2. Assuming that the closet contents have been narrowed down to appropriate dressing room apparel, and the quantities have been identified, take inventory.
- Count and measure. If you are going to create article-specific storage for items such as oversized shoes or knee-high boots, you need to know the exact size so they’ll fit. Even for more generic spaces, a count of shirts, slacks, jackets, etc. is important to determine the shelf/pole space needed.
- Draw the plan and identify where everything will be stored and in what quantities.
3. Determine other activities that will take place in the dressing room.
In addition to what will be stored in the closet, the designer should get answers to the following:
- Does the client want a place to sit? Under-window seating works especially well because the space cannot be used for easily accessible storage. Does the client want to look out a window when seated? Window sills can be no higher than 42" off the floor if a seated viewer will be looking out of them.
- If the client wants a full-length mirror, can there be at least 36" to 48" (3' to 4') of clear floor space in front of the mirror for easy viewing?
- Does the client want to watch television while getting dressed? If so, you will need to plan storage around the TV. Or, ingeniously plan a TV system that conceals the screen when not in use. For example, Häfele America Co. has a piece of hardware that allows a flat-screen TV to retract behind a cabinet.
- Is the client planning on collecting soiled clothing in the closet and/or handling garment care in the space?
- What else would they like to store in the room? What other activities should be incorporated?
4. Choose the closet material right for the project and budget.
- Wire products are inexpensive and readily available. But, while ventilation is provided, they can create waffle patterns on the back of garments, and may not provide a stable enough base for some items. Some of these systems are very price sensitive. If you plan to propose this type of solution, make sure your design time is covered by a fee and the installation costs are clearly understood and approved by the client.
- Melamine and wood veneer wall-mounted systems are typically what’s offered the most by manufacturers specializing in closet items. They’re normally hung on a rail that’s screwed securely into the studs in the wall. Shelves and poles are adjustable because of the boring system incorporated, as well as the availability of partitions that allow the panel system to be flexible. There is a continuous stream of product innovation in this category worth your attention.
- Furniture-like systems are being introduced by cabinet manufacturers because consumers will pay for high-quality component parts and the look offered. Because many systems rest on the floor, they feature deeper shelving and a wider variety of storage components.
5. Consider furniture for the center of the dressing room.
A cornerstone of these well-organized spaces is the inclusion of a center island that often includes bench seating integrated into the closet or placed at each end. Such an island can be finished at 30", 36", 39" or 42" high, depending on the client’s height. The island can provide typical roll-out drawers or shelves, or can be used for other highly valued closet-related organizational items such as garment care items or appointed as packing assistance centers. For clothing care you might want to consider the following:
- One hamper designated for dry cleaning.
- One (removable) hamper for laundry or a chute to a laundry center below. Some larger closets may have their own stacked, full-size washer and dryer so all adult clothing is laundered, folded and stored without leaving the closet.
- A gentleman’s valet or pant press attachment.
- A built-in ironing board.
- A divided drawer for mending equipment.
- A drawer with all shoe polishing items.