(3 of 3)
The average custom closet costs $3,000 to $5,000. To get an idea of what a customer needs, designers typically ask for a count of clothing, handbags, shoes and other accessories to produce an estimate of the minimum storage space required. The extras mount up quickly--drawer pulls, quality woods, benches, mirrors, granite countertops, chandeliers, hidden safes. There are less expensive alternatives. Various commercial closet systems--with mix-and-match cabinetry, shelves, racks and other items--can be tailored for the client. California Closets pioneered affordable systems years ago but recently launched a pricier line to cater to the demand for higher-end material. There are also do-it-yourself kits. Rubbermaid's starts at $140 for enough shelves, rods and accessories to outfit an 8-ft. closet.
George McGoldrick, 30, and his partner of 10 years, Joseph Sacco, 29, know what it was like before the closet revolution and have all the fervor of the converted. In their previous apartment the master-bedroom closet was wedged between two walls and outfitted with wire-mesh shelving from Home Depot. "Our clothes were crushed together," says McGoldrick, a sales representative for a carpet company. In their new $915,000 apartment in Chicago, the couple spent $20,000 to upgrade all six of their closets. Of that amount, $11,000 went toward a 9-ft. by 9-ft. master closet. A cabinet holds 48 pairs of shoes on quartersawn white oak; a four-slotted drawer, up to 30 belts. There is another drawer to display six watches, an upper rack for designer knits, a lower one for casual knits. And there is enough room now to survey all the clothes they own in a glance. "I forgot about half of my clothes before we moved here," says Sacco, a residential designer. "If I can't see it, I won't wear it." Says McGoldrick, who has coffee in their closet most mornings: "It's the most serene and comfortable place in the house."
Who knew that being in the closet could be heaven? Ah, there's that sweater!