"Those who have experienced Paris have advantage over those who have not. We are the ones who have glimpsed a little bit of heaven, down here on earth." - Deirdre Kelly

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Under Construction: My Walk-in Closet, Finally!

My bedroom

"...bedrooms should be very intimate rooms - they should express your personal preferences in every way...Of all the rooms in the house your bedroom is yours."
- Dorothy Draper

I've wanted a walk-in closet since...forever. What self-respecting Diva doesn't? Well that day has finally arrived!

*Of course every aspect of this re-design, as well as anything I do, is Paris inspired. Hey, that's an idea. A section at Pour l'Amour dedicated to my adventures in home-re-design...

The other day, as I was reading in bed, I looked over to the other half of my bedroom. As you can see, it's unfinished - Motherhood and career are the culprits, of course ;-) But, other than the glorious fireplace and to get dressed, this half of my bedroom is never used (I don't think that the chairs have ever been sat in).

Mr. Gorgeous & Coco in Paris ;-)

A Diva has two important home-spaces: her vanity (I've already created my dream vanity/space) and her closet. I've wanted a walk-in closet since...forever - what self-respecting Diva does not? But in the last several months, the need for one has become imperative (see: French Girl's Wardrobe). I've got a 6 week long winter break and in that time, I'm going 'build' my walk-in closet in the unused half of my bedroom - Mr. Gorgeous' Christmas gift to me, I sho' am a lucky little Diva! 

Not only am I an avid blogger, I'm an avid blog-reader. And two of my favorite blogs have not only given me the inspiration to take on this project, in the first place, but also to trust my muse and design it myself (according to my fantasies and needs). So before I go further, I've got to give heartfelt thanks to:

Among other things, on her blog Amy shares her fresh beautiful eco-friendly design sense (and all the where-to-find deets).  She's an endless source of inspiration, certainly for me - you should check her out.

Joan has painstakingly and lovingly put her beautiful mark on/in every room of her home, and graciously shares her results with comprehensive detail and the most absolutely gorgeous photographs!

"A French Girl's Wardrobe" fine art print by Lesley Sico

This photograph started the whole Diva-glitter-ball rolling! ;-) New Jersey based, Lesley is a very talented photographer and I love her vision(s) of Paris.

Thank you ladies, for all of your inspiration and support. Now on to the other good stuff - the deets!

The plan is to divide our bedroom into two spaces - our sleeping space and my walk-in closet...

Our Sleeping Space:

Henri loves when it gets cold enough for me to put the faux fur throw on the bed.

As you can see, my sleeping space (the other half of my bedroom) is very simple and uncluttered - that also means unfinished! The only things in this space are our bed, the nightstand & lamp, and the flatscreen. But we like it this way. The neutral color scheme is soothing, quiet and calm. The featherbed, lots of pillows, fluffy duvet and 1000 thread count sheets and blankets make the most amazingly cozy nest. 

The view from the windows is the tops of the 20 trees in my backyard, a large pond beyond that, and acres of protected wildgrasses beyond that. With the fireplace blazing, curled up with Mr. Gorgeous, looking at the view - tres prives et romantique! Nope, I'm not going to change a thing!

Walk-in Closet

The Blank Slate

Peter and I opened a bottle of bubbly, grabbed my notebook PC, my Moleskine reporter's pad, and curled up on the bed (for the best view of course ;-) and got to plotting, scheming, and planning. First off, my walk-in closet's space is @ 11 feet deep and wide with a 10 foot ceiling. It may be hard to visualize but work with me. Imagine that every stick of furniture (inc. the fireplace) is gone.  Of course, I'm leaving the bleached hardwood floors (they extend into the original closet) and the wall color will stay the same. Can you visualize it? Good. Now the first order of business is to figure out how to divide the room into two spaces: sleeping space and walk-in closet...

Idea #1: Wall - At first, we seriously considered actually building a stud-wall to separate the two spaces. But we quickly nixed that idea because we didn't want to permanently alter our bedroom's footprint.

Idea #2: Paneled room dividers - to the internets! Surprisingly, I found a half dozen 'sites that carry them, but the selection was sparse, un-imaginative, not particularly attractive, too flimsy, and too short and not wide enough (sigh). Next we went to my trusty standby...Etsy - Eureka!

FLPN Original 3 freestanding privacy room divider 
handmade by Sarah Ascolese (FLPN Furniture)

Idea #3: Custom made room divider - winnah! Sarah hand-builds this amazing custom made privacy room divider: 6 to 8 ft. tall, 4 to 6 ft. wide; the depth is a typical stud wall; lights line the interior; and you can choose the material (any color and/or pattern). You can also choose the fabric design of your divider [from the small strips (shown in the photos), to any width strip you want, to one continuous piece of fabric - you choose (LOVE it!)]. The frame is made of wood (Sarah will paint it any color you want) and the caster 'feet' are lock-&-unlock-able - WOW! And all for $150 per screen (+ shipping, which can bite). Best yet, Sarah is very professional, talented, friendly, engaged, and willing to work on every element of your design to get it just right - how fabulous is that?

But I have to say that, although Sarah's art-piece is perfect for me practically-wise,
I'm gaga about those interior lights!

For my needs, Sarah's privacy room divider will rest 1 ft. away from, and to the right of, the edge of our bedroom door - rightly placing the opening/'door' to my walk-in closet at the far end of the new room (for my aesthtic sense and to continue to allow the light from the windows' (two of four) to continue to cast natural light into our sleeping space, as well as the walk-in closet's space).

My original closet

My walk-in closet is designed, and will be built, around my original closet. Years ago I hired California Closets to customize my closet - c'est magnifique! Although not cheap, it maximizes my tiny original closet. And a definite advantage is that I can easily, and cost effectively re-arrange my customized design. I already have so and when it's done I'll post pix.

*This beautiful silver empire style crystal mini-chandelier will replace the existing light fixture in my original, equally mini, original closet ($100 at Gallery 802 - one stop shopping for chandelier fantabulosity!)

My re-arrangement, of my original closet, solved 75% of my clothes storage problem(s) - hanging space. Now to solve my lack-of-drawer-space problem...

Bookshelves - leftside of original closet

Bookshelves - rightside of original closet

Inspiration for chests of drawers

To solve my lack-of-drawer-space, I'm going to remove my bookshelves and install chests of drawers on both sides of my original closet. Temple design: 5.5 ft. tall, 29 inches wide, 6 to 8 drawers each.

Idea#1: have California Closets build them [expensive]. 

Idea #2: buy a chest-of-drawers system from HomeDepot and have Sal (my handy-man who's worth-his-weight-in gold) install them [med-cost].

Idea #3: go on a hunt and find 2 appropriate-fitting chest of drawers at a vintage shop. This is the most challenging option. But the coolest part is that the chests of drawers won't match (I like that) and - ahh the thrill of the love the hunt! [lowest cost].

Winnah! To be determined...

Serena Antique Mercury Glass Lamp Bases (Pottery Barn)
Round base (left) = $100/Trophy base (right) = $120

Whichever chests-of-drawers idea I go with, one of each of these lamp bases will sit on the top of one of the chests of drawers (I'm still looking for the perfect shades). And a selection of my matted/framed fine art photos will sit on the wall above them.

A 35th birthday gift from Mr. Gorgeous.

My final piece of storage is my reuse of a piece I already own. The armoire will go where the fireplace currently sits.

Sal's going to install this Murano Venitian Style crystal chandelier, in the center-ceiling of my walk-in closet ( 25"H x 24"W/$100/from Gallery 802). I may will probably replace it with a more 'fussy' one ;-) 

Heritage Kermanshah Green/Gold "Aubusson" rug
[6ft. x 9ft. ($250, inc. shipping) Overstock.com]

It will go beneath the chandelier, center of the room.

I've have always, always, always wanted an Aubusson rug. But since they cost thousands of dollars, I'll probably will never own one (which is fine with me, think of what I could do with thousands of dollars! Yep, buying a rug ain't one of my preferred options ;-)

But, to me, this Kermanshah  rug (made by the Jaff tribe - Iran/Iraq) feels like a modern Aubusson rug. As well it should, since it was first exported in the 1920s. I love the bold vibrant range of greens, golds and reds - the perfect, and much needed, bursts of colors in a pretty neutral space. 

This bench is a great generous length...

But is also narrow enough to leave a small-ish footprint

Aren't these Chippendale legs (claw & ball) a hoot?! 

I picked up this vintage bench at a roadside resale shop years ago (for $50). I'm going to paint the legs and hand re-upholster it with the same material Sarah's using for my room divider. It will either sit on the center of my rug, directly beneath the main chandelier; or at the foot of my bed - and I'll use the original ottoman instead. They're both pretty fabulous.

Petit Fireplace in my Atelier

I think that the perfect room, no matter what size or design, should always have: at least one chandelier and a fireplace. So you'll understand when I say that it kills me to remove a fireplace from a room. My bedroom fireplace is just too large for my walk-in closet. Besides, I need that wall for my armoire - choices, choices! My plan is to move it to the foot of my bed (in the sleeping space) but I don't think that will work either (never fear, I've got another room in my home where it fit will beautifully), but I still want a fireplace for my walk-in closet. 

But there's only one place a fireplace will fit - beneath the windows. The fireplace in my atelier is the smallest available on the market (aptly named "Petit"). I'm going to measure it to see if it fits. If not, I'm going to see if Sal can cut the bottom so it fits - yeah, a fireplace is that important to me. Besides, it will look fabulous! And how Diva-decadent is it to have a fireplace in your walk-in closet?!

Whew! That's my overarching design; were my walk-in-closet project now stands. What do you think? I call my design: French-Old World-Contemporary. Of course, there are a hundred details/challenges I have either not seen, or have yet to pop up - but I'm looking forward to each and every one ;-)   

Even so, I can clearly see the completed project in my mind. I'll update this post as needed - so keep checking. And when we 'break ground,' I'll write a new post. I can't wait 'til my walk-in closet is complete. And I'm so looking forward to sharing the journey and the destination with you...

Next stop: Wonk & Fripperies

Vivre! Rire! Aimer!


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