfield's Top Shelf Award Home Office for Active Consulting Business design Impressing in the Home Office under 150 square feet category, Tom Mayfield, received Honorable Mention for his “Home Office for Active Consulting Business” project. Some of the challenges included creating more efficiency, work space and elegance for the daily operation while including a separate work center for limited use from a much larger room to one with only 127 S.F.

pull out printer shredder shelves in Home Office designFor this design, we created an L-shaped desk with a separate work space for computer and manual tasks. The desk adjoined a credenza across the entire back wall that placed all working files and office equipment at his fingertips. A free-standing triple lateral file for retained records with a bookcase above was placed nearby on a side wall, and a TV screen was mounted on the wall for easy viewing. We also created a second work station for an out-of-town business partner consultant that could be easily disguised in an existing closet space when it was time for him to leave. View full article

Closet Organizing Systems will stay the course and continue to impress as we look forward to entering our latest designs in the 2015 Top Shelf Design Awards competition.

Garage Envy

custom garage with urinalMost people who live in houses with garages aren't able to park their vehicles inside because they store so many other items in that space. On line sites like Yahoo put the number at around 50%. Other sources like put the number as high as 85%.

Some can't park all of their vehicles in the garage because they have three or more vehicles (and bikes) and a two-car garage. Or they have to buy very expensive parking spaces in city environments and just can't swing the additional expense.

Of the people who aren't able to get the two cars they own into their two car garages, the biggest reason is because they have other "stuff" inside the garage. That stuff can include things like power tools and equipment to do yard work as well as children's toys, bikes, skateboards, bats and balls. You name it. It gets tossed into the garage.

Which makes this space even more prime for custom storage solutions. You need to take advantage of the wall space and even the ceiling space to store these kinds of items.

So here are some suggestions for creating "Garage Envy" in your neighborhood:

From a storage and function perspective

  • garage with slat wallShelving is a must. Solid shelving is much better than wire shelving because it can hold more weight and things won't fall through the open slots in the wire.

  • At least one section with doors and a lock are helpful because you can safely store chemicals and cleaning products and not have to worry about kids getting in to them by accident.

  • Another excellent way to utilize the walls is with a “Slat Wall”. This is plastic sheeting with grooves in it. The manufacturers make all kinds of baskets and sports equipment hooks and things so you can both see and store your items. And devices are adjustable and easy to move around, so as your kids get older and equipment and toys change, so can the location of your storage solutions.

From an "I want that" perspective

  • Add color. You can do it with the just the edgebanding or with the doors and drawer fronts or with the entire system. The garage is a terrific place to add a favorite color since the space typically involves lots of gray cement.

  • Add a television. And this can go beyond just the "game day gathering". If you're organized enough and have the space, having a television in your garage is a very cool thing that allows you to keep an eye on the game while still tinkering with your toys. What could be better?

  • Add a "dog wash station". Having a hose and water in the garage can be useful for cleaning up many messes, the most popular and frequent being hosing down that muddy dog before he sets paw inside the house.

     custom enclosed dog wash

We realize that most people don't have the resources to add these "I want that" features, but isn't it fun to look and dream? Or add some things to your Houzz ideabooks? Connect with us on our page for more ideas:

Closet System Industry Leaders Recognized - Including Closet OS!

Winners of the 2011 Top Shelf Awards were announced February 23 at the CLOSETS Top Shelf Award Presentation during the 7th annual Closets & Home Organization Conference & Expo. The Top Shelf Awards recognize closet system industry leaders, and Closet OS is honored to once again have been included.

Closet OS received a Top Shelf Award in the garage category for this cool remodeling project, which included custom red and black garage cabinets.

 custom garage cabinet design chicago - Closet OS

custom designed garage cabinets - Closet OS Chicago

custom garage cabinets by Closet OS

This year marks the 10th time Closet OS has been nominated as a finalist for their custom closet system design and expertise. This most recent award is the 8th we have received in the past three years.

An A-Plus Garage Design Project

ultimate garage design ILMost garages in America are the home for lots of “stuff” rather than the “ultimate garage” of our dreams. Sometimes, when we’re lucky with our garage design and organization, they’re also the home for our cars (when we’re not driving them).

Some of our cars are large, swanky SUV’s, and some are hybrids. But most are popular, well-rated and dependable autos that we use in very utilitarian and functional ways to get us from point “A” to point “B”.

So when we were asked to do a large “ultimate garage” design for a local vintage car collector, we were thrilled. The client wanted to achieve a very clean, showroom look but also wanted to have ample storage with garage cabinets for his normal garage items, car service parts, as well as his collection of car memorabilia.

Excellent. A garage design opportunity at its’ finest – an “ultimate garage.”

And that’s what we gave it. Our finest (which, by the way, won us a Top Shelf Industry Design Award).

We worked very closely with the client to coordinate the “ultimate garage” project details. And details there were. We had to plan the garage design taking into consideration:
  • The installation spacing of cars custom garage cabinets by Closet OS
  • A car lift system
  • Coordinating the plumbing for the urinal garage cabinet area (yes ladies and gentlemen, you read correctly, this garage has its’ own urinal), which included a waterproof interior liner
  • Investigating and testing the special Linex™ coating over with an MDF core for the countertop
  • Designing the garage cabinets and spacing around the need of an air compressor
  • Existing toolbox sizing
  • Air and water hoses
  • An already located slop sink area
custom garage design by Closet OS
The garage cabinets were made out of a brushed aluminum melamine and a special Linex™ coated countertop. We developed an approach for a new, durable and liquid resistant countertop surface for the workbench area all while making sure all storage was behind doors so we could achieve that “ultimate garage” showroom look.

Why Spend Money on Garage Organization?

There are great reasons to invest in garage cabinets, build garage shelving and figure out how to organize your garage. And while making room for your car - especially in the Chicago area where parking is at a premium due to the severe blizzard that hit at the beginning of the month - is a good reason, there are many more.

cluttered garageYour garage space is some of the least expensive “real estate” to improve considering that is already part of your housing expense. Plus, you would be surprised how many people still spend money to rent a separate storage space or still park their car outside the garage rather than improving the form and functions on one's own garage. This can be easily achieved with building garage shelving or adding garage cabinets. Figuring out how to organize your garage will not only improve your psyche but will also enhance the investment in your home right out of the gate.

With garage clutter - you’re constantly reminded of all the “stuff” that needs to be organized, put away, thrown away or donated. Just seeing all the things we have accumulated over the year can often drain your energy in a negative way. It’s a place where people tend to carelessly just dump things and rarely clean up. And there’s usually no organized, dedicated home like garage cabinets for the stuff that gets dropped, so it all turns in to big piles that are incredibly difficult to tackle. So you don’t, and your stuff just sits there for years.

Cleaning up and getting organized will have a positive impact on both your state of mind and your way of life – whether you add any organizational system or not.

organized garage by Closet OSAdding some sort of system will have the added benefit of making it much easier to stay organized over the long term. Building garage shelving or adding a garage cabinet here and there can go a long way when considering how to organize your garage.

You plan what needs to be stored and you create a storage solution for those items. Some are very specific – like roller blade equipment, or baskets for gardening tools, or a hook for a ladder.

Other solutions involve building garage shelving, drawers and garage cabinets with doors (and locks) to keep chemicals and solvents out of children’s reach. Just having things behind doors helps the out of sight out of mind principle.

So if you’re looking for a long term investment with a good rate of return and an improved state of being – getting your garage organized should top the list.

How to get the most out of your home storage project

The decision to have a custom storage solution designed and built in your home can bring you long lasting results and satisfaction.

It can also be a daunting process because you’re working with someone to “create a one of a kind original from nothing”, so to speak.

You’ve got the designated space where you want this storage solution to “live” – and you likely have an idea of the kinds of things you need stored there (files, books, clothes, electronic equipment, etc.).

Now you need a design/build professional to work with to make this all happen.

The most important variables to consider as you’re working on this project are form, fit and function.


This is the “look” and “feel” you want your project to have. 

Do you want it to blend in with the rest of your décor, or stand out and make a dramatic statement?

Do you like a rustic, knotted wood or a smooth, high-gloss, lacquered finish?

Do you want open storage, closed storage, or both?

And what about shelves, drawers and doors?

An experienced design consultant can guide you through this part and will be sure to ask you all the questions that you didn’t even know you had to answer!


Making sure a built-in fits the space is crucial – otherwise – it’s no longer a built in – it’s a mistake.

All obstacles need to be considered in terms of allowing access and making sure the pieces are manufactured so they work and fit correctly.  This includes outlets and vents as well as sprinkler heads and anything else that resides in that space.

Any special AV or office equipment that will be stored within the units need to be measured and incorporated into the design – so there’s no such thing as “it’s just a standard printer” or “40” flat screen” when communicating with your designer.  We need to know the precise measurements of any special equipment that you plan to incorporate into the design.


Function is the place where a skilled designer can really take your project to the next level.  Any woodworker can make a box and add shelves or drawers.  It takes experience to know that 24” deep shelves aren’t good for much in a closet space unless they pull out.  And that shallow shelving as well as deep shelving increase functionality in areas like pantries and home offices.  And that corner shelves in lower cabinets end up becoming “big, black holes”.

Having an experienced design consultant, like one of the team members at Closet Organizing Systems, that can work with you to make your dreams come true – is – well – quite frankly – a dream come true.

So how can we make your dreams come true?


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