BTR: Hayes Valley Studio, Part II

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Room: Walk-in Closet (including Elfa installation) and Supply Closet

Hours to Complete: 8.5

Main Objective:  Customize the closet to serve multiple functions of clothing storage, dressing area, landing zone and art archival storage.

The Details:  The closet is a very important design element in any home.  If you can properly utilize closet storage so that it meets your specific needs, then the rest of your home will remain clutter free.  This was the main objective for our client, “M”, and we were so thrilled that she was willing to invest in customized Elfa storage to make it happen.

Having just moved from a large loft to a small studio, M was using the large walk-in closet as a temporary dumping ground for boxes of archived art and personal mementos.  The clothing had no storage option, so aside from the few items which were hanging, most clothing ended up in piles in the closet and in the main room.

After understanding M’s habits and storage needs, we determined that a custom Elfa storage system would work best here.   That way, we could use half the closet for clothing and the other half for archival art and office storage.  Elfa is a sturdy, well-designed product we truly endorse!  We even have some clients who have successfully taken their Elfa systems to 3 different homes. 

Tip:  You must first declutter before diving into the Elfa game.  Knowing specifically what items need storage will determine what type of system you invest in.  Know your needs before entering the Container Store.  Elfa designers at the Container Store are trained to maximize your space.  If we had approached an Elfa designer without a plan, we would have ended up with twice as many drawers and wasted time with a second trip to the store to return unused merchandise.

Here we implemented simple pull-out drawers to hold all M’s folded clothing.  We included a top shelf to act as her dressing area and a designated place to corral keys, jewelry and sunglasses. A few hats easily hang from simple nails in the wall.  To the right of the frame we placed M’s coat rack and installed a few hooks.  Whereas before all of M’s currently in-use bags and jackets ended up on the bed or couch, now with an official “landing zone” these items won’t make it past the closet, leaving the main living clutter-free.

Tip:  To add some personality we hung artwork that M really loved but didn’t have an appropriate home in the main living area.  A closet is a great place to show off pieces you love, but that don’t necessarily reflect the vibe of your entire home.

Located across the hall from the walk-in closet is a skinny supplies closet.  Before the decluttering it was serving a few too many purposes.  We determined that M first and foremost needed a place for her quick-grab art supplies and a place for sensitive documents in the event she is hosting a short-term rental and wants to lock items away.  We designated most of the shelving for this purpose.  And we used the top shelf for towels and seasonal blankets.

Tip: Rethink what items you decide to put in each storage area of your house. Just because you have a “household supplies” closet does not mean you have to store household supplies there. For our client who regularly creates art, it meant primarily using this easy-to-access closet for her art supplies.

Finally, curious about what happens in between?  Here is a behind the scenes photo of the sorting process in all its beautiful chaos.