Suburban Home & Garden – Makeover!
“The closet of a mountain retreat gets a makeover that any city girl would love.”
Lorraine Sloss Amato loved her Lake Harmony, PA mountain retreat. It was supposed to be a second home, but she loved it so much that she decided to make it her primary residence. The only problem was it had not been designed for full-time living and was sorely lacking in closet space.
Very quickly, Amato decided to convert a ground floor guest room into a show stopping closet. “I wanted to makeover a room my friends would just gasp over,” she says. The 10-by-10-foot bedroom had a few uncommon features for closets. It had two windows, a pink crystal chandelier, an adjoining bath and three doors. Amato knew she needed some expert advice to turn the space into the closet of her dreams.
Based on a personal recommendation from a friend, Amato brought her home’s blueprints and detailed measurements to consult with Don “Dewie” Unger. Don is an inside sales rep at Closet City, a Montgomery County, PA-based closet design company that sells both retail and wholesale closet systems and components. The two discussed the project in great detail, so Unger could be sure that he knew what Amato wanted from the space. “It really helped that she had a good idea of what she needed to put in the closet,” says Unger. “We worked on different options until we had an overall concept for what the features should be.”
Planning the Space
Amato was very impressed with the meticulous detail of the planning process. “Dewie asked me how many shoes I have. And he even measured the height of my heels so we would know how much space to allow [on the shelving],” she says. “Since I have around 250 pairs, I knew I would need a lot of space!” But the closet needed to hold more than just shoes. Unger worked with Amato to determine how many long hanging items she would need to store, such as dresses or formalwear. Plus they determined how many shorter pieces she had, and how she would use the space.
Based on this information, Unger used a computer-aided design system to map out the space. “The room was a little more complicated to design than a typical space that was originally planned as a closet,” he says. “The design had to work around everything from the doorways and windows to the access points and electrical breakers.” The design incorporated sections for hanging clothes and an island with five banks of drawers. It also included overhead shelving, two cabinets for shoes, and two hampers. Unger and Amato were also able to make use of the height of the room, under the exposed California redwood beams. With the 9-foot-high interior, the design incorporates triple-height components and pull-down rods for easy access.
“The planning process was so simple,” says Amato. “I was like a kid in a candy store. We were really able to trick it out and add all kinds of wonderful features. This is why I went to the experts to get what I needed.”
A Successful Installation
Amato took extra care in planning the materials to use as well. Her home’s indoor and outdoor kitchens and all six bathrooms have granite countertops. Yet in her closet, Amato selected man-made quartz because the pink-and-silver confetti markings matched her crystal chandelier.
She also selected cherry components to bring out the warmth of the natural wood in the beams and to retain the feel of the mountain cabin. After Amato approved the final design, Closet City manufactured the custom closet components and had them delivered to her home.
Although the location was outside Closet City’s typical coverage area of South Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania, the company has a network of more than 40 dealers on the East Coast. This expands their ability to provide products to customers well beyond their installation area. Laureen Grant of Closets by Laureen, a member of Closet City’s dealer network, completed the installation.
It went off without a hitch, says Amato. “The installation was so easy because of how well Closet City provided the materials,” she says. “Everything was numbered and labeled. The drawers were assembled and all of the hardware was accounted for. So, it was easy for the installer to follow the design details.”
A Happy Ending
Amato was so happy with the final makeover result that the room has become more than just a walk-in closet. She has turned a portion of it into a home office and uses the top of the large peninsula as a computer space. She likes to spend so much time in the room that she also added a flat-screen TV.
Amato cannot say enough about her closet and her experience with Closet City. “I practically live in my closet. It has everything I need and it’s beautiful,” she says. “I’m a type-A person, and this design has let me become even more organized because everything has a place. It’s even better than I could have expected.”
To contact one of Closet City’s experienced staff members to find out how they can help you make the most out of your space, call (800) 342-0070.
Makeover article published in Suburban Home and Garden Resource Guide, South Jersey edition, October 2009.