The Common Reach-In Closet: Can it still Sparkle?

 

Going Vertical Just One Way To Maximize Space

We’ve probably all tried to live with our closets having just a single hanging rod and a shelf above. Most people don’t need a whole closet of long-hanging space, so the area below the hanging clothes ends up full of boxes and bins of stuff that won’t fit elsewhere. The depth is limited and the ceiling height can be high. People hope they can fit bulky items on the top shelf, but with only a narrow space between it and the doorway, they just don’t fit. So, how do you find a way to work with the reach-in closet? Please try these expert tips. We’re certain you’ll have a happier relationship with your space, and find some beautiful sparkle too.
Couples Reach In Closet Space

This reach-in closet is a collaboration with Wendy Interiors. Photo credit: Peter Braune

Use Principal of Verticality

This is the cure for the single rod-and-shelf conundrum. Add a storage system that includes double-hanging rods or shelves above half-hanging. Most clothing fits within half-hanging, and you’ll double your storage space. If you’re using a reach-in closet for off-season storage, consider setting it up with double hanging, long hanging and shelves for sweaters (so they don’t stretch out on hangers).

Drawer placement essential

If you want drawers, pull-out baskets or a hamper, they must be in the center of the swinging doors. This is necessary so the drawers can be opened easily, and so you can reach beyond them into the corners of the reach-in closet. And if there’s only a pair of sliding doors, that’s more limiting. You can have small pull-outs, but be very careful when measuring to make sure they’ll work in the open door opening.

Shelves keep It harmonious

Adding some shelves keeps the whole closet neater. It’s room for shoes, folded clothes, hats and scarves. With a custom-built closet system, the shelves are adjustable to adapt to the changing needs of your family. Ask your contractor to miter back the top shelf, to make it a narrower dimension. This provides a little more space for bulky items to fit through.

Reach in Closet, Brown Cabinets, Closet Storage, Custom shelving

Children’s closets with adjustable features

Ask about having an extra closet rod to add in when your child needs larger sized clothes. With a custom closet system, the adjustable shelves can be removed, transforming a shelving unit into half-hanging, with a little planning ahead. Toy closets are usually reach-in closets as well. Just work with your contractor to make sure the storage system will accommodate the size and weight of the toys. And consider leaving space below the bottom shelves to roll in children’s toy cars and toy carriages. Above all, your space should work for you. A house full of reach-in closets can provide great storage for your family, as long as it’s designed to fulfill your particular needs. A reach-in closet can be beautiful as well as functional, just use some of the tips and you’ll see.

Bonnie Reich Awarded Prestigious “Sub-Contractor Member Of The Year” for 2017

NARI, NYC, Long Island, Award

National Association of the Remodeling Industry NARI Sub-Contractor Contractor NYC Long Island Dash Windows, Boston Cedar

John Hogan, Chairman of the Board, NARI; Bonnie Reich, President Symmetry Closets; Dan Vazquez, President, NARI

Symmetry Closets’ president Bonnie Reich awarded the 2017 “Sub-Contractor Member Of The Year Award” from NYC/LI National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI)

We are honored and so happy to receive this prestigious award; we appreciate the recognition of our hard work and commitment to excellence!  The NYC/LI NARI Sub-Contractor Member of the Year Award recognizes a sub-contractor who has demonstrated a strong commitment to NARI, the professional remodeling industry and the communities in which they do business. NARI is the only not-for-profit trade association dedicated solely to the Remodeling Industry. The Evening of Excellence and The Contractor of the Year (CotY) Awards were held Thursday, November 16, 2017, at Flowerfield in St. James. The CotY Awards are a local competition acknowledging the high quality of work being done locally right here in Long Island and NYC. It’s a showcase for the best projects of our region’s top talent in the remodeling industry. From one-person shops to the largest remodeling firms, companies have reported that winning this award is a major factor in enhancing their image within the industry, and with prospective customers. The judging for The CotY Awards is focused on innovation, craftsmanship and overall quality of work. The Evening of Excellence is an opportunity to recognize exceptional workmanship, as well as to enhance and promote NARI’s mission— Remodeling Done Right. The event was attended by more than 125 of the industry’s elite and was sponsored by Local NARI Members, Trio East Wholesalers, Inc., Kohler Co., and Samsung Electronics America. Symmetry Closet is a two-time recipient of NYC/LI NARI awards: The CotY Award in 2014, and the Sub-Contractor Member of the Year Award this year.
National Association of the Remodeling Industry NARI Sub-Contractor Contractor NYC Long Island Wendy Interiors Symmetry Closets

Wendy Lepkoff, Board of Directors, NARI; Bonnie Reich, President, Symmetry Closets

Back to School Organization

BCustom Desk, Custom Built ins, Custom cabinets, custom storage, working deskack to school can bring lots of clutter in several areas around the home.  As storage professionals, we see all kinds of storage and work space problems develop while school gets into high gear.

Here are a few tips to alleviate the added stress: (1)    Organize the family coat closet. If space allows, consider adding double hanging for the shorter jackets. Adding a shelf or two for a few extra pair of shoes and the kids’ back packs does a lot to clear up the floor space. (2)    This year, don’t let the kids store their books and homework on the kitchen table; find a comfy space where they can do their homework and store their school supplies. This area can be just a small table or desk or even a big comfy reading chair with a bookcase for storage nearby. This way, all the school work and books can be contained in one area instead of overflowing throughout the family space.Back to School Organization (3)    Keep the sports gear all in one dedicated space; an attached garage can be the perfect location. Just add a few hooks and baskets for cleats, helmets and pads and a tall bin or two for lacrosse or hockey sticks and baseball bats. You’re freed from having all this gear stuffed into your front coat closet, or scattered in the entryway or child’s bedroom. (4)    Finally, if you have a mud room area — make the most of it. Using some hooks for the jackets, shelves for shoes, a few baskets for hats or gloves and a couple of bins for book bags can go a long way toward keeping your home clutter free and happy. And remember to include a small bench so the kids can put on their shoes before they dash off to class! Have a happy autumn.

How to Add Style and Function to Your Home Office

Learn how to make your home office look more “home” than “office.”

Not so long ago, when someone wanted a home office, it was envisioned to be in dark wood tones with traditional styling. It was masculine in feeling – heavy and sturdy – and in a separate room of its own. Nowadays, many of us work from home from time to time. When people want a home office now, they want a more modern functionality. The home office is often in the center of the home; close enough to keep an eye on the kids, to listen for the dryer to buzz, or to stir the pot on the stove. Multi-tasking and computers have changed the way we work and live. And the style has changed, too. In many homes, it’s lighter and more streamlined, to blend with the style of the home. Sometimes people ask for help figuring out how to harmonize a new home office space with the rest of the home. We put together the tips below—so house harmony can be easier for everyone to enjoy.
Home Office design, White shaker, white built ins, blue walls, custom home office

Collaboration with Wendy Interiors Inc. Photo by Peter Braune.

Give your home office some style

• Similar colors: The paint throughout the rooms is a soothing light blue. The cabinetry in the kitchen, living area, bathroom, laundry and office are all the same color and similar style. The furniture coordinates as well. No matter where you are in the home, you feel like you’re part of a larger whole space. • Style jives: The lines are simple and clean—from the furniture and lighting to the built-ins, the style in all the rooms is similar enough to feel calm and coordinated. The crown molding wrapping around the home office draws the eye up and around the space and adds a touch of character. • Strategic accents: The smooth-looking woodsy brown floors and the liquid glass sailboat in the office offer a soft contrast to the built-in desk units. The strong vertical and horizontal lines of the desk and cabinets are emphasized by the long door and drawer pulls—distinctive details in a simple palate.

Make your home office work for you

What if you don’t have the opportunity to re-design your entire living space at the same time? Work with what you have—where possible, harmonize colors and styles within your existing furniture and spaces. Add built-ins where you need them—they use your space to maximum efficiency, and can blend easily into multiple rooms in the home. Start one room at a time. Pick a room, budget for your upgrade and recruit the right service providers for the project. Get this room to be what you want the rest to become—and repeat one room at a time. Above all, your space should work for you. If you’re working from home, your home office should reflect your specific needs and personal taste. With style and function, the home office no longer needs to be isolated; if it’s truly customized to your family’s needs, it may just become the most used room in your home.

A Place for Everything

house Magazine,

Originally published in HOUSE magazine By Bonnie Reich, President and Owner at Symmetry Closets

We want our homes to look beautiful, to impress our friends and to feel comfortable—we want to feel truly at home. I am a professional designer of small spaces: a professional closet designer. My goal is to use every inch of usable space and have it function according to my clients’ needs. After all, no two people are the same and everyone should have a closet that works for her/his lifestyle. I recommend so many wonderful and beautiful products and accessories that really make the closet function at the highest level. I show my clients the latest materials and colors available for their cabinets. But that’s where my work ends, and the interior designer takes over. When my clients and I work with an interior designer, the closet really becomes a thrilling space. Every detail beyond the cabinets is considered at another level. Interior designers bring their resources and add details that make it sing. Some examples: *    Benches are covered in cushions coordinated with carpeting and window treatments *    Wall paper and interesting paint finishes add layers of texture, making these relatively small spaces feel incredible *    Additional inlay materials are added to the door panels *    Hand selected handles and knobs are introduced to the design *    Even fun and funky pillows and throw are sometimes added to the design to make it a cozy hide away that reflects the owner’s personality Interior designers add other luxuries as well. Planning for an island in the walk-in closet? The interior designer will bring fun, personal touches and accessories that make that incredible center island a real stand out. I have designed, fabricated and installed hundreds of walk-in closets, but the ones that are memorable have all been as part of a team with an interior designer’s vision leading the way. For your next interior design project, small or large, hire an interior designer. The result will be satisfying, function well, and you’ll enjoy beautiful style for many years to come.

It’s springtime!

The changing of the seasons is a wonderful time of new adventure and growth.  As the weather changes, the flowers grow, the trees leaf out–and suddenly we stop wearing sweaters, winter coats and turtlenecks.  This year, we pulled out shorts and tee shirts in April! Clothing, Tee, Shorts, Summer clothes The Pros advise not to rush into packing away all your cold weather items all at once.   When you feel the weather taking a turn towards the bright side start putting your stuff away slowly.  Take your time to carefully sort through and organize what will go where.
Lavender is a natural alternative to keeping your storage items fresh over the next six months.

Lavender is a natural alternative to keeping your storage items fresh over the next six months.

The idea of course is to make sure you don’t waste space storing stuff that’s out of fashion, doesn’t fit right, or never suited your personal style.   We’re talking about maximizing your storage space, and taking care of your clothing and other cold weather items – and those things need some TLC if you want to get good use out of them again next year.

1) Protect your clothes naturally – with lavender!

Moth balls are stinky, and toxic too. If you really want an effective way to keep your clothing over the off-season you can pick up lavender-scented sachets to place in with the clothes that you’re storing away.  You could also use dried lavender with the clothes that you’re packing away.  Either way, the lavender is a natural insect deterrent & will keep your clothes from smelling musty next season.

2) Find off-season shoe storage – basement or second bedroom?

You don’t want to look at boots in the summer (or sandals in the winter)–they take up prime closet space. And who wants to look at Fleece boots when you’re picking out a sundress?  The Pros recommend to avoid using cardboard boxes for storage – the cardboard is acidic and the glue tends to attract insects and pests. You’re better off with storage specifically designed to store your shoes or boots, like plastic boxes or a protective boot bag.
Boot Butler, Symmetry Closets, Custom Closets Long Island, Custom Closets NYC, Custom Closets Suffolk County, Custom Closets Nassau County

Use a boot butler to hang your off-season boots and don’t forget the shapers to keep the material looking its best.

3) Tall boots need support

Those beautiful tall boots shouldn’t flop over all summer–it’ll cause the leather to crease & crack. Invest in a set of boot shapers.

4) Dry clean

Make sure to dry clean sweaters and other dry-clean-only items even if only worn once (the moths will know)–and take the dry cleaner bags off!  Otherwise your clothing can get stained from the chemical BHT in the plastic itself.

5) Hangers (a two-fer Tip)

Invest in the Huggable Hangers–they’ll actually create more space in the closet.  A great organizer tip, when you hang your clothing for the season, turn all the hangers away from you–when you wear something, turn the hanger toward you. You’ll know what you wore & what you never wore all season!

5 Great Garage Storage Tips

Custom garage storage, ski storage options

Custom Garage with Slat Wall, Hooks and Weather-Resistant Cabinets

The garage is a wonderful multi-purpose space in the home.  It can be used for so much more than storing your car in theory, but in reality, many of us can only dream of storing the car in the garage…

Let’s start with organization—so we can finish with the fun stuff: More Space!

(1) On a nice sunny spring morning, start working in zones by season.

  • Place the winter equipment in one corner (shovels, snow blower, salt)
  • Move the spring planting gear to another corner.
  • Summer items, including furniture, cushions, pool gear, beach gear can go into a corner or on the driveway for now.
  • Fall tools, rakes, mulch, covers go in the final corner.
  • Miscellaneous items—can go on the driveway for now.
  • From now on, when you put things away, they go into their zone.

(2) Sort with the goal of getting rid of things—plan to fill up your curb or call a junk removal company.

  • Anything that’s broken, torn, rusted or “might be useful someday” gets thrown away.
  • Anything that’s ugly (yes, it’s still ugly) or never worked well (rickety ladder, collapsible lawn chair) can be given away or thrown away.
  • The goal is to purge the old stuff—to make space for your new more useful garage space.

(3) Dream a little—what’s missing that you’d love to have?

  • A Kid’s Activity Center: the whole family could work on projects in the garage.
  • A “Mudroom” Area: A designated area to store coats and jackets, muddy boots, and dog leashes.
  • A Workbench: A place for the home projects to live.
  • Parking Space
  • An Entertainment Refrigerator

(4) Think it through, and decide what will fit in the garage with a little organization.

  • Garage Storage Systems have two goals: (1) to get your stuff off the floor into cabinets, onto shelves, or in a loft; and (2) to get your stuff off the floor to hang on installed slat wall.
  • Slat wall systems can take care of everything from skis to golf bags, sports equipment, ladders and shovels, beach chairs and umbrellas, poles and posts, the list goes on….
  • Smaller items are stashed on shelving, freeing up floor space and counter space.

(5)  You can have the space you always wanted in your garage…for the stuff you actually want to keep. With proper sorting and a great storage system, you’ll find floor space for your car, your kids, and maybe even for a Mudroom, Workbench, or Kid’s Activity Center.

Walk in matser closet, custom built in island, floor to ceiling mirror, custom closet

These full-length mirrors add depth to this mid-sized closet. Interior Design by Adam Cassino.

When it comes to your closet, some of us have lots of space for handbags & ties, drawers and an island (pictured above). But if you’re looking to create the illusion of a larger, smarter, and storage friendly space, just read on below…and keep in mind that these tips apply beyond the closet as well!

1-Strategic Use of Mirrors

You know that when you add mirrors to a small space, it creates a sense of openness, and the look of a larger space. But where & how to do it most effectively? Let’s look to the experts! Interior designer Adam Cassino used several tricks of the trade in these photos of a closet project we did together in Melville, NY. You’ll see that his use of full length mirrors pulls the eye upwards, while the reflection does what mirrors do so well–make us feel like the room keeps going. Also remember, you can add mirrors to just about any piece of furniture – but full-length mirrors will be the most beneficial in creating the illusion of a larger space.

2-Free up floor space

When you organize your closet, pantry, or any room that you want to feel bigger than it really is, remember to keep as much as you can off of the floor. The less floor space, the smaller your closet will appear. You can achieve this look by adding shelving to your walls, & if you wanted to take it a step further you can add lighting to some of your shelves to create more visibility. The key here is to create the appearance of a bigger space, so make it feel light and airy.

3-Use Drawers for Smart Storage

Taking a few pointers from the tiny house movement, and from our own storage solutions-a neat way to save on space is to create as many little secret hideaways for your appliances and/or accessories as possible. Slide-out bins help hide smaller items from view, while keeping them easily accessible.  For irons you can purchase a wall-mounted holder-which will keep that item off the floor but still easily visible. For laundry baskets you can use a tilt out hamper basket in a space that doesn’t get much use. For jewelry use a stackable container or something with a lid so you can store it away if you don’t want it to take up space on your dresser or vanity.

4-Play with lighting

For the project shown in the photos above and below, the designer selected shelf lighting to enhance the space & to allow the client to show her pretty things.   He also installed a beautiful quality lighting fixture, a chandelier that also pulls the eye up, expanding the feeling of vertical space. Thoughtfully plan out your lighting situation–if it’s a larger space, there’s nothing like working with an expert.  Depending on the location of the light source and the mirror, you will almost double the amount of lighting just by adding a full-length mirror to the closet door. Any room that is poorly lit will seem smaller and less appealing over all.

Last, but not least… Consider all your options

If you’re playing around with different options or design concepts, one effective time saving solution might be to hire a professional to do the heavy lifting for you. That way you can ensure it’s done correctly and avoid spending even more money on repairing mistakes in the long run. If you have the right attitude and perseverance for DIY projects then go on, take the wheel, and add some lux to your space!

3 Convenient Organization Tips–In the Halloween Season (Trick or Treat Included!)

And here we are…the time of year we suddenly need to switch out our summer stuff for our fall gear.  Although with the sudden spring-like October weather, we may have a little more time! Many people dread the process, but we have another way—with our top tips you’ll have a smooth and easy seasonal transition this year:

(1) Consider Vacuum Sealing Bulky Stuff

Storage Organization Vacuum Quilts off season clothing pillows

Convenient Space Saving Storage

We all know how it feels when we are trying to pack up a whole season worth of clothes, decorations, blankets, throw pillow and more.   We just want to stuff it all into a closet or attic in some plastic bins–but then it’s hard to find what you’re looking for later.    We’ve had great results with vacuum sealing.  Major space saving—and protection from moths, mold or mildew.

(2) Use shelf sized storage bags to organize seasonal clothing

organization blankets off season clothing under bed in closet

Adaptable & protective storage

You can store the foldable clothes of each family member in their own bag.  Where would it go?  Attic, basement or under your beds–or you can add a customized storage system to your closet to truly maximize closet efficiency.  When it’s time to switch over back to spring/summer items just swap everything out and save yourself the headache of separate bins for separate seasons – it’s all about clearing your space to allow for organization and peace of mind!

(3) Holiday Storage Magic

When you put away your Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas/Hanukkah and New Years decorations this year—be prepared.  Plan to sort through the stuff you didn’t use this holiday, label all the boxes, and consolidate space.  Have the organization tools in place before you take down the decorations—a great example of storage organization is the gift wrap storage bin shown below.   If it doesn’t fit in this, you probably don’t need it!
christmas decorations holiday gift wrap organization

Neat Holiday Gift-Wrap Storage

Halloween Bonus

We were sharing our favorite (creepy) Halloween recipes—and figured we should share them with everyone!   We try to be healthy—and we (arguably) succeeded in two out of three below–Check it out & have a fun & spooky Halloween.

Halloween Zombie Brain — Grrr

Cauliflower Halloween Brain Zombie Recipe

Creepy but Nutritious

Haunted Chocolate Bark — and Bite?

halloween-treat-2

Yummy, and super easy to assemble

Pumpkin Chocolate Brownies — Yummmy

halloween-treat-3

WHY VISITING EXPERTS AT A HOME PRODUCTS SHOWROOM IS A MUST

By Sharon McGovern, Editor of NARI NYC/LI Design & Remodel Sure it’s great to do your research online before making any large home improvement purchase – in fact most homeowners search the internet to select products. But do you really know the quality, benefits and features of what you’re getting? Our NYC/LI NARI experts want you to know why it’s imperative that you test drive products before making a major purchase for your home.
“For large purchases you want to make sure you’re spending your money wisely, you owe it to yourself to see the range of what’s possible”
“Most customers think they know what they want, and then they see all the options available and change their minds,” said Jason Ashe, National Sales Manager for WindowRama. “We understand the importance of a customer touching and trying out products – windows and doors can be big ticket items in larger renovation projects,” he added. WindowRama offers 40 different brands of windows and doors, so the product selection process can be overwhelming. “Our showrooms are a destination – customers can see windows and doors in a real world atmosphere – similar to rooms in their own home,” Ashe said.
A popular trend in home renovation and design is indoor/ outdoor living. WindowRama’s 6000 square foot superstore in Farmingdale showcases multi-fold patio doors and screens so homeowners can see how these large doors operate. “We want the consumer to be excited about their purchase,” Ashe added. Green Art Plumbing Supply also implements the latest and greatest innovations for the home into their showrooms. Customers can explore possibilities that were merely ideas, until now. Green Art Plumbing Supply’s Huntington Station showroom features exquisite kitchens and baths as functional displays – providing a chance to experience products firsthand before making a decision.
“We put ourselves in our customer’s shoes,” said Stephanie Kurtzman, Marketing Director for Green Art Plumbing Supply. “Instead of buying online, visit a showroom to make sure the products you’re selecting fit your daily lifestyle and the unique look of your home,” she said. Green Art Plumbing Supply offers customers a truly unique showroom experience at their Huntington Station location – come in a bathing suit and try out a steam shower system in person! Custom closet design is generally an in-home shopping experience, says Bonnie Reich, owner of Symmetry Closets. “We measure, get a customer’s likes and dislikes, and can quickly provide a design and 3-D space plan. But you can’t get the experience of actually seeing materials in person and trying out options, unless you visit our showroom,” she said. “For example, there are all different grades of hardware – sometimes what you see in a picture may not be right for you. You need to engage with the product, and you just can’t replicate that experience.”
Lighting really makes a difference when you’re looking at materials, especially in custom closet and organization design. There’s LED lighting, strip lighting, drawers that light up and motion sensors that light up a space when you open a door. “There are so many lighting choices – cool, warm – unless you visit a showroom, you can’t experience that for yourself,” said Reich. According to Cambria USA spokesperson Aliki Vrohidis, different lighting can also affect the way you read colors, tones and movement in each of Cambria’s natural quartz countertop designs. “Additionally, our HighGloss and Cambria Matte surface finishes reflect light differently, so it’s important to see them both in person and in the correct lighting to see which you prefer,” she added. Cambria’s natural quartz design samples are a small select cut from a slab; they do not fully exhibit all the design characteristics of the final installed product. Variations in the natural quartz stone color, pattern, size, shape and shade are unique and inherent characteristics of the product. “Prior to making a purchase, we recommend viewing a full slab of the design’s movement in one of our showrooms or galleries,” Vrohidis said. Equally important to the experience of the showroom is a great team to work with. “Our incredibly knowledgeable, friendly, and dedicated staff provide the best personalized service in the industry,” said Green Art Plumbing Supply’s Stephanie Kurtzman.
For those customers who already have a trade professional to work with, the team at WindowRama offers ‘contractor concierge service.’ “We invite customers to come in and meet with a specialist to select products and build a portfolio of features,” said Jason Ashe. WindowRama’s staff then work with the contractor’s measurements to place the order. Need an installer or financing? WindowRama offers those services as well. Working with an expert in person can make all the difference says Bonnie Reich of Symmetry Closets. “There are things you don’t even think of – for example, your height makes a difference in designing a closet. Many times we have to modify standard cabinetry to work for your specific needs,” she said. “For large purchases you want to make sure you’re spending your money wisely,” she added, “you owe it to yourself to see the range of what’s possible!” This article originally appeared in Design & Remodel Magazine