A Closet Obession
It's one of those rites of fall. The weather turns abruptly cool, anyone find yourself rummaging using your closet in search of a real favorite sweater. And those boots. Where did they go? The basement? And occurred to those nice opaque tights? Did they make it through last winter unsnagged? What are they doing in the drawer utilizing bathing suits? For many people, the alteration of seasons is a time full when discontent almost literally comes out of the closet. There's never enough space for off-season clothes. Shelves are jammed. Shoes are piled everywhere. The floor is invisible. Instead of being a tidy paragon of organization, your closet in actual fact a glorified cupboard with delusions of urbanity, a cramped vision of messy modern living. Sound familiar? Take heart: the home-improvement industry is on the case, helping closets step out with the closet and take over large portions of American homes. The yearning for additional information and better closet space is being answered by interior designers, storage-component companies and residential developers. Indeed, for many of their customers, closets are the new kitchens--rooms to display status, for showing off how orderly one's everyday life can be. 'It makes me happy every time I are offered in here,' says Dan Rood, 41, a divorced insurance salesman in Orlando, Fla., as he surveys the vast, room-size closet he created two years ago. The 21-ft. by 10-ft. space is heavy with rich wood; a flat-screen TV is tucked behind a two-way mirror; there's a bar for entertaining and, of course, counters, too as cabinets with room to display 39 pairs of shoes. 'I have more shoes than the average girl,' Rood admits. Entering the closet, he adds, 'starts the day out right. It's the room I'm most proud among.' His girlfriend, Rebecca Ferrer, is every bit as admiring: 'It's beautiful. It's masculine. It's actually big enough to have a small party in.' It cost Rood $54,000 to turn a small bedroom into the closet of his dreams. A bit excessive for most folks but maybe not by much. David Weekly, a developer whose company builds moderately priced houses in six states, says his typical customers are demanding bigger closets and the attendant accessories. More than 75% of his new houses include a walk-in master closet with more than two rows for hanging clothes and an entire section of shelving. 'One rod and a shelf isn't enough anymore,' he admits that. Master closets now average about 6 ft. by 8 ft., a size more typical of a further bedroom 40 years ago. In the low-mortgage-rate McMansions sprouting up throughout the country, every bedroom--not just the master--has the option within your walk-in closet. 'The closet has typically been a forgotten space,' says Michael Carson, founder of nationwide Closets Group, a trade organization. Now the closet is where the settlement is. The membership of Carson's group has seen total revenues swell from $15 million in 1999 to $100 million last spring. The average custom closet costs $3,000 to $5,000. To get an regarding what a customer needs, designers typically ask to acquire a count of clothing, handbags, shoes and other accessories to produce an estimate of the minimum memory space required. The extras build up quickly--drawer pulls, quality woods, benches, mirrors, granite countertops, chandeliers, hidden safes. Increasing your less expensive alternatives. Various commercial closet systems--with mix-and-match cabinetry, shelves, racks any other items--can be tailored for the client. California Closets pioneered affordable systems years ago but recently launched a pricier line to serve the demand for higher-end material. There are also do-it-yourself kits. Rubbermaid's starts at $140 for enough shelves, rods and accessories to outfit an 8-ft. closet. George McGoldrick, 30, and his partner of 10 years, Joseph Sacco, 29, know what hints like before the closet revolution as well as have all the fervor of the changed. In their previous apartment the master-bedroom closet was wedged between two walls and outfitted with wire-mesh shelving from Home Depot. 'Our clothes were crushed together,' says McGoldrick, a sales representative for almost any carpet company. His or her new $915,000 apartment in Chicago, the happy couple spent $20,000 to upgrade all six of their wardrobes. Of that amount, $11,000 went toward a 9-ft. by 9-ft. master closet. A cabinet holds 48 pairs of shoes on quartersawn white oak; a four-slotted drawer, up to 30 belts. Will take a very another drawer to come up with six watches, a maximum rack for designer knits, a lower one for casual knits. And have to enough room now to survey all of the clothes they own in a style. 'I forgot about one half of my clothes before we moved here,' says Sacco, residential designer. 'If Can not see it, I will not wear it.' Says McGoldrick, who has coffee in their closet most mornings: 'It's the most serene and comfortable place in house.' Who knew that finding yourself in the closet could be heaven? Ah, there's that sweater!