You’ll find me placing blame and staking claim on my Cape Cod roots, again and again. I love being on the water, in the water, staring out at the water. While all that adoration was going on growing up on the Cape, I learned a thing or two about the artistry and economy of boat design.
Perhaps I should have been appreciating the verticality of the mast or its graceful swing at anchor, and I was, but my fascination turned again and again to the cabin of the boat. THAT left an impression. A boat cabin has a place for everything and everything in its place. Hooked and hung, tacked down, trussed up, tucked away, no square inch went unloved or unused – at least not on our Catboats. In the end it’s not the number of squares in your feet, it’s the number of feet in your corner. If you want to be able to invite people in to share the experience, economy of space is essential.
When you live in the city, there never seems to be enough of it. When I first found my Charlestown apartment, it had two small closets – woefully inadequate to contain all the belongings of the gal who was living there. I feel confident in making this assertion, though I’d never met her. Those that love Carrie Bradshaw of Sex and the City fame may disagree, but shoes do not belong in the stove and/or the dishwasher. I’ve never found sitting on a stack of files, not so conspicuously hidden under a seat cushion, that pleasing. This was the prior owner’s version of closet space. When I left that nest, the bedroom closet had been retrofitted to maximize storage, two custom-built floor to ceiling closets had been added on either side of the French doors in the bedroom, and a coat closet was added in the living room. The bathroom was redesigned to include a wall hung vanity with large storage drawer, a sleek Robern Medicine cabinet
and a custom designed 5′ x 3′ x 6″ mirrored medicine cabinet, installed on the opposite wall. Poor Donald, my carpenter, hated to have to “hog-out” the wall, taking precious chunks of horse hair plaster and a little brick, forgive me 1854 brownstone, it simply had to be done. The modern girl needs her space, and as a show of my utter reverence for your sacrifice I did get you on the Historic Register.
Part display, part hide-away, closets can be as inviting as any other room in the house. We’ve all seen those dream closets – they look like your favorite retail store. This post isn’t about the life styles of the rich and famous. It’s about practical approaches to claiming space, and making the most of it – functionally and aesthetically.
Here are a few recommendations:
- Paint the interior a fun vibrant color or use wall paper for the same effect
- Shelves, bins, hooks, and small scale towel bars use space to its best effect
- Interior doors make wonderful surfaces for hanging mirrors
- When building new – build to the ceiling and get yourself a step ladder
Homes that are well organized are pleasing to their owners and those that visit. A few images of closets that I built where there were none, or modified to meet my needs. I hope they give you a few ideas.