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Most Demanding Entryway Ever

Long Narrow Entryway Storage

If you live in a rural setting, odds are that you enter your house via the garage.

And that's how this family lives. Before we consulted with them, the space was cluttered, unorganized and not well engineered to be “storage friendly”.So we did a thorough assessment, listened to their wish list, moved some things around and created one of the most effective and aesthetically pleasing spaces yet.

The Top 10 Items On Their Wish List:

  1. Shoe Storage
  2. Coat Hanging
  3. Charging/Storing Electronic Devices
  4. Mail Station
  5. Laundry including a laundry shoot from upstairs and a sink
  6. Cleaning Supply Storage
  7. Hide Clutter
  8. Store Vacuum Cleaner, Drying Racks and Laundry Baskets
  9. Locker Storage for Adults and Children
  10. Briefcase Storage

vertical charging station

The space is long and narrow, which is always a challenge in terms of balancing how things work, how things look and how things feel.

Cabinetry had to line up with the second floor laundry shoot, yet not waste precious inches.

And after designer Donna Siben spent significant time measuring and space planning, we ended up removing a closet in order to make the space work better (shocking, right?)

In terms of material selections, Siben chose Raised-panel, Ivory melamine with a walnut glaze. She also took the cabinets to the ceiling for maximum storage and added crown and base moldings.  She mixed up the coat storage between closed and open to add more interest to the design. But the most popular part of this project is the vertical charging station space that really provides for the ability of lots of electronics to be charged without taking up a lot of space (so 21stcentury!).

The project also involves very detailed planning for removal of the closet we mentioned, the building of a new false wall that had to be insulated in order to house the plumbing for the new washer and dryer location and the allocation of space for a “slop sink” that had to be smaller than standard size in order to make the design work.

stacked washer and dryer storage

In this case, pictures truly do paint a thousand words, so take a look at the images from the project. Perhaps it will start your own wheels turning on ways to maximize the storage in your home.

As with most Designers, my goal is always quite simple…Turn the Client’s Dream into a Reality.

hallway vacuum cleaning supply storage

All cabinets on that rear wall were made 28” Deep for the Stackables and to house more laundry. Detergents and Laundry Items are stored on Pull Outs below. The sink cabinet had to be narrower than most drop sink requirements but the clients were able to find the perfect smaller version to enhance the decor (“Gotta love the Internet!”) and provide the ability for the occasional hand washables with a rod above for drip drying. The addition of a beautiful piece of Granite and upper LED Light Box further enhanced the appeal of that wall. A glass tile backsplash will be installed above the sink but not available at the time of the photographs.

Covering the clutter was another achieved goal. Custom Lucite shoe inserts were used in some of the lower extra large drawers on the long wall. Shoes are stored perpendicular and the custom slots were engineered to meet this family’s needs. Vacuum cleaners, Laundry Baskets and Drying Racks were carefully measured to find their home in their own cabinet. Lockers for the Children and for the Adults (including briefcase storage) are concealed with doors allowing one Open Locker with Glazed Beadboard backing for Guests and to break up the monotony. A matching Granite Top and LED Lighting adds to the appeal of the Open Locker and provide an additional texture to this wall. Working closely with the Contractor (her Dad), new electricals were carefully marked and drawn to the room.

hallway pull-out shoe storage

What is the most unusual aspect or outstanding characteristic of this project? There were so many extremely specific details that needed to be engineered perfectly and most are mentioned above, but I believe the addition of a perpendicular Charging Station with mail/paperwork slots, plenty of room for cell phones, I-Pods, I-Pads plus the children’s electronic gadgets, bins for paraphernalia and related attachments is a sure sign of this Century.

This project was a “Team Effort” of everyone involved (including the receptive clients) and definitely my Engineering Department and Installer! The Clients are thrilled with the outcome!

Just for Shoes

While making sure you have a place to hang your garments is the top priority (logically) for most closet designers, having a place to put shoes is the top priority for most clients.

These treasured wardrobe staples are often the most near and dear to clients hearts and they want a dedicated space to assure they can store them and access them easily.

Here are the top five options for shoe storage:

Shoe Fences:

These decorative items are the equivalent of a nice frame around a photograph. Their functional purpose is that they go across the front of angled shoe shelves to keep them from sliding off the shelves. You can get them in different metal finishes so they match the rest of your closet (like chrome or oil rubbed bronze).


Cubbies are probably the most requested thing in a closet design. They seem to lend themselves to easy organization and display because there is specific, allocated space. The size of the opening can be for shoes or for boots. The downside is that there isn't much else you can use this storage space for except shoes because it's such a specific solution.

shoe fence shoe cubbies

Shoe Carousels:

These high end devices go into the corner of a walk in closet and they spin. This means you can “twirl” your shoes around to decide which pair you'd like to wear. It's a fun way to display your shoe collection, with the exception of your flip flops.

The Carrie Bradshaw Effect:

This shoe storage solution came into consciousness with the original “Sex and City” movie during the final scenes of the beautiful closet Big had designed for Carrie. It consists of specific horizontal rods that span the width of a section. There are two. The back of the shoe heel goes on the back rod and the front of the shoe rests on the front rod. These look really great but function much better for heels than for flat shoes.

shoe carousel Carrie Bradshaw Style Shoe Closet

Open Shelving:

This seemingly boring solution is actually the most functional and easiest to access when putting on and taking off shoes. It's basically flat shelving that is adjustable. So if you have lots of boots, you space the shelves further apart. If you have lots of flat shoes, they can go closer together. And they can be adjusted at at time, so if your shoe collection changes, so can your shoe storage solution.

Open Shelving Shoe Closet