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Everything in its Place

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When it comes to home remodeling, year after year the big-ticket item is kitchens. As the heartbeat of the home, this only makes sense, as homeowners want to make their kitchen a functional showpiece that will serve them well for years to come.

There has been a shift over the years, however, for more personal parts of the home to also receive coveted upgrades. As families are staying in their homes longer and putting more of their own touches on spaces they may not have before, spaces that previously had gone by the wayside are being noticed—including closets.

 “You can do so much now with closets,” says Nadine Holtz, vice president of Closets By Design of Northern NJ. “We’ve made a niche now. People love having their closets done. It’s like getting your kitchen done; it’s something people really want to do.”

To get a better idea of what is available in closet designs today, we spoke with our experts about what goes into re-doing this space and just how updated the extra touches have become.

The process
If a homeowner decides to outsource  the upgrade of a closet, the preliminary process is basically the same with every design company. It begins with an initial consultation,  whether it’s in person or over the phone, so the designer can get a better idea of why the homeowner is looking for a remodel in the first place.

 “The process begins with the client calling into our customer service department, where one of our representatives will schedule a free in-home consultation with one of our trained designers,” explains Christine Kazigian, marketing manager for Closets By Design Exton. “When the designer arrives at a client’s home, the first thing he or she determines is the true reason the homeowner called.

 “The reason often varies,” she continues. “Maybe the homeowner wants to create more space, they can’t find what they need when they wake up in the morning or the frustration of clothes piling up. The idea is to create a space that simplifies the client’s everyday routine.”

Along with the reason for the upgrade, Dave Schaefer, purchasing manager with Innovative Closet Designs, says there are typically several other points discussed during the initial interview.

 “Our process starts with an in-home measuring and design consultation with our design staff,” he says. “During this meeting the customer’s needs, style and budget are discussed, [along with] how to best cater to all three in the space provided.  

 “Our design staff then reviews the project with their inside sales staff so that the project can be drafted and quoted,” Schaefer notes. “We then send the quote of the proposed storage solution and 3D drawing to the customer for revision or approval. We manufacture all of our closets here in-house, so everything is custom fit for the client.”

With design in hand the length of the construction phase varies depending on the project, but a homeowner can expect to have a new place to store their belongings within a few weeks with most companies.

The options
Of course, updating a closet is not as simple as only having to figure out how much space is needed for hanging clothes and storing shoes. What type of knobs will be used for drawer-pulls, if the shoe shelves should be slanted and how accessories will be displayed, among other options, are all choices that need to be made.

 “The accessories and the different hardware; all the different metals  you can choose from,” Hotlz explains about all the decisions that go into designing a personalized closet. “There are even ball bearing slides you can get for drawers  now so that they soft close—like the cabinets you can get in kitchens now—and they don’t slam.”

Even the colors used in the closet need to be considered, and this decision isn’t as straightforward as it used to be, either, says Aaron Lewis, owner of Closets For Less.

 “We have noticed a trend in that clients are preferring to go with a wood grain look rather than straight white,” he says. “Also, they want more of the accessories in the closet—belt racks, tie  racks, jewelry drawers, valet poles, locks on the drawers—for example.”

Seth Rappaport, vice president of sales for Contemporary Closets, says there are also more high-end touches that homeowners may consider, including a bench or crown molding and an island— though most don’t have the space for it.  

 “Glass doors also give a nice touch, a sort of elegance that doesn’t close a closet off,” he adds. “They offer beauty and it helps to keep dust off clothes.”

An important factor to note is that the options available really depend on the homeowner’s budget and the expected outcome of the space, Kazigian says.

 “Projects range from functional  to fanciful,” she adds. “We are able to work with our clients’ budget and create a space specifically for their needs.

 “We’ve done closets for $900 up to $100,000 and everything in between,” Kazigian continues. “We’ve created islands that roll on wheels, units with chandeliers and granite counter-topped islands  and closets with spaces specifically for accessories. … We are able to create functional spaces for a reasonable price, however, when it comes to highend  touches, the opportunities are endless.”

The results
While the reasoning behind a closet remodel will be different for every homeowner, with its completion, each homeowner should have a new space they are happy with.

 “It is a process that will make their life a little more organized and will help them start their day off in a brighter way,” Lewis says.

Of course, a closet does not stay clean and organized on its own, and as Rappaport points out, it will take some work on the homeowner’s part to maintain the peace in the space.

 “I can give you the tools to be organized but if you refuse to put your clothes on a hanger it’s not going to help,” he says, adding, “Even doing something as little as going out and getting all the same hangers that match—this makes the closet look so much cleaner and it’s not something you need to spend a lot of money on—can make a huge difference in the look of the space.”  

The best part is that this type of calm and organization does not need to be reserved for one part of the home, says Eugene Koval, manager of Home Trimwork. It can be extended to the home’s  entertainment unit, the pantry, the home office—anywhere organization is necessary but may be a little lacking.

 “We do a lot of entertainment systems,” he says. “People want more usable space so they do built-ins on the sides of their TV where they can store their equipment and make it look cleaner. 

 “Or they do bookshelves, which offer a place to display,” Koval continues. “On the bottom, they can use base cabinets for storage.”

As with most home remodeling projects, it’s critical to consult with a number of companies to find the right closet designer for you, Schaefer concludes.

 “It is important to find a closet company that is not afraid to customize your closet to suit you,” he says. “Think of what you want your closet to do for you and then see how the designer  takes that information into consideration when designing  your space. See how each company you consult with caters to your requests and go from there.”

Closets By Design
(866) 278-8881 (Pa.)
(888) 500-9215 (N.J.)

Closets for Less
Southampton, Pa.
(215) 660-3080

Contemporary Closets
Flemington, N.J.
(732) 546-9304

Home Trimwork
Huntingdon Valley, Pa.
(610) 287-1100

Innovative Closet Designs
Wycoff, N.J.
(201) 848-6355

Select images courtesy of Closets For Less, Closets By Design

Published (and copyrighted) in House & Home, Volume 19, Issue 7 (January 2019). 
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