Bringing Calm to Chaos Refurbishing Your Closets

The time has come to ask yourself some tough questions: Do I find myself constantly sneaking my clothing into my partner’s closet? Am I running out of drawer space because my bureau is overflowing with items I can’t fit into my tiny closet? Is my linen closet or pantry so cluttered and disorganized that I can’t locate what I need when I need it? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are probably in need of a closet remodel. Lack of closet and storage space is a problem that many New York apartment dwellers face. The average apartment cannot accommodate growing families and changing needs–at some point, the average closet will have to be modified.

Once you’ve admitted that you have a problem and decide to take on a remodel, you have to find a designer. The most obvious place to look is in the yellow pages, but don’t rule out the benefit of a referral from a friend or neighbor. Robert Scott, co-owner of Closet Systems Group, which has offices in Manhattan and Brooklyn, specializes in closet configurations, manufacturing closet materials, architectural woodworking, and cabinetry. He says that although he does acquire clients through yellow page ads, most of his business is referred to him from other customers.

Getting Started

Before the designer actually comes to your home, you should have a rough idea of what your needs are. Do you need more storage space, room for shoes, room to hang clothing, or accessory racks for belts and scarves? You should carefully consider what features are most important and prioritize your needs accordingly.

On the first visit, your chosen contractor will most likely measure your existing closet space and ask a series of questions to find out what your present and future needs might be, says Fran Paltrow, owner of Closettec, a Port Washington, Long Island closet design company. After the initial meeting your designer will begin to draw up a plan to accommodate your needs. During this phase, it is important that customers work with their contractors on designing the new space. "We want the clients input and their feedback," says Scott. Although these professionals have the skills and know-how, only the customer truly knows the customer’s wants and needs and what systems will best suit their lifestyle.

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