Friday, October 18, 2013

Gentleman's Dressing Room

Apartment living in Gotham often means having very little or no closet space. We're lucky to have two that stand back to back, in what was once the hallway on the parlor floor of a single family Brownstone that now has 10 apartments. The smaller closet is at the bottom of a flight of stairs leading from the front door—which is an unusual feature of the apartment. The larger one—which is captured in the three photos in this post—is right behind it, and faces the bedroom. The latter has a beautiful antique Empire dresser that takes up far too much space in a narrow room. 

I'd long thought about how to reconfigure the larger closet to accommodate the contents of the dresser, but wasn't sure how to pull it off. When I saw a photo that was posted by ArchitectDesign, I knew what to do. A short subway ride later, I was standing in the Container Store on 6th Avenue, talking to a lovely lady who designed a solution. Thirty minutes and $800 later, I was the proud owner of a new closet system consisting of 5 shelves, 5 drawers, two hanging rods with shelves, valet rod, shoe rack, hamper, tie rack, and thirty-five cedar hangers. Did I want someone to put it in for me? Nope. I did that myself after the materials arrived. Installing the system wasn't hard at all, though one does have to have the right equipment: a drill, level, hammer and lots of patience. 

The small space contains a non-working heating standard (pipe) which is nestled to the immediate right. (which you can't see in the photos). Why it was put there is any one's guess, though I believe it existed before the building was converted to apartments in the 1930's. There is also evidence of the original baseboard molding along the wall, which was quite tall. I left things as they were, along with the original floor, only giving the walls a fresh coat of paint, the same "cameo white" that is used throughout the apartment, adding only a 19th century gilt frame with a bevelled mirror, and gentleman in two small gilt/walnut frames. 

I was really surprised—even shocked—at the result. I was able to put everything from the large Empire dresser into the closet, after reconfiguring what went where: shirts are now folded on shelves along with towels and linens, pants and suits hang on rods, underwear and shorts are in drawers, while belts hang on antique brass hooks next to the non-working standard. The closet door, which once held an ironing board which folded down, how contains nearly all of our shoes. 

Best investment I have ever made. The dresser is now looking for a good home, and I couldn't be happier, since precious space in the bedroom will now be opened up. 

Thank you, ArchitectDesign! 


  1. So glad it worked out! It's amazing what a little organization will do -hold SO MUCH! My closet holds twice as much now too (plus the act of taking everything you own out to do the work makes you shed quite a few items). Looks great!

    1. Amazing, indeed, ArchitectDesign! I still can't believe how much the space holds. And you are so right: we'd already shed things we hadn't worn in a year or so which made a big difference. Thank you for the inspiration!


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