Working in the luxury goods retail market for over 20 years, Bonnie Williams had amassed an impressive collection of designer clothing, bags, and shoes. Yet, her beautiful and expensive items were crammed into closets, overstuffed drawers, and piled from floor to ceiling in her studio apartment. When her closet rod broke under the weight of her hanging clothes, Bonnie knew it was time to move to a bigger space.
When contemplating the move, Bonnie realized that without professional help, her situation would remain largely the same; everything stored haphazardly, only in a larger apartment. That’s when she called me to help with a complete apartment makeover, and I sought out ClosetMaid, a great source of affordable DIY closets as well as a line of storage furniture and closet accessories.
Bonnie and I began by purging; we pulled everything out of the closets and drawers, eliminating duplicate kitchen accessories, unwanted books and cookbooks, clothing and shoes she hadn’t seen or worn in years, financial documents that were no longer relevant, and makeup and toiletries well past their expiration dates. Once we had thrown away, given away, or consigned all that we could, Bonnie was ready to move, and we began designing organizational solutions. With assistance, Bonnie and I assembled the DIY ClosetMaid systems.
The coat closet was the first area we tackled. This closet posed two challenges: an unmovable electrical box mounted on the wall and a closet height that was insufficient to double hang clothes. For this reason, we used ClosetMaid’s Shelf Track system, mounting a hanging bar across the width of the closet and a shelf above it. Bonnie’s scarves, hats, and gloves were contained in gray medium basketweave bins from The Container Store on the top shelf. ClosetMaid stackable shoe cubbies were placed on the floor to house some of her more casual shoes. In lieu of closet doors, a vibrant black and gold starburst patterned fabric was hung from a chrome suspension rod with crystal hooks. A chrome and crystal flush mount light fixture from Home Depot completed the look.
After the coat closet, we moved into the kitchen, where the lack of cabinet space dictated the need to purchase two Kitchen Pantry Cabinets from Walmart. These provided much needed shelf space for food, mixing bowls, trays, and pots and pans. White Nordic storage baskets from The Container Store were stacked on top of the armoires for additional storage of such items as batteries, tools, paper goods, and first aid supplies. A rolling origami kitchen cart was added to house Bonnie’s microwave and toaster, with the top providing her with extra counter space.
In Bonnie’s main closet, we used a ClosetMaid Shelf Track combination of single hang, double hang, and shelving for Bonnies clothing. In two storage bays, Bonnie effectively doubled her linear hanging space by using two bars. On a shelf across the top, we stored Bonnie’s jeans and sweatshirts. On the floor of the closet, we recycled two stackable drawer units Bonnie had for her collection of Prada nylon totes and bags. Within the closet, we organized clothing by type and color. We also used uniform slimline hangers in order to eliminate the visual noise in the closet.
While the coat closet and main closet gave Bonnie much needed storage for hanging clothing, coats, and some shoes, she still had many more shoes and folded clothing that needed to be addressed. Using three ClosetMaid SuiteSymphony towers in natural gray, we transformed a bare wall in Bonnie’s dining alcove to a full wall of storage. This fully customizable system, allowed for a choice of shelves or drawers. We chose three towers with doors, two with three drawers and one with four drawers. Behind the doors, we opted for shelves. We used the drawers for Bonnie’s clothing and shelving in the cabinets for sweaters and workout gear. Parker Storage Boxes from The Container Store were used in open shelving to contain Bonnie’s small handbags and clutches.
Bonnie’s bedroom, measuring approximately 13 feet long by 6 feet wide, required some creative planning. A single SuiteSymphonytower with shelves and 4 drawers was used to store her larger bags and boots. Since the bags looked more attractive on the shelves, boots were stored in drawers. We also stored boots on existing built in shelving and added ClosetMaid shoe cubbies for heels and sandals.
In Bonnie’s living room, we mixed furniture she owned with new pieces that complemented the space. Bonnie’s two gray swivel club chairs, glass end tables, and lucite coffee table fit perfectly. A a gray Harper Blvd Devine Reptile Desk and a Black velvet tufted couch that coverts to a sofa bed, both from Overstock.com completed the “Hollywood Glam” look. From a décor perspective, Bonnie embraced mixing “high and low.” For example, Fornasetti pillows were paired with more reasonably priced pillows from HomeGoods. A Safavieh rug tied all of these design elements together.
As part of the apartment makeover, we added two pieces from ClosetMaid’s new storage furniture collection: the Ladder Bookcase in the entry way and the white Bookcase with Hutch in white in the living room. These gave us a place to display Bonnie’s eclectic collection of possessions including her grandmother’s vintage handbags from the 1920’s, candles, trays, family photos, and travel souvenirs. On the lower shelves, we used ClosetMaid premium storage drawer bins (black basketweave pattern – in Bonnie’s words, “very Bottega Venetta”) for additional hidden storage.
Bonnie was intimately involved in all aspects of the apartment makeover. She helped assemble the ClosetMaid towers and cubbies, selected furniture and accessories, and learned how to fold and label, so that the organization would be maintained. As Bonnie said, “I’ve never felt so organized. I’m wearing more of my wardrobe because I can see and find everything. I feel lighter, healthier, and happier in my new home.”