Saturday, October 18, 2003

My closet obsession

Having lived in a series of vintage houses, I've been fighting for closet space for more than 25 years. When we added a second floor onto the first Shady Rest in Wallingford, we included the most enormous walk-in closet you can imagine, with a cathedral ceiling, dressing room area, south facing windows, and a birdseye-maple door with Cotswold glass. It even had an attic storage closet off the dressing room. We took the glass door with us when we moved to the Shady Rest West, but unfortunately couldn't take that closet. The walk-in closet here (more of a walk-thru) is only half the size and has terrible track lighting (though not as terrible as the bare bulb that illuminated it when we first moved in). As a result, we have clothes in the attic, in the laundry room, and in a storage locker. Neither of our recent houses has had a closet in the entryway, but the current house does have a tiny closet (2 feet wide by not quite 2 feet deep) in the main floor hall outside the bathroom. Until last week it had a rod made from a broomhandle suspended between two loops of wire, an enormous fir shelf up top that kept the coats in permanent dimness, and a musty odor. Finally, after putting up with that for two years, we attacked!

I ripped out the shelf and rod and assorted hardware and Zorg painted the interior a soft yellow. I installed a natural wood rod, centering it between the back of the closet and the door and raising it up four inches from the previous rod so the coats were no longer squished or dragging. Over the rod I set a shallow white wire shelf. Even though I don't usually like wire shelving, this maximized the amount of light from the hall entering the closet, plus made it possible to see what's on the high shelf from below. Zorg's caps, two dozen of them, had been thrown on the old shelf and had pretty much been lost for two years. Now they're on a special long oak cap hanger attached to the inside of the door--cheesy, but practical. Parallel to the cap hanger is a hemlock 1"x3" strip with brushed nickel J hooks where I'm planning to hang winter scarves. The last piece of equipment, scheduled to go in tomorrow, is a thin bathroom towel rack, 24" long, that we had left over from the upstairs bath refurbishing project. It goes in the back of the closet, about 2-1/2 feet up the wall, so we can hang umbrellas by the handles instead of having them falling over the floor of the closet.

The downside to this project involves our cat Socks. Previously, the squished coats made it difficult to close the closet door securely. This made it easy for Socks to pry open the door and sneak inside, bedding down in the forest of drooping coats for the day. From his viewpoint, this just another case of a neighborhood ruined by overdevelopment.

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