Adams also likes to include a lot of drawers in her designs because “I don’t know where all of the dust comes from, but you want to keep things behind doors or in drawers to keep it clean.” She will even put drawers on the floor for shoe storage.
And speaking of shoes, there appears to be no item in the closet as important for customers and designers alike.
“We do purse storage, and shoes, shoes, shoes,” stresses Young. “Shoes are the main thing. In remodels, I’ve taken a bedroom and made it into a closet, and it was all shoes!”
“Sometimes we need to create shoe closets for 100 to 200 pairs of shoes,” comments Daraselia. “We will do drawers, but also put in moveable shelves so that the customer can pull out the shelf to see the shoes.” It’s a small detail that is appreciated, he adds.
“With shoe storage, it’s nice if you can pull it forward because, if you’re doing a deep shelf cabinet, you can’t see what’s in the back,” comments Adams.
While novices would consider racks to be an obvious choice for shoe storage, it is not the choice of most designers.
“Everyone wants shoe racks, and then they realize that they don’t work very well. They really limit the amount of shoes that you can store,” Ilin states. “The best shoe rack is actually no rack – it’s just the bottom of the closets where you’re actually hanging clothing, or under shelves.
Other amenities, such as mirrors and hooks, are indispensible to a good closet design, designers believe.
Hafele has a lot of little things for the closet, notes Adams, such as valet rods, “where you can hang clothes that you just brought back from the cleaners or the outfit you’re going to wear.”
“Every closet I sell, I do a valet rod,” adds Young. “People don’t think it’s essential, but when they have it, they love it. It gets a lot of recognition.”
Larry Falk, owner, CabinetWorks & Design, in Ridgway, CO, sees great promise working with the new Closets Plus system from Canyon Creek Cabinet Co., and reports that both he and his customers view its tilt-out hamper as a favorite essential.
In addition to the basics, there are countless add-ons that can be incorporated into a master closet that will make it function more efficiently as well as provide additional revenue for the designer. Beware, however, of adding on too many unnecessary elements at the outset that could break the deal, design professionals caution.
“With any custom feature, the way to sell it is [to recognize] that the clients need to benefit from it,” stresses Adams. “The closet needs to work for them.”
To maximize the use of space, many designers are incorporating pull-down devices for easier access.
“A lot of people like the pull-downs if they have height in the closet,” notes Ilin. “If you have 9' or 10' ceilings, then this is a must. You can really use the full height.
“The nice thing about it is you don’t have to switch between seasons,” he continues. “People often switch out their summer and winter clothes, but when you have pull-downs, you don’t have to. You have the same closet 365 days a year, because you can always pull down whatever you need.”
Islands are also a key extra in master closet designs – if space allows. The island can be a simple table, or an elaborate storage facility or seating area. Whatever the function, it can signal a significant contribution to the bottom line.
“We like to put an island in the closet – an area where you can set clothes while you are dressing or undressing,” notes Daraselia.
Ilin believes that an island is not only an ideal place to lay out an outfit, it can provide seating, as well. “It also gives you extra storage, which can be for shoes,” he offers. “An island can have shoes all around it if it’s just open shelves, and you can sit there and put them on.”
“The island is a great place for shoes – little cubbies underneath the seat tend to make great storage for shoes,” adds Young.