Wow! Last weekend it was cold and wet, wet, wet. This weekend it is blisteringly hot.
There’s so much going on.
But, right now, at the front of my mind is finishing the designs for my renovation.
It truly is like one giant puzzle because many elements affect others, as you’ll soon see.
Today, I want to tackle my horrible closets. Well, at least one of them.
I haven’t written a lot about closets.
There’s this ancient post about “sucky closets.” Actually, it’s a pretty sucky post. I even recall thinking so at the time. So, that means that it’s really bad. So, please enjoy a good laugh.
Hopefully, this post will be better.
This time I am focusing on my horrible entry closet.
At first look, it doesn’t look so bad.
But, we’re going to look a little closer.
The challenge here is making it functional but also flow seamlessly into the kitchen. And without it seems to be part of the kitchen.
Even though it is. Haha.
True, it will seem to be a part of the kitchen when one is sitting in the living room, but not when one walks through the front door.
In fact, I just have to mention this one thing about the kitchen.
(Please see this recent post about my plans for the kitchen.)
I had a lengthy convo with our darling Nancy Keyes the other day. She has so many terrific ideas and, in my opinion, is a genius when it comes to designing kitchens. (please Nancy’s incredible kitchen here.) She got me thinking about not having the fridge where it currently is. It’s disrupting the flow. The bottom line is that I really want to do under-cabinet refrigeration.
Oh, stop looking at me like I just showed up at church wearing only a bikini.
However, four drawers are just about the same cubic feet as the upright fridge I was thinking of. But, the beauty is that I’ll have five full feet of uninterrupted counter space, and I can put a beautiful lamp in the corner. So, THAT is what will be seen when one walks in.
You know, something like the one Rivers Spencer has in her shop in New Orleans.
But, Laurel, I don’t think three fridge drawers and one freezer drawer are enough for you.
Yes, you’re right about that one. But, I don’t think so either. But, I have an idea that is a win-win, I think.
I’ve spent hours working on the garden/bedroom level. And, I have to say that I really love it. There is a TON of closet space now. What is a ton of closets?
Believe it or not, EIGHT closets. (only one walk-in)
And guess what I’m planning on putting in one of them?
Yes, another small fridge/freezer or fridge drawers if I can swing it.
If you’re curious, I just added the new schematic to the post where I talked about the lower level.
Yes, what is bothering you now? No, wait. Don’t tell me. Now, you’re worried that I’m going not to have enough non-cold storage IN the kitchen.
Guys, some of you apparently have trust issues. Haha.
But, please allow me to explain. If you don’t already understand, this is going to be an “unkitchen.”
I want people to walk in and say, “Where is the kitchen?”
Sorry, this is not supposed to be a post about the kitchen.
But, as I said initially, it’s like the hip bone is connected to the thigh bone…
It’s all connected.
However, please believe me when I tell you that there will be gobs and gobs of storage on both levels. So, please stop interrupting and let me explain. ;]
It has to do with the horrible entry closet.
Why is it a horrible closet?
Here, it’s time to take a closer look.
First of all, the closet is crowding the entry door. Second, do you see how the moulding on the right is less wide than on the left? That is just plain wrong. Plus, the way they did the sheetrock is also wrong. They should’ve taken the moulding off first. But, no, they just cut around the door casing. Ickypoo.
Then, the wall should really have gone up to the ceiling. It looks unfinished. I can only imagine what’s growing up there. lol
Inside the horrible closet are one shelf and one bar.
This will be perfect for all of the seances I’m planning on hosting in the wintertime.
1922 film Dr. Mabuse the Gambler on youtube seance
By the way, you can purchase that image on Etsy.
Alas, this is an old house built in 1880– the Victorian Era.
However, one pretty well-known thing is that horrible closets and old buildings seem to go hand-in-hand.
Still. The Victorians had “stuff.” Right? Where did they put it? They didn’t leave their belongings strewn all over the place.
Yes, of course, they put their stuff in furniture: wardrobes, armoires, and the like.
Plus, they didn’t own 200 pairs of shoes. They didn’t have nearly as much crap as we do.
For men, most of their clothing was folded in what we call a bachelor’s chest or high boy. They called it a clothing press. We now usually call that a linen press or armoire.
Hangars on rods were not in use, as far as I know, in the 1800s. Although, I read that Thomas Jefferson, that clever guy, 3rd President, and architect of Monticello, did invent one. They used hooks, instead.
As for what we deem to be a closet, there were few, if any.
However, according to some sources, the reason for this is that closets were considered a room, and the more rooms, the higher the taxes on the house. But, then I read in several other articles that the closet tax thing is a myth.
What I believe to be true is what I said in the beginning.
Folks, even well-heeled folks, did not have as much stuff as most of us do.
Does this mean I’m going to rip out all of the horrible closets and put in wardrobes and linen presses in their place?
However, I don’t see why a closet has to look like an ordinary door to another room if it’s only two feet deep. I am thinking of a kind of hybrid design of a built-in piece of furniture. It won’t be the typical closet nor a typical free-standing wardrobe. And, not really like any of the fitted wardrobes I’ve seen, either. Most of them are a little boring.
Yes, what I’m talking about is an Un-Closet. Or, Uncloset. I mean, it makes sense to me to have an uncloset off of the aforementioned unkitchen. Right?
So, I googled “uncloset” to see if anyone else was using the term. And, if so, what did their unclosets look like.
Well, I did find a company by that name. This company doesn’t make closets, but chic handbags. Alas, the young startup out of the UK appears to have gone out of business. Their last Instagram post was August 7, 2017.
Okay, that is all I found on unclosets. Therefore, I think it’s safe to assume that I’ve completely lost my mind.
So be it.
Okay, so how can we apply my loony idea to my horrible entry closet?
In my mind, before putting anything on paper, I envisioned a 3 part breakfront style built-in or “fitted,” as our friends across the pond call it.
The center part (coat closet) would be the standard two feet deep and about three feet wide or a little more to accommodate hangers on a rod.
And the two side sections will be about 18″ deep and 18″ wide. These two sections will serve as pantry and utility closets for my new stick vacuum from Roborock, and I could even use one to house my new Robbie so he doesn’t have to hang out in the entry. Of course, I can also charge my stick vacuum in there as well.
That would be the smaller section closest to the front door.
On the other side of the coat, the section would be the mirror image of the utility closet/pantry. In here will only be a pantry. Quite frankly, will I need it?
No, and Yes.
After going back and forth with myself 100 times, I really want to do all-glass doors in the back.
Plus, now, I’m losing one entire base cabinet to one of the under-counter fridges.
I do have some ideas for beautiful storage for some of the dry food items. And, most of the time, the rest of the storage will most likely be adequate for me.
However, it is always better to have too much storage than too little. Right?
Oh, gosh, I hope you’re following all of this.
However, here’s the interesting thing. Well, I think it’s interesting. haha
When I was researching wardrobes, I discovered that many old Victorian wardrobes were made in three sections, not dissimilar in many ways to the vision I have for my built-in furniture-like un-closet. So, at least, it appears that somehow I’m channeling the spirit of Victorian design!
But, the other day, I researched this post, and I couldn’t find anything like what I’m envisioning.
And, then, FINALLY, without knowing anything else, I found a design that has many aspects of what I’m thinking of.
I don’t remember where I found it, but I clicked on the image, and to my delight, I found myself on my good friend and colleague, Carla Aston’s blog!
You can also see more of Carla here.
Beautiful job, Carla! Miss you! Please follow Carla Aston on Instagram, as well.
But, then, there’s another wonderful, incredibly inspiring account on Instagram.
I know that I have featured A + B Kasha here a couple of times.
Who are they?
A+B Kasha is an interior architecture firm in Paris. Actually, they are a husband and wife, two super-talented Americans in Paris. They take these old Parisian apartments that look like crap and renovate them to look as they did 100+ years ago; only better.
Please follow ABKasha on Instagram if you aren’t already doing so.
Through them, and others I’ve found a ton of inspiration for my horrible closet off the kitchen.
However, there’s this one moulding pattern I have loved for years.
I adore this image and you can see it also on one of my favorite posts about wainscoting.
I’m sure this type of moulding with the cut corner and applique has a name, but I don’t know what it is. If you know, please shout it out. Oh, wait. I know someone who almost definitely knows.
GM, ma chérie?, est-ce que tu lis maintenant?
Please understand that my français is not nearly that good. I cheated.
Anyway, I hope she or someone else will know what this type of moulding is called and what those things in the corners are called?
Maybe they are, Rosettes? Petit Roundel?
However, sometimes the rosettes are square. I love them both. Square would make sense because of the motif on my door and window casings.
However, I do love the round and, that speaks to the circle motif. I’d love for the transom which you can see here.
Let’s look at some more inspiration images by the Magnifique ABKasha. By the way, please do look at their Instagram and website. They sometimes post their before pics. And, that is when you’ll see their genius at work.
By AB Kasha
I have posted this image before. In fact, there was a reader a few years ago who copied this pattern in her home.
You can see more of her home here. She even did it on the ceiling in the next room, and it looks amazing!
abkasha on Instagram Paris flat
Here you can see this moulding on a door.
ABKasha on Instagram – And another exquisite beauty with original handles.
One last photo from A+B Kasha
Frederic Flanquart #projetsolferino – beautiful French door
This is another wonderful account on Instagram.
I found this interesting door on 1st Dibs. Don’t those look like tongue depressors? ha
I’ll also need to address the main door, which is too short and perfectly plain with is not acceptable. Above, we see a gorgeous overdoor, it’s called. I found this image on Etsy, but I don’t believe it’s their image.
Another idea I’d like to incorporate on two doors only is inspired by this image below.
beautiful moulding+Josef m design – styling – Jody Moon Styling
The carved applique is called an onlay.
Okay, that’s enough for this topic. Although, we haven’t even looked at the other horrible closets:
in the den.
And, the horrid linen closet outside the lovely guest bathroom.
I have lots of ideas. However, I need to get them down on paper to show the contractor.
Please stay cool!
And, if you’re looking for some cool gift ideas for Father’s Day, please check out this page.
Please also check out the newly updated HOT SALES pages—lots of beautiful new things to see this weekend.
PS: I just remembered something. Eight years ago, I stayed at a charming inn on the street I now live on, and a few blocks west of me.
That was before I had an I-phone, I believe. Anyway, isn’t it funny? What isn’t funny is that the hotel still exists, but they renovated it in 2015. Here’s what it looks like today. The outside is fine.
The inside? Ummm, typical early 21st century, urban, boutique hotel. I’m sure that it’s quite comfortable, but… leaning too far towards something too heavy, IMO. Granted, it needed renovating. While my room was awesome, the bathroom was full of mold. Ew.
However, I wish it looked more like the exquisite work of A+B Kasha! Please look at them on insta!
2 Fridge, 1 Freezer, and 1 Dishwasher drawer sounds like enough to me. The microwave , toaster, and coffee pot can go behind a cabinet door as well.
For closet, put every single thing that will be stored there in its place and then decide your specs. As is, you don’t seem to need all that room there at all. Could half be repurposed to something else, maybe your laundry area?
One thing I love is not having to change out clothes or items for the seasons. It all just stays where it is all year. Where are your winter coats?
Have you checked out the price of refrigerator drawers yet? Awesome but very pricy
Thank you so much for sharing and linking to my project there, Laurel! That was a fun remodel and the wall of cabinetry really helped with their closet storage needs. Looks like you are enjoying your new home and can’t wait to see how it all ends up!
I live in NOLA, i should check out Rivers Spencer!
Can I just say the bed and breakfast Penthouse. And then be speechless. But not totally speechless because beyond all the stuff that is too too to even mention, there is the kitchenette situation which was clearly imported from an abandoned trailer house. The small trailer house you hitch to the back of a car in 1950. That room really upset me. Which I guess means I’m completely crazy. So thanks for the Rorschach test, haha.
Laurel, the under-shelf fridge: absolutely. If you get “down in your back,” you can always change that. I grew up in a world of grandmothers’ houes with four-poster beds and armoires. Sure you can’t use an armoire? They are multi-purpose (E.g., a male student in a university writing class I once taught wrote vividly of hiding with his sister in one in his parents’ bedroom as his mother was giving birth to the third child. Too vividly, I thought.) In Louisiana, one sees them in both contemporary-styled and traditional homes when ceilings are tall enough. Mirrors have a way of enlarging rooms with our southern light and so making them more at home. Furlow Gatewood also loves them. Your place is going to be lovely and functional. Things like beauty and convenience come slowly, rarely in flashes.
I love the idea of doing only under counter refrigerators. I am in the throws of designing my kitchen in an early 19th c Cape w 3 windows, 3 doors and a fireplace in a 13’ x 11’ space. I decided to put the fridge in the pantry and just have a bitty under counter beverage fridge. I really think the companies who make refrigerators are missing out on an opportunity to come up with more flexible, interesting solutions for refrigerators.
Hi Laurel, I love the idea you and the very talented Nancy Keyes came up with for a beautiful, striking lamp at counter height greeting the eye as one enters your house (sitting above disguised refrigeration in the corner of your “un-kitchen”).
I’m no radical preservationist, nor do I like the look of slavishness to the past, but I think it’s hard to beat this image (that you’ve already purchased):
I would have the interior re-done by some closet guru (or following their advice)who would definitely separate the closet between the coat closet (maybe, counter-intuitively) on the side farthest from the front door, and the pantry using the side next to the front door. I would make sure these appeared very separate (no flour on the guest’s coat). Alternately, if it would work for your purposes, you could break open the wall from the kitchen side to the foyer closet and access that space for some purpose on the kitchen side, while hiding it from the foyer side with the facade of those grand doors I love.
With your foyer, spanning the grand entrance you can go to town with a beautiful wall paper (not actually used on the other 3 walls of the kitchen), or lacquer, or something really impressive in a small space.
BTW, I didn’t realize that the field of dreams for most guys was closet space. I think later in life the tables turn. It is they who are waiting to get swept off their feet by your obvious charm, intelligence, wit, tact, and graciousness that you display on these pages.
Thank you, France. I understand where you’re coming from and originally, that’s what I thought I’d do. However, that image is misleading. The doors aren’t grand, at all. They look rather squat behind the grand opening that without the moulding is 9.5 feet high. These doors are the standard 80″. Plus, there’s the front door issue. And I forgot to mention that they don’t close easily. That could be fixed. But, I’d really love to have it built in all the way up to the ceiling with a beautiful crown moulding. And, create a cabinet instead of a door frame to save space. It will really open up the entry and make it just that more gracious.
Dear Laurel, sorry to add to the brain fog, which is only a slight mist anyway. I went over the top there: I said “Anyway, I’m very flattered by your faith in my level of knowledge. I don’t deserve it.” Proof of course is that although commercial vendors use the term “cimaise” for any framing-type moulding, that’s not quite correct. The term should apply only to the upper part of the cornice or by extension to the chair-rail moulding.
PS Babies simply learn by imitating, but it has to be said that once they get to the stage of writing it out, large numbers of French adults can’t conjugate anything, although maybe we should attribute this to auto-correct (that oxymoron) rather than to incompetence.
GM, ma chérie?, est-ce que tu lis maintenant?
Laurel, je ne sais pas si c’est à moi que vous faîtes allusion ! Mais si c’est le cas, voici la leçon de choses en français:
The moulding to make a panel on wall or door is called “une cimaise”. Here we have “une cimaise à coins rentrants”, with “une rosace” to finish the angles.
I had to do a little research for this, but will send you some pics with captions via e-mail, for interest and re-use on the blog if you wish. But I’m very grateful because in the course of the search for examples, I found a manufacturer of just the skirting boards I want! Un grand, grand merci !
Enfin, here’s your original question back to you: Chère GM(L?)? Si vous êtes là à me lire, pourriez-vous répondre/auriez-vous une idée ? … En tout cas, je suis très flattée de votre confiance en mon niveau de connaissances. Je n’en mérite pas autant.
GL s’il te plait pardonne mon le brain fog!!! It’s terribly sad, that after four years of high school french, I only understood half of what you and I said. However, they spend too much damn time on conjugating verbs instead of just learning to talk. Do babies learn language by conjugating verbs, first?
But, thank you for your research, it’s greatly appreciated! The Parisians have such incredible taste.
Let me first say that I love your blog! As for the “uncloset”, I did just that for two closets in my old 1909 Craftman house. The first one was in my daughter’s room. We turned an enormous closet (with a sloping ceiling) into a bathroom and carved out a new closet for her on the back wall. It has three doors, the middle door is mirrored (full length) measures about 30 inches wide and protrudes from the two side doors by about 4 inches. The two side doors are 18 inch wide french doors (behind which I hung curtains to obstruct the view to inside). The whole unit sits on a base that is about 4 inches high and has feet, much like you see with kitchen cabinets that have “feet”. We did the same thing for the master bedroom, but only larger, about double the size. Instead of three doors, there are three pairs of doors. The pair in the middle are mirrored doors that are about 30 in each, and the pairs on each side are french doors with curtains that measure 15 inches each. The pair of doors in the center protrude about 6 inches past the doors on the sides and the whole thing is on a platform with feet. It was all done on a tight budget, and it looks beautiful! I wish I could post a picture , but that is beyond my level of expertise…..
Oh, I’d love to see that, Nadia. If you can attach to an email and you’re a subscriber, just email back from any email you’ve received from me.
Thought you might find this interesting.
Check out the kitchen and back wall of this listing, it seems to be your drawings come to life!
5 Bells Park N
Bluffton, South Carolina, 29910 United States
Oh, wow. That home is INCREDIBLE!
Thank you, Dear Laurel, for your always lovely comments!
Thank you, too, Nancy! I’ve learned so much from you over the years.
Now if there was only a way to hide the oven your un-kitchen would be complete! 😉
haha! Yes! Actually, I think I’ve posted such a kitchen that has absolutely no sign of a kitchen. I mean, EVERYTHING
is hidden. I would have trouble maintaining that, but it is really cool to look at.
Thank you, Dottie, as always!!! Can’t wait until we can share your pictures with Laurel!!
You say you’ve lost your mind…I will keep an eye out for it. Maybe my right eye. Not sure yet which eye I can live without. It seems I need both of them quite often.
I like Iris’ link to the butler pantry. It reminded me that I have some friends who created something similar. They made it a “welcome bar” with a coffee maker, refrigerated sodas, a wine cabinet, snacks and more.
I agree, Nancy is a genius with kitchen design! So exciting to follow along with your plans. Everything is going to be beautiful!
Perhaps try drawing how the space would work if you moved the entry door 90 degrees to where the linen closet is (by the bathroom), then move the entry closet 90 degrees to where the current entry door is located (and take the closet to the ceiling), then where the entry closet is currently located can become part of the kitchen and may allow removal of the wall that is the center of the view from the living room. When you enter the (newly located) front door you would then take a left, walk by the stairs, and into the living room.
Yes, I have considered that, too. The problem for me is that space is tiny at barely 3 x 4 (with the removal of the linen closet. And directly to the right is the bathroom door. Straight ahead is the entrance to the den/2nd bedroom. Over-all, I don’t feel it’s a very gracious entry. I would have to step out of the way in order to greet guests. I also envision that space as being part of a suite where guests can close off the rest of the place for their own private bedroom/bathroom/dressing suite. If the front door were there, it would be impinging on their space.
Besides, I want some refrigeration downstairs. Otherwise, this is a very nice size kitchen for me.
Oh yes, I spent a couple hours, at least, searching “fitted wardrobe.” Fitted wardrobes are mentioned, but since I tend to go on… lol, it’s easy to miss.
Right now, except for the range light, all I’m using are two lamps. The overhead light is hideous. But, yes, it is a little too dark in there, sometimes.
I thought I answered this, but don’t see it now. Yes, a skinny tower was what I was planning on, but that still takes up about 30″ of space with the cabinet. Thanks for John Louis information. I will look into that.
I’m sorry for that horrible experience. I don’t know what is causing it, but I’m not having an issue, in the slightest, and have had no other complaints. However, I will mention it to my developer.
Laurel, You are a genius at space planning…I learned that when you showed how that horrible lopsided apartment could be turned into a fabulous apace! And your plans are going to add SO MUCH comfort and use to your place..as well as value for the next person that lives there. I’m so enjoying the process of remaking your home.
Laurel, I lived at 169 Marlborough and had a fabulous finishing carpenter make me a wonderful wardrobe for my bedroom. I’d tried to attach a photo of it, but couldn’t. It had a center that opened with french type grating that was for long clothing. Then on either side were half cupboards for my short hanging clothes and below those- good size drawers for everything else. It was beautiful and the most useful piece in the entire apartment. If you want me to send a photo- just ask.
Try searching the term “fitted wardrobe”. My house when we lived in England had beautiful storage and this was the term used for the beautiful bedroom storage. That same house had an under-counter fridge and an under- counter freezer and I loved it.
I truly enjoy your blog and love following your Reno journey. However I am wondering if there is a plug-in or some way to speed up your photos in the blog? I get all the advertising immediately but your photos take ages to download and sometimes even when I leave the blog for 15-20:minutes they never all download. I promise I don’t have this issue with other blogs and I bought a new router in the last month. And it happens on my iPad and my pc, so not hardware related. Anyway I still read the post but would love the whole experience.
Good morning Laurel,
I think you & Nancy have come up with a great idea. Extra counter space s valuable real estate.
You mentioned having a lamp on your countertop. I’m a firm believer in that. It adds such a nice ambiance. My kitchen doesn’t have any windows so I keep my kitchen lamp on all day & night.
Just make sure you know exactly where you’ll be placing it. Then have your electrician place an outlet in that spot. Otherwise you have to run the lamp cord to reach the nearest outlet. I wish I had thought of that when I did my kitchen renovation.
Hi Laurel. Have you looked at the Sub Zero skinny towers? Perhaps one of those in your kitchen would mean fewer under counter fridges. (Sub Z also makes nice under counter fridges, but I’m not sure if they can be paneled.) When it comes time to do the insides of your closets, I can strongly recommend the John Lewis kits, especially now that they come in more colors and finishes. I ended up spending 30% of what the closet companies were going to charge and was able to design exactly what I wanted and needed. My contractor’s dad finished an enormous walk in and a large entry closet in a day.
I love watching your ideas evolve over time. Living in a space before making big changes makes total sense. The drawer refrigerators and freezer are a great idea for the space and your lifestyle. And the standalone custom “uncloset” will be fabulous! I hope you find the perfect craftspeople to bring your vision to fruition.
Nancy Keyes’ idea of under cabinet refrigerator drawers sounds lovely! It would give you a lovely visual as you enter the apartment, more counter space, and flexibility as to where you locate the drawers. Why not visit the Yale Appliance showroom on Freeport St., viewing all the models and chatting with one of their salespeople? They are experts in the appliance trade and will not steer you wrong. Since drawer-fridges are soooo pricey and many tend to frequently need repair, they can steer you to more reliable brands and/or other options.
Thanks Valerie. I’ve been reading their blog for years. It’s fantastic!
Love your blog and your new home!
Thought you might want to consider this idea for your entry closet; it’s from Designthusiasm – she calls it her butler’s pantry – it might address your kitchen fridge issue You can add a freezer drawer or two along with the wine fridge And of course you will make it beautiful
Anyway here’s the link Enjoy and good luck with everything! https://designthusiasm.com/dream-butlers-pantry/
Yes, that’s a good idea which I considered for more refrigeration. But because of the configuration, I don’t have enough room and still have it look okay and also have enough room for a coat closet.