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The Secret History of the Closet

Blog Written by Nancy Mitchell  apartment therapy You probably think of a closet as a little room where you hang up your clothes. But for much of its history, the closet has served a completely different purpose entirely.
Walk in closet, white shelves, white clothing, makeup bench, custom walk in, custom built ins, custom closet, Symmetry Closets

Modern Walk-in Closet

Come back with me, if you will, to the Middle Ages. In the Middle Ages having a bedroom was a bit of a privilege — most common folks slept either on the floor of the great hall of the manor where they lived, or in the single room that served them as kitchen, living room, dining room, and bedroom all in one. Only very wealthy people had bedrooms, and they used their bedrooms not just for sleeping but also for working and entertaining important guests. The bedroom, at this time, was not a very private place. So where could you go if you wanted a little time alone? Enter the closet. At the end of the Medieval period, well-to-do homeowners began adding ‘closets’ adjoining their bedrooms. The closet was a place to store treasured possessions, but it was also a place for prayer, reading, and quiet contemplation. It was by far the most private place in the house, and to this day the word “closet” can carry a meaning of secrecy and privacy. If two people retreat to a secluded spot to have a conversation, they can be said to be closeted together. A “closet racist” is someone who hides their views from the world. (This particular meaning of the word closet may have contributed to the phrase ‘come out of the closet’, although according to Mentalfloss this particular metaphor was not used by the gay community until the 1960s.)
custom walk in closets

Modern Walk-in Closet

In Europe the closet eventually disappeared, as houses grew larger and other rooms afforded opportunities for privacy. But the Puritans took the idea of a closet with them to the New World — although it had become by then simply a place to store things. Of course, closets are not nearly as prevalent in older houses. There might not even be one in every bedroom, because people then had a lot less clothing, and they were a lot more likely to store their clothes in a chest or armoire than hang them up in a closet. (The coat hanger, in fact, wasn’t even invented until 1869.) Today the closet is enjoying a bit of a zenith, owing to the fact that many modern Americans own (what would have been considered by the Puritans at least) simply enormous amounts of clothes. The mania for luxury closets has even led to closets outfitted with sofas, vanities, or desks, making them a sort of retiring room/boudoir in addition to a storage space. Which means that these closets have, in fact, come completely full circle. This post was inspired by and owes much to Lucy Worley’s fascinating book about the history of the home, If Walls Could Talk. It will make you, I guarantee, a completely fascinating dinner party conversationalist, able to wax eloquent about thing like how often medieval people bathed (spoiler: they didn’t) and historical attitudes towards beards. Author: Nancy Mitchell As a Senior Writer at Apartment Therapy, Nancy splits her time among looking at beautiful pictures, writing about design, and photographing stylish apartments in and around NYC. It’s not a bad gig.

OUR FEATURED DESIGNER Adam Cassino, Adam Cassino Design

Adam Cassino, Adam Cassino Design

Photo courtesy of Adam Cassino Designs

How Symmetry Closets and Adam Cassino Design Began Collaborating:

“A colleague of mine recommended Symmetry Closets to Adam when he realized he would need an expert closet designer for this project. When we spoke about the designs for the client’s ‘his and hers’ walk-in closets Adam knew exactly what he wanted and he gave us very detailed directions when it came time to install. That’s the nice thing about him, he knows exactly what he wants and expresses his design expectations very clearly, which makes the process that much easier for us. Bonnie wasn’t a part of the entire design and renovation process but she recalls the amount of precision Adam and his team exhibited, “Adam makes decisions quickly and efficiently and that make a large complex project move faster.” This applied to Bonnie’s part in designing the client’s two walk-in closets, “Adam gave us a very realistic time frame to produce the order and install it to the exact specifications he requested. We are in the design phase of another project with Adam and we’re enjoying the process.”
About Adam Cassino A New York City native who is passionate about all things design, Adam is trained in several interconnected fields that lend him to be a well -rounded designer and problem solver. Priding himself Adam Cassino, Adam Cassino Designon customer service, Adam is known for developing long -term, intimate relationships with his clients, making himself always available and approachable, often far beyond the completion of a project. Adam’s range of knowledge in engineering, design, architecture, and real estate is beneficial when working directly with architects, contractors, and other design individuals. His diversified background, coupled with innate talent, a well-received demeanor, and strong work ethic, allow Adam to achieve great success in his projects, and a high level of gratitude and satiation in his client base.

Design Backstory: Luxury Interior Design for the Entire Home

Symmetry Closet, Custom design, Adam Casino Design, Interior Designer, Custom Lighting, Custom cabinets

Fully redesigned master bedroom. Melville, NY. Photo courtesy of Adam Cassino Design

“Believe it or not, the interior of this 6,500 square feet family home started out as gothic and heavy. Our client brought us in before purchasing and asked if we could transform it into a light and airy transitional feel that they loved; we clearly could. Without delay, remodeling began, and in less than a year this now updated transitional home is a delight to be in. We changed the color palette of the entire home, changed stone surfaces, flooring, bathrooms, kitchen finishes, all lighting, and added elegant woodwork detail throughout. Now fully furnished in exquisite, comfortable, and usable pieces, this home has far surpassed our client’s expectations and is a beloved space for the family.”
Master walk in, walk in closet, custom closet island, custom closet, symmetry closets

His and Hers Master walk-in closet. Melville, NY. Photo courtesy of Adam Cassino Design.

A Homeowner’s Dream Come True: Interior Design Ideas Come To Life

Our time working with Adam has been nothing short of amazing. He brings innovative thinking, an innate technical mind, & a sharp eye for all things beautiful. These qualities combined have created the most incredible spaces in our home. His visions of a space are always creative while closely paying attention to the functionality of the room. He has become not only our designer but a dear friend in the process. He has a keen sense in getting to know his client which allows his work to reflect our own personal style throughout our home. We worked on many projects that involved designing from scratch custom pieces in our work spaces, closets, and living areas. Adam was always on the ball with every detail of the technical aspect of the symmetry closets, custom walk ins, custom built ins, custom drawers, soft close drawerswork. He inherently understood how each space & the furnishings should fit & flow together. This goes for all parts of the design process from our unbelievable entry chandeliers to the placement of our towels and trays in our bathrooms. His eye for details, color, and style comes naturally to him. The process of creating our new home could have been overwhelming to us. It ended up being the most exciting and special time because we had Adam to guide us.

Symmetry closets, foyer, custom designHis and Her Master Bedroom Closet Designs: A Match Made In Heaven

Clean lines and an overall lighter feel throughout the home was achieved in the design project over the course of about a year. At that point the closets were finally in sight for the husband and wife. The clients wanted their closets to appear classy and leaning more on the extravagant side to match the rest of their newly designed home. The wife wanted plenty of room for her shoes and symmetry closet, wedding gown, wedding dress, wedding dress storage, custom shelving, shoe shelves, custom island, white closethandbags, and for them to display like a upscale dressing room. She also wanted even more drawer space, so they decided to put in a peninsula attached to the wall with a stunning white marble top. Follow Adam on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/adamcassinodesign/ Visit her website: http://adamcassinodesign.com/ IDS