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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.

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

Seven Tips for Organizing Your Closet

So what if you’re one of the people who haven’t yet achieved the nirvana of your own boutique size walk in closet?

How do you get all of your stuff inside and organized so you can find it when you need it? 


Start with these tried and true organizing tips:


1) Start by taking everything out.  Some items will go in the trash or Goodwill pile immediately.  Trust me – you’ll find things you don’t even remember having, along with some that you’ve been looking for a very long time.


2) Evaluate with honesty and discipline.  Look at each item and give it a rating

from 1-10.  Ten means you love it and wear it often with confidence and joy.  Anything below a 7 should no longer have a home in your closet.  It’s not doing you any favors and not serving your current lifestyle and goals.


3) When you’re doing this evaluating – ask yourself how you want people to perceive you TODAY – in current time.  Are you looking to get promoted?  Are you looking for love?  Pick three to five adjectives that you resonate with and make sure each item you keep honors and conveys these characteristics.


4) Put the pieces that have sentimental value in a box – and then store that box somewhere besides the main closet you use to get dressed.


5) Apply the 80-20 rule.  We really do wear 20% of our clothing 80% of the time.  If you have things you just can’t bear to let go of – move them to the back of another closet or storage space.  If another 6 months or year goes by and you still have worn them – let them go without even re-evaluating.  Trust that they have served their purpose.


6) Make another pile for anything that needs to be tailored, sewn or mended and write down what needs to be done to fix the piece.  Then take them to the seamstress at the dry cleaners or your tailor – within 72 hours – and get the problems fixed so you can move forward and wear them with confidence.


7) Now start putting things back into your closet.  The things you use the most should be the easiest to access.  The goal is to be able to open (and close) the closet door – access what you need – and move on with your day.


Good luck and happy organizing!

And if you need to add some structure to your closet – set up an appointment with one of our fabulous design team members.  They can double your storage capacity in no time flat and make your newly organized life so much easier to live.

12 Things to Consider BEFORE you Design your Master Closet

If you’re lucky enough to have a walk-in master closet – whether it’s shared space or there are “his” and “her” versions – it pays off to plan your storage design.

So here are the top ten things to consider when planning this space (whether you’re doing it yourself or meeting with –oh – say – one of our fabulous design consultants).

Here’s the inside scoop on how to master “The Master”.

1) If it’s shared space, decide on the division. How much space will each person get? The typical division is 2/3 Hers; 1/3 His.

2) Do you need drawers and if so, approximately how many? And do you like deep drawers, shallow drawers, or a combination?

3) Shoe Storage. How many pair need shelf space? Honestly.

4) Make the Long Hang decision. How much of it do you need and where will it go? If space is tight, you don’t wear the Long Hang items frequently and you have other closets, consider moving the Long Hang out of the master closet.

5) Do you hang pants long or fold them over a hanger? This will help determine what other hanging space will be needed (short, medium or long).

6) Where does dirty laundry end up? And what about clothes that need to go to the drycleaner? Would you like pullout baskets/drawers for that?

7) Are you a “folder” or a “hanger”? People who fold most things need more shelves. People who hang need hanging space.

8) Do you like all of your clothing and shoes to be visible or behind doors/drawers?

9) Do you need a full-length mirror?

10) Do you travel and need a surface (island or peninsula) for packing?

11) Where will you sit to put on your shoes?

12) Would you like some hooks for hanging the clothes you “hang around the house in”. They’re so much better than the floor.

These are the things we “masters” consider when we have the privilege of working with people on this most important and intimate space. If your husband is the “master” in assisting you with this project, then he’s one lucky fella. And if that doesn’t work out – we’re here for you! Just schedule your complimentary in home consultation and we’ll make the process painless and the result beautiful.


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