We loved everything about our home (granite counters, stainless appliances, spacious, good layout, fairly large bedrooms, double vanities, separate tub/shower) and the list could literally go on. But the second we saw the master closet it was a total letdown.
It's smaller than any other bedroom closet in this house. It's considered a walk in, but it's really a step in. You can literally take 1 step in. It came complete with 16in lovely wire shelving (sense my sarcasm?). The closet people told us they were pretty surprised that the builders chose 16inch wire shelves since that takes up more space than traditional 12in. Whatever the problem, it wasn't working.
The main problem was that I use a dresser and Josh doesn't. So all my stuff that doesn't hang (shorts, pants, workout clothes, swimsuits, underwear, socks, etc.) goes in there. He didn't have a place for that. So we utilized bins and baskets and a mis-mash of organizational tools found around the house.
It was so terrible that this was the best before I could find. I couldn't even reach the bins on the top shelf. These are 9 foot ceilings.
First we had to make the decision whether to do this ourselves or hire out. We are typically pretty ambitious but this layout had us stumped. We couldn't figure out another way to arrange it. And even after browsing Lowes and HD (and Pinterest of course) and their storage systems we still couldn't figure out what we actually wanted (or needed). We even contemplated reworking to door to somehow make it less awkward. We considered the option of a pocket door but that would only be possible to the left of the closet and our sinks back up to that wall. I also thought of a sliding barn type door but it would have knocked into the door to our bedroom. Even 2 small doors that open in the center (kind of like Emberly's closet- seen in the 3rd picture there) wouldn't work because we don't have the space to open them out. Taking the door off was discussed but I just couldn't get past the look of a college dorm room (although heck- my college dorm closet was HUGE).
We decided to get 2 quotes from local closet companies: California Closets and Closets by Design. I had never heard of CbyD, but we got a flyer in the mail from them with a coupon attached so we decided to get 2 quotes done in the same week.
Ironically, both companies gave us the same layout (which eased our mind that this was the direction we were headed). But California Closets blew the competition out of the water. CC did the whole mock up right in front of us on her computer. We were able to visualize it by seeing the image 3D and we could manipulate it with the mouse. CbyD only did a 2D drawing on grid paper. Also CbyD could only guarantee their work for 7 years, and their original quote ended up being over $1,000. Then with the coupon it brought it down to $850. We felt like they purposely elevated their prices to them bring them down- whereas California Closets was just the lower price all along. Also CC guarantees their work for the life of the system and the warranty stays with the closet even when we sell (a perk whenever we move). They also generously knocked off 5% for a military discount brining the total to $700! The $700 and $850 would have been the EXACT same closet- same material, color, number of shelves, etc. just so you know I'm comparing apples to apples. We would have had to give up the finishes we wanted and a few shelves to beat the CC price. So we hired California Closets and 2 weeks later ONE MAN was here to install! BTW we didn't pay for them to demolish the old closet. That also saved us about $100. We took the shelving down ourselves and then I went through and speckled the walls and touched up the paint ourselves.
Here were our 2 design decisions. The first one put the shelves on the far wall. (left picture). The photo on the right is from an angle you can't really get to because of the wall/door. But the suits hanging in the right photo would be directly to the right when you walk in the closet.
The second put the shelves on the wall to the right clothes all along the back wall.
I even posted on Facebook asking for help deciding. What I like about California Closets is they can take any shelf and create a drawer from of it. So if we ever decide to upgrade- they are more than happy to accommodate. For now, it pushed the price too far up but I love the versatility. With that in mind, we opted for the shelves to go on the right wall (the second design), since you'd have to close the door to open a drawer on the far wall. That seemed like too much hassle.
I was really impressed that one man got the job done. We had a hiccup with delivery (his van broke down) but he was here in less than 2 hours and then finished the project super fast (less than 2 hours).
We opted to add a bar where the hamper is. This isn't so much for us, but when we move (and if the closet is empty) it won't look like dead space. It actually allows enough space to hang my skirts which was an added bonus.
I love that since my shirts are shorter than Josh's that it gives a little room for folded sweaters and some jewelry. I could also put more baskets for accessories if needed. I love that our iron can sit there too since we don't have much room in our laundry room.
Also on my little shelf I put a mirror (it's actually not hung yet-see the yellow rim peeking out) just to add a little depth. Not sure what color it will end up being. But for now I like it. And I love this coffee cup holder turned big necklace holder with a little gold spray paint. Sorry for the horrible lighting. Not much you can do with a fluorescent bulb and no natural light. I also love the idea of maybe putting a bulletin board with outfit ideas back there! The possibilities are endless.
So far Josh loves the shelves. They fit all his stuff plus there is still an empty basket. It's a ton easier to reach (confession: I haven't put his clothes away once even though I promised I would). I think the bins need labels, right? rightttttttt? #procrastinationexcuse
Oh and do you recognize these baskets? Yep I repurposed from our old laundry room. I had painted them key lime and used them to store extra laundry supplies on top of our cabinet. Well the key lime wasn't jivving with this new house, so thankfully spray paint isn't too permanent! **BTW the mirror that lives behind my clothes is also shown in that laundry room post!
We haven't found a permanent solution for his ties and belts. We could have included that in the price of the closet, but they were around $90 a pop when I can find a much more budget friendly solution elsewhere. We plan to put them on this wall behind the closet door (when it's actually closed).
My best advice? If you plan to hire out something like this let them know UP FRONT that you have a budget that you want to stick to. We did tell our rep that we were getting multiple opinions/prices but that it was going to come down to the best quality for our $ not necessary the cheapest. By letting her know that upfront she didn't even tempt up with bigger and better. Also anything they add on is going to cost more. So things like tie racks and hampers seem easy to throw in when you're already spending a good chunk of change, but it just doesn't make budget sense. By saving on the tie rack, belt rack and demoing the old closet ourself we save about $300 (that's the difference between a $1k and a $700 closet!).